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Samsung Signs Tru2way Cable TV License

Samsung has become the first manufacturer to sign a new license with CableLabs on its Tru2way bi-directional digital CableCARD system for consumer electronics retail products, the companies said this month.

The new streamlined license on the Tru2way host device license agreement provides manufacturers of retail consumer electronics devices with the ability to manufacture products that can interface to two-way interactive cable networks. The agreement was said to align with the openness focus announced at International CES in January, CableLabs said.

Among other terms, the license provides for self-certification and paper certification of retail devices, formal rights of participation by consumer electronics manufacturers in CableLabs processes, approval of new digital outputs via a 4-Studio approach and a Tru2way trademark license.

“The agreement consolidates, clarifies and provides an alternative to the existing CableCARD-host interface license agreement (CHILA), and the OpenCable application platform implementer agreement,” according to a CableLabs statement. “The Tru2way license agreement is available to any consumer electronics manufacturer on a nondiscriminatory basis.”

Tru2way is a national software platform that enables cable’s interactive services to be delivered to two-way plug and play TVs, set-top boxes and other devices. The system also creates a national footprint for the providers of interactive services to develop products that work on cable systems in most U.S. markets.

CableLabs said major cable operators have committed to support the Tru2way platform on systems covering more than 90 million U.S. homes by the end of 2008

“Samsung, as a leader in technology innovation, is a long-time supporter of the cable industry’s technology initiatives,” stated D.J. Oh, Samsung Electronics America president. “Tru2way technology offers a better path, in the spirit of openness, to interactive cable services for consumers. We look forward to continued work with CableLabs and the cable industry to bring to market the best in cable solutions.”

Steve Goldstein, Samsung cable group director, told TWICE that the move was in line with Samsung’s desire to be an leader in the CE/cable space.

“We believe, specifically in North America that it is important to offer customers the ability to access cable services, whether that’s through a television that’s purchased at retail or through boxes we sell directly to cable operators,” Goldstein said. “This really is an extension of the old agreements that governed the OpenCable project that we were the initial signatory for when the technology was known as CHILA and the OCAP integrators’ agreement, ” explained Goldstein. “This is a more streamlined and renamed agreement. The reason we signed it is because at the end of the day, it was better than what we were operating under before.”

Goldstein said a number of cable operators are working on implementing Tru2Way technologies into their systems, including Time Warner Cable in association with Bright House Networks, which “has a significant portion of its footprint Tru2Way ready, today. There are a number of interactive products working within that paradigm, including their OCAP Digital Navigator onscreen program guide.”

Samsung has been working with Time Warner Cable on Tru2Way boxes that the cable operator plans to lease to its subscribers. The number of cable systems moving to Tru2Way capability is expected to increase through 2008 and 2009.

The CE manufacturer also plans to shortly show a Tru2Way (formerly called an IDCR) -enabled TV that will be capable of working with such systems.