The five MSOs that had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to have 100 percent of their digital cable systems ready for tru2way by July 1, 2009 missed their deadline last week. But Cox Communications and Comcast appear to be ahead of the pack.

"We will clearly be utilizing tru2way and clearly have our advanced guide in our multiple markets by the end of this year," said Steve Necessary, VP of video product development and support for Cox Communications.

Comcast already supports tru2way in parts of Atlanta, Chicago and Denver for subscribers with tru2way-capable TVs or set-tops.

In 2008 Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems, and Bright House Networks signed an MOU with some major consumer equipment (CE) manufacturers, including Sony, Panasonic and Samsung Electronics. (For more on tru2way, click here.)

The gist of the MOU is that the MSOs and CE manufacturers will work together to support tru2way. While five of the MSOs targeted July 1, 2009 to have all their digital headends tru2way ready, Charter’s target date was set at July 1, 2010.

Retail side?

Besides getting the cable headends ready, the other part of the equation is the CE side – the retail availability of tru2way TVs and set-top boxes.

"Just because we are ready in a market doesn’t mean that the retail component has come to fruition," said Necessary. "We are not aware of any retailers in our markets stocking a tru2way TV set. I expect to see both set-tops and TVs in 2010."

Cox, however, has deployed tru2way-capable boxes in the last couple of years, and all of its HD and DVR set-tops are tru2way capable, said Necessary.

In addition to getting its headends ready and working with the CE community to get retail distribution of tru2way devices, Cox has been working with NDS to introduce a new user interface and guide for tru2way applications. (For more, click here.)

—Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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