First OCAP transmission for STARZ

Starz successful test of an OCAP broadcast via satellite could pave the way for new interactive television applications.

The first satellite transmission of an OpenCable Applications Platform (OCAP) application was successfully completed from the STARZ Encore Group. CableLabs downlinked and verified the broadcast.

OCAP is a middleware software layer specification developed by CableLabs. OCAP enables the development of interactive television services and applications that will run interoperably on any cable television system in North America, independent of set-top or television receiver hardware or operating system software choices.

The transmission of an OCAP-based application from the STARZ uplink facility was the first use of OCAP outside the laboratory environment.

CableLabs President and CEO Dr. Richard Green said that the successful transmission of an OCAP application from uplink to headend to end user is a major step forward in creating an environment in which interactive TV might become a reality.

The broadcast makes STARZ the first programmer to embed OCAP functionality within a U.S. broadcast. The interactivity consists of making a branded “mini-guide” part of transmission and letting viewers select information about “What’s On Tonight,” “Saturday Premieres” and “Movie Extras” about new hit movies.

STARZ used UniSoft's TSBroadcaster headend server to schedule and integrate the one-way OCAP application into the transmission stream. ADB’s i-CAN3200 set-top box was used to decode the video. Osmosys supplied ADB's OCAP stack.

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