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Sony Electronics Signs Digital Delivery TV Deal with Cablers

27 May, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

Is the set-top box going the way of HD DVD?

An agreement signed May 27 between Sony Electronics and the six largest cable companies paves the way for “two-way” digital cable services, which would eliminate the need for a set-top box to receive cable TV, record digital video, and access video-on-demand.

The deal, announced by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), includes agreements with Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter, Cablevision, and Bright House Networks, which combined comprise 82% of U.S. cable subscribers.

“I congratulate Sony and the major cable operators for achieving consensus on a set of core principles that will speed the introduction of new two-way plug-and-play devices,” said Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “With this groundbreaking compromise, these industry-leading companies and other major cable companies will ensure that consumers will have broader access to innovative competitive cable ready navigation devices from commercial retailers and will have expanded options to enjoy cable programming, including video on demand and other interactive programming options.”

Edgar Tu, Sony Electronics' SVP of TV operations of America, said: “This marketplace agreement is good news for consumers. A national plug-and-play digital cable standard for interactive TV receivers, recorders and other products that is transferable and viable wherever you live is ideal for today's mobile society.”

The agreement is being extended to other consumer electronics companies, and sets a Java-based standard for delivering digital media directly to TVs.

“This is a landmark agreement which will provide a national, open and interactive platform resulting in more choices of services and products for consumers,” said NCTA president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow.

Consumer Electronics Association president and CEO Gary Shapiro said: “We are pleased that this technical challenge has been addressed through a voluntary, private-sector solution. We look forward to working with our cable colleagues to ensure Americans across the country have access to high value cable content while using the equipment of their choosing.”

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