Cable Show: Tru2way steps up to plate
One of the dominant technologies being discussed at The Cable Show ’08 in New Orleans is tru2way.
While the show officially opened its doors on Sunday, tru2way got a jumpstart on Saturday and Sunday with a tru2way conference sponsored by CableLabs and Vidiom Systems.
CableLabs President and CEO Dr. Richard Green started the tru2way conference by running down the list of tru2way demonstrations at this week’s show, and he spoke about Comcast President and CEO Brian Roberts’ keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year that highlighted tru2way’s commercial appeal.
Panasonic Corp. of North America VP and CTO Paul Liao followed Green Saturday morning.
“It (tru2way) is a great technology,” Liao said. “It’s the simplest way for us to test, evolve and develop applications.”
Liao said that customers want tru2way TVs because they don’t need set-top boxes (STBs), and because they’re easier to boot up than adding STBs to existing TVs.
Panasonic expects to have 42-inch and 50-inch tru2way TVs on the market by this fall, while the company’s 150-inch plasma TV that was shown at CES in January is still one or two years out.
“It’s very exciting because this is the real thing,” Liao said of the tru2way TVs.
While tru2way allows cable operators to offer interactive services that telco and satellite video providers currently can’t match, Liao said there are a few pitfalls to be aware of.
The first is that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has yet to designate tru2way as “interactive digital cable ready.” Liao said that any new technology will have its ups and downs, but cable operators such as Time Warner Cable have already done work on Motorola and Scientific Atlanta headends.
Liao also said that retailers have had a “horrible experience” to date with one-way digital video recorders (DVRs) that have CableCards, and that the consumer electronics and cable industries need to do a better job of educating consumers on the two-way capabilities of tru2way.
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