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CableLabs adopts set-top ITV specs

Looking to create a common, worldwide platform from which to deploy
interactive services, CableLabs is recommending that cable operators include the
European-developed DVB-MHP Application Program Interface (API) to run
interactive television 'middleware' applications in the U.S. (The middleware in
this case is the operating software inside the set-top box.)

By adding this requirement for all of its OpenCable digital set-top boxes,
which are to be deployed throughout North America, CableLabs is hoping to enable
Interactive TV producers to develop content in a common format for worldwide

The Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) protocol, developed by the Digital Video
Broadcast consortium, is already part of the OpenCable Application Platform
(OCAP), which allows an OpenCable-compliant set top to access both digital
broadcasting and interactive digital applications. 'The OCAP specification has
been based on MHP from the start,' said Dr. Richard R. Green, president/CEO of
CableLabs, 'but we now have a more formal agreement to plan and to coordinate
current and future development of the MHP and OCAP specifications, as well as
the implementation and testing of the compliant product. '

Green said the lab hopes to complete and publish final OCAP specifications by
early next year. Now that it has decided on a common platform, CableLabs is
hoping the industry will step up. Cable operators have already agreed to use the
bulk of the 'core' MHP specifications, according to CableLabs.