Tru2way

Tru2way is a brand name for interactive digital cable services delivered over the cable video network, for example interactive program guides, interactive ads, games, chat, web browsing, and t-commerce. The brand also appears as “<tru2way>” and is used to market cable services, applications, and devices that support the tru2way cable architecture. Tru2way is the successor, consumer-focused, name for technology known as OpenCable. Major cable operators committed to deploy support for the tru2way platform in service areas covering more than 90 million U.S. homes by the end of 2008.

In 2010, the FCC issued a notice of inquiry for a successor system to both tru2way and CableCARD, called AllVid, and has stated "We are not convinced that the tru2way solution will assure the development of a commercial retail market as directed by Congress."[1]

Design

A cable television subscriber who has a digital television (DTV) that supports Tru2way and has a CableCard port (for the decryption codes), will be able to enjoy all of the features of the cable provider's leased set-top box (STB), without the STB. The DTV Tru2way compatibility combines the interactive features of the separate STB into the television, eliminating the STB and its remote control.

CableLabs, the industry’s research and development arm, licenses the brand to cable companies and cable programmers that deliver tru2way applications and services, as well as consumer electronics (CE) manufacturers that build devices that support such applications and services. Use of the mark on CE devices requires CableLabs certification testing for conformance to the tru2way specifications (also known as the OpenCable Host 2.1 Specifications).

Tru2way includes a middleware technology that may be built into televisions, set-top boxes, digital video recorders and other devices. Because the middleware is based on Java technology, it enables cable companies and other interactive application developers to “write” applications once and see them run successfully on any device that supports the tru2way architecture. With Tru2way technology, consumers can access interactive digital cable programming, including video-on-demand and pay-per-view content, without the need for a cable operator-supplied set-top box.

The Tru2way technology is capable of supporting all cable services now delivered to consumers via leased set top boxes, as well as future services written to the Tru2way platform.

Development

In 2003, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted unidirectional (from the cable system to the customer device) CableCARD standards based on a MOU between the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).[2] The FCC assumed that the NCTA and CES would negotiate another agreement to achieve bidirectional compatibilities, such as interactive programming guides, video-on-demand and pay-per-view, since retail CableCARD-ready devices are unable to access such systems, but after the FCC realized they weren't leading to an agreement, they issued the Two-Way FNPRM in June 2007 seeking comment on competing proposals.[3][4] In the wake of the Two-Way FNPRM, the six largest cable operators and numerous consumer electronics manufacturers negotiated an agreement based on CableCARD called tru2way in 2008.[3] In the FCC's 2010 AllVid notice of inquiry, the FCC stated "We are not convinced that the tru2way solution will assure the development of a commercial retail market as directed by Congress."[1]

Deployment

Panasonic and Comcast announced a Tru2way trial to begin 27 October 2008 in Chicago, Denver, Northern Colorado and Colorado Springs. Abt Electronics and Ultimate Electronics will offer a choice of 42" and 50" Panasonic Plasma televisions using Tru2way in these Comcast cable systems. These televisions went on sale for consumer purchase on 27 October 2008, but had to be installed professionally by the retailers' installation group.

In May 2008, Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) was the first set-top-box manufacturer to receive full tru2way certification by CableLabs for their ADB-4820C Set-Back Box.

In June 2008, six major cable companies had signed a "binding" memorandum of understanding (MOU) to have all of their digital cable systems ready for Tru2way by July 1, 2009. However, none of the cable systems that signed the agreement were ready to implement Tru2way.[5]

In October 2009, Rogers, one of Canada's largest cable television providers, stated they were not interested in the Tru2way platform because it is not based on open standards. Rogers stated they are considering a more Internet-oriented interactive platform.[6]

In December 2009, Vidéotron, Quebec's largest cable television provider, announced a partnership with Samsung to implement Canada's first Tru2way service.[7]

