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Trial and Error

How Tru2way Started, According to Brian Roberts

January 8, 2008 11:34 AM

This morning at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts opened his keynote speech with a story. He said Comcast’s decision to reinvent itself and craft its “Comcast 3.0” strategy to introduce new, innovative products to consumers took shape at a CES show a few years ago.

“I was walking through the massive exhibit halls with my friend Glenn Britt, the CEO of Time Warner. This was one of my first visits to CES, and we were here with CableLabs, right when HDTV was becoming the rage. We were hearing price points were moving down. As Glenn and I saw the expensive technology on display we were struck by an amazing fact—cable with hundreds of channels was almost invisible at the Consumer Electronics Show.”

After that show, CableLabs and cable CEOs devised a plan to meet with executives of consumer electronics companies to talk about working together, Mr. Roberts said. The cable CEOs asked the electronics execs how they could work together.

The electronics execs’ response? In Mr. Roberts’ words: “Your systems operate as regional silos, your [consumer electronics] equipment is closed and proprietary, and historically cable hasn’t had the best track record of working with third parties, but even if [you] could innovate, every local cable system had a different technology, so we can’t sell our products at retail.”

Now that’s telling it like it is.

That experience formed the basis of Comcast’s tru2way platform rolling out this year, Mr. Roberts said.


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