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Interactivity will soon be reality on televisions everywhere with tru2way, a software platform that enables cable’s two-way, interactive services to be deployed on devices without the need for a cable set-top box.

Developed in partnership with hundreds of companies, including some of the biggest names in consumer electronics, home computing and software development, tru2way is the quickest and most universal path for delivery of interactive and two-way TV to consumers.

Tru2way (formerly known as OpenCable) allows consumers to buy two-way plug and play TVs and other devices that can receive cable’s interactive digital services now and in the future, no matter where they live or to what cable operator they subscribe. This essentially creates a national footprint for the creators of interactive services to develop products that work on cable systems in nearly every U.S. market.

Tru2way is already being implemented in the marketplace. More than a dozen independent consumer electronics manufacturers, including Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and LG Electronics – which represent the majority of U.S. TV sales - plus chip makers and other companies have licensed the CableLabs technology to make tru2way products

The benefits of tru2way are significant, including that it:

  • is already being proven in the marketplace
  • is the only available solution to help promote the digital TV transition
  • protects consumers from the need to constantly purchase new equipment
  • is supported by consumer electronics companies and content providers

What is tru2way?

The interactivity that consumers take for granted from the Internet will become more of an everyday reality for television with tru2way. Whether on a plasma or LCD TV, or a PC, consumers will wield more power than ever to search for, interact with, and view what they want, when they want it.

The same nationwide. The innovative tru2way software platform provides a national distribution footprint for cable operators to deliver interactive services to consumers in nearly every U.S. market. It provides universal technical specifications to allow application developers and content providers to create and deploy interactive services for numerous devices.

Universal translator. Tru2way is a “universal translator” so a variety of retail devices can utilize the full range of cable’s digital services, including interactive guides, digital video recorders, and video on demand, plus new applications and services yet to be deployed.

How is tru2way useful for consumers?

New interactive applications. With wide-ranging ability, tru2way can be used to create and deploy new applications and features that appear on the TV screen with a click of a remote, such as: interactive entertainment, interactive games, shopping, music, news, weather, local information, sports, advertising, polling, banking, e-mail and chat functions.

New devices. Tru2way also plays an important role in bringing new two-way devices to market. It’s the quickest universal path for delivering interactive and two-way TV to consumers.

Content travels. Tru2way also is key to helping TV content travel to other devices such as PCs, DVRs, videogame consoles, portable players or mobile phones. In a tru2way environment, television, telecommunications and interactivity merge to become a more cohesive, seamless and personalized experience.

How Does tru2way Differ from the “DCR+” Proposal?

Unlike tru2way, the “Digital Cable Ready Plus” (DCR+) proposal, which has been put forward by the Consumer Electronics Association, will not bring two-way plug and play devices to the market soon, if ever. It is based on specifications and standards that don’t exist and can’t be delivered to consumers by the February 2009 digital TV transition.

Other shortcomings of this approach include:

  • “DCR+” devices would be instantly archaic; they would only receive a subset of existing interactive cable services and no future ones.
  • Consumer electronics (CE) companies offer absolutely no assurance that any CE company would ever actually build a “DCR+” device – or that any consumer would want one if it were built. Beyond cable operators, content owners and others have said DCR+ is a nonstarter for them.
  • The FCC’s approach should be guided by practical lessons from the CE industry’s failed experiment with one-way digital cable products, which are not able to receive interactive cable services. In 2002, CE companies insisted that consumers would want a one-way plug-and-play TV. Cable complied, but one-way sets failed in the market because consumers wanted interactive services.

Source: NCTA