[opendtv] Re: NEWS: LG & Funai sign tru2way

  • From: Kilroy Hughes <Kilroy.Hughes@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 17:52:03 -0700

[AV] if there's so few interest in added value above plain simple audio and 
video, why they do introduce mandatory interactivity in bluray disk player for 

high-def is not enough as a selling point?

[KH] No, it isn't.
Most consumers are happy with the look and sound of DVD-Video scaled up by 
their $79 HDMI output DVD player,or their display.

Blu-ray was forced to add BD-J and the option of Internet connection because HD 
DVD made XHTML/ECMAScript and Internet connectivity mandatory in all HD DVD 
players, and BD had to augment the format they intended to ship (now called 
"movie mode") in order to win Studio support.  HD DVD designed in interactivity 
because Disney, Warner, Fox, Universal, Paramount, etc., who were all involved 
in setting the requirements, said they had to distinguish the next gen format 
from DVD buy more than pixel density in order to win mass market adoption.  
Usage scenarios and interactive requirements were worked out in great detail.  
Internet connectivity and "Advanced Interactivity" were seen as essential.  
(Advanced Interactivity includes Web-like programming of layout and behaviors, 
scaling, alpha blending, overlay of a second video stream, local storage for 
downloaded content and programming updates, transparent graphic and video 
overlay, animation, timecode synchronization of separate audio and video and 
caption streams that could be streamed from the Web, downloaded, or on the 
disc; and many realtime rendering features usually seen in broadcast studios.  
Emphasis was on making it easy for graphic designers and Web developers to use, 
and almost all of the 500+ HD DVD movies released did use Advanced 

Cool features do add hardware and engineering costs, so it's a valid argument 
to say the next gen formats might have been more successful if they had been 
designed to be cheap, not fancy, and sell for $100 - $200.  We'll probably 
never know, but it was the Studios more than anyone who decided they didn't 
want feature parity and a price war with DVD.

Keep in mind the DVD/Blu-ray model of ownership the Studios would like to 
perpetuate.  Most of their revenue and profit comes from consumers who buy and 
own movie and TV show discs.  Interactivity and "extras" at least create the 
perception (if not the practice) that consumers will explore the disc, watch it 
multiple times, and have the kind of pride of ownership traditionally 
associated with a book.  That has a demonstrated value in the $25 range whereas 
one time simple linear playback via rental or VOD is more like $4, little of 
which makes it back to the Studio. My personal experience is that DVD "extras" 
are awkward to use, but HD DVD and Blu-ray interactivity (usually not BD-J) 
make them much more attractive and usable.  That kind of interactivity is hard 
to do (random access, etc,) and most likely annoying in a broadcast show.

Unfortunately in the case of Blu-ray, almost all BD players in the market can't 
play all the BD-J features on "BD Live" discs, don't support Internet 
connection, two video streams, enough local storage, etc.  Most discs don't 
have those features either, so there's a "chicken/egg" problem.  Those in the 
know say a Sony Playstation 3 is the only fully functional Blu-ray player, and 
it dominates the Blu-ray market ten to one over BD players.  We'll see next 
Christmas if consumers are willing to pay a large premium for discs and four 
times as much for a disc player (vs. DVD) in order to get more pixels and hit 
and miss interactivity.  After the format war was resolved by Warner agreeing 
to an offer they couldn't refuse to go BD exclusive, Blu-ray player sales went 
down, not up (game consoles are a separate subject), so it looks like DVD is 
the real competitor (and maybe electronic distribution in the future).  The 
manufacturing cost of Blu-ray players (and discs) are quite high, and Sony is 
the only one in a position to give away PS3s at subsidized prices in order to 
make money on the (game) software.  Makes it tough for the other CE companies 
that promoted the format (and consumers).

Kilroy Hughes

From: opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Andrea Venturi
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2008 1:23 PM
To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [opendtv] Re: NEWS: LG & Funai sign tru2way

all right,

thank you for this enlighting thread about this US cable television evolution.. 
i very appreciate all the relevant links you made to clear the on-going debate..

BTW, i'm newbie here so i really can't feel all the subtle details (where the 
devil is, usually.. ;-)

so just some random comments intertwined..

David Broberg wrote: Andrea Venturi wrote:(albeit i really don't get the pun 
behind tru2play.. if you want to tell me)

First you can read more details about the making of the brand here:


now i get it..

The significance of the press release is that the tru2way system is being 
embraced widely in the USA. Through a number of compromises by both sides the 
objections of those most strongly opposed have now been overcome.

Perhaps Mr. Hughes has missed some of those recent developments?  I have 
provided some corrections to his response below: (enjoy)

-David Broberg [dB]

-----Original Message-----
From: Kilroy Hughes
Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 2:04 PM


Let me give you some facts, opinions, and history that might you can use to 
make your own guess as to the future of "Tru2way" AKA 2-way CableCard.

