CableLabs introduces advanced set-top software

Cable Television Laboratories has announced that it has finalised the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) software specification.

Called OCAP 1.0, the specification enhances the ability of consumer electronics manufacturers to build and market set-top boxes or integrated television receivers directly to consumers, a company release states. These devices can receive the services available on set tops provided by the cable operator. The specification enables cable to create an interactive television delivery mechanism to provide enhanced services to cable customers, the release says.

The OCAP specification is largely based on the European Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) middleware specification created by the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) organization. Thus, there is an opportunity for worldwide interoperability of interactive applications and content. The MHP and OCAP specifications also have been submitted to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as a contribution to an international standard.

The release of the OCAP 1.0 specification supports an EE environment (based on Java technology), and will serve as the core for a family of future OCAP products. For example, OCAP 2.0, which will be released shortly, provides the addition of the Presentation Engine (PE) and a "bridge" that allows both to work together. The PE, similar to a Web browser, will provide support for creating and using the Web's standardised markup and scripting languages, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) andECMAScript. Manufacturers may choose to develop immediately to OCAP 1.0, or move directly to an OCAP 2.0 development, giving them flexibility to target different customer needs.

OCAP 2.0 will be fully backward compatible with OCAP 1.0. Further, OCAP 1.0 and 2.0 have been designed such that interactive television applications that have already been deployed by cable companies will continue to work when customers upgrade to an OCAP-compliant device.

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