As of July 2010, Panasonic, the sole device manufacturer producing Tru2way compatible televisions, has stated that they will no longer sell Tru2way compatible televisions. Thus at this point there are no television sets with built-in Tru2Way compatibility being sold.[8] The only alternative is to use Set-Back Boxes such as the ADB-4820C.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b AllVid Notice of Inquiry, p.5, 25 FCC Rcd 4279 (adopted April 21, 2010)
  2. ^ 25 FCC Rcd 14657, 14659 (adopted October 14, 2010)
  3. ^ a b 25 FCC Rcd 14661 (adopted October 14, 2010)
  4. ^ Two-Way FNPRM, 22 FCC Rcd 12024 (adopted June 27, 2007)
  5. ^ MSOs to Miss Tru2way Date
  6. ^ Cable-Tec Expo 2009: Rogers Not Sold On Tru2way
  7. ^ Samsung Introduces Tru2Way Service to Canada Archived 2009-12-27 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Panasonic Stops Selling Tru2way HDTVs

External links

Cable-ready

Cable-ready is a designation which indicates that a TV set or other television-receiving device (such as a VCR or DVR) is capable of receiving cable TV without a set-top box.

The term originates with analog TV, which uses different frequencies for cable versus over-the-air. This gives more channels, and at lower frequencies, so that early systems did not have to be so broadband and were therefore less expensive to build.

For North American cable television frequencies, the VHF channels 2 to 13 are the same, while an extra 51 cable channels exist between there and over-the-air UHF channel 14. Thus, over-the-air channel 14 can be seen on cable channel 65. Conversely, those 51 extra channels (plus an additional five inserted at 95 to 99) cannot be seen at all on a device which is not cable-ready. A "181-channel tuner" receives 125 on cable (1 to 125), plus 10 (126 to 135) more for digital cable ready TVs, plus the 56 (14 to 69) which are not identical in both (2 to 13). Other cable channels, 0, 00 and 1, which along with channels 136-158 are ill-defined and thus rarely used, and often not included in otherwise cable-ready tuners. Those "lowest numbered" channels often reside between VHF channels four and five on HRC (harmonically related carrier) and IRC (incrementally related carrier) systems where the normally four MHz gap is increased to six MHz, wide enough for one NTSC channel. Similar situations exist in the rest of the world as well.

Another use of a cable-ready tuner is for receiving amateur television (ATV) in North America, where the main ATV band appears on cable channels 56 to 59, 57 being the most popular. Most repeaters output on these channels, while input from amateur operators is often in another band.

CableCARD

CableCARD is a special-use PC Card device that allows consumers in the United States to view and record digital cable television channels on digital video recorders, personal computers and television sets on equipment such as a set-top box not provided by a cable television company. The card is usually provided by the local cable operator, typically for a nominal monthly fee.

In a broader context, CableCARD refers to a set of technologies created by the United States cable television industry to allow devices from non-cable companies to access content on the cable networks. Some technologies not only refer to the physical card, but also to a device ("Host") that uses the card. Some CableCARD technologies can be used with devices that have no physical CableCARD.

The CableCARD was the outcome of a U.S. federal government objective, directed in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, to provide a robust competitive retail market for set-top boxes so consumers did not have to use proprietary equipment from the cable operators. It was believed that this would provide consumers with more choices and lower costs. Up to 2016, less than 2% of set-top boxes were purchased by consumers in the retail market since CableCARD was rolled out, indicating that CableCARD failed in its objective. Telecom lobbyists argued that the CableCARD initiative actually cost Americans billions of dollars in additional fees, increased energy consumption, and stifled innovation.

Cable television

Cable television is a system of delivering television programming to consumers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables, or in more recent systems, light pulses through fiber-optic cables. This contrasts with broadcast television (also known as terrestrial television), in which the television signal is transmitted over the air by radio waves and received by a television antenna attached to the television; or satellite television, in which the television signal is transmitted by a communications satellite orbiting the Earth and received by a satellite dish on the roof. FM radio programming, high-speed Internet, telephone services, and similar non-television services may also be provided through these cables. Analog television was standard in the 20th century, but since the 2000s, cable systems have been upgraded to digital cable operation.

