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 experience.
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 USB2.0 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.