FCC's Martin Harps on Tru2way
Cuban shared that opinion when he kicked off a Light Reading Live event last year in Los Angeles, holding that tru2way and the cable industry needed to take on an "Internet mind-set." (See Mark Cuban: tru2way Should Be More Open.) Martin chimed in on Saturday afternoon here at the annual gadget geekfest.
Martin, who said he has no plans to resign his post before his term is up in 2011, said tru2way and cable still have too much control and put "limitations" on innovations that, for example, would allow cable boxes to easily grab and display Web video on the TV screen.
He also complained about other perceived limitations, including the inability of users to put their own content into the guide. For example, he wondered why users can't click on a movie title and have info about that movie or movie recommendations based on that selection delivered through an IP connection and integrated with the video. Martin, who cited Microsoft's Media Player multiple times during the discussion, called such an innovation "exciting." [Ed note: Yaaaawwwwn!]
He didn't mention that the tru2way memorandum of understanding (MOU) inked last year attempts to address the issue of guide data, though it does come with some caveats. (See Revealed: The Tru2way MOU.) At a conference earlier in the day, CableLabs VP of video technology policy Jud Cary outlined this condition of the MOU, noting that tru2way set-top and TV makers can develop their own enhanced interactive program guides that overlay the screen, though they are required to obtain the data via Gemstar/TV Guide, which requires a license.
But Martin was more jacked up about future cable boxes that can obtain "alternative" video off the Web.
Martin is concerned that cable operators are doing what they can to slow down the Internet video wave to protect their own video services and revenues. "It's not a technological limitation," he said, calling cable's two-way video avenue "closed."
Martin obviously did not attend the tru2way panel earlier in the day. Baked-in support for over-the-top video is exactly the type of feature some cable execs think the consumer electronics guys should consider for tru2way boxes destined for retail. (See Cable's 'Dream Set-Top' .)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News