There’s a big media splash today about Sony building new TVs that can plug directly into your digital cable service — without a separate set top box — and access all the two-way cable services such as pay-per-view and video recording. The announcement makes a point of listing the major cable companies that support tru2way: Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Cablevision and Bright House Networks. Together, they represent “more than 82 percent of all U.S. cable subscribers.”
What is “tru2way“? It is the new, more marketable name for the technology previously known as Open Cable Application Platform, or its equally hard-to-love OCAP acronym. The technology was developed by the cable industry’s CableLabs facility, in response to federal legislators’ attempts to introduce competition into the cable set top box market. One approach was the ill-fated CableCard hardware solution. tru2way provides a software solution, so it is indeed news that Sony has reached an agreement to build it into their sets.
What’s lost in the shuffle is that Sony is not breaking new ground here. Panasonic, Samsung, and LG already have announced support for tru2way, and even had demonstrations at CES 2008 last January in Las Vegas. You should expect to see products with this feature in the second half of this year.
As the price war between Sony and Samsung heats up — while consumer confidence has plunged to a 16 year low — expect to see features such as tru2way to be trumpeted as competitive advantages. This summer could end up being an excellent time to purchase your next TV.