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Motorola, SA Roll Out OCAP Programs

Las Vegas -- The two major cable set-top manufacturers have thrown new weight behind Cable Television Laboratories' OpenCable Application Platform technology.

Motorola expects to introduce the OCAP Simulator and Software Development Kit in the third quarter of 2007. The software tools, which run on Microsoft's Windows XP SP2 operating system, are intended to speed up application development, providing debugging and troubleshooting capabilities for code running on Motorola set-tops without the need for a cable headend.

Scientific Atlanta, meanwhile, announced an expanded relationship with itaas, an interactive-TV-services company, to provide OCAP developer support.

SA will provide set-tops and OCAP developer tools and documentation to application developers who enroll in itaas' istart program. Itaas will also provide technical support to "accelerate" OCAP application development.

"OCAP represents a prime opportunity for the escalating growth of advanced digital-TV services," SA vice president of product strategy and development for subscriber networks Jeff Seebeck said in a prepared statement. "We are proud to expand our relationship with itaas to foster the rapid development of these innovative market-driven applications."

The moves reflect renewed momentum for OCAP, which had been stuck in neutral for several years.

CableLabs recently solicited a request for information to evaluate OCAP middleware stacks, with the possibility of providing one to developers as a reference implementation. And major cable operators last month, in meeting with key consumer-electronics partners, promised to have OCAP widely deployed in their systems by the fourth quarter of 2008.

Operators, speaking at a Sunday panel here at The Cable Show '07, said they're looking for OCAP to deliver enhanced TV features that are simple to use and work across a range of set-top boxes.