Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Potential of the Cable Box

As I look at the cable tv industry as we enter 2008, I look closely at my and my family's own viewing habits. We have not yet upgraded to the HDTV screen, but I look forward to the day. At the same time, I wonder, how much viewing time to I get and how much do my children. I believe they watch 80% to my meager 20% on the family tv, while the bedroom tv is clearly 50/50 split with my wife, a minute fraction should the kids enter the room.

So how are these screens being used. Our DVR and VOD viewing is up dramatically from a year ago. And while pc viewing is also up, the clear preference is to watch on the larger screens. Also up is gaming, on both the pc and the tv. The Wii and playstation are active components, along with the DVD player, although its use has now declined in favor of the immediacy of on demand.

So as VOD has affected DVD usage, why shouldn't cable look to affect third party boxes with gaming. Why shouldn't the cable box allow more wireless activity to a gaming device with the added advantage of renting or buying an interactive game. The potential of the cable box to do more, even if it simply interconnects to third party devices, means the opportunity to sell gaming through the pipe and create another revenue stream. Gaming is not going away; cable should enable and simplify the retail purchase. We as consumers seek immediacy; that is why we prefer on demand to going to Blockbusters. Downloading Wii games through the cable box into the Wii player...priceless.