Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Big bandwidth from your living room ...

Plan For A Gigabit To The Home In 10 Years

by Dave Morgan

Imagine how home entertainment - and all of media and marketing - will change when we all have one full gigabit-per-second, two-way Internet access in our homes. That's what Netflix CEO and legendary entrepreneur Reed Hastings challenged interviewer Chris Anderson and a few hundred conference-goers to imagine at Wired's "Disruptive by Design" conference in New York earlier this week. (While cable modem technology can now theoretically support up to about 30 megabits per second, most providers offer service with between 1 Mbps and 6 Mbps bandwidth for downloads, and between 128 Kbps and 768 Kbps for uploads.)

It was that vision that drove Netflix's development of its streaming service. Back in 2005, when 56k models were the home Internet delivery platform of choice, Reed and his team made a bet that Moore's Law would apply to home bandwidth, and that it would double every 18 months. He was right. It has. If it keeps doing it for the next 10 years, we will have a gigabit to the home. Seem farfetched? It's not. That is the speed Google is building in Kansas City for its ultra-fast Internet test market.

It's very liberating to think of a future when dynamic, addressable, measurable and interactive media and advertising can be delivered to 80% of Americans with virtually no bandwidth constraints. What will this enable? Here are some of my thoughts:

Explosion of choices in views and angles, not just channels. Cable TV and digital cable brought us an explosion of choices in channels. Massive bandwidth will do the same for multiple and expanding views and camera angles on programming, particularly in sports.

Anything, everything TV. The notion of channels and choices will probably disappear entirely. Anything you want - everything you can imagine - will be available.

Limitless resolution. The notions of standard definition, high definition and pixelization will disappear. Everything will be robust. If it wasn't created in a robust format, the cloud and your presentation device with render it that way.

Unbridled creation. Viewers won't just be consumers of incredibe video content; they will create it as well. Consumers' home cameras and "photo-shopping" tools will be as robust as professionals used to use.

Massively robust associated devices. If you think that the latest laptops, wifi systems and smart TV's are powerful, don't forget that the entire Apollo mission could now be managed on a desktop computer. I don't know what our home electronics will be like in 10 years, but given the power of the network available to them, I am sure that they will knock our socks off.

What do you think? In a gigabit to the home world, what will your home be like? What will our industry be like?