A "cable channel" (sometimes known as a "cable network") is a television network available via cable television. When available through satellite television, including direct broadcast satellite providers such as DirecTV, Dish Network and Sky, as well as via IPTV providers such as Verizon FIOS and AT&T U-verse is referred to as a "satellite channel". Alternative terms include "non-broadcast channel" or "programming service", the latter being mainly used in legal contexts. Examples of cable/satellite channels/cable networks available in many countries are HBO, Cinemax, MTV, Cartoon Network, AXN, E!, FX, Discovery Channel, Canal+, Eurosport, Fox Sports, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, CNN International, and ESPN.

The abbreviation CATV is often used for cable television. It originally stood for Community Access Television or Community Antenna Television, from cable television's origins in 1948. In areas where over-the-air TV reception was limited by distance from transmitters or mountainous terrain, large "community antennas" were constructed, and cable was run from them to individual homes. The origins of cable broadcasting for radio are even older as radio programming was distributed by cable in some European cities as far back as 1924.

Digital Keystone

Digital Keystone, Inc. develops digital entertainment technologies that bridge Pay TV with the new digital home. DK solutions include security and navigation software. Digital Keystone also develops industry-standard validation tools for development, certification, and manufacturing. DK technologies enable content access throughout the entire home, offering security, interactive services, and device connectivity.

Digital cable

Digital cable is the distribution of cable television using digital video compression for distribution. The technology was originally developed by General Instrument before being acquired by Motorola and subsequently acquired by ARRIS Group. Cable companies converted to digital systems during the 2000s, around the time that television signals were converted to the digital HDTV standard, which was not compatible with earlier analog cable systems. In addition to providing higher resolution HD video, digital cable systems provide expanded services such as pay-per-view programming, cable internet access and cable telephone services. Most digital cable signals are encrypted, which reduced the high incidence of cable theft which occurred in analog systems.

Globally Executable MHP

Globally Executable MHP (GEM) is a DVB specification of a Java based middleware for TV broadcast receivers, IPTV terminals and Blu-ray players. GEM is an ETSI standard (ETSI TS 102 819, ETSI TS 102 728) and an ITU "Recommendation (ITU-T J.202). GEM defines a set of common functionalities which are independent from the signaling and protocols of a specific transmission network and enables to write interoperable Java applications for TV. GEM is not intended to be directly implemented, but rather forms the basis for broader specifications targeting a particular network infrastructure (e.g. US cable) or class of device (e.g. Blu-ray Disc players). GEM defines profiles for different device classes (targets) – these define the set of available features of GEM for this device class. Currently GEM defines targets (API profiles) for broadcast, packaged media (Blu-Ray) and IPTV. Combinations of these targets can be combined into a hybrid GEM platform, which enables to build devices with multiple network interfaces, such as a combined broadcast/IPTV set-top box.

Headend in the Sky

Headend in the Sky (HITS) is Comcast's satellite multiplex service that provides cable channels to cable television operations.

At a traditional cable television headend, multitudes of satellite dishes and antennas are used to grab cable stations from dozens of communication satellites. In contrast, HITS combines cable stations into multiplex signals on just a few satellites; cable television companies can then pull in hundreds of channels at the local headend with relatively little equipment; the HITS feed effectively replaces the more complex traditional headend operations.

HITS was founded in 1994 and its namesake product is commonly recognized as the pioneer of digital television in the United States. HITS was launched by TCI before their later 1999 purchase by the old AT&T, then merged with the smaller Comcast in 2002 as part their purchase of AT&T Broadband (formerly TCI). The HITS headquarters in Centennial, Colorado, formerly known as the National Digital Television Center, is now called the Comcast Media Center.

As of 2010, HITS offers 6 standard-definition multiplexes on SES Americom's SES-1, 12 standard-definition multiplexes and 8 HD multiplexes on AMC-18, 1 standard-definition multiplex on AMC-10, and 1 standard definition multiplex on Intelsat's Galaxy 17. As of 2010, HITS delivers more than 280 digitally compressed video and audio television programming signals to more than 2000 cable operation sites across the US.

List of smart TV platforms and middleware software

The following list encompasses notable smart TV platforms and application software that are used as software framework and middleware platforms used by more than just one manufacturer.

