True2way,, the cable industry’s newest interactive platform is all the rage, at least early on at the Cable Show, taking place in New Orleans this week. In a “nutshell” tru2way is an open platform for interactive application development that the cable industry is banking on for some competitive advantage. The hope is that third party application developers will grab hold of tru2way and begin developing a myriad of interactive applications exclusive to the nation’s cable operators. I heard it described on CNBC this morning as bringing the Facebook experience of application development to the cable TV experience. Interesting way of looking at it, but a little bit of a stretch. In some regards, tru2way is the cable industry’s response to the promise of IPTV application development, which has been slow to get out of the gate, but also promises a myriad of interactive applications for consumers.
The true manifestation of tru2way will happen at Best Buy, Amazon.com, and Radio Shack, where consumers will be able to buy electronics equipment that can interface directly to the cable network. For example, Panasonic has already announced 42-inch and 50-inch tru2way TVs will ship this Fall. Tru2way TVs will not need a set-top-box (STB), but will have access to all of the interactive and digital features that current customers need a STB for today. That’s the first step in the tru2way lifecycle – STB-less televisions. The cable industry hopes it’s but one small step in a series of huge competitive leaps that tru2way will bring to their entertainment and triple play experience.