As the US government is investigating Goldman Sachs' case in which the financial titan allegedly materially misstated and omitted facts in disclosure documents for a synthetic CDO product, many financial industry analysts claim that the financial service industry has not innovated anything for its customers in the past 40 years except the ATM machines. Unlike the financial service industry, the Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) sectors have been at the forefront of all kinds of innovation for many years. And again at this year's NCTA The Cable Show 2010 in Los Angeles, a myriad of innovation demonstrated here has shown us that the media, cable and technology industry is still marching ahead with strong momentum.
The big themes here this year, probably similar to many other media and technology trade shows, are home 3D and TV Everywhere technologies.
3D technology has been hyped for sometime, with the movie Avatar pushing it to a recent peak in real user consumption. Followed by Alice in Wonderland, How to Train Your Dragon and more new 3D movie releases, 3D's initial success in movie theaters is undeniable. But more problems emerge when it comes to the mainstream home adoption of 3D technology, such as the lack of content support, the hassle of wearing a glass and consumers' willingness to pay for 3D. Technology providers are fearless for these problems, with companies like Motorola, Ericsson, NDS, OpenTV and a lot more demonstrating their development and commitment in this realm. Meanwhile, the atmosphere under the theme is a little different from the hyped 3D world. When we talk to executives from various firms in cable and technology industry, most of them acknowledge that the mainstream home 3D adoption will take longer than we think, as the industry makes effort to address the problems pertaining to 3D in the home. Therefore, it is reasonable that 3D technology will continue its evolution as the next growth area for the industry while its entry to most of our homes might take over ten years to be realized.
TV Everywhere is another major topic at The Cable Show 2010. TV Everywhere here not only refers to the initiative which the cable industry in working on, but also touches upon anythings that could enable users to watch videos on any device anytime anywhere. Major cable companies continues their progress on the project, which offers their existing cable subscribers to watch the programs they already subscribed to on any device they want. The Wimax-based 4G network provider Clearwire, Sprint, Time Warner Cable and Comcast's 4G service partner, is rolling out its service in increasing number of US cities. The 4G network with higher bandwidth comparing to current 3G network could help users consume more traffic intensive content, such as HD video and video games, on the go. Echostar's Slingbox forges ahead the place-shifting TV service. In addition to the consumer product line, the place-shifting technology is integrated to its set-top-boxes, allowing operators to deliver a seamless place-shifting experience across TV, computer, and mobile devices. Furthermore, the online video platform industry carries forward their services helping cable and media firms improve their online video delivery process. While it is exciting to see all these innovation going on at the show, it is believed that the mainstream adoption of consuming any media content anytime anywhere are still going to take years to consummate.