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Posted by editor on May 28, 2008 at 7:06 AM PDT

Java kills the cable box?

One of the early "stories" used to promote Java was about how its run-anywhere nature would be great for all manner of devices, not just desktop computers, servers, or (a little later) phones. We're seeing evidence of this promise coming true in the set-top box realm, with the Blu-Ray Disc Java standard, and various interactive TV standards such as Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) and GEM (Globally Executable MHP) for the interactive TV set-top box.

Now Java stands poised to eliminate the set-top box altogether, by becoming an interactive TV platform that manufacturers include in the television itself.

PC Magazine reports on a major win for Java-based interactive TV in Sony to Build 'Tru2way' Interactive TVs

Cable companies and the consumer electronics industry came one step closer to reaching a deal on "plug and play" TVs Tuesday when six of the nation's largest cable companies and Sony Electronics agreed to a standard that will allow consumers to access interactive digital and high-definition video without the assistance of a set-top cable box. Sony and the cable companies – Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Cablevision and Bright House Networks – agreed to adopt: the Java-based "tru2way" solution powered by CableLabs; new streamlined technology licenses; and new ways for all those involved to cooperate in the development of tru2way technology at CableLabs, according to Sony and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

And there's a link here too. "tru2way" is the customer-facing name for services running atop the OpenCable Platform, which exists as a Mobile & Embedded Community project on

So how real is this stuff? Real enough for another manufacturer to show off prototypes:

Samsung Electronics announced support for the tru2way technology earlier this month at The Cable Show in New Orleans, where the company showed off the SMT-3090l, a dual-tuner tru2way HD DVR, as well as a set-top box and an LCD TV.

This is great news for the OpenCable folks, for Java, and for consumers, who'll eventually be able to buy whatever TV they like and be able to plug it directly into modern cable systems and get interactivity and electronic program guides... to say nothing of future tru2way devices and features, such as DVR functionality.

Also in Java Today,
Kirill Grouchnikov continues his series of interviews with top Java GUI developers by talking to the creator of in MiG Layout in Swing, RIA and JavaFX - interview with Mikael Grev. Mikael talks about his day job as a fighter pilot instructor with the Swedish Air Force, how Swing compares to competing GUI toolkits, his feelings about and plans for JavaFX, and whether Swing should be considered a premier choice for cross-platform application development. Also check out Kirill's interviews with Amy Fowler and David Qiao. has released a new patch, which is an update to NetBeans IDE 6.1. The patch includes bug fixes in modules for BPEL, C/C++, Database, Editing Files, GUI Builder, IDE Platform, Java, Java Debugger, Java EE, Java Persistence, JBoss Application Server, Mercurial, Mobility, NetBeans Plugin Development, RESTful Web Services, Ruby and Rails, SOA, Spring Web MVC, UML, Visual JSF, Visual Mobility Designer, Web Applications, Web Services, and XML and Schema. To obtain the fixes, the NetBeans IDE must be installed and running. You can download the fixes through the IDE's Plugins Manager.

The latest JavaOne Community Corner Podcast is

j1-2k8-mtT06: Wonderland with Kids.
"This presentation relates to the World Wide Volunteer Week 2008 Project named "Hello Buddy/Hola Amigo" organized by Gilda and Juan Carlos. The main goal in WWVW project is bridging the digital divide among children by improving their second language. In this particular project, two primary schools, one located in the Bay Area in California and another in Santiago Chile, will be connected via Wonderland, a virtual space developed at Sun Microsystems Laboratories. By using the resources provided by this virtual space, children will communicate with their buddies and practice their second language. Gilda Garreton in the Bay Area and Juan Carlos Herrera in Sun Chile are driving this project."

In today's Weblogs, James Gosling says
Happy Birthday, Ivan!
"I spent the afternoon at the Computer History Museum at an event celebrating the 70th birthday of Ivan Sutherland. He's famous for a whole lot of things, the earliest being Sketchpad, a man-machine graphical communication system that he built in 1962."