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Jun 23 2008   5:01PM GMT

Overheard: Is the set-top box doomed? Not likely.

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

cynthiabrumfield.jpg Less than two weeks after the blogosphere and press erupted with stories that the cable TV set-top faced extinction as a result of Sony signing onto a major interactive TV initiative by cable operators called Tru2Way, folks close to Tru2Way say the first certification test of the technology is a “disaster of spectacular proportions.”

Cynthia Brumfield, Terrible Troubles with Cable’s Tru2Way Initiative?

Cynthia got slammed for this blog post, but even James McQuivey (Forrester) has said “So here’s where I stand on tru2way: I’ll believe it when I see it.” As close as I can figure it, here’s what the big deal is:

1. Cable companies would like to get rid of set-top boxes. They cost them money.

2. TV manufacturers are getting extra press by announcing they are getting behind Tru2way as the standard for allowing the TV itself perform the functions of the set-top box. (True2way is open source.)

3. A lot of industry experts don’t see how the business model for this change is going to work — consumers worry that putting the interface in the TV means it’s one more thing that can break on their TV — vendors remember a former effort to get rid of the set-top box (called CableCard) that just confused everyone and went belly up.

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