TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Panasonic OCAP HD-DVR Set-Top Boxes

Panasonic OCAP HD-DVR Set-Top Boxes

Monty Solomon (
Wed, 4 Jan 2006 22:12:44 -0500

Panasonic and Comcast Announce Industry-First Agreement for
Enhanced OCAP HD-DVR Set-Top Boxes and OCAP Software License
- Jan 4, 2006 07:00 PM (PR Newswire)

Collaboration to Simplify and Enhance the Home Entertainment
Experience With Seamless Integration of Digital Cable Set-Top Boxes
and CE Devices

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Panasonic, the principal
U.S. subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE:MC),
and Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSK, CMCSA) today announced the
industry's first agreement for the manufacture and deployment of
Comcast's new series of digital cable set-top boxes, referred to as
"RNG." These set-top boxes will be compliant with the OpenCable(TM)
Application Platform (OCAP(TM)) specifications. In another industry
first, the companies have agreed to make Panasonic's OCAP middleware
available to Comcast, as well as to jointly explore and develop
extensions to the OCAP specifications. The new boxes and software
will improve and simplify the consumer's home entertainment

Under the agreement, Panasonic will supply Comcast with advanced
digital cable set-top boxes with the processing power and advanced
functionality that enables the kind of performance, flexibility and
ease of use that consumers want. The Panasonic digital set-top boxes
will have high-definition digital video recording (DVR) capabilities
with a minimum of 250 GB storage capacity, which essentially doubles
the amount of DVR storage currently available on Comcast DVR set-top
boxes. In addition, these boxes will have both MPEG-2 and H.264
decoder capabilities. The H.264 capabilities will offer higher video
compression rates and could let consumers use their televisions to
enjoy media elements commonly available on the Internet.

The new set-top boxes are the result of Comcast's efforts to develop
next-generation devices that bring greater efficiencies to today's
cable infrastructure, while adding advanced functionality such as USB
2.0 that will let consumers connect other media devices, such as
digital cameras or music players, to their televisions. Panasonic
will manufacture and supply Comcast with 250,000 HD-DVR set-top boxes.
Comcast will have the option to acquire up to a total of one million
set-top boxes in the first year, with options for additional boxes in
subsequent years. The initial 250,000 set-top boxes will be supplied
with Panasonic's OCAP middleware.

OCAP is a middleware software standard that enables application
developers to create new interactive services that will run on a broad
range of advanced digital set top boxes and cable-ready TVs. Among
the OCAP software extensions the companies will develop are those that
enable Comcast-deployed set-top boxes to easily interact with a wide
variety of Panasonic Consumer Electronics (CE) devices -- such as
plasma TVs, home theater systems and DVD recorders -- that will be
equipped with Panasonic's HDAVI Control capability. HDAVI Control
capability will let consumers activate and operate all devices in a
home theater, including the digital cable set-top, with a single
remote and through a unified user interface.


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