Panasonic has signed agreements with CableLabs to allow the company to implement OCAP or OpenCable Application Platform middleware for interactive TV on its cable-ready digital TVs, set-top boxes, and other interactive products.

Panasonic follows Samsung and LG Electronics in licensing OCAP. The agreements, available to any interested consumer electronics manufacturer, grant the intellectual property rights required for building interactive devices in compliance with the CableLabs OpenCable hardware and software specifications.

“We are pleased to be able to enter into these agreements with CableLabs,” said Paul Liao, chief technology officer for Panasonic in North America, a subsidiary of Matsushita of Japan. “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.”

“The North American cable industry is very strong in its commitment to OCAP, and to deploying interactive services through both retail and leased digital devices,” said Brian Roberts, the chairman of CableLabs and the chairman and chief executive of Comcast.

OCAP, the middleware specification created by CableLabs based on MHP, allows retail devices to run OCAP applications or services delivered by cable operators, as well as applications provided by consumer electronics companies, programme networks and third-party applications developers.

Devices licensed to use OCAP will also include an interface for the CableCARD removable security module. The CableCARD encapsulates the local cable system-specific conditional access technology, enabling nationwide portability of consumer electronics products between operators.