Friday, January 11, 2008

Internet TV Moves Closer to You at CES2008

In November, I posted the following within my initial series on just how radical the change in home entertainment will be:

    "While the home entertainment industry struggles to cope with changes over he next 5-to-10 years, viewers who want to watch scripted tv will need to adapt."
With CES 2008 comes the announcement that new TV's are going to have plugs to connect to your home network and the internet, that Echostar - the satellite tv folks - have released an off-the-air DVR with both digital and analog tuners and a network plug so you'll be able to "access premium Internet-based TV programming via broadband Internet" as well as record your digital HD off-the-air shows.

One of the most interesting out of CES is xStreamHD, a satellite based 1080p set-top box system. What we have here is:
  • A box with three "Off-Air HD tuners" and recording capability.
  • Plus a service providing extremely rapid downloading of DVD content in HD - possibly including TV show box sets.
In other words, besides movies you could watch all the last season's shows you might be interested in without commercials, plus OTA HD tv. Most everything I watch on cable and OTA channels comes out on DVD within a few months after the season ends. And shows that find an audience whatever the initial medium could be delivered this way.

xStreamHD will have to be well capitalized for the long haul. And they are initially going to have to give away their boxes, dishes, etc. for an 18-month contract. But they and their competitors - Unbox, Vudu, etc. - are pointing away from DVD's and cable or satellite tv as the delivery medium. And TV manufacturers are now joining them.

Ironically, that's what the writer's strike is all about.

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