Friday, November 18, 2005

Digital TV, Courtesy of... Cisco?

One of those days... plenty of newsworthy events, but little I feel the urge to comment on. It was days like these that probably contributed to my burn out a decade ago, taking me off the charts. So I won't push it. I'll keep today's blog short.

Tonight I notice, as I'm browsing through the AP newswire, that the line separating TV from computing is growing a little fuzzier. I've about come to the conclusion that only time stands between us and the consolidation of anything remotely data related. On one hand I revel in the knowledge that I live in a time when so many technological events foretold in the science fiction novels I read back in the '70s are coming to pass. On the other hand, I feel like Alvin Toffler understated things when he wrote Future Shock.

The latest indication that TV is encroaching on computers (or computers are encroaching on TV, take it as you will) is the announcement that Cisco plans to purchase cable-TV equipment giant Scientific-Atlanta. Since I'm a DirecTV subscriber, it was easy for me to forget all about Scientific-Atlanta, but they've been around forever - I once helped some friends sell SA satellite receiver systems back when it was techie-cool to have one of those monster dishes sitting in your yard. Now all Cisco needs is a TV programming source and they can set up their own cable network, without laying any cable! Just pump the programming across our already congested Internet connection to a set-top box that sends digital television to your HDTV receiver and (through the magic of routing technology) Internet data to your in-house PC network.

Imagine Comcast's screams as Congress tells them they have to allow Cisco to use their broadband network to send TV signals to their digital subscribers homes. This is going to be fun!

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