NCTA threw an OpenCable coming-out party of sorts in Washington Mon, with a tech-fiesta at its DC HQ designed to convince Hill officials, FCC staffers and other politicos that CableLabs‘ OpenCable Application Protocol (OCAP) spec will reap major consumer benefits by incenting more cable innovation. "If this weren’t good for us, it would be very hard for us to convince our cable systems to roll it out quickly," noted Time Warner Cable svp, strategy and development Kevin Leddy. Meanwhile, CableLabs announced that one-time OCAP skeptic Intel has agreed to support the platform in future Intel CE system-on-a-chip products, and that Microsoft has established a "collaborative relationship" with CableLabs to explore ways to extend OCAP to PCs and speed deployment of OCAP-enabled boxes. Intel was among some of the CE makers to sign CEA’s letter last Nov that spoke out against OCAP’s licensing terms, saying CE makers shouldn’t be required to support it. CEA proposed that CE makers be permitted to offer equivalent 2-way products that build on existing digital cable technologies without having to absorb the "cost and uncertainty" associated with OCAP. Meanwhile, CEA and NCTA are in a tit-for-tat over the issue. Last week, the CEA wrote the FCC to again push its Nov proposal and "correct" an NCTA filing by telling the Commission that there are no commercially available retail OCAP products on the market today. NCTA responded, saying it correctly stated that cable’s proposal—not products—are already in the marketplace. "I am disappointed, but not surprised, by CEA’s most recent attempt to disparage the efforts made by the cable industry and its consumer electronics partners to bring 2-way, digital cable-ready products to market as soon as possible," NCTA’s Neal Goldberg wrote. At the NCTA event on Mon, exhibitors ranging from TiVo to Motorola and Cisco all showed off OCAP-enabled wares and other tech such as switched digital video. At the same time, NCTA pres/CEO Kyle McSlarrow continued his one-man assault against the confusing OCAP acronym (he now fines NCTA board members every time they utter the banned moniker). What to do with all that money building up in the kitty? We suggest buying more CableFAX subscriptions, of course.

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