For the non-geeks, OCAP is the OpenCable Applications Platform, a new Java-based platform that the cable industry is migrating toward. TiVo’s software for Comcast and Cox is currently written for an ‘OCAP precursor’ and it will be fully OCAP as the platform matures. And an ‘SDK’ is a Solutions Developers Kit – a set of tools used by developers to write applications for a given platform. So what this means is that Motorola is releasing a tool kit for developers to help them write applications that will run on the new OCAP compatible cable boxes and other OCAP devices. It should be available in Q3.
While this will make it easier for small development houses to create OCAP applications, the platforms are still a closed system. It would be up to the cable MSO to allow a given application to run on their boxes. It is possible that some MSOs may open the doors wide for 3rd party ‘widgets’ and such, but it remains to be seen how easy it will be for end users to access 3rd party apps on their cable box. It seems likely to be similar to cell phones, where most phones are locked down and only approved apps from the carrier can be accessed. But there is also the opportunity, with CableCARD, for 3rd party STB vendors to sell OCAP compatible STBs which allow users to load additional OCAP software – much like some high-end phones, and most smartphones, allow users to load any 3rd party software they wish.
In other news, I registered for CES 2008 and made my hotel reservations last night. I know it isn’t until January, but trust me, all the cheap and/or convenient rooms fill up fast. From experience I insist on staying in a hotel on a monorail stop – no better way to get up and down the strip. I’ll be at the Sahara again this time. I’d love a swanky suite and all, but I pay for this trip out of pocket. I’m not exactly a media powerhouse.