Sony plans TVs that will eliminate set-top boxes

Sony has signed a deal with major cable TV operators in the U.S. that will pave the way for digital televisions that can receive cable programs without the need for a set-top box.

The agreement, which other consumer electronics manufacturers are invited to join, is to create TVs and other devices that can provide interactive digital and high-definition video services, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), a cable television trade body in the U.S., said on Tuesday.

The six cable operators who have signed the agreement with Sony are Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision and Bright House Networks.

The NCTA said the agreement will help establish a competitive market for “two-way” digital cable-ready products. It addresses how such products will be brought to market with interactive services like video-on-demand, digital video recording and interactive programming guides.

The companies will use a Java-based technology called tru2way for their interactive “plug-and-play” standard. Tru2way, which was formerly called OpenCable, is built into televisions, set-top boxes and other devices, and will allow companies to develop services that can be offered across all products that comply with the specification.

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