HD TV over Internet.

HD TV to come from the Internet next year, rather than the tradiitonal TV programming providers, is one of In-Stat’s predictions for 2007. Why are incumbents so often outflanked by nimble upstarts?

Why is it that new entrants to a market are usually streets more far-sighted than the incumbent players? One of the In-Stat predictions for next year is that high-definition TV programming will be delivered via the Internet. When it’s only being delivered by the cable, terrestrial and satellite TV broadcasters in sporadic dribs and drabs. For years BT resisted broadband Internet and then, when it gave in, made it available in the measliest data rate it could – 128kbits per sec – with the explanation: ‘Why should people want any more? What are they going to do with it?’ Whereas it was boringly ruddy obvious what people would want to use it for – video – and, for that, the more bandwidth the better. The gentleman who dug up my road eight years ago to put in co-ax told me that his managers thought it was cheaper than putting in fibre. Maybe at the time, but what a terrible lack of foresight. Even the great Bill G is credited with the statement: ‘540K (PC memory) ought to be enough for anyone’. Whereas the lesson of history is that people always want, and find uses for, more. More memory, more speed, more bandwidth. If the traditional TV players find themselves outflanked on HD TV by nimble upstarts sending programming down the Internet, then it will prove a long-noted phenomenon in the high-tech industry: that the newcomer to a market sees the potential much more clearly than the incumbent.

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