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  • (01. January 2010., 10:27:49)

Author Topic: Intel, CableLabs sign agreement to create Intel-based OpenCable platform  (Read 2840 times)

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Intel and the CableLabs consortium (the industry-funded research arm of cable providers) have signed an agreement to bring support for the OpenCable platform to future Intel SoC (system-on-a-chip) products. Comcast has also signed on to the agreement and has pledged to bring one or more Intel-based Digital Set Top Boxes (DSTBs) to market within the next two years.

These future products will be designed for VOD (Video-on-Demand) and will support CableCARD. There's no specific statement as to whether CableCARD 1.0 or 2.0 will be the final standard, but Intel and Comcast do mention nationwide portability of "these two-way devices." Since CableCARD 1.0 is a unidirectional system, this implies that the more-flexible CableCARD 2.0 will be the final standard.

There's also no mention of DCAS support. DCAS (Downloadable Conditional Access System) is envisioned as the non-physical successor to the CableCARD system but has yet to make an appearance in any shipping product, and it may not be ideal for inclusion with an Intel-powered system.

The one bit of information missing is what niche, exactly, these devices will fill. Based on the rhetoric, Intel could be aiming for a specific type of set-top box, with a similar function to the Apple TV, or these systems could be the next generation of HTPCs. By working directly with CableLabs and integrating CableCARD functionality into the system on a hardware level, Intel could conceivably develop an extremely powerful media system with a degree of flexibility that's hard to match in the do-it-yourself HTPC market of today.

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