(Boston, MA) This year's NCTA show, the cable industry's biggest annual gathering, featured a powerful spate of innovative tech announcements that few industry founders could have imagined when they first started stringing wires to deliver better over-the-air TV reception. For example, on Monday, a group of top cable operators, including Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable, announced Cable WiFi, which will enable those companies' customers to gain access to major metro Wi-Fi networks operated by the group, creating 50K+ monster hotspots.
Comcast, the nation's top cable company, unveiled Project Dayview, a sophisticated user interface that cuts across TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Through one screen, Comcast customers can access data and information from their TV, voice, Internet and even home security services. On top of that, Comcast announced the launch of X1, which is a "next-generation cloud enabled television platform" that uses IP technology and cloud services to enable customer creation of customized TV apps.
In other words, this is not your mother's cable industry. Tom Power, Chief of Staff for the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, articulated well just how far and how fast the industry has evolved into a high-tech powerhouse.
Speaking during a public policy lunch, Power noted that he's been attending the NCTA show off-and-on for years. He reminisced that the major announcement at his first cable show was the launch of cable network, TVLand, which began as a channel devoted to showing "classic" TV shows from TV's past.
"Twenty years ago the big news was that we got to see re-runs of a talking horse," Power said. (TV Land actually launched as Nick-at-Nite in 1996, but the point is still valid.)