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Marketplace Scratch Pad

The future of television

Scott Jagow Mar 9, 2010

Two pieces of news today provide clues about what TV and the Internet will be like in the not-so-distant future. Maybe it’s not that impressive to people who’ve grown up with the Internet and TV slowly merging, but as someone who remembers getting up to turn the dial on a wood-paneled Magnavox to channel U, it’s still kind of amazing.

Now, Cisco may have overhyped its announcement just a tad, saying it would change the Internet forever. Cisco simply unveiled a new router, the CRS-3. But it’s a whopper of a router, to be sure, which can transmit 322 terabits per second. It’s supposedly 12 times the capacity of existing routers, and that can only mean one thing — video:

John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, said this new router will serve as the foundation of the next-generation Internet that will see tremendous growth due to video.

“Video is the killer app,” he said. “Video brings the Internet to life and most of the devices that will be coming on the network will evolve quickly into video. “

“Whether it was gaming or video or tablets or ESPN bringing 3-D sports to TV, it’s about video,” he said. Chambers added that this video traffic, along with other data intensive applications for things such as health care, will require more bandwidth than anyone could have imagined a short time ago.

Check out this slide from Cisco’s presentation:

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Google and Dish Network are collaborating on a new television programming service:

The service, which runs on TV set-top boxes containing Google software, allows users to find shows on the satellite-TV service as well as video from Web sites like Google’s YouTube, according to these people. It also lets users to personalize a lineup of shows, these people said.

With the test, Google moves deeper into a crowded field of companies, large and small, that have been trying for years to marry the Web and TV and their business models–from rivals Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. to the manufacturers of televisions and set-top boxes.

Remember when companies were trying for years to come up with set-top boxes?

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