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CableLabs CEO offers up tru2way to telcos during NXTcomm keynote

Fri, 06/20/2008 - 8:55am
Mike Robuck

CableLabs CEO Dick Green extended an olive branch of sorts during a keynote address yesterday at NXTcomm08 by saying that telcos could also jump on the tru2way bandwagon.

“The bottom line here is that tru2way is open; it is not exclusive to cable but is available to any multichannel provider that chooses to implement it on their network and in devices,” Green said in his prepared remarks. “Our purpose in developing this technology was to provide a universal interface for interactive services that could be used by anyone.”

Tru2way – the consumer name for the OpenCable Platform, which was incarnated in 1997 as the OpenCable Applications Platform – was designed to allow interactive, two-way applications to be provisioned to customers’ set-top boxes or TVs by using Java APIs.

“Our thought during the development was to provide a common set of application program interfaces that content developers could write to,” Green said. “If we were able to agree between our industries to use this standard set of Java APIs, we would greatly simplify the content provider’s job and spur investment in applications. We would make it easier to transport applications among platforms. 

“Our combined platforms would certainly attract creative, interactive applications, and they would run on any system that supports the tru2way middleware interface. We know that this technology will be included in new two-way TV sets and other terminal devices. Therefore, there is an opportunity to work together to extend the reach of this middleware solution.”

Green pointed out cable’s partnerships with large consumer electronics manufacturers (CEMs) – including Sony, Panasonic, LG Electronics and Samsung – as proof that tru2way is gaining traction. Despite a recent report in regard to Panasonic’s TVs failing to gain CableLabs tru2way certification in the initial wave (story here), Green said in his remarks that Panasonic expects to have the TV sets in retail outlets this holiday shopping season.

“Cable operators are deploying tru2way today,” Green said. “Digital video systems are being upgraded and set-tops are being deployed that are either already running tru2way middleware or are tru2way upgradable. Time Warner Cable, for instance, is nearing one million tru2way-enabled deployed boxes. All of the other major operators have aggressive rollout plans, as well.

“So for us, as an industry, tru2way will help unify our underlying platforms and abstract away the many differences that remain on the cable plants.”

Green did not provide any details on how tru2way would be licensed to telcos. He also touted the ability of DOCSIS 3.0 to increase cable’s broadband speeds during his keynote address.

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