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50 percent of U.S. cable subscribers to have tru2way by 2013, says ABI Research

Cable TV operators are starting to deploy tru2way set-top boxes, and in 2013 about half of all U.S. cable subscribers will have a tru2way STB, according to ABI Research.

Tru2way, the rebranded Open Cable Applications Platform (OCAP), allows any device with a tru2way-compliant receiver to receive premium cable TV programming on any operator’s network with the right CableCARD.

While ABI Research forecasts significant growth over the next five years for tru2way, many obstacles and interoperability challenges must be overcome along the way.

A new ABI Research brief, “The Outlook for tru2way,” examines the motivation behind tru2way and discusses the basic hardware and software requirements, as well as potential issues and pitfalls.

Tru2way is a double-edged sword for cable operators, according to ABI Research. On the one hand, they want to own the customer’s entire user experience, and they aren’t ready to allow others to start loading applications into the STB. On the other, an open cable standard will reduce the tremendous cost burden that custom systems and STBs place on the entire cable business.

Interoperability may be the biggest tru2way challenge.

“There’s no real interoperability testing, and no industry group focused on making sure that all the devices brought to market will work in all cable systems,” said ABI Research principal analyst Steve Wilson.

Without applications and devices that are portable across cable systems, no retail market will appear, and operators will continue to be responsible for set-top boxes, he added.

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