Somehow I missed the news yesterday that Intel has signed a licensing agreement with CableLabs to support the Open Cable Application Platform (OCAP). What does this mean? Well, it means that CE companies and CableLabs are slowly resolving the issue of how to make two-way cable services available on CE devices.The July 1st CableCARD deadline is a mere five days away, and the hyper-focused attention of the media has generated serious discussion about how consumers are going to be able to access certain cable services from their retail CE devices. Specifically, most CE devices today are not certified to support two-way services, including video-on-demand (VOD) and switched digital video (SDV). And the major sticking point around getting certified has been OCAP.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind about the CableCARD/OCAP debate. First, everyone wants the issue resolved. CE companies want to be able to offer more services. Cable operators want more people spending money on their services. And Motorola (which has nothing to do with how the issue actually gets settled) is in favor of anything that gets more people hooked on broadband networks.
Second, while OCAP has gotten something of a bad rap, consumers should be aware that the platform has a lot of potential to benefit mass audiences of cable TV. OCAP means more cable applications on the market faster. Whole-home DVR, Follow Me TV (whatever you want to call it), here we come.