Cable-television operators, who have long sought a way to do away with the set-top box, say they have found a way to make that dream a reality. Even so, a number of hurdles still have yet to be worked out. In May, Sony Corp. and six of the biggest U.S. cable operators agreed to use Cable Television Laboratories Inc.'s technology standard, dubbed tru2way, saying the innovation would enable a new generation of TV sets to include video on demand, digital video recording, interactive-programming guides and other services -- all without the use of the ubiquitous cable box. Sony signed the agreement with Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Cox Communications Inc., Charter Communications Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp. and Bright House Networks. Because of technical limitations, satellite providers are unable to provide two-way interactive services such as video on demand. The cable operators, with the exception of Charter Communications, have pledged to adopt tru2way by midsummer 2009. Several observers say various factors stand in the way, including getting cooperation from electronics retailers and coming up with a business model to make the idea take hold.
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