Multichannel television in the United States

Multichannel television in the United States has been available since at least 1948. The United States is served by multichannel television through cable television systems, direct-broadcast satellite providers, and various other wireline video providers; among the largest television providers in the U.S. are AT&T (through its DirecTV and U-verse divisions), Altice USA, Charter Communications (through its Spectrum division, which also includes the former Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks systems), Comcast (through its Xfinity division), Dish Network, and Verizon Communications (through its FiOS division). The Telecommunications Act of 1996 defines a multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) as "a person such as, but not limited to, a cable operator, a multichannel multipoint distribution service, a direct broadcast satellite service, or a television receive-only satellite program distributor, who makes available for purchase, by subscribers or customers, multiple channels of video programming", where a channel is defined as a "signaling path provided by a cable television system."Initially serving as a means to provide local television stations to customers who could not receive them over-the-air, the deployments of communications satellites made it financially feasible for broadcasters to distribute channels of national interest to cable, and later satellite television providers, such as superstations and premium television services. By 1980, 15 million of the approximately 80 million television-owning households in the U.S. subscribed to a multichannel television service. In the 1990s, digital multichannel services, such as direct-broadcast satellite and digital cable, experienced a surge in popularity due to their increased channel capacity.

As of 2017, approximately 79% of U.S. TV households have a television subscription; the market share of multichannel television began to erode in the mid-2010s due to the increasing popularity of subscription-based online video services, the increasing costs of these services due to the carriage fees demanded by major channels, as well as consumers intentionally dropping traditional television service in favor of online alternatives, or never subscribing to such a service at all.

OEDN

OEDN is an OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) EBIF Developer Network that was founded in October, 2007. It is an online developer network for the promotion of Interactive Television application and service development on digital cable television.

The goal of the network is to support the emerging and long-term needs of software engineers and product teams who are building OCAP (tru2way) and EBIF applications. The goal is to run it not only on digital cable television, but also converged applications and services spanning mobile and broadband devices.

OEDN.net is a networked Community of Practice with a membership constituency drawn from cable companies, ITV application vendors, content providers, programming networks, advertisers, academic interactive media researchers and independent consultants.

OpenCable

OpenCable is a set of hardware and software specifications under development in the United States by CableLabs to "define the next-generation digital consumer device" for the cable television industry. The consumer-facing brand tru2way was introduced in January, 2008.

OpenCable uses SCTE standards for the video, transport and various interface requirements, but also adds a requirement for a Java based software interpreter to support the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP). It also requires a decryption system for protected content employing CableCARDs or the proposed software-based Downloadable Conditional Access System (DCAS).

The goal is to create a common hardware/software standard for digital cable television within the U.S., hence promoting competition among licensed device manufacturers, while at the same time making it improbable that any one software company dominates digital television.

Tru2way is the brand name for interactive digital cable services delivered over the cable video network, for example interactive program guides, interactive ads, games, chat, web browsing, and t-commerce. The brand also appears as "" and is used to market cable services, applications, and devices that support the tru2way cable architecture. Tru2way is the successor, consumer-focused, name for technology known as OpenCable. Major cable operators have committed to deploy support for the tru2way platform in service areas covering more than 90 million U.S. homes by the end of 2008. As of December, 2008, Comcast and Panasonic are offering services and a limited number of consumer products that support Tru2way in the Chicago and Denver MSAs.

CableLabs, the industry’s research and development arm, licenses the brand to cable companies and cable programmers that deliver tru2way applications and services, as well as consumer electronics (CE) manufacturers that build devices that support such applications and services. Use of the mark on CE devices requires CableLabs certification testing for conformance to the tru2way specifications (also known as the OpenCable Host 2.1 Specifications). Tru2way includes a middleware technology that may be built into televisions, set-top boxes, and other devices. The technology enables cable companies and other interactive application developers to “write” applications once and see them run successfully on any device that supports the tru2way architecture. With tru2way technology, consumers can access interactive digital cable programming, including video-on-demand and pay-per-view content, without the need for a cable operator-supplied set-top box. The tru2way technology is capable of supporting all cable services now delivered to consumers via leased set top boxes, as well as future services written to the tru2way platform.

