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Comcast, Panasonic connect to build HDMI-CE-based set-top boxes

Thu, 01/08/2009 - 7:40am
Mike Robuck

Panasonic and Comcast said today that they’re hooking up to bring HDMI-CEC technology to the latest generation of digital cable set-top boxes.

HDMI-CEC is the technology underlying Panasonic's Viera Link technology, which enables single remote operation of Panasonic Viera HDTVs and connected home entertainment components, such as Blu-ray Disc Players and Home Theater Systems.

Panasonic and Comcast said they are working to integrate HDMI-CEC technology with tru2way-based set-top boxes that will enable non-tru2way HDTVs and other consumer electronics devices to interact with the set-top boxes via the use of a single TV remote control and a single user interface.

The two companies said integrating the HDMI-CEC protocol with Comcast's on-screen program guide will allow set-top boxes to automatically configure connected home theater devices for optimal viewing and audio experiences, and will enable intelligent interactive features, including auto input select and auto power on/off of all components.

HDMI-CEC is already standard in all 2009 Panasonic Viera HDTVs and select Comcast set-top boxes. The companies are currently working with CableLabs on the standardization to adopt HDMI-CEC for next-generation digital set-top boxes.

"When the consumer electronics and cable industry work together, the consumer is the real winner,” said Mark Hess, Comcast’s senior vice president of video products. “We're pleased to continue our collaborative work with Panasonic to develop products that will seamlessly connect consumers' home entertainment experiences with all of the features and services they want and expect from cable."

Last year, Panasonic started selling tru2way-enabled TVs in retail stores in Chicago and Denver after Comcast prepped the headends for tru2way (story here). Additional cities are slated to go live in the coming months.

At the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show, Comcast announced a deal to buy 250,000 RNG 200 set-top boxes from Panasonic, with the option to purchase as many as one million more.

More Broadband Direct:

• Obama team urges delay in digital TV transition

• Comcast, Panasonic connect to build HDMI-CEC-based set-top boxes

• Cisco goes after home audio networking

• Broadcom serves up DOCSIS 3.0-based chips for CMTSs

• Verizon lowers prices for CDNs, subscribers

• Dish Network unveils `Slingloaded' TV recorder

• DirecTV files for arbitration over Comcast's sports costs

• Netflix partners with Vizio to stream movies to HDTVs

• Audiovox to expand availability of TV on the road

• Broadband Briefs for 01/08/09

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