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Cox, Comcast ink OCAP accords

Mon, 01/08/2007 - 7:07am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Comcast Cable and Cox Communications both moved ahead with plans to support digital TVs outfitted with the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP), an interactive middleware specified by CableLabs.

Among them, Cox inked a letter of intent (LOI) with Samsung Electronics that aims to accelerate the development of interactive digital cable services that use OCAP and run on Samsung HDTV sets, as well as set-tops and digital video recorders.

Cox noted that interactive services and apps, including an OCAP-based IPG from GuideWorks LLC  (a joint venture of Comcast and Gemstar-TV Guide), are running on Samsung OCAP-compliant DLP HD sets in the MSO's Gainesville, Fla. system. The trial is leveraging a digital headend and multistream CableCARDs from Scientific Atlanta.

"Our successful trial of the Samsung OCAP solution illustrates Cox's dedication to offering customers additional devices that will operate seamlessly alongside our current leased devices," said Cox SVP and CTO Chris Bowick, in a statement.

Meanwhile, Comcast and Panasonic said they will begin joint testing of OCAP-based interactive digital cable-ready TVs.

The test, slated to begin later in January, follows in the wake of an OCAP set-top deal between the companies that was announced at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show.

Panasonic and the MSO expect testing of new OCAP-based TVs to run through 2007, with initial commercial availability of the first model targeted for early 2008.

"The development of OCAP-powered TVs is another example of how Comcast is working with the CE industry to enhance the consumer viewing experience by making it even easier to enjoy new interactive applications combined with the convenience of integrated digital cable services," said Comcast SVP, Technology and Policy Mark Coblitz, in a statement.

Under the agreement announced last year, Panasonic agreed to make and supply Comcast with an initial 250,000 HD-DVR "RNG" set-tops stocked with Panasonic's OCAP middleware. Comcast also had an option to buy up to 1 million set-tops in the first year.

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