ACAP Interactive TV Summit Coming Up

(click thumbnail)Table 1

(click thumbnail)Table 2, ACAP and OCAP field trial participantsThe ATSC is organizing a half-day seminar on the Advanced Common Application Platform for interactive television.

Set for Jan. 30, the ACAP Interactive TV will be held in conjunction with the 12th Annual Hollywood Post Alliance Technology Retreat in Palm Springs, Calif.

The ACAP specification, developed as the result of a harmonization effort between the ATSC DASE (DTV Application Software Environment) and the CableLabs OCAP (Open Cable Application Platform) specifications, is the culmination of extensive efforts by a dedicated team of specialists from dozens of organizations representing diverse industry segments.

ACAP provides consumers with advanced interactive services while providing content providers, broadcasters, cable and satellite operators, and consumer electronics manufacturers with the technical details necessary to develop interoperable services and products.

The ACAP Interactive TV Summit will outline the basic elements of ACAP and update attendees on a landmark field trial of the ACAP standard current being developed by the ATSC Planning Committee. Led by Dan Berkowitz of NBC Universal, the project is designed to illustrate how ACAP can be used to enhance the viewing experience. The seminar will feature presentations by many of the organizations participating in the ACAP field trial, including major content producers. See Table 1 for the program schedule.

In addition to the seminar, a demonstration is planned for the HPA retreat showing practical ACAP applications. The demonstration will include interactive television applications developed for some well-known U.S. network programs, shown running on both ACAP (over-the-air DTV) and OCAP (cable) platforms.


The overall goals of the ACAP field trial being organized by the ATSC Planning Committee are:

  • To raise awareness for broadcasters of content and business opportunities afforded by interactive television.
  • Raise awareness for local stations of content and business opportunities.
  • Demonstrate the interoperability of ACAP and OCAP
  • The Planning Committee ACAP field trial project is divided into two primary elements.

Phase 1, intended to prove interoperability of ACAP and OCAP for interactive television in the United States; and Phase 2, consisting of field trials of ACAP applications broadcast over the air to ACAP and OCAP receivers. Some of the key organizations participating in the project are listed in Table 2.

Sharp, Philips and Intel are also participating in the project.


The ACAP seminar comes at an important time in the move toward interactive television. With the ACAP field trial gaining momentum, content producers looking for ways to improve the viewing experience for a variety of programs--from games shows to scripted dramas to news.

Thanks to the ongoing transition of television from analog to digital, it is now possible to efficiently combine video, audio and data within the same signal. This combination leads to powerful new applications.

For example, computers can be turned into traditional TV receivers and digital set-top boxes can host applications such as interactive TV, e-commerce and customized programming.

The term interactive television is broad and not entirely well defined. However, it certainly includes the following general categories--customized news, weather and traffic; stock market data; sports scores and statistics; games; online real-time purchases; and video-on-demand.

The backdrop for iTV growth comes from both the market strength of the Internet and the technical foundation that supports it.

With the rapid adoption of digital video technology in the cable, satellite, and terrestrial broadcast industries, the stage is set for the creation of an iTV segment that introduces to a mass consumer market a whole new range of possibilities.

Technologies are readily available that support interactive features for game shows, sports and other programs, interactive advertising, e-mail, and Internet access. Rather than concentrating just on Web services, the goal is to deliver a better television experience.


The ACAP Interactive TV Summit will be held at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa, 71333 Dinah Shore Dr., Rancho Mirage, CA 92270. Additional information can be found on the HPA Web site:

The Hollywood Post Alliance is the trade association representing the Southern California-based professional community of businesses and individuals who provide expertise, support, tools and the infrastructure for the creation and finishing of motion pictures, television, commercials, digital media, and other dynamic media content.

Additional information on the ACAP standard can be found on the ACAP Web site:

If you or your organization would like to participate in the ACAP field trial project, contact the author at

Jerry Whitaker