Kiss your cable box goodbye

WSJ Online:

Sony Corp. and six of the biggest U.S. cable operators announced an agreement to create digital televisions capable of receiving cable service without a set-top box.

Sony signed a pact with Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Cox Communications, Charter Communications Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp. and Bright House Networks to develop technology that will allow consumers to eliminate set-top boxes, yet still receive basic as well as advanced cable services, such as pay-per-view movies.

The new technological standard should enable a new generation of TVs to include video-on-demand, digital video recording, interactive programming guides, and other services, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association said Tuesday. By eliminating the set-top box, cable companies can simplify installation and reduce costs, while consumers can worry about one less component in their home theater systems. . . .

Sony and the cable operators will adopt a Java-based application called tru2way as the nationwide interactive standard, which will allow for the manufacture of new “plug-and-play” interactive devices that can be used with TV sets.

The technology could also make it easier for consumers to receive the full range of cable-based services on other devices, such as laptops, MP3 players, and cellphones.

Via Jeff Jarvis, “The cable box should have been dead at least a decade ago. The only thing that kept it alive was cable companies’ business model built around control and restriction. But you can no longer make a business on telling us what we can’t do.”

Now how about getting our internet signals to our TV screens!