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CableLabs taps DVB-MHP for OCAP

Tue, 11/13/2001 - 7:00pm
Anne Kerven

Even as the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) authors labor, CableLabs says it's adopted the Multimedia Home Platform middleware specs developed by Digital Video Broadcasting.

MHP will be part of OCAP, the middleware portion of OpenCable, the organization says, adding that North American cable operators have agreed to use "the bulk of the MHP 1.0.1 and MHP 1.1 specifications for the OCAP portion of advanced OpenCable boxes."

"The OCAP specification has been based on MHP from the start, but we now have an agreement and plan to coordinate the details of the current and future development, implementation and testing of the product," says Don Dulchinos, VP of CableLabs' Advanced Platforms & Services, in a statement.

DVB chairman Theo Peek, also in a statement, said there are "regional differences, but the core of the (MHP) specification is the same."

OpenCable is a CableLabs initiative that seeks to standardize and add portability to set-tops tagged for retail distribution. It consists of a hardware and software specification. While the hardware portion is complete, and covers the point-of-deployment (POD)-host interface for set-tops sold at retail, the middleware spec is still underway. Sun has handled OCAP's executable engine, and Microsoft and Liberate have been the leading authors of the middleware's presentation engine. Others, such as PowerTV and Canal+ have also contributed.

MHP was developed by DVB, a 300-member industry consortium that aims to design global standard for delivering digital TV and data services. The group ratified the MHP standard last year, and it was adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.

According to MHP documents (see the DVB-MHP Web site), the spec covers both executable and presentation components of OCAP. In what could be considered an OCAP victory for Sun, MHP includes a Java Virtual Machine component.

MHP's main components include its architecture, a virtual machine,, hooks for HTML content formats and more.

The agreement coordinates MHP use in North America and will let CableLabs complete and publish an OCAP specification within 75 days, CableLabs President and CEO Dr. Richard Green said in a statement.

A CableLabs spokesman did not return calls by CEDaily's deadline.

CableLabs says it will be the point organization for the DVB project, and that DVB has setup a special middleware task force group to coordinate the effort.

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