Skip to content

OCAP, Tru2way, OpenCable, CableCARD, PPV, VoD, etc

New audio and video devices have become computers. Over the last ten years or so, those computers have moved from adjunct special processing components to an integrated basic part of the devices. They now handle encoding, decoding, switching, compression, scaling, and basic control functions. As with many things computer, how they communicate with other computers has become more and more important as more and more of them try to work together. That is what is behind the new brand Tru2Way in the cable TV industry.

Is ‘Tru2Way’ True Two-Way TV? by Gene Hirschel (internet news):

Remember the days of three network channels? Then came cable TV with 50 channels, then more. Now, the next horizon in television is looking more like true two-way connectivity like the Web or the Internet.

new Comcast IP infrastructure, called the DOCSIS 3.0 standard. It would utilize a new cable modem, which increases from 1 channel of analog TV dedicated to data up to to 4 channels delivering up to 100 megabits per second. Thus an HD movie can be delivered to the home in as little as 4 minutes.

Comcast is borrowing a move from a playbook of a certain penguin: open source. Tru2way is the new name for the “OpenCable Applications Platform” (OCAP).

Tru2way goes beyond a simple cable box decoder: in the future, providers from well known media giants down to startup and entrepreneurial companies can deliver services and choices that we can’t even imagine today. Companies can develop applications and devices that integrate the Tru2way network into what Roberts calls the “Media Center Eco-system.” Applications will work on all compatible cable systems in the United States as well as in other countries adopting the standard.

If you use your cable company for broadband internet access, you have a cable modem that provides two way communication between you and the cable company, who then connects it to the Internet. That cable modem is an integral part of this transition. The cable company will use it not only to provide you with Internet access but also to provide interactive communications with their multimedia entertainment store.

This evolution from OCAP, OpenCable, CableCard and on to the new brand Tru2way is towards being able to leverage to computing power in your audio and video devices to eliminate set top boxes and external modems yet still provide new features such as pay per view (PPV) and video on demand (VoD).

Cynics say this new brand is just another part of the effort by the big corporate cable companies to get the FCC off their backs. Whatever. If it is indeed an open technology and a worthwhile technology, it opens up the possibility for innovation and creativity both by the manufacturers of multimedia devices as well as by hackers and third party value add vendors. That could make for an interesting market.