Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Slingbox: Fence buster?

I think Slingbox will significantly change the landscape of television, in the same way that Tivo has. Tivo introduced consumers to easy time-shifting of programming, popularizing the concept in a way the VCR could not.

Slingbox will take the concept to the next level, pairing the time-shifting of the home PVR with an appliance to place-shift the stored content. Once the idea of place-shifting reaches a critical demand among consumers, wholesale industry change must occur to compensate.

An article in WSJ (currently available only to pay subscribers, so i won't bother to link) mentioned that television protects its revenues through a mire of geographical and other types of fences. For example, cable companies rely on the revenues of selling their product to every node on their network. But, what happens if one node buys the service and self-broadcasts to other nodes? (ex- students watch cable in their dorm room from their parent's home or families watch their home television from their vacation home.)

Conceivably, Comcast will be providing the internet bandwidth which is reused to rebroadcast its own pay television content by Slingbox owners.

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