A new year brings another edition of the CEA’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Traditionally, this has been a “gadget” show, but in recent years, the telecom issues such as video delivery, broadband and voice services have played a larger role.
A few news stories related to the cable industry have already emerged this week.
When Comcast launched the Xfinity app back in November, there were references to streaming video coming soon. This was the week that Comcast announced the arrival of that streaming video. It was not in Vegas (as in ’08), but rather at the Citi Conference for Media, Entertainment and Telecommunications, that Brian Roberts announced that Comcast would support live TV streaming on tablet devices later this year. Read more here, but you can imagine how this made a stir at CES, with the emphasis this year on tablet devices.
Cisco CEO John Chambers presenting the company’s “Videoscape” TV platform yesterday, a new hardware and software system that will (to quote their press release) bring “together digital TV and online content with social media and communications applications to create a new, truly immersive home and mobile video entertainment experience.”
From the Wall Street Journal‘s coverage:
Consumers won’t be able to buy the Cisco boxes directly, as they do other devices already available from companies like Roku Inc. and Apple, which allow users to access the Web from their TVs but don’t offer a cable connection. Rather, Cisco will sell its hybrid boxes to cable operators who, in turn, will lease them to subscribers, the people said. Cable operators will be able to customize the software interface and decide on pricing for the boxes.
Sony announced a plan that would allow Time Warner Cable to deliver programming to their subscribers through the use of Sony’s Internet-connected Bravia HDTVs. Yahoo said they were working with programmers such as ABC, CBS, HSN, and Showtime Networks to provide enhanced interactive TV features through broadband-connected TV sets and other devices.
Of course, the manufacturers aren’t just pushing connected TVs, but also 3D sets. “3net” was announced, a 24-hour 3D network that’s a joint venture of Discovery Communications, Sony and IMAX. On a related note, a company called Marchon announced they would be offering 3D glasses with designer frames, such as Nautica and Calvin Klein. Prescription lenses will become available later this year.
UPDATE: I missed the announcement of Hollywood’s Ultraviolet initiative, which will allow consumers to purchase content once and view it on a variety of platforms.