NDS is now providing an OCAP version of its MediaHighway development kit for interactive television, compatible with the OpenCable Applications Platform.

The MediaHighway development kit claims to be the first and only tool available to simulate the complete interactive TV chain, enabling developers to create, edit, test and debug Java applications for MediaHighway Advanced set-top boxes and digital TVs on a single PC.

The new version can now simulate the behaviour of a MediaHighway Advanced OCAP set-top box, enabling the development of resident, downloadable or monitor applications.

The software provides a graphic user interface design tool with a built-in Java code generator and a code editor for extending and customizing the source. It also includes plug-ins for popular third-party integrated development environments for Java. An end-to-end simulator is provided for running and testing applications, with provision for simulating both in-band broadcast and out-of-band network delivery.

Dominic Laval of emuse, which produces a drag-and-drop authoring tool, has been testing the NDS toolkit and says it is even more powerful and flexible than they had hoped. “It is important that we have the right environment to develop compelling OCAP-compliant iTV applications for the U.S. market,” he said. “The MHDK Advanced tool kit provides us with that creative environment.”

Frederic Laporte of NDS said that the new version builds on the confidence that the developer community already has in the maturity and stability of the MediaHighway development toolkit. “This new version further expands the possibilities for developers, making it even easier for them to efficiently develop OCAP-compliant applications for the US digital television environment.”

NDS, which is controlled by News Corporation, is the middleware provider for the DIRECTV satellite television service in the United States. The ability to target the OCAP platform, which is derived from MHP, enables the company to also target the North American cable television market.