Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. is a not-for-profit innovation and research and development lab founded in 1988 by American cable operators. System operators from around the world are eligible to be members. Members dues are based on revenue generated from the cable services and businesses they sell to consumers. Incorporated as a non-profit 501, CableLabs' board of directors is composed of the chief executive officers of member companies, thus affording business and strategic insight into the technology development process.
CableLabs works with its members to determine what service requirements are to be supported by new technologies and new services. CableLabs then seeks to support those requirements through open interface specifications, written in tandem with members and suppliers. The specifications, in turn, take much of the guess work out of vendors' engineering decisions as to where cable operators are moving with many of their new businesses.
This collaborative process is designed to get products to market more quickly and at lower price points due to global economies of scale. Innovation is driven by a multiplicity of working relationships between suppliers/vendors and CableLabs staff: Visiting engineers and contributing engineers from these vendor organizations create a pool of thousands of individuals providing innovative input to the work performed at CableLabs. Development undertaken at CableLabs and endorsed by the cable industry has led to relationships among companies never before known within the cable market. CableLabs' flagship example of adding value to the cable industry is through guiding the collaborative specification authorship of the DOCSIS suite of specifications.