Cisco To Offer Alticast's OCAP Stack On Set-Tops

Device-middleware firm Alticast is working with Cisco Systems to port the Alticast-developed stack for Tru2way -- the consumer brand name of CableLabs' OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) technology -- to that vendor's set-tops.

Alticast CEO David Housman said Cisco set-tops with his company's OCAP middleware will be available in November 2010, although he noted that Cisco will continue to offer its own Axiom OCAP software.

Cisco confirmed it is working with Alticast but said the timing for commercial availability of the solution is not yet set.

Separately, Comcast has an new initiative to use CableLabs' OCAP reference implementation in a set-top box that U.K.-based manufacturer Pace is developing for the MSO. That box, which could be ready for testing later this year, will run Intel's CE 3100 Media Processor system-on-a-chip, as previously reported by Multichannel News.

Housman, a former Charter executive who joined Alticast last year, said that Alticast is developing a version of its OCAP middleware that "looks exactly like the [CableLabs] RI." That version will be available for developers in late 2010, he said.

According to Housman, the Alticast OCAP middleware is field tested and "bullet-proof": "For a few bucks per box and a percentage for maintenance, we can just make it work," he said.

Meanwhile, Housman also is branching Alticast into developing interactive TV applications, beyond device middleware.

The company has a portfolio of 13 apps written for CableLabs' Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) spec, which is a lighter-weight subset of OCAP. The EBIF apps include caller ID on TV, a weather widget and a Twitter app that Alticast expects to demo at the CableLabs Summer Conference's new-product showcase Aug. 15-18 in Keystone, Colo.

"We were very single-threaded in the U.S.," Housman said. "We were known as ‘the stack guys.' "

Alticast's headquarters are in South Korea, while Housman works from the 25-person U.S. office in Broomfield, Colo.

Housman most recently was senior vice president and general manager Vidiom Systems, a developer of interactive TV software and set-top middleware now part of set-top vendor ADB. Prior to Vidiom, he was Charter's vice president of corporate development and technology.