Sony and six large US cable companies - Comcast , Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Cablevision and Bright House Networks - have agreed to adopt a standard that will allow consumers to access interactive digital and high-definition video without the assistance of a set-top cable box.
The hardware interface is governed by the CableCard standard, and true2way is the Java-based middleware software used to control services.
True2way was previously known as OpenCable. true2way specs, Java sdk, etc are here; developer community site here.
The real goal behind these standards is to prevent any one set-top company from dominating and dictating to the cable companies. Currently Motorola and Scientific Atlanta (owned by Cisco) are the two leading set-top providers in the US.
I'm curious to see if adoption of these standards will create a market for small content providers, or will the cable companies who control the "gateways" to your TV restrict access like the telcos did when they adopted WAP? Or will the convergence of PC/Internet/TV kill cable?