US cable operators have formed a Java Community Process (JCP) Expert Group (EG) to develop a new Java technology-based digital television API standard.
CableLabs, Charter, Cox, GoldPocket, Liberate, Motorola, Philips, Sun Microsystems, Time Warner Cable, and Vidiom Systems are working together as members of the Expert Group to define the new specification.
OnRamp to OCAP (OpenCable Applications Platform), as the API is called, is a Java technology-based middleware platform targeted at the legacy set-top boxes that are currently deployed by US cable companies.
It will bring digital television applications including video on demand, enhanced program guides and interactivity to set-top boxes incapable of running OCAP.
OCAP is also a middleware software layer specification intended to enable the developers of interactive television services and applications to be able to design products that they will run successfully on any cable television system in North America.
OCAP was developed as part of ‘The OpenCable project’ which defined both a hardware specification and a software specification. The hardware specification allows all receivers to be interoperable, while the software specification – OCAP – solves the problem of proprietary operating system software by creating a common platform upon which interactive services may be deployed.
As OnRamp to OCAP is a subset of OCAP, applications developed for this platform will be compatible with the full OCAP specification, providing service providers an effective bridge technology before OCAP set-top boxes become widely deployed.