[opendtv] Re: PR: Majority of New HDTVs Powered By ATI

> -----Original Message-----
> From: opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx=20
> [mailto:opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Craig Birkmaier
> STBs are evolving into gateway devices that integrate a range of=20
> functions for the display and speakers to which they are attached.
>=20
That is certainly a possibility, but not one that I think is most
likely.
Far more likely, IMO, is that STBs will be able to integrate with or be
controlled by Home Media Servers, allowing cable system operators to
retain control over certain system elements (e.g. conditional access).
It will probably have its own local storage, but more or less under
control
of the system operator.

The STB will be sitting in a closet next to the Home Media Server
connected
via 1394 or similar. You can almost do that today if you like to tinker.
In my home you can can watch digital or analog cable, direcTV and OTA,
analog or down-converted digital, from any set, all from one program
grid under the control of a ReplayTV. You do have to change channels to
watch content off the server though :-).

> VOD may be an important service for cable companies, however, I'm not=20
> a believer in the long term success of this service. I believe that=20
> local caching is going to dominate over VOD for a number of reasons:
>=20
There will always be a split between content that makes sense to store
centrally and content that is better stored locally. And you, the
consumer,
need not know where. If you select to watch the copy of Sopranos that
you
'recorded' (which may be no more than setting a flag in a database at
the
head end) does it matter if it is a bitstream recorded live on your disk
or
the SVOD version prefed to the headend?

> 1. People will want to cache their favorite programs, rather than=20
> paying a small premium to watch them on demand from a remote server.
>=20
The reality today is that the "premium" is the $1-2 incremental cost to
have access to VOD. At least that is what Comcast charge me. That gives
me access to the 'non-premium' VOD content. If I paid for regular HBO I
would get HBO content OD. And so on.

> 2. Unless the laws are changed, local caching does not involve=20
> additional payments to the rights owners (because of the Fair use=20
> doctrine). VOD revenues must be split by the cable company and the=20
> rights owners.
>=20
The jury is still out on this one and anyone who claims to have THE
answer
is either a fool or a liar. SVOD revenues and costs are handled very
differently
than VOD, BTW. Unfortunately, legal issues may override technical issues
here.

> 3. MUCH DEEPER on-demand services will be offered directly by content=20
> owners more cheaply via the Internet as broadband speeds increase.=20
> Ironically, the cable companies are providing the broadband=20
> infrastructure to bypass their own entertainment networks.
>=20
It is already starting in cable space as content providers are beginning
to make back catalogs available via SVOD. Cable systems may act as a mix
of content providers, content brokers (I can get it for you wholesale)
or carriers.=20

> Integration of services is CRITICAL in the STB (or receiver) when we=20
> start to talk about the evolution of digital media appliances. In=20
> order to sell  STBs with PVR capabilities you need the traditional=20
> STB functions (tuners), an electronic program guide, and cache=20
> storage.
>=20
Absolutely. The winners may well be whoever figures out how to integrate
the various navigation and searching functions, along with related
information sources. 'Live' content, on demand and cached content,
rental
content, personalised news or sports magazines... one interface to unite
them all.

If anyone is attending SCTE's Emerging Technology '05 conference, come=20
along and heckle when I present "The Headend in the Basement" :-)

gary
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