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Tru2way: The Future Way Of Cable Television?

Tuesday, 20 May 2008 | 4:33 PM ET

At this year's cable show, everyone from cable operators to TV set makers are buzzing about a game changing new technology called Tru2way. Are you sick of that bulky set top box? Annoyed that you have no choice of cable operators? Tru2way could be your solution.

With Tru2way technology set top boxes would be unnecessary: all that data would be embedded in a chip put into your TV. Panasonic,LG, and Sonyare already producing TVs with the chips. With this TV you could subscribe to any cable provider. Comcast is leading the way, and a number are already working together in a consortium.

Cable providers are in the odd situation of not competing against each other since they each have their geographic regions, but this would help them compete against their new competition--Satellite TV and Telcos.

One part of the theory: if you buy a TV set with this chip already in it, at little or any incremental cost, you'd be more likely to go with a cable provider than with say, satellite, where you might have to pony up for a dish.

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And Tru2Way software would be open platform, so any developer could create applications for the cable service with anything from games, to shopping to voting for a contestant on a show. (Yes, the name refers to the fact that data would travel both ways, both to the consumer and back).

It's like Facebook's open platform: once the power is wrested from those handful of players, the innovation of many could really change the game.

It's still a ways off. The first step will be whether consumers buy TVs with the chips in them and that could happen as soon as this holiday shopping season. Once it's clear consumers are on board, it's also clear that cable companies won't be able to hesitate, and then we'd see the rush of independently-created software applications.

So yes, many steps to go, but a new approach, and the buzz at this conference is certainly a start.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.