July 1st Tru2way Deadline

Mari Silbey —  July 1, 2009 — 5 Comments

tru2way retail tv MOU July 1st deadline

Ready to plug in that tru2way TV set you’ve got sitting in your living room? Yeah, probably not.

Today is the day that many of the large cable operators agreed to be ready to support tru2way-enabled CE devices. In a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed last year with major CE companies, the cablecos agreed to support tru2way so that retail devices could be plugged in to a cable network and receive two-way services – not just downstream video delivery, but also upstream services like VOD. Unfortunately, operators haven’t quite met the deadline. Support is improving, but it’s not nearly at 100%.

The fallout from missing the deadline isn’t as bad as you might expect. The consumer electronics industry grudgingly admits that cable has been making a good-faith effort, and everything I hear suggests that cable companies really are making progress. Further network support is delayed, but only by a matter of months in many cases.

There’s also the little fact that there aren’t many tru2way devices available at retail anyway.  In a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma, the CE industry has waited for network readiness to bring new products to market. Meanwhile with few products out, there was little incentive (before the MOU) to prep cable networks to support them.

In short, today’s deadline – missed or not – isn’t a huge deal. But look for a big retail tru2way push at CES 2010.

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5 responses to July 1st Tru2way Deadline

  1. “Support is improving, but it’s not nearly at 100%.”

    Ha! I bet the operators aren’t even at 25%. (And that’s being generous.) And of course there are very few retail devices available in this chicken/egg scenario.

  2. I think there’s just hundreds of head ends out there across a multitude of companies, all running different combinations of legacy software, from guide providers, vod providers, set top firmwares, billing systems, etc…

    It’s a huge undertaking, but boy I can’t wait to see the benefits.

  3. I am still hoping that 2010 is the year I finally can find the HDTV with all the features I want. The biggest being no crappy cable box and its ugly remote just for VOD. I am fairly sure I will not buy any PPV but the free on demand is getting better. Add in some nice broadband widgets and happy happy

  4. I *love* how squirrely all the MSOs are being now that they’ve blown right through the deadline they originally committed to. Comcast will have all its headends ready to support tru2way in the “[not] too distant future,” Time Warner is “close to trials” and Cox is undergoing “readiness testing”. I’d bet they’re AT LEAST a year away from any significant deployment of capabilities, and that will exclude compatibility with a Tru2Way Tivo “Series 4″ which will for some reason take even longer to deploy.

    I hope these guys know that time is passing and the internet is out there. I’m becoming more and more comfortable with the alternatives to Cable VOD–Amazon On Demand, Netflix On Demand, Hulu, Apple TV, XBox 360, iPhone video applications, etc etc. And those things are evolving at a significant clip. By the time Comcast et al get their act together, we may all have forgotten why we cared about this in the first place…

  5. Glenn- the VOD stuff is fascinating to me. MSOs know where it needs to improve, but there are an awful lot of obstacles (as you know). What I’m waiting and watching for is how the operators progress with integrating IP content. Add that to an improved VOD platform and you’ve got something really worthwhile. If we can only get there.

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