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CableLabs Crafts OCAP Home Networking Spec

Alan Breznick

CableLabs officials have developed an "extension" specification to their OpenCable Applications Platform (OCAP) standard for retail-ready digital cable receivers. The new OCAP modular extension spec, quietly issued in mid-May, spells out the minimum technical requirements for OpenCable-compliant set-tops that aim to hook up with other digital devices on cable networks. Specifically, the OCAP extension spec requires consumer electronics makers to create protocols enabling their set-tops to locate connected devices, find digital entertainment content stored on the devices, transfer the content between the devices and present the content to viewers. In the interest of maximum flexibility, however, the extension spec doesn't tell CE manufacturers which protocols they should adopt. Speaking at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in San Antonio last month, Frank Sandoval, director of OCAP Specifications for CableLabs, said the extension spec aims to give the cable industry a greater role in shaing the development of OpenCable boxes with home networking capabilities. In a similar effort, CableLabs officials have also crafted OCAP extension specs for digital video recording and front panel applications, among others.

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