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CableLabs CEO To Telcos: You Can Use Tru2way, Too

CableLabs CEO Dick Green, in a keynote Thursday at the NXTcomm show in Las Vegas, invited telephone companies to use the cable-developed interactive television specification known as tru2way.

“The bottom line here is that tru2way is open,” he said in prepared remarks. “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 noted that tru2way is based on the open Java platform, and was designed to provide a common set of interfaces that content developers could use to create interactive TV applications.

“If we were able to agree between our industries to use this standard set of Java [application programming interfaces], we would greatly simplify the content provider’s job and spur investment in applications,” he said.

“Our combined platforms would certainly attract creative, interactive applications and they would run on any system that supports the tru2way middleware interface,” Green added.

Green did not address the issue of how tru2way might be licensed to telco companies like Verizon Communications or AT&T for use with their own video services.

Tru2way, besides providing a platform for new interactive TV applications, has been cable’s answer to the Federal Communications Commission’s mandate to give third-party consumer electronics access to two-way cable services, such as video-on-demand and switched digital video channels.

The six biggest MSOs recently signed a landmark agreement with Sony Electronics–which had previously rejected cable’s two-way technology–as well as Panasonic, Samsung Electronics, Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB), Digeo and Intel.

Panasonic has announced plans to ship tru2way-based HDTV sets in time for the 2008 holiday season, despite a report that it failed the initial wave of CableLabs certification testing.

“We know that this technology will be included in new two-way TV sets and other terminal devices,” Green said. “Therefore, there is an opportunity to work together to extend the reach of this middleware solution.”