CableLabs hosted a successful weeklong OpenCable interoperability event in early October, highlighted by numerous hardware manufacturers demonstrating interoperability between OpenCable and enhanced TV (eTV) applications.
In addition, CableCARD and carousel generator vendors were on site to provide their support to the interoperability event, which rounded out the complete ecosystem of OpenCable vendors. The OpenCable Platform (OCAP) is widely seen as an innovation engine for the cable network that creates an open and ubiquitous middleware layer to enable blended applications, including point-and-click e-commerce and information services, caller ID on the TV, voting and polling.
Interoperability events provide vendors with an informal laboratory setting in which they have the opportunity to test their latest products within CableLabs' headends and testing environment, determine compliance with CableLabs' specifications and the ability of their products to interoperate with other devices in an end-to-end OpenCable system. CableLabs uses these events as an opportunity to improve and validate its test environment and procedures.
Fifteen companies were represented, testing their products and meeting with cable operators who toured through the laboratory and viewed the OpenCable devices and applications. Cable operators are keenly interested in these interoperability events because they have started to deploy OpenCable products.
Case in point: It was recently reported by Time Warner that 150,000 OCAP- compliant set-top boxes have been deployed to date, and the numbers are expected to grow into the millions in the coming years. These two-way set-top boxes allow OpenCable applications such as interactive guides, VOD (video on demand) and advanced advertising services.
CableLabs is planning its next OpenCable interoperability event for spring 2008. The RFI will be posted on the corporate Web site.