Funai Electric Co. Ltd. of Japan is the latest consumer electronics company to sign on the dotted line with CableLabs for CHILA, also known as the CableCARD Host Interface Licensing Agreement.
The license will give Funai access to the secrets required to develop interactive, two-way digital cable products (televisions, in this case) that run the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP), a middleware platform specified by CableLabs. Those products will also contain an interface for the multi-stream CableCARD, or M-Card, which is a removable security module supplied by operators that authorizes the TV or set-top for cable services.
Today, all deployed OpenCable hosts can support only unidirectional services, but coming two-way devices, when coupled with the M-Card, will be able to handle interactive cable offerings such as video-on-demand. TiVo Inc.'s new Series 3 DVR is a one-way host, but provides dual CableCARD slots to enable the watch-and-record function for cable channels broadcast in the digital domain.
In addition to Funai, the following companies have signed the two-way CHILA agreement: Samsung, Panasonic, LGE, Thomson, Toshiba, ADB Global, Scientific Atlanta/Cisco, Motorola, and Digeo Inc. Three chip developers have also signed the license: Broadcom Corp., ATI and ViXS.