Twenty-eight Firms Demonstrate Interoperability on OCAP™ and eTV Platforms at CableLabs® Event
ABC-Disney Part of Interactive Digital Cable Milestone
Louisville, Colorado, August 17, 2005—Twenty-eight companies, including some major content owners such as Walt Disney-ABC Enhanced TV, supported the recent interoperability event held by Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) for the OpenCable™ Application Platform (OCAP™) and for enhanced TV (eTV).
The international array of companies supported the event with hardware platforms, middleware implementations, interactive TV applications, and network equipment needed to support the interactive OCAP environment planned for rollout on North American digital cable networks. The event was held the week of August 8 and demonstrated wide vendor support and early adoption of the OCAP middleware specification. OCAP is the cable industry's common middleware specification for enabling interactive applications to run on advanced digital set tops and integrated DTVs.
“This event was highly successful,” said Don Dulchinos, Senior VP of Advanced Platforms and Services at CableLabs, “demonstrating a fully operational end-to-end system for OCAP, as well as some of the new eTV applications that only recently have been developed. What we've learned this week is that state-of-the-art for OCAP and eTV application development is keeping pace with advancements in the network and client pieces of the equation. The OCAP platform provides a big boost, and a big incentive, for the digital transition.”
Hardware platforms demonstrated at the interop event included both production-intent and software development platforms from: Osmosys Inc.; Panasonic R&D Company of America; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd; NDS; LG Electronics; ADB; Pioneer Research USA, Inc.; Motorola; and Scientific-Atlanta. Vidiom Systems Corporation, Zappware, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, and Time Warner Cable Interactive provided OCAP applications and content.
Various eTV applications also were demonstrated for the first time. These new interactive applications were provided by: Ensequence, Inc.; Walt Disney-ABC Enhanced TV; TVWorks (Comcast/Cox); Showtime; Navic Networks; Emuse; GoldPocket Interactive; and BIAP Systems, Inc. eTV applications rely on embedding various types of data in the video stream, including programs, images, and triggers.
“The recently released CableLabs eTV Application Messaging Specification specifies the synchronization and signaling mechanisms to be used by these eTV applications, regardless of the target receiver or middleware environment,“ said Dulchinos. “And, this interoperability event was the first time we've seen some of these new apps up and running on a live cable plant.” UniSoft Corporation; Strategy and Technology Ltd., Softel-USA, Thales, and DigiSoft.tv provided gear such as application servers, object carousels, and other “playout” equipment necessary for injecting interactive content and application signaling into the MPEG transport stream.
In addition, Strategy and Technology made available to CableLabs an informative specification that describes a method for creating a common interface for the transfer of application information from an OCAP object carousel generator to headend equipment—an essential interface for ensuring that so-called “unbound” applications such as electronic program guides and VOD client applications will continue to run properly regardless of the channel being tuned to by the viewer. “This specification is key to ensuring the interoperability between application servers from various developers and the headend network equipment being readied for OCAP deployment,” noted Dulchinos.
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 web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.packetcable.com; www.cablemodem.com; www.cablenet.org, and www.opencable.com.
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