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Panasonic signs two-way cable accord

Wed, 03/16/2005 - 7:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

Panasonic has inked a deal to incorporate the CableLabs-specified OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) into its line of cable-ready digital TV, set-tops and other two-way cable devices.

Panasonic marks the second consumer electronics company to sign the two-way accord, dubbed the CableCARD Host Interface Licensing Agreement (CHILA). Samsung and LG Electronics are the other two.

Panasonic was the first major CE manufacturer to sign the original one-way agreement.

"We're pleased that Panasonic is once again among the leaders in taking the initiative to expand its digital television products to the two-way level so quickly," said CableLabs President and CEO Dr. Richard Green.

The latest agreement gives Panasonic access to certain intellectual property rights needed to build interactive devices based on the OpenCable specification. A key component to the spec is an interface that supports removable security modules called CableCARDs. The CableCARD is also a key to the one-way "Plug & Play" agreement between the cable and CE industries for set-top-free digital televisions. A more complex version of that deal has yet to be finalized, though OCAP support is almost a given.

The absence of a two-way Plug & Play agreement has not stopped operators and TV manufacturers from making deals on their own. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, and Charter Communications signed two-way agreements with Samsung.

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