Comcast & TW Heads Push OCAP

Comcast Corp. Chairman & CEO Brian Roberts and Time Warner Cable Chairman & CEO Glenn Britt don't necessarily see eye-to-eye on all digital cable priorities. But they do concur that the cable industry's long-stalled rollout of OpenCable TV sets and set-top boxes should be a top item on the industry's agenda this year. Making separate appearances at the CableLabs annual briefing for financial analysts in New York earlier today, both Roberts and Britt promoted the importance of launching two-way digital TV sets and set-top boxes equipped with OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) middleware this year. The two leading MSO chiefs termed OCAP key to rolling out new cable services and applications faster on a coordinated, nationwide basis. In fact, Britt likened OCAP's impact to that of Microsoft's Windows operating system. Like Windows, he said, OCAP is standardized middleware that will enable software developers to write programs just once to run the same application on every cable system. "It should open up this network to all [sorts of] different things," he said. Accordingly, Time Warner aims to introduce OCAP in an industry-leading five markets by the end of the year. Roberts fully agreed. He contended that there should "be no doubt" that OCAP will "open up innovation" in the cable hardware sector. With Comcast slated to introduce OCAP in four markets by year's end, he predicted that the industry will see "serious OCAP rollouts certainly within two years," if not one. "We've been talking about this for too long and we don't have it in place," he said. "That is going to change."
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