OpenCable Application Platform

The OpenCable Application Platform, or OCAP, is an operating system layer designed for consumer electronics that connect to a cable television system, the Java-based middleware portion of the platform. Unlike operating systems on a personal computer, the cable company controls what OCAP programs run on the consumer's machine. Designed by CableLabs for the cable networks of North America, OCAP programs are intended for interactive services such as eCommerce, online banking, Electronic program guides, and digital video recording. Cable companies have required OCAP as part of the Cablecard 2.0 specification, a proposal that is controversial and has not been approved by the Federal Communications Commission. Cable companies have stated that two-way communications by third party devices on their networks will require them to support OCAP. The Consumer Electronics Association and other groups argue OCAP is intended to block features that compete with cable company provided services and that consumers should be entitled to add, delete and otherwise control programs as on their personal computers.

On January 8, 2008 CableLabs announced the Tru2Way brand for the OpenCable platform, including OCAP as the application platform.

Set-back box

The term set-back box (SBB) is used in the digital TV industry to describe a piece of consumer hardware that enables them to access both linear broadcast and internet-based video content, plus a range of interactive services like Electronic Programme Guides (EPG), Pay Per View (PPV) and Video on Demand (VOD) as well as internet browsing, and view them on a large screen television set. Unlike standard set-top boxes (STBs), which sit on top or below the TV set, a set-back box has a smaller form factor to enable it to be mounted to the rear of the display panel flat panel TV, hiding it from view.

To date, set-back boxes have been mainly focused on the cable industry, having been rolled out in four major cable markets in the United States. As of February 2010, these devices are available in both standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) versions, provide a DOCSIS 2.0 high speed return channel, and are able to receive transmissions in all industry standard compression formats, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4/H.264 and SMPTE-421M/VC-. This enables broadcasters to maximise their broadcast bandwidth while creating a new consumer TV experience.

In October 2009 the ADB-4820C set-back box was voted the TV Innovation of the Year, by a panel of independent industry experts, overseen by IMS Research at the TV 3.0 Conference in Denver, Colorado, United States of America. The ADB set-back box was the first to use the latest HDMI-CEC technology, enabling a single remote control to be used for both the TV and set-back box and is tru2way compliant.

Smart TV

A smart TV is a traditional television set with integrated Internet and interactive "Web 2.0" features which allows users to stream music and videos, browse the internet, and view photos. Smart TV is a technological convergence of computers, television sets and set-top boxes. Besides the traditional functions of television sets and set-top boxes provided through traditional broadcasting media, these devices can also provide Internet TV, online interactive media, over-the-top content (OTT), as well as on-demand streaming media, and home networking access.Smart TV should not be confused with Internet TV, IPTV or Web television. Internet TV refers to receiving television content over the Internet instead of traditional systems (terrestrial, cable and satellite) (although Internet itself is received by these methods). IPTV is one of the Internet television technology standards for use by television broadcasters. Web television is a term used for programs created by a wide variety of companies and individuals for broadcast on Internet TV.

In smart TVs, the operating system is preloaded or is available through the set-top box. The software applications or "apps" can be preloaded into the device, or updated or installed on demand via an app store or marketplace, in a similar manner to how the apps are integrated in modern smartphones.The technology that enables smart TVs is also incorporated in external devices such as set-top boxes and some Blu-ray players, game consoles, digital media players, hotel television systems, smartphones, and other network-connected interactive devices that utilize television-type display outputs. These devices allow viewers to find and play videos, movies, TV shows, photos and other content from the Web, cable or satellite TV channel, or from a local storage device.

Switched video

Switched video or switched digital video (SDV), sometimes referred to as switched broadcast (SWB), is a telecommunications industry term for a network scheme for distributing digital video via a cable. Switched video sends the digital video in a more efficient manner so that additional uses may be made of the freed up bandwidth. The scheme applies to digital video distribution both on typical cable TV systems using QAM channels, or on IPTV systems. Users of analog video transmitted on the cable are unaffected. See diagram to the right for an illustration of how switched video saves bandwidth on a cable company's cables in the last mile where channels are transmitted via coaxial cable.

Digital television in North America
Terrestrial
Cable
Satellite TV
IPTV
Technical issues

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