CableLabs® To Use European MHP Middleware for OpenCable™
Louisville, Colorado, November 13, 2001—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) has adopted the middleware software developed by the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) project for advanced OpenCable™ digital set-top boxes that are to be deployed throughout North America.
The DVB platform called Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) will be part of the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP™) that is the middleware software portion of OpenCable. The OpenCable box will allow the cable household to access both digital broadcasting and interactive digital applications.
Cable operators in North America have agreed to use the bulk of the MHP 1.0.1 and MHP 1.1 specification for the OCAP portion of advanced OpenCable boxes. �Of course, there are regional differences, but the core of the specification is the same," said Theo Peek, DVB Chairman. �We believe that a common middleware specification will advantage manufacturers, content developers, application developers, and viewers alike.
Commenting on the agreement, Dr. Charles Sandbank, Co-chair of the Joint Rapporteurs Group of ITU-T SG 9 and ITU-R WP6M said, �Promotion of a common core specification is an important step toward world-wide interoperability. This activity will be a valuable source of input to the work of the ITU on harmonizing application content formats." ITU stands for International Telecommunications Union and is an international standards setting body.
Dr. Richard R. Green, President and CEO of CableLabs, said: �We are pleased to be working with DVB. The OCAP specification has been based on MHP from the start, but we now have a more formal agreement to plan and to coordinate current and future development of the MHP and OCAP specifications, as well as the implementation and testing of the compliant product. This agreement, coordinating the use of MHP in North America will enable us to complete and publish OCAP specifications within 75 days."
CableLabs, the technology consortium for cable system operators in North and South America, will be the point organization for continuing cooperation with the DVB project. DVB has established a special middleware task force group to coordinate this effort.
The DVB Project
The DVB is an industry-led consortium of over 300 broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, software developers, regulatory bodies, and others in more than 35 countries committed to designing global standards for the delivery of digital television and data services. The DVB standards cover all aspects of digital television from transmission through interfacing, conditional access, and interactivity for digital video, audio, and data. The consortium came together in 1993 to create unity in the march towards global standardization, interoperability, and future proofing. Further information about DVB can be found at: www.dvb.org.
DVB Multimedia Home Platform (MHP)
DVB-MHP was ratified last year by the DVB Steering Board and was formally adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) (ETSI TS 101 812 [MHP]). This action paved the way for the deployment of the open standard API (application program interface), which now facilitates seamless services across broadcast, telecommunications, and computer platforms. MHP defines a generic interface between interactive digital applications and the terminals on which those applications execute. The standard enables digital content providers to address all types of terminals ranging from low to high-end set-top boxes, integrated digital television sets (IDTVs), and multimedia PCs.
In addition to developing the MHP specification, it has established a mechanism for conformance testing, based on a MHP test suite, and also is facilitating the formation of an intellectual property license pool that will license intellectual property essential to the MHP specification and its regional variations. Further information on MHP can be found at: www.mhp.org.
The CableLabs OpenCable initiative has a goal of assisting the North American cable industry to deploy interactive services over cable. OpenCable has two key components: a hardware specification and a software specification. The hardware specification, which has been completed, denotes a receiver that can be sold at retail and provides transparent interoperability with cable systems throughout North America. The software specification is OCAP, and provides a common software environment upon which interactive services may be deployed. Copies of the OpenCable specification are available to developers and manufacturers through CableLabs.
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains additional web sites at www.cablenet.org and www.ebif.tv.
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