Cable’s traditional set-top suppliers are designing many, if not all, of the features that come with CE- and PC-styled home media centers (think multi-room DVR and HD- VOD here.) Simultaneously, the technologists working on home networks, wired and wireless, are tackling the issue from the IP (Internet protocol) side of the network. On all fronts, the main barrier to media centers is known as “digital rights management,” or “DRM.” It’s always within two feet of any conversation about home media centers, sticking up at a pointy angle, demanding resolution. The problem is how to make a device that copyright holders will deem a “trusted domain,” to hold and share content — with other “trusted” devices. It’s the digital TV equivalent of “no shoes, no shirt, no service.” Ultimately, it probably comes back to whether people really want to do a lot of futzing with their digital photos, music, and home videos. Especially if it’s so complicated, you feel the need for an IT degree to jump in.
Usage: “HP” is also a fudge indicator, especially for new service providers. If, for instance, you ask for subscriber count and are answered in homes passed, it’s probably good to ask again…”yes, but how many of the homes you pass are customers?”
Wireless companies, such as those that sell nationwide WiFi (wireless fidelity) access for road warriors, offer shared downstream speeds ranging from 2-11 Mbps (again, as of 2005). Availability of downstream bandwidth varies depending on:
– “Cell” size
– Subscribership (how many subscribers are sharing a cell’s bandwidth)
– Simultaneous usage (what those subscribers are doing, bandwidth-wise)
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