Following news that OpenTV has licensed its proprietary interactive television software to Time Warner Cable, the company has also announced its participation in the CableLabs OpenCable initiative to support the open OCAP standard, based on MHP.

In its first major deal with a cable television company in the United States, OpenTV has licensed its OpenTV platform to Time Warner Cable to enable the operator to deploy its digital navigator and other interactive applications on Motorola set-top boxes.

Although the majority of their boxes are from Scientific-Atlanta, Time Warner could inherit several million customers from Adelphia that have Motorola set-top boxes.

As part of the agreement, OpenTV also expects to provide Time Warner with additional applications for OpenTV, OCAP and other platforms.

OpenTV will now become a contributor to the OpenCable initiative of Cable Television Laboratories, the non-profit research and development consortium of the cable television industry in the United States.

The OpenCable Project was established by CableLabs and its member companies to develop a family of specifications to define interoperable digital cable television devices and the associated OpenCable Application Platform, known as OCAP.

Based on the European DVB MHP standard, adapted for the needs of the North American cable television market, OCAP has so far failed to make much of an impression, but there have been signs of increased interest in the standard in the face of increased competition from satellite and telephone companies.

Time Warner and Comcast have previously announced plans to roll out OCAP services in a number of markets this year. OpenTV says it intends to work closely with CableLabs and cable operators to accelerate the development of interactive television services.

“Our participation at CableLabs will let us play a more significant role in helping the cable industry accelerate the adoption and deployment of advanced digital television services,” said Jim Chiddix, the chief executive of OpenTV.

“By coupling OpenTV’s experience with our commitment to the deployment of innovative digital solutions, we believe that consumers and operators will best be served by our full participation with CableLabs and our collective efforts to develop next generation advanced television services.”

Critically, OpenTV brings to the table its portfolio of patents relating to interactive television, licensing relevant intellectual property to the OCAP patent pool on fair and reasonable terms.

“We are excited that OpenTV, with its vast experience as an innovator in this space, has decided to support CableLabs in this very important initiative,” said Dr Richard Green, the president and chief executive of CableLabs.

The news is a further boost for the prospects of the OCAP standard, which after many years in development, may finally be preparing for prime time.