CableLabs® Providing Software Resources to Grow Tru2way® and ETV Ecosystem and Streamline Interoperability Testing

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 
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LOUISVILLE, Colorado — CableLabs® has put several programs in place to support device manufacturers and application developers, important stakeholders within the growing tru2way® and Enhanced TV (ETV) communities.

“These steps that CableLabs is taking provide resources for tru2way and ETV product developers, at little to no cost for them,” said CableLabs President and CEO Dr. Paul F. Liao. “We will continue to review this area and discuss other opportunities with our members and developers in order to help move this technology into the market,” he added.

Tru2way Reference Implementation Available as Royalty-free Download

In June, CableLabs announced the availability of the tru2way reference implementation (RI) under GPL 2.0 open source terms.

Making the tru2way reference implementation widely available at no cost improves the stability of the platform by offering a consistent interpretation of the CableLabs specification. Software developers will also benefit by having a definitive platform to deliver interactive applications such as advanced advertising, e-commerce, and other services.

CableLabs’ online developer community can be found within Java.net, the Sun Microsystems site for open source projects at opencable.dev.java.net. Within this project, CableLabs is providing a source code reference implementation of the entire tru2way middleware stack-over one million lines of code-for no charge.

“Open sourcing the tru2way reference implementation has provided an important forum for all tru2way stakeholders,” stated Sree Kotay, Senior Vice President and Chief Software Architect, Comcast. “In the little more than two months that the source code to these software resources have been made available, hundreds of developers have downloaded the tru2way RI. More importantly, we are beginning to see substantive contributions coming back from these developers, making this initiative an open source project in reality, as well as in spirit. This is an important step in the lifecycle of any healthy open source software project, and we’re looking forward to continuing to build on this momentum,” he added.

To provide an alternative licensing model to the GPL 2.0 open source process, CableLabs has announced that it will offer a commercial use license, also at no charge.

A test suite for ETV is also being made available for no charge. Like tru2way, Enhanced TV (ETV) enables interactive video services, but is targeted towards legacy set-top boxes with more limited functionality. ETV enables such interactive services as voting, polling, requests for information, telescoping and interactive advertising. Certain of these capabilities will be implemented across a number of cable networks in the fourth quarter of this year.

Streamlined and Improved Interoperability Testing

To ensure better interoperability with cable operator applications, guides, and networks, CableLabs has beefed up its interoperability testing capabilities. The interoperability lab now includes current cable operator guides and network-specific tests from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox. Further interoperability testing at CableLabs will improve product performance in the real world.

Further, through the OpenCable™ Application Platform (OCAP™) Resources License Agreement, CableLabs is now providing royalty-free access to the Conformance Test Package and Automated Test Environment for manufacturers planning to submit a tru2way® Host Device through the CableLabs certification process.

By providing a Reference Implementation to the OCAP specification and the test package, all at no charge, device manufacturers will have barrier-free entry to the market and have the ability to rapidly incorporate changes and extensions to the platform (such as DVR and Home Networking).

“We have heard from the manufacturing community, and we are making significant improvements in the testing process at CableLabs,” said So Vang, Vice President of OpenCable. “A stable platform will also benefit cable operators, and more importantly, consumers, in fewer customer service calls,” Vang added.

CableLabs Providing Ongoing Support to Manufacturers and Application Developers

In addition to providing the online developer community on Java.net mentioned above, CableLabs provides ongoing tru2way & ETV developer conferences to educate the community. A recent conference drew over one hundred attendees who participated in a hands-on laboratory, listened to speakers and witnessed application demonstrations from programmers such as Starz, Home Shopping Network and Showtime. CableLabs also hosts tru2way & ETV interoperability lab events, where manufacturers and application developers can come together for a week to collaborate on works-in-progress in a laboratory environment. The next event will be held during the week of October 5-9.