tru2way becoming truNOway as Panasonic drops TV sets

Panasonic's (NYSE: PC) announcement that it will stop marketing tru2way televisions is another--and perhaps the final--nail in cable's drive to move its two-way interactive services into consumer electronics retail market. tru2Way, hailed as the beginning of the end for set-top boxes, is turning into truNOway, at least as far as CE manufacturers, who count every nickel spent on a device, are concerned. If it comes down to cost, tru2way is too expensive.

In 2008, amid great fanfare, a consortium of cable and big-time consumer electronics manufacturers Sony, Panasonic, LG Electronics, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks said they'd support the notion of building access to cable's two-way services into televisions and other retail devices.

Only Panasonic followed through and now, Jeff Cove, the manufacturer's technology and alliances VP, issued a statement that the company has "no tru2way products at retail and there are no announced release dates for Panasonic tru2way retail products at this time."

In other words, if you want to access cable's two-way services you need ... fanfare and drum roll please ... a set-top box provided by the cable operator.

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