There are several events going on today, prior to the official opening tomorrow of The Cable Show. One of the really interesting developments is the first, ever OCAP Developers’ Conference.
Odds are, you’re probably not completely clear on OCAP, which stands for OpenCable™ Application Platform. OCAP establishes a common software platform that enables cable companies, network programmers, consumer electronics companies and others to extend interactivity to television and many other devices, such as a set-top box, TiVo or Xbox.
There are two important features: it’s an open standard (based on Java) and it’s interoperable. This makes it possible to create interactive applications that will work for any cable customer. As the expression goes, “Write once, run everywhere.”
In the photo, you can see Amanda Jervis of Vidiom Systems giving a presentation entitled “Introducing OCAP: A Tutorial for TV’s New Era.” As she explained, applications will include interactive content, services, and games and fall into one of four categories”
- Native Applications, such as an Electronic Program Guide (EPG)
- Bound Applications are bound to a particular show (e.g., Planet Earth) or channel (e.g., MTV)
- Unbound Applications run regardless of what channel the viewer is tuned to
- Monitor Applications make sure that these various applications all play nicely together
As you can see, some of the apps are of interest to programmers and some to cable operators. The audience for the event includes a mix of programmers, operators and developers.
On a related note, a number of cable representatives were here in Las Vegas five months ago for CES and the NCTA Insider brought you a glimpse of some of the OCAP devices on the exhibit floor.