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MSOs to Miss Tru2way Date

6:40 PM -- The MSOs that signed that "binding" memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) will collectively miss an original deadline to have all the headends of their digital cable systems rigged up for tru2way by July 1, 2009.

Details of the "binding" MOU were revealed last year, centering on an "open" platform that aims to spawn a retail market for interactive digital cable set-tops and televisions. The six largest "incumbent" U.S. cable MSOs -- Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications Inc. , Charter Communications Inc. , Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), and Bright House Networks -- signed the agreement. (See Sony Supports tru2way and Revealed: The Tru2way MOU.)

Those MSOs, which represent 80 percent of all U.S. cable subs and roughly 105 million homes passed, had originally pledged to have their respective headends ready to go by tomorrow. Charter, which is in bankruptcy, has an additional year to fulfill its part of the agreement, however.

"At the end of the day, we're not going to make the full rollout by July 1 of 2009," Comcast Corp. SVP of strategic planning Mark Coblitz said in an interview this afternoon. "But it's not that far off," he stressed, noting that the economy, shifting priorities, and the delayed broadcast digital TV transition were among the elements that played a role in cable's inability to hit the original July 1 commitment.

He said the cable industry has been in close contact with the consumer electronics industry on how the tru2way deployment is proceeding, but declined to say how close Comcast got to hitting the mark.

National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) officials are expected to provide a bit more detail, at least from a collective MSO standpoint, on Wednesday morning.

We'll have a more comprehensive view on this development tomorrow.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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