The term “tru2way” has the potential to conjure up all sorts of images in your head, but if Panasonic and Comcast have their way, you’ll be thinking of it as providing the kind of images and services you can’t live without. Executives from both of these companies visited Abt today to announce the imminent arrival of the first tru2way Panasonic VIERA HDTVs, which we will have on sale later this month (available for pre-order now) as an exclusive retail partner.
Panasonic and Comcast worked together based upon specifications developed by CableLabs, the industry’s research and development arm, to help develop this interactive digital cable TV service. As of today, tru2way is now active in the Chicago and Denver areas—the first in the U.S. to have this service—with more cities expected to be added in the coming months. The tru2way-enabled VIERA plasma HDTVs will have the integrated tru2way cable receiver capability built into the sets’ chassis, and will be offered in a 42-inch model (TH42PZ80Q) and a 50-inch model (TH50PZ80Q). No set-top box is needed, so there are fewer wires, fewer remotes, and setup is extremely easy.
With tru2way, you can access interactive entertainment, information, and features that are embedded in a particular program with just a click of your remote. The extra content includes interactive games, shopping, music, news, weather, local information, sports, interactive advertising, voting and polling, banking, and other services
“The arrival of the first tru2way HDTVs at retail combined with Comcast’s activation of its first tru2way head ends (the facility at a local cable TV office that originates and communicates cable TV and modem services to subscribers) are among the most significant milestones in the cable industry and are a huge win for consumers,” said Dr. Paul Liao, Panasonic’s chief technology officer. “At the May 2008 Cable Show, we stated with great confidence that the first tru2way HDTVs would be available for consumer purchase at retail by fall 2008. We are especially delighted to have partnered with Comcast and CableLabs to make good on that promise and bring the benefits of open networks to cable subscribers.” —by Graham W.