Apple Internet TV ? or Google ?
There is much speculation of the anticipated ‘next move’ of Apple, notably in the area of taking Apple TV to the next level, a la providing of Internet TV via the iTunes framework.
However, I believe that the real opportunity in the next disruptive wave of video, movies, TV, and the Internet is more likely to rest with Google, particularly with their acquisition of Motorola and the doorway to developing a truly Internet/TV integrated set top box.
This is because, in my opinion, the real breakthrough in both the Internet and cable TV programming is going to come when the full bandwidth of the broadband coax cable is used almost entirely for the Internet Protocol (IP) stack.
Currently, the broadband bandwidth of coax is inefficiently allocated and compartmentalized in frequency multiplexed video bandwidth slots for dedicated cable TV programming, with just a couple of such slots reserved for carrying IP traffic.
When the full bandwidth of coax is used to stream on-demand video via IP (and multi-casting so as to avoid duplicate streams for the same programming), the true convergence of the Internet and TV (and search, and clickable advertising, etc) will begin to be realized. Instead of offering the services separately, the real disruption will occur when the medium is integrated at the network, datalink, and wire level (levels 3, 2, and 1).
As others have pointed out, the Cable TV industry is not ‘hurting’ like the music industry was when Steve Jobs pulled 99-cent track downloads out of his rabbit hat. Google and Motorola can easily provide the technical means to integrate both content providers, broadcasters, ISPs, and Cable TV infrastructure sectors — but the business model of the existing Cable TV market providers will have to evolve and be attractive to the Cable TV franchise. The bandwidth of the Cable TV coax is so high that it will be a very long tme before competitive “last mile” delivery infrastructure (i.e., fiber) can reach the critical mass to replace or threaten coax.
The Cable TV providers see that long-term trend coming, and it will provide them with the incentive to work out new relationships with the consumer to bring new life into the existing coax network.
And can you imagine how the real consumer economy, and the advertising and marketing efforts of any and all manner of business, will respond when it is possible to integrate clickable Internet links on top of, superimposed, and synchronized with, video, movie, and TV programming of all kinds — including commercials, of course ?
It will be absolutely HUGE !