2007 CES Featured Cable's Two-Way Future; High-Definition Cable Content Now Available on PCs
CableLabs® Briefs Two-Way Licensees at CES
Louisville, Colorado, January 24, 2007—With more than a dozen manufacturers displaying two-way “plug-and-play” TVs, set-top boxes and other cable-ready devices, the just completed 2007 Consumer Electronics Show marked a significant milestone in the cable industry's efforts to bring interactive digital TV services to consumers that will not require the use of a leased set-top box.
The new plug-and-play devices will use the cable industry's software platform—called OCAP™ or OpenCable™ Applications Platform—to facilitate the delivery of interactive applications and services. Major cable operators are rolling out support for the new OCAP platform on their networks in 2007 and 2008, setting the stage for wide availability of the new two-way plug-and-play devices.
In addition to the two-way devices, a new technology interface that will allow consumers for the first time to view high-definition and other digital cable content on new Microsoft Vista-enabled personal computers was also displayed at CES. The cable interface for personal computers—called OCUR or OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver—will initially support one-way services (e.g., linear programming) while a two-way interactive interface is being developed.
“The 2007 CES demonstrated how far cable and our manufacturer partners have come in preparing to bring consumers a whole new array of interactive TV devices,” said Dr. Richard R. Green, President and CEO of CableLabs®. “This progress clearly shows that the world's largest consumer electronics manufacturers are adopting and developing products that incorporate cable's interactive TV software,” he added.
Thirteen companies displayed two-way plug-and-play cable-ready products at CES this year, including an LG plasma TV that won a CES 2007 Innovations Award. Products that were displayed, and their manufacturers, included:
- Samsung—Exhibited a high-definition DVR set-top box that includes a CableCARD™ interface. (Samsung has previously won CableLabs certification for a two-way, OCAP-enabled cable-ready digital television.) Cox Communications announced at the show it has signed an agreement with Samsung to accelerate development of OCAP-based interactive services on Samsung's HDTV sets and other products. Some of these services, including the GuideWorks interactive program guide, began testing in Cox's Gainesville, Florida Division last month.
- Panasonic—Displayed a high-definition digital plasma television running the full-featured Comcast i-Guide™, including video on demand and other interactive applications using OCAP standard middleware. In a press conference, Panasonic announced that this device would be trialed with Comcast during 2007 and be deployed in retail in 2008.
- LG Electronics—Showed a newly CableLabs certified, fully two-way plug-and-play cable-ready digital plasma television using OCAP.
- Thomson—Demonstrated a two-way plug-and-play cable-ready OCAP-enabled DCI 9000 set-top box with NDS OCAP middleware.
- TiVo®—Showed the TiVo DVR guide running on an OCAP-compatible, Motorola leased set-top box running TVNav, with plans to port to full OCAP. This will support a market trial of a Comcast service offering where customers can choose to use the TiVo interface with their cable service.
- Scientific Atlanta, a Cisco Company—Showed the Explorer 8550HDC two-way cable-ready set-top box, with support for CableCARD, OCAP, advanced codecs, and DOCSIS®. The exhibit included a Flickr™ application running on OCAP; Flickr is a photo-sharing Web service.
- Motorola—Displayed a line of interactive set-top boxes, including OCAP. Comcast expanded its purchase agreement for a number of OCAP-based set tops including Motorola's “Follow Me TV” multi-room DVR technology.
- VividLogic—Showed reference designs for set-top boxes and digital televisions.
- Mitsubishi—Mitsubishi has licensed an OCAP middleware stack from supplier VividLogic.
- Pioneer—Pioneer has licensed an OCAP middleware stack from supplier VividLogic.
- Funai—Funai has licensed an OCAP middleware stack from supplier VividLogic.
- ADB—Displayed a prototype two-way cable-ready set-top box using OCAP and a CableCARD interface.
- Digeo—Exhibited a Moxi™ multi-room DVR with CableCARD interface; Moxi's DVR application has been ported to OCAP.
- Broadcom—Displayed a reference design for a two-way cable-ready television or two-way cable-ready set top using OCAP and a CableCARD.
At least two other companies not listed above also showed OCAP-related products in private meetings.
The new cable-ready OCUR solution for personal computers includes a CableCARD interface, and allows for the display of one-way services, such as high-definition video, on Microsoft Vista-enabled personal computers. The manufacturers that displayed this product included:
- Niveus—featuring a “dual OCUR design” which allows viewing two channels at the same time.
Also during CES, CableLabs briefed 10 companies that have signed the license which enables them to build two-way interactive cable-ready products, called CableCARD-Host Interface License Agreement, or CHILA. By signing the CHILA license, a company obtains necessary intellectual property rights and signals its intent to design cable-ready products that can display two-way cable-delivered interactive services, such as interactive program guides, video on demand, enhanced television, etc., without the need for a set-top box.
The briefing included information about MSO activities now underway to provide support of OCAP on the cable network in 2007 and 2008. They also briefed manufacturers about developer conferences planned for 2007 and supported by a growing array of tool developers and systems integration support, as well as lab support activities available at CableLabs in the coming year.
Companies in attendance included Advanced Digital Broadcast, SA; AMD, Digeo, Digital Keystone, Funai Electronics Co., Ltd.; LG Electronics, Inc.; NEC, Panasonic Corporation of America, Samsung, Toshiba American Consumer Products, LLC; and Vidiom.
The complete list of companies that have signed the two-way CHILA license also includes: Broadcom Corporation, Himax Technologies, Inc.; MAKUS Inc.; Micronas GmbH; PC Partner, Stexar Corp.; Sunplus Technology Co, LTD; Tata Elxsi Limited; Thomson; Video Without Boundaries, Inc.; VividLogic Inc. and ViXS Systems Inc.
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.
CableLabs® is a registered trademark of Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. Other CableLabs marks are listed at http://www.cablelabs.com/certqual/trademarks. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.