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5 Questions: A Cable Demo Litmus Test

Believe it or not, some early press releases for The Cable Show have started to hit the wires. (Didn’t we just wrap up Cable Show ’09?) And while I’m not ready to talk about any Motorola news yet, the early releases have me thinking about what we’ll see at next month’s event. Like any tradeshow, some of the demos will feature technological advancements with the potential to improve services, decrease costs, and spur innovation. Others will offer little more than smoke and mirrors. To help separate the real stuff from the eye candy, here are five questions to consider with every demo you see.  Note, this list could be adapted for use at other trade events, but your mileage may vary.

5 Questions for Evaluating a Cable Show Demo*

  1. Does it work on a live network? (or just in a controlled booth environment…)
  2. Is the price range in the realm of something either a service provider or a consumer (or both) would pay?
  3. Are you being asked to judge the demo as a concept, or an actual product?
  4. Does the demo show something that most content owners would conceivably support?
  5. Will it scale? (both the technology and the business model…)

*One point for each “yes,” with further weighting based on the answer for #3.

2 Responses

  1. I really hope that vendors are ready to show more live next gen navigation interfaces running on real set tops (not a computer simulation). I think the market is ready for an HD UI overhaul, and Operators need that up front UI and feature appeal in order to grab the Gen-Y market segment. Remember Gen-Y is the biggest up and coming consumer since the Baby Boomer Generation. Gen-Y is the Baby Boomer’s kids and we’re really shaping the future of Customer Service and product development. Gen-Y is quick to judge, grew up with technology and is used to their flashy modern user interfaces on their iPhones, Android Phones, Windows 7, Mac OS, etc…

    Motorola’s latest DCX product line and beyond should be poised ready and willing to accept these next generation UI’s. Motorola for one would love to see their hardware powering something as aesthetically pleasing as the very successful iPhone, for instance. MSO’s current software really limits these high end set top boxes that Motorola (and others) manufacture. In many end users mind, while they have no choice, some are put off by the brand name, associating old 1990’s user interfaces with the “Motorola Cable Box”. “Why do I have so much choice, and such a powerful user interface in the palm of my hand in the mobile marketplace?” some may ask. Well, hopefully MSO’s and software developers have some tricks up their sleeve at this year’s Cable Show.

    By the way that new DCX3200 Phase 2 is nice. Slimmer case design and the front display from the DCX3400 returns on the 3200. Multi-Room with optional MOCA is a must. I’m surprised “optional” is still a keyword in 2010.

  2. Looking forward to seeing your coverage and separating the fluff from something realistically coming soon from the MSOs.

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