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: http://www.siegelgale.com/dialogue/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/tru2way.pdf 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 Andrea, 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 requirements. Regarding interactive TV and MHP software applications, MHP and OCAP have significantly different scopes. MHP was designed to enhance broadcast signals with additional interactive information (Java and resource files pushed in a data carousel in the broadcast stream that would eventually collect and run in your settop box or TV). It was seen as a step up from Teletext and MHEG currently in use (OpenTV, ATVEF "webTV", etc. were also in use at that time). The broadcaster/content provider controls the content, and when you change the channel it goes away. [dB] This seems mostly accurate. 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. The history is that retailers and US Congress demanded that the cable industry open up their hardware business to allow any manufacturer to build compliant settop boxes so consumers could buy them at retail, there would be competition, innovation, and all the consumer friendly stuff. The prototype for this was the US experience opening up the telco monopoly. Consumers used to have a choice of 3 phone models and would end up paying several times the value of the phone over time because they had to lease it from the phone company. That is exactly how US cable works. After Ma Bell was broken up, consumers could buy a huge range of phones ranging from very low cost to new features such as cordless, answering machines, caller ID, speed dial, etc. [dB] While the telco comparison seems convenient and is often used, it is a rather inaccurate comparison. In the USA Telcos operate purely as a common carrier <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carrier> while cable operators operate on a private network built exclusively by the funding of private investors. But, what happened in the case of US cable was a protracted process that looked responsive to the legislation, but hasn't resulted in any significant change in opening up the cable business, and in fact was used to give cable operators more control over manufacturers and consumers. [dB] On the contrary, as a result of this "protracted process" the US cable industry was forced to deploy millions of CableCARDs <http://www.cabletechtalk.com/tech-discussions/2008/06/30/clearing-the-air-on-cablecards-tru2way/> in their own set-top-boxes adding a heavy financial cost to the subscriber for technology that provides no practical benefits directly to the subscriber. (Boxes deployed by the cable operator with or without CableCARDs function exactly the same.) When this began, in the days when analog cable distribution dominated, TV manufactures could just add a cable-ready NTSC tuner (same NTSC modulation, but cable carrier frequencies) to enable any TV to connect to any cable network and tune all the clear channels provided. The simple network interface was standardized based on the analog terrestrial broadcast format (and some agility in RF tuning to handle different channel maps on different cable networks). A cable box was only needed to receive special pay channels. [dB] Actually back in the analog days (I was there) there was no such thing as a "Cable Ready NTSC Tuner". In fact many TV companies built products that claimed to be, but because of consumer complaints, the FCC actually passed rules preventing them using that label without providing a host of other features that were never included. See CFR-47 § 15-19(d) <http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/get-cfr.cgi?TITLE=47&PART=15&SECTION=19&YEAR=1998&TYPE=PDF> When it came to digital cable and return channel network protocols, no such standardization or interoperability existed. There were two basic systems from Scientific Atlanta and General Instruments (Motorola), and variations within them, plus different conditional access systems. Each cable plant deployed boxes specifically matched to their particular headend and had their customized EPGs, etc. designed into those boxes by the manufacturer ... built to order. There were two basic approaches that could have been used to create an open system: 1. Standardize and publish the network protocols and data formats (like EPG data files) so anyone could make and sell a settop box or TV anywhere. 2. Keep proprietary/incompatible network protocols and data formats, require each TV and settop box to plug in different hardware for each proprietary network protocol and conditional access (this is called CableCard), and for full functionality including EPG and VOD (CableCard 2, or "Tru2Way") each TV, PC, STB would have to run the OCAP operating system and allow the cable operator to control it and install their own OCAP applications like user interface, EPG, and VOD. [dB] Option-1 would have forever frozen the technology and prevented any further innovation by the cable operator. Obviously that was a bad choice. Option-2 was really a method designed to permit continued innovation and development by both the network operator and the consumer electronics manufacturer by using elements that could be replaced as the product is moved from network to network or as the network adds new features or capabilities. It would have been possible to implement option 1 using a DOCSIS two way channel and IP protocols running in parallel with the legacy proprietary systems until those could be phased out, but that system would have been potentially open to competition from other EPG providers, VOD providers, etc. and would have allowed manufacturers like Panasonic and Sony to build and brand their TV experiences, EPG, VOD, PVR features, internet features, etc. instead of being limited to whatever the cable operator wanted to offer and show to the consumer. [dB] "Anything is technically possible" however such an approach would have cost the industry billions to rebuild their networks and would have forever locked them into a world of technology frozen in time. 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. Now that they have this mess, some of the big cable operators want to fix their real network interop problems with something like DVB Common Scrambling System so their settop boxes don't have to be so expensive and complicated. It seems that they noticed they got into the Internet and VOIP business since launching the OCAP tactic, and its time to move on. [dB] I'm not sure, but he seems to be confused about certain waiver requests to the CableCARD deployment obligation (tax). These have nothing to do with fixing any network interoperability problems. Regarding the future of interactivity ... yes and no. Early experience revealed that the "interactive" features consumers like the most were things like "Pause" and "search" ... making it easier to watch what they wanted when they wanted and where they wanted. Most consumers are no longer satisfied being spoon fed a broadcaster's choice of shows and commercials tied to a TV set. There's a trend from "push delivery" to "pull delivery" (VOD, PVR, Internet, etc.). [dB] Absolutely. This is exactly why OCAP and tru2way were developed! To provide the consumer with an opportunity to buy the DTV of their choice, while enabling them to have access to this type of personalized, self-directed control of their viewing experience without any STB getting in the way. 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. 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. Kilroy Hughes -----Original Message----- From: opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Andrea Venturi Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 2:57 PM To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: [opendtv] Re: NEWS: LG & Funai sign tru2way <snip> as you know, interactive tv in italy started in 2003, was based on MHP (the ancestor of GEM/Ocap/tru2way) and it has been heavily promoted by the Government with not that big splash.. :-| there are many reasons about the failure, and it could worth another post another day. anyway, i was beginning to believe that the tv service was to stay a couch potatoes business forever when i heard about this OCAP commitment in US; many deal between hardware producers and cable companies, this marketing rebrand to bump up the cool factor. (albeit i really don't get the pun behind tru2play.. if you want to tell me) so it joined this mailin list and i spent some time listening. now that i think i catched the mood, i'd like to ask your opinion about interactive tv. what are you expecting from it? which contents, whih killer apps (gaming, infotainment, transaction) ? do you think it could work out for the masses or it will just stay in a niche (as it doesn't cost a dime over the standard DTV service anyway)? do you forecast a standalone business model based on it (t-commerce?) or is it going to be just eye candy.. is there an audience still stuck in front of the tv set (ready to buy this new service), or they are all already run away to the nearest blockbuster? i'd like to understand.. i'd like to think that, in Italy/Europe, we could get back from the US a new succesfull technology/business model that we could have been running five years ago, but it was just not the right time (or the right people..) thank you for your attention bye andrea venturi ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.