The cable industry has demonstrated the ability to share premium content among DLNA devices, including HTML5-based clients.
With its typical one-month lag, the industry finally reported that result from an interop conducted at CableLabs in which Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable tested the ability to run tru2way apps – specifically their program guides – in an open-standard environment with devices from multiple suppliers.
The interop also demonstrated the utility of a new software tool developed by CableLabs. The CableLabs tru2way Reference Implementation (RI) was created for manufacturers to use to quickly implement tru2way technology in their devices, according to CableLabs. The goal is to make it easy for customer premises equipment (CPE) manufacturers to support cable operators by giving those manufacturers a robust, interoperable software platform for developing program guides and other tru2way applications.
Cable companies have long prospered using standards common amongst themselves, such as DOCSIS and PacketCable. In recent years, the cable industry has been moving toward the adoption of more standards in common use in the electronics industry at large.
Cable is already working with devices that leverage the well-established DLNA standard. HTML5, still under development, looks like another standard common to the electronics industry in general that cable might want to ride further into the IT mainstream. The new CableLabs tru2way RI could be a key enabler for that.
The tru2way RI was developed by CableLabs with support from the open-source community on java.net and integrated into tru2way devices by manufacturers. It was used during the interop as both a client device and a tru2way host device in the multi-vendor interoperability scenarios.
Device manufacturers that participated in the interop at CableLabs included Humax, Samsung Electronics, Sony Computer Entertainment America and Sony Electronics.
Comcast, TWC and Cox provided program guides that integrated tru2way technology with multi-room DVR capability. Comcast and Cox also provided HTML5-based program guides that supported playback of linear content.
DLNA technology component suppliers included Access Systems, Groupo Communications, Myriad Group and PacketVideo. Tru2way host device manufacturers were represented by Cisco. Silicondust provided an OpenCable unidirectional receiver device.
Interoperability scenarios included DLNA premium features (i.e., streaming DVR content, server-side trick modes, DTCP-IP link protection, etc.), as well as streaming of linear content to HTML5 browser-based client services, CableLabs said.
“During the interoperability event, Comcast demonstrated our HTML5 RUI running in an HTML5-based browser and streaming linear content to early implementations of HTML5-based clients. We also demonstrated our multi-room DVR capability using RI-based set-top boxes and multiple vendors’ DLNA-based IP devices,” stated Steve Reynolds, senior vice president of premises technology at Comcast.
“The CableLabs home networking events continue to provide value in advancing interoperability between the growing list of tru2way host devices and DLNA-based home networking devices,” said Mike Hayashi, executive vice president of architecture, development and engineering at Time Warner Cable.
“A prototype of Cox’s HTML5-based Trio guide ran in a Web kit-based browser and streamed linear content from a tru2way-based set-top box acting as a server,” said John Civiletto, executive director of technology architecture at Cox Communications.
The tru2way Home Networking Specifications include the DLNA Interoperability Guidelines. Set-top box manufacturers implement tru2way host devices based on these specifications. CableLabs issued the latest version of the home networking extension specification, along with associated test suites and the tru2way reference implementation software, as part of the Bundle 1.2.2 release in February 2012.
HTML5 is shaping up to be the point where cable companies, which have long prospered using standards common amongst themselves, begin to employ standards commonly used by the electronics industry at large.