CableLabs ‘Streamlines’ Tru2way Agreement


CableLabs said it has eased the approval process for retail consumer electronics devices that use the industry’s tru2way interactive cable standard, with Samsung Electronics the first manufacturer to sign a revised licensing agreement.

Among other terms, the new tru2way license agreement allows CE makers to “self-certify” two-way cable-ready products – whereas CableLabs has previously required all cable-ready products to be submitted to its own testing and approval process.

The revised agreement also extends the formal rights of participation by consumer electronics manufacturers in CableLabs processes, establishes approval of new digital outputs via a “four-studio” approach, and grants licensees a tru2way trademark license.

The move is intended to demonstrate to Federal Communications Commission officials and consumer electronics companies that the cable industry is making good-faith efforts to help CE companies bring retail two-way cable products to market.

The Consumer Electronics Association has consistently balked at accepting cable’s two-way technology, complaining to the FCC that – among other things – the licensing terms are onerous.

According to CableLabs, the agreement “consolidates, clarifies, and provides an alternative” to the existing CableCard Host Interface License Agreement (CHILA), and the OpenCable Application Platform Implementer Agreement. The tru2way License Agreement is available to any consumer electronics manufacturer on a nondiscriminatory basis, the consortium said.

CableLabs announced tru2way as the consumer-facing brand for the OpenCable Platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Major cable operators have pledged to support the tru2way platform in systems covering more than 90 million U.S. homes by the end of 2008.

“Comcast is committed to rolling out tru2way-enabled set-top boxes later this year, and Samsung's rollout of retail tru2way-enabled devices demonstrates that the tru2way technology is the best solution for both retail and leased set-top boxes,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with Samsung on this and other innovations that will continue to enhance the customer experience.”