CableLabs® Releases Software Tools to Enable More Interactive Content

Monday, June 15th, 2009 
CableLabs logo

Application developers and device manufacturers to collaborate through open source software tools

LOUISVILLE, Colorado — CableLabs® has released software tools that will ease creation of advanced interactive programs for cable networks.

The cable industry development lab has completed its beta development phase of the tru2way™ Reference Implementation and has made it publicly available through java.net, Sun Microsystems’ open source project site.

The tru2way Reference Implementation is a source code implementation of CableLabs’ OpenCable™ Application Platform (OCAP™) middleware specification and provides device manufacturers and application developers a consistent interpretation of the specification. The Reference Implementation includes the OCAP DVR extension, and future versions will track with other OCAP extensions such as Home Networking.

The tru2way Reference Implementation is accompanied by a PC Emulator. By making these software tools available, Java developers can run precompiled OCAP applications within a Windows based PC development environment–no headend or live cable plant is required.

The tru2way Reference Implementation can be downloaded under Gnu Public License (GPL) v2 open source license terms from the OpenCable Project located at opencable.dev.java.net. Under the open source release model, developers will also be able to contribute back to the evolving software code and tool base. As an alternative to the open source licensing model, a parallel commercial license through CableLabs is also available.

“Having an open source reference implementation to help developers interpret the specification will lead to a more consistent and stable television platform across the various retail devices, and set-top boxes provided by each different cable operator,” said Sree Kotay, Comcast Senior Vice President and Chief Software Architect. “This should improve the pace of innovation, evolution, and deployment of the tru2way platform, which in turn should enable more interactive services and features for our customers,” he added.

“I would encourage content creators and others to visit our java.net project site which contains a wealth of resources for tru2way application developers and device manufacturers,” said So Vang, Vice President of OpenCable at CableLabs, who led the development of the RI. “With the addition of the tru2way Reference Implementation to the OpenCable Project site, the cable industry is opening its doors to the independent Java application developer.” added Vang.

“We have been involved in the beta development phase of the reference implementation and are pleased to see its public release,” stated Bob Fritz, Vice President, Communications Practice, at Cognizant, a global IT services company. “We have developed a prototype application using the tru2way Workbench SDK and successfully run our application on several cable set-top boxes without any technical issues at a recent CableLabs interop event. The technology marks a great leap forward for interactive TV,” he added.

“Macrovision believes this reference implementation will foster innovation, accelerate the adoption of tru2way, and be helpful to industry development, as we continue to improve the user experience through advanced interactive on-screen guides for both the cable TV and consumer electronics industries,” commented Adam Powers, Standards and Emerging Technology Director, Macrovision.”

“This release marks a great milestone because it will generate more tru2way content for consumers and that will translate into more tru2way presence at retail,” said Randall Waynick, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Marketing, Sony Electronics, Inc. “With CableLabs providing an open source reference to its specifications, the process to collaborate among the authors of the specifications, the manufacturers of the hardware and the software developers of the applications just became more accessible,” he added.

Because the tru2way specifications are based on the Sun PhoneME Java stack, the same Java core that powers Blu-ray and the DVB Multimedia Home Platform, the release of the reference implementation could enable exciting device convergence possibilities. CableLabs will continue to support tru2way device manufacturers and developers in ongoing events such as developer conferences and interops as well as access to a development lab.