[dB] Please note: Tru2way describes a complete system solution which is 
implemented on a voluntary, cooperative basis, while a CableCARD is one single 
element that only satisfies the mandatory separable security element of the FCC 

i've just seen this FCC chairman "Manifesto":


"The cable operators won't license a device that integrates Internet video 
content with their content," he said. "I'm saying that's wrong, and I am trying 
to get the other commissioners to address it."

tough position or just smoke in the eyes of consumer's organizations?

OCAP was designed to support resident applications installed by the cable 
operator so they can take over your TV, settop box, etc. and control the 
primary user interfaces, such as EPG, VOD, provisioning, messaging, and other 
cable services with their own branding and advertising.

[dB] Well, it is not exactly like that.  Yes, it was designed to support two 
types of applications "bound" and "unbound".  The bound apps are tied to the 
program and are ephemeral. These are much like the MHP applications. The 
"unbound" applications can be deployed by either the maker of the box or the 
provider of the service and remain running as long as needed to satisfy the 
applications purpose. Multiple unbound applications may coexist on the box.   
Since each cable operator in the US may use different VOD providers and 
different signaling protocols, a custom application is needed to interface with 
each proprietary system.  The VOD and guide application are installed by the 
specific cable operator as an unbound application that enables a retail product 
to work with any VOD system on any cable system in the country.  Without such 
an application the box is unable to select and view VOD content.

so, for me from far Europe, it seems that the real scope of OCAP is still 
unknown! :-)

it's so exciting!

BTW are there already OCAP deployment ?


CableLabs made the obvious choice to require anyone who wants to make product 
to connect to their network to give them hardware control via network specific 
CableCards supplied by the cable operator, and software control by requiring 
all two-way devices to run OCAP so the cable operator can download their own 
applications to control the user experience.  Enhanced broadcast content like 
interactive sports scores and play along game shows are  the last thing they 
care about.

[dB]As I explained above, the replaceable hardware and software elements are 
necessary to enable innovation and portability.
just to add more stuff on the plate..

if there's so few interest in added value above plain simple audio and video, 
why they do introduce mandatory interactivity in bluray disk player for BD-J


high-def is not enough as a selling point?

this stuff is making BD player bloody expensive. (i know that microsoft has 
been so kind to help take this stuff more cheap..)

as BD-J and OCAP are sister technologies, don't you believe, anyway, a 
potential for interactive content to flow from one medium to the other?

IMHO, if we want interactive tv to succeed, i.e. to find "some" killer apps 
above plain simple multimedia (be it social network, gambling, or whatever..), 
it's a matter to keep low barriers for the entry of new "creative people".. so 
that many will try, most will fail and some will get it right.

if we stick with bridge and trolls, the show stops here!  :-)


Internet delivery of both user generated video and TV shows is skyrocketing.  
When users interact with Internet TV, behavior, expectations, and capabilities 
are drastically different.  You may have heard of a recent startup with the 
silly name "Google" that thought interactive internet advertising might be 
worth something. Their net worth is probably more than the top US broadcast 
networks combined, so maybe they have something there.
for sure they are getting sued a lot.. lastly from our Italiana Mediaset too! 


don't know how this case will sort out, but it seems a bit exaggerated as a 

Once you take TV to the Internet with thousands of shows online, 
"interactivity" in the form of recommendations/social, searching, virtual 
channels, targeted advertising, animated/interactive advertising, social 
viewing/chatting, viewing and interacting from any IP device ... that creates a 
whole new context and possibilities for "interactivity".

[dB] Yep. Every aspect of this can be delivered using the tru2way solution.

The idea of broadcaster or content provider generated "program enhancements", 
like MHP, is still doubtful.  Production, deployment, and especially testing 
adds a lot of difficulty and expense at each emission point, on top of just 
getting audio/video/subtitle done well and on time.  Is it an audience builder? 
 Certainly not in the near term, given the chicken/egg problem (not many people 
even have the equipment to see it).  Is it a revenue builder? (for the content 
maker?  The broadcaster?).  Not short term, and questionable long term.

[dB] Agreed, but there will be certain content that lends itself to such 
applications like NASCAR or other sports programming and certain reality or 
game shows.  The real value of the tru2way platform is for more user control 
including the kid of managed advertising that is mentioned above.

It scales much better to host a web page in Milan that will play video with 
interactivity and advertising, which becomes immediately accessible to a 
billion users anywhere in the world who have IP video capability.

[dB] There is no barrier within the tru2way system to such a service, in fact 
for the first time it enables a single nationwide platform to enable such 
applications directly to the TV screen.

this is ([dB]) the same exact opinion i have too.

i.e. internet as a carrier is perfect for long tail content, few viewers and so 
on. broadcast is good for the masses.

BUT the PC is a complex device with a messy user interface (actually!) and a 
STB is a stupid proof one.

let's the user pull the content over the internet on the TV thru a "simple" STB 
but not that simple, and OCAP/JAVA/MHP could give the user that boost for the 
second half of this century!

don't see the reason to put everything inside a web browser window with a point 
and click interface just because this content flow on an IP net. we don't have 
only one nail!

but the cable networks will not so happy to share tv set and eyeballs with THE 
OTHER network! i can get it


andrea venturi

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