Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2012

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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CES COVERAGE Smart TV, Smart Homes Take Top Billing at CES At the annual extravaganza known as the International CES, vendors introduced many new bandwidth-gobbling devices and services. These will present opportunities for providers that can offer robust broadband. A BBC Staff Report T he biggest, baddest trade show of them all – the Inter- national Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas each January – was bigger and badder than ever this year. Te 2012 International CES drew a record 153,000 attendees, including 34,000 from overseas. More than 3,100 exhibitors, occupying 1.9 million square feet of exhibit space, introduced an astonishing 20,000 new products. As usual, the show offered a foretaste of what will drive consumer bandwidth demand: more indispensable gadgets, more video content, more high-resolution formats, more (and easier) connectivity and more services moving to the cloud. For broadband service providers, two noteworthy trends were over-the-top video – especially delivered to TV sets – and home monitoring and control. Over-the-top video has been gathering steam (and making broadband providers anxious) for several years, but the home monitoring market is just be- ginning to take off. More gadgets, more video content, more high-resolution formats, more connectivity, more cloud services. FIRST, A GRAIN OF SALT Not all the consumer electronics products and services intro- duced with great fanfare in earlier years have met expecta- tions. Tat's no surprise, given the continued weak economy and other challenges. Cisco discontinued the Flip camcorder last year – who needs a Flip when filming videos on a smart- phone and uploading them to Facebook is so easy? (However, Toshiba introduced three Flip-like devices at this year's CES, so Cisco may not have had the final word on this subject.) Cisco also discontinued the Umi personal telepresence system, which most observers thought vastly overpriced. Sezmi, which offered an over-the-top video service, exited the business and sold its patents – again, a case of consumers' rejecting expensive APRIL 24 – 26 • INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL – DALLAS New consumer electronics devices are affecting bandwidth demand in MDU housing. Find out more at the Broadband Communities Summit. proprietary hardware. Digital photo frames, though they can still be purchased in any Walmart or Best Buy store, failed to generate excitement at this year's CES; this category may soon be superseded by tablet computers. Google TV has been slow to catch on despite Google's ef- fort to assemble an ecosystem of device makers, service provid- ers and application developers. Users don't find the interface particularly inviting; more important, Google failed to line up enough content. At present, the software is available on only a few television models. However, as analyst Colin Dixon of Te Diffusion Group points out, because Google is "the only com- pany at the table with an ostensibly open platform," Google TV could eventually become as prevalent in the TV world as Android is in the mobile world. (Dixon doesn't expect that to happen any time soon.) In any case, Google TV should probably be seen as part of a long-term strategy that includes the makeover of YouTube from a destination for cat videos to a home for mainstream but independently produced long-form content – in other words, the TV of tomorrow. Other aspects of the strategy involve building a gigabit network in the two Kansas Cities to test the TV of tomorrow and, perhaps, offering a pay-TV service over the KC networks. 3DTV has also been slow out of the gate. A Parks Asso- ciates survey of broadband households conducted just before the 2011 holiday shopping season found 3DTV ownership and 44 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012

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