Tru2Way to Cable’s Rescue from CableCard, Not tru2day

Tru2way: Will it be the next big thing? Big names like Arris (nee Digeo), Broadcom, Cisco, EchoStar, Intel, LG Electronics, Motorola, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Tivo, and Toshiba are behind it.  The was set to roll in 2008, so what is the state of tru2way?

As of Aug. 31, 29 consumer electronics manufacturers have had 605 cable-ready products like TVs and DVRs, according to the NCTA. In addition, eight tru2way-based devices have been certified for use.

Top 10 Operators Have Deployed 16.7M CableCard Boxes: NCTA – 2009-09-29 14:54:24 EDT | Multichannel

That would appear to be quite a drop off from Cable and CableCard ready to tru2way.  CableCard was the predecessor to tru2way, offering a low cost alternative to leasing STB from cable MSO’s.  If you’d like a closer look at those numbers, from the same article above:

443,000 standalone CableCards for use in retail devices, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

So what gives?  Todd Spangler and Karl Bode takes a shot at that question

Some blame the cable operators. BroadbandReports.com proprietor Karl Bode, for example, accuses cable companiesof not promoting CableCards as alternatives to operator-leased boxes. “Not only are they not advertised, we’ve had countless customers tell us that when they’ve called their cable company to inquire about the technology, they’ve been told it isn’t offered,” he wrote in a blog post yesterday.

Why Haven’t CableCards Taken Off? – BIT RATE | Blog on Multichannel News

Here are your more popular CableCard options:

Why the lack of mass adoption?  Ease of use.  It is much easier to connect a few cables and have a picture and sound that is good enough than deal with CableCard and the great unknown.  CableCard is a hot potato that no one wants to touch.  When it works, it works great.  However, when it doesn’t work the finger pointing starts.

  • It’s the card manufacturer
  • It’s your HDTV
  • It’s your STB

Tru2way to the rescue, right?  It addresses the number one complaint: accessibility to  video on demand (VOD) and other interactive features.   If you are new to how FCC regulation works, it takes a while to get products approved.  However, at this stage in the game, CableLabs, OpenCable, and Tru2way has been around in one form  or the other since CableCard hit the market and maybe now that Intel has introduced a new solutions, those eight tru2way boxes may start to get some company on the shelves.  But has the opportunity passed by?

TV Everywhere, in particular to the cable industry, and over the top (OTT), in general, may quickly supplant it.  Many of the devices are demonstrating time shifting capability, but the market already has devices that:

  • place shift
  • stream DVD quality rental and purchases
  • aggregate online content
  • are also gaming consoles!

The number of those devices is quickly out pacing tru2way and provide more options and flexibility. Perhaps a tru2way USB adapter would be a bigger market hit.  But another box? It better be very affordable or available 2day.  Preferably, both.

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