Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Another Cable Box Could Bite The Dust

Have we all seen the news where the father shoots his daughter's laptop?  Well now it seems the two largest set top box manufacturers want to kill off their set top box business.  First Cisco announced its plans to rid itself of its S-A boxes, now Google announces that it will also rid itself of the Motorola set top box business.  "Google is looking to unload the set-top box business it will inherit from Motorola Mobility even before it closes on the $12.5 billion acquisition, The Post has learned. ... And at least two other smaller cable-box players, Pace and Thomson’s Technicolor, are also expected to test the marketplace by putting their businesses on the block, sources said. Once the main conduit to the couch, the clunky cable box is viewed in many circles as an obstacle to a newer generation of software and devices capable of integrating TV and the Web."

Consumers have long hated how poorly the cable box managed accessibility, search, and channel surfing.  Latency issues, clunky interface, unfriendly, the set top box was hated even before the internet showed that there were faster, easier, and smarter ways to find, search, view, and even share videos.  The loss of the traditional set top box might just enable cable operators to seek out means to better integrate their service with other devices that are also internet connected.  Tivo, Roku, Apple, XBox and even TV manufacturers themselves all come to mind.

Will cable operators see the light and work closer with these other companies or will they decide to partner up again and buy up the S-A or Motorola set top businesses?  Frankly not a smart move but one that may be considered.  But if history is any guide, just ask Canoe Ventures, a set top box partnership will only delay the inevitable.