Panasonic Plans Tru2Way Sets

Dave Zatz —  March 13, 2008

panasonic-ocap.jpg

Looks like we’ll really see a resurgence of CableCARD televisions later this year. Unlike the first generation of one-way communication and single tuning sets, the new generation will employ OCAP tru2way. According to Home Theater Magazine:

all Panasonic PDP and LCD sets incorporate ATSC tuners and some will soon incorporate OCAP two-way cable cards allowing for on-demand services without a set-top cable box.

Being a minimalist, the clutter-free aspect of TVs like these appeal to me. Though, I’m not sure if I’m willing to forgo DVR functionality for the sake of neatness. But I bet my mom is.

Yet to be addressed: How will these televisions deal with SDV… Built-in switching capabilities or will they also need a tuning resolver accessory?

7 responses to Panasonic Plans Tru2Way Sets

  1. I was brainstorming with Ben D and came up with the idea that manufacturers should install some flash memory to give me a small buffer allowing basic pause, ffw, rw without a full-on DVR experience. Enough to use the restroom, answer the phone, or queue up content to fast forward past all the commercials.

  2. No need for a tuning resolver. The SDV will be taken care of because, as CableLabs is happy to tell us, it’s Tru2Way :) The downstream communication for tuning will be handled in the same way existing cable boxes work (along w/ VoD and PPV).

  3. Good point. Man, I guess I needed another shot of espresso in my frap today. And maybe this is why Google News dropped me. ;)

  4. Spent some time with both Panasonic and TV Guide at CES talking about tru2way.

    These will be available this year and are currently being tested. No extra devices will be necessary and you’ll have the exact same functionality as a normal cable issued STB. So this includes the same guide, VOD and access to SDV channels. It’ll use the same CableCARDs that are currently deployed.

    DVR’s could be built into the TV, but Panasonic doesn’t have one planned.

    Ohh, and tru2way TV remotes will have extra buttons for the cable co’s UI, like a triangle etc.

  5. What I’m curious about is whether Panny will offer a blade for their Pro line that includes CC w/ Tru2Way. I’m hoping to get a 50″ Panny Pro w/ upgradeable slots. It would be nice to know if this would work. I’d rather rent another CC in addition to my TiVo HD than get a Comcast box.

  6. Dave – Instead of including flash in the TV they should just include an SD slot, like many TVs have anyway for picture viewing, and allow the set to use an SD card as a buffer. Then users who want it can just stick in an SD card – and those get bigger all the time, what are we at now, 32GB? (Not cheap, sure, but for just a buffer a 2GB card is probably enough, and those are pretty cheap now.)

    But it would mean including an encoder chip to handle analog channels, unless they only allowed buffering of digital channels. Once cable goes all digital things like buffers and DVRs will get much easier – all the encoding requirements go away.

  7. Even a 1GB card would give you about 1.5 hours of HD storage, which you’d think would be enough most of the time for simple pause/fast-forward/rewind within a show. 2GB of storage would probably be sufficient for any reasonable use, including full movies, sports, etc.

    I thought somebody had already done this on a TV set, though only for a short 10-30 second time frame, i.e. a reply of that last play or whatever. Don’t remember where I heard about it though.

    Of course all the cable cos will soon be offering the equivalent of Time Warner’s StartOver service, which will do this without any local flash storage. But you won’t be able to fast-forward thru the ads with that so the feature might still be worth something…