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Panasonic Signs ‘CHILA’ Agreement

Louisville, Colo. — Panasonic has entered into agreements with CableLabs that allow Panasonic to implement OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) middleware on its cable-ready digital TVs, set-top boxes, and other products to support two-way, interactive cable services, CableLabs announced.

Panasonic joins Samsung and LG in signing the two-way OCAP agreement. The agreements grant certain intellectual property rights required for building interactive devices in compliance with the CableLabs OpenCable hardware and software specifications.

The two-way agreement is known in the industry as “CHILA” — the CableCARD Host Interface Licensing Agreement.

The agreement between Panasonic and CableLabs is expected to accelerate the development of digital products that include interactive elements, such as navigational guides, on-demand video ordering and other interactive applications.

The OCAP middleware enables the developers of interactive television services and applications to design products that run successfully on any cable television system in North America, independent of set-top or television receiver hardware, or operating system software choices.

OCAP provides a software mechanism for program networks to bundle interactive elements into their service offerings — so long as there is “companion software” at the CE level, to run the application in a common way, serving the function of a common operating system.

“Panasonic has a history of innovation with cable digital television, including its decision several years ago to be the first major consumer electronics manufacturer to sign the original POD-Host Interface License Agreement (PHILA) for one-way digital cable-ready products,” said Richard Green, CableLabs’s president. “We’re pleased that Panasonic is once again among the leaders in taking the initiative to expand its digital television products to the two-way level so quickly.”

“We are pleased to be able to enter into these agreements with CableLabs,” said Paul Liao, Panasonic’s chief technology officer. “As a worldwide leader in digital television, Panasonic believes the OCAP approach provides the unique degree of flexibility and performance that is necessary to delight consumers with an increasing number of exciting new cable services. We are eagerly looking forward to bringing a full range of Panasonic fully interactive, two-way digital cable products to market.”