Cable's Tru2way Shopping Lists

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A big benefit the industry touts for the CableLabs tru2way spec is that it can let cable operators more easily deploy set-tops that are not from Cisco or Motorola, by abstracting the guide and other applications from the underlying hardware. (See Set-Tops Break Free.)

For now, though, it looks like much of the business for tru2way-based boxes is still with “The Duopoly.”

Time Warner Cable announced Monday it has signed a letter of commitment to buy more tru2way-enabled set-top boxes from Samsung. But so far Samsung has shipped 400,000 to the MSO, or 20% of the 2 million-plus tru2way boxes the operator has put into service — the rest are from Cisco and Motorola.

Cox Communications, meanwhile, said its current tru2way set-top suppliers are Cisco and Motorola. Comcast, for its part, told me it is buying tru2way set-tops from Cisco, Motorola, Pace, Panasonic and Samsung.

Four of the five biggest U.S. operators — TWC, Comcast, Cox, Cablevision and Bright House — pledged in agreements with CE companies that, starting this month, 20% of the leased set-top boxes they buy will be based on tru2way until 10 million such boxes are deployed.

The MSOs also said they would enable tru2way-based retail devices across their footprints by July 1. The operators missed that deadline but the Panasonic and Samsung execs I spoke with acknowledged the complexity of the technology and seemed willing to cut cable some slack.

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