DLNA’s New ‘CVP-2’ Guidelines Bridge Pay TV to Retail-Video Nirvana

Aiming to succeed where Tru2way failed, the Digital Living Network Alliance has released new guidelines that attempt to securely link a pay TV provider’s full service slate to an array of retail consumer electronics devices, including PCs, Blu-ray players, tablets and smart TVs, without requiring separate set-top boxes.

Viewed by some as a possible “open,” market-driven alternative to the “AllVid,” a proposed successor to the CableCard being pushed for at the Federal Communications Association by the Consumer Electronics Association, the new DLNA “CVP-2” guidelines have a lofty aim: to enable a multichannel video-programming provider to offer its entire service (linear HDTV, DVR recordings, and even its user interfaces) on any retail device hanging off the home network.

The navigation environment of the pay TV provider would be extended to other devices using a remote user interface (RUI) capability to deliver the information in HTML5 format via a home gateway or directly from the cloud.

But an ecosystem, which will include MVPD-provided gateways/servers and retail devices that integrate CVP- 2, still needs to develop. MVPDs and CE companies will need to build products that support CVP-2. And that’s still months away.

The release of the guidelines means members can begin to build CVP-2-based products in preparation for certification testing, which is slated to get underway in September, according to the DLNA.

DLNA’s membership group comprises several major pay TV providers and their suppliers, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Samsung, Arris, Sony, LG and Broadcom, among others.

CableLabs, the cable industry’s R&D house and interoperability specialist, is also in the alliance.

Notably absent from that group is TiVo, which said it is seeking more regulatory clarity before it commits to any plans involving CVP-2. In recent exchanges with the FCC, TiVo has generally emphasized a position that the Cable-CARD solution must remain in place until a successor standard is put in place.

The DLNA said the FCC has determined CVP-2 seems to comply with the commission’s requirement that operators support an open system that enables HD streaming over home networks to CE devices. Those requirements (recordable HD video, closed-captioning data, service discovery, video transport and remote control command pass-through) are currently scheduled to take effect on June 2. TiVo has sought an industry-wide waiver that would extend the compliance deadline.

Comcast has not set any specific timelines for supporting CVP-2, but the MSO will support it in the Reference Design Kit (RDK) software stack and will incorporate it in devices and interfaces that power its X1 platform, such as the XG1, a six-tuner HD-DVR, said David de Andrade, Comcast’s vice president, software architecture, who spoke on behalf of the DLNA.

Though many operators initially will support the new guidelines on home-networking gear using Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) technology, it’s expected they will also use Ethernet and WiFi.

“The guidelines are intended to support many homenetworking configurations,” de Andrade said.