Viodi View – 11/19/2008 Issue

For decades, the Western Cable Show was one of the premier destinations for learning about the convergence of television entertainment and technology. It was a sad time six years ago to be at the final Western Cable show, as the memories of the show were as much about the people and the parties as it was the business of multichannel entertainment.

To some extent, TelcoTV has filled the void left by the Western Cable Show, as, in addition to having similar agendas, they both occurred in the November/December time frame. Being in Anaheim, which was the primary home of the Western Cable Show, the parallels between the two shows were especially vivid this year. Even the size and mix of vendors of this year’s TelcoTV was similar to the final Western Show.

ViodiTV at TelcoTV 2008

Roger Bindl does an excellent job of capturing some of the magic of this year’s TelcoTV in this brief video montage. This video was featured in NTCA’s excellent The New Edge email/online publication.  I was honored to moderate a panel with Matt Cuson of Logitech, Michael Lantz of Accedo Broadband and Mark Henderson of Castalia Communications which looked beyond traditional content. More on that panel in a future issue.    

Convergence – More Business than Technical Challenge for Smaller Operators

The challenges that small telcos face regarding the convergence of services onto a single platform was the subject of a panel featuring industry experts. The overarching theme of the panel was the challenges surrounding convergence deal more with the business issues, as opposed to questions of technology.  Click here to read the rest of my observations.

Sneak Preview of OPASTCO’s 2009 Winter Conference – the Video click here to see a brief sneak preview of OPASTCO's 2009 Winter Conference

“Say aloha to valuable telecom knowledge and tropical trade winds,” says Ron Laudner, Jr. of OmniTel in this brief video produced and edited by Roger Bindl to promote the upcoming OPASTCO 2009 Winter Conference in Kauai, Hawaii.  Watch this video to see an entertaining preview of what can be expected from this upcoming conference.

Google’s Larry Page and FCC’s Kevin Martin Laud White Spaces for unlicensed BWA by Alan J. Weissberger

Google co-founder Larry Page was very encouraged about the FCC’s November 4th decision to open up white spaces (the unused portions of the new digital TV frequency bands- up to 700 MHz) for unlicensed Broadband Wireless Access (BWA). "White spaces are very important for the future of wireless broadband," Page said in his openning remarks at the recent WCAI 14th Annual International Symposium and Business Expo in San Jose.  Click here to read more.  

Android: An Open Handset Alliance (OHA) Project by Alan J. Weissberger

Android promises to be the first complete, open and free mobile broadband platform.

In this WCAI session, Google and Motorola described how Android will break down barriers to building innovative applications and thereby offer consumers a richer wireless experience. The main message was that the Android "open mobile ecosystem" will encourage software development of many new applications for mobile devices.  Interest has picked up substantially since Android became open source. Click here to read more.

Desperately Sprinting Ahead

Clever product placement ad for Sprint in a recent episode of Desperate Housewives. It may not have been so obvious except that before and after the placement, Sprint had commercials featuring their CEO, Dan Hesse.  Click here to read the rest of the post.   

People on the Move

Congratulations to Lawrence Brickman of Cloverleaf Digital and Michael Lantz of Accedo Broadband. Cloverleaf Digital adds Accedo Broadband’s casual TV games to the interactive television services they provide IPTV distributors.

Congratulations to Anthony Bontragger for the beta launch of the 1Cast personalized consumer news service. It looks to be a promising start for aggregating video news feeds from the likes of CNBC, Reuters, AP and others into a central portal. 

The Korner:  Congratulations Palin…….Michael, That Is

Some twenty years ago, there was a movie that assembled players from the Monty Python TV series along with American actors Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis. A Fish Called Wanda was an entertaining comedy featuring an assortment of odd characters. One of those characters, an animal-loving, people-hating, stutterer named Ken, was played by Michael Palin to great comic affect.

As it turns out the last name of Palin’s character was Pile. Although it was somewhat funny to essentially share the same name as a character in a hit movie, it was sort of embarrassing to be associated with such a flawed character. Fortunately, his last name was not mentioned in the movie.Ken with K-K-Ken (aka Michael Palin) at the 1989 or 1990 Western Cable Show in Anaheim

Fast-forward a year or two and who was to appear at the booth across from the one I was manning at the Western Cable Show, but none other than Michael Palin. As it turns out, Palin was in Anaheim promoting his A&E program, 80 Days Around the World. I casually strolled over to the A&E booth and approached Palin with my business card in hand.

No words from me were needed as I simply handed him my business card. The first words out of his mouth were something about needing to contact his attorney. We shared a laugh over the situation. He autographed his photo by starting it with, “To-to-to, K-K-K en….” He impressed me with his class and down to earth personality.

Palin is in the news again, as he is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his unique video travelogue with a new show, 80 Days Revisited. This one hour show is to debut on BBC1 around Christmas. It promises to be more than just about the places he visited, but is about reuniting with the people who helped get him to those places. Congratulations to Palin for this new installment to his old show.

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