It’s amazing how fast the vendor community can respond.

In March, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, announced an initiative dubbed "TV Everywhere" to put cable programming online, but with the caveat that customers would still have to subscribe to cable TV to view the programming.

Immediately after his announcement, the industry was abuzz with its new favorite word, "authentication," and asking such questions as: How will operators control who watches the content, on what devices, at what times? (For more, click here.)

Yesterday, Ireland-based Openet, a billing company for some tier 1 telcos such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, announced a product it’s calling "Content Anywhere." (For Openet’s recent entry into the cable world, click here.)

Openet has experience in authentication issues, said Chris Hoover, director of product marketing for Openet.

When prepaid phone customers or wireless netbook users make a call or browse the Internet, a query is issued to see if the person has enough money or bandwidth or time to continue, said Hoover.

"We can see events in real time," he said. "We can respond and interact and support real-time charging for prepaid customers."

One of the issues yet to be resolved around TV Everywhere is where to host the content. It can either be hosted on the provider’s site, such as Comcast’s Fancast service, or the content can be hosted at the various programmers’ sites, such as MTV, CNN, etc. If it’s hosted on a programmer’s site, that seems possibly more complicated for the operator to authenticate.

The idea is to set up an application programming interface (API), which is a portal that a piece of software can use within another piece of software, said Hoover. With Openet’s software, when a subscriber goes to a network’s site, the network can forward those credentials from the API to the operator.

Although he couldn’t name names, Hoover said Openet is working with more than one tier 1 cable company in the United States.

– Linda Hardesty

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