The Challenge of a Standard Software API (2000)

By Mark Eyer, Sony Electronics

Cable Multiple-System Operators (MSOs) would like to supply not only digital audio, video, and data services, but also software applications that can run on customer-owned equipment. With this goal in mind, CableLabs® issued a Request for Proposal in 1999 to help identify and standardize a software Application Program Interface (API) for OpenCable compliant retail boxes. This paper explores the challenges involved in this effort, and identifies some of the pitfalls and obstacles that must be overcome. These include issues of platform independence, the cost and complexity of the platform, the challenge to support an evolving digital world, and the need on the part of consumer electronics manufacturers to differentiate their products in the marketplace. Suggestions for resolution of some of these dilemmas are presented for consideration.

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