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RealNetworks OK for ‘OCUR’

Mon, 04/10/2006 - 5:15am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

CableLabs has approved a digital rights management (DRM) system from RealNetworks Inc. for the OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver (OCUR), a platform that enables cable video programming – including premium services and high-definition television content  – to be delivered to PCs over high-speed connections and without the need for a separate set-top box.
 
The approval will give PC manufacturers the ability to build OCUR-based devices that incorporate Real’s universal Helix DRM platform. OCUR-enabled media center PCs will be equipped with a CableCARD slot. A CableCARD supporting the operator’s conditional access system will be required to authorize digital services on the PC.

“Our agreement with CableLabs is great for consumers because it will give them an easy way to take compelling video content and extend it throughout their digital home,” said RealNetworks Chairman & CEO Rob Glaser. “This initiative is also great for the cable industry because it will open up new opportunities for operators to develop innovative video services that bridge the traditional video world and the high-speed data parts of their businesses.”

CableLabs approval should push Real’s cable IPTV agenda forward. Among earlier work, Real’s DRM - as well as its media player and streaming servers – is supporting a “Broadband TV” trial in the San Diego area launched last summer by Time Warner Cable that delivers the operator’s expanded basic tier (about 75 channels, but no premium services) via IP to the PC.

“This DRM solution provides a secure environment while guaranteeing a high-quality customer experience. We hope this will lead to a competitive marketplace for secure DRM technologies,” said Time Warner Cable President & CEO and CableLabs Chairman Glenn Britt.

PC makers and cable operators already have multiple vendor options in this area, as RealNetworks marks the second company to win the OCUR seal of approval. In November 2005, CableLabs gave its blessing to Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Media Digital Rights Management (WMDRM) platform.

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