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Stick A Fork In It, 2013

12/02/2013 10:02 AM

 


With another Thanksgiving just behind us, it seems timely to pursue the theme that is “stick a fork in it.” As in, it’s done. Over. Kaput.

But first: None of what follows comes from a place of snark or malice. We live in agile times, and one of the adages of agility is “fail quickly.” Failing quickly frees up resources for other stuff. So: This isn’t personal. It’s business.

Let’s start with OCAP, the OpenCable Application Platform. A federally mandated middleware for cable set-top boxes, (what could possibly go wrong?), OCAP was/is the technical underpinnings of “Tru2way” devices — which the consumer-electronics industry unilaterally exited last year.

This year, as more operators sign onto or kick the tires of RDK — the Reference Design Kit — they’re finding ways to maneuver away from OCAP. Technically, that means a different, more modular and open pipeline inside a set-top or gateway for things like tuner acquisition, closed captioning and linking in to such security mechanisms as conditional access.

And while it’s almost never wise to stick a fork into an electronic device, we’re sticking a collective fork into all hardware streaming devices that aren’t Roku or Chromecast. Why? Between the two of them, and the fact that most HDTVs today come with built-in ways to connect to online video, it’s game over.

Google TV, we’re sticking a fork in you. In my little OTT video lab, we’ve loyally, doggedly fiddled with half of your 10 iterations (software and hardware) so far. And if it’s true that your corporate culture expects nine failures for every one home run, then your long ball is Chromecast, the $35 doodad that turns an unconnected TV into a connected TV.

We’re pre-emptively sticking a fork in Intel’s OnCue video service, still rumored to be on Verizon’s shopping list. Why? Intel’s primary motivation, for pretty much everything it does, is to catalyze the need for faster chips.

Remember the very early days of cable modems? Intel was there, in a big way, with a modem it created — because it saw big things in that thing called The Internet.

Video is bigger and more computationally complex than most things on the Internet, so it makes all the sense in the world for Intel to be on the prowl. Verizon’s intentions, should the rumor become reality, seem more wireless-focused than FiOS-focused. So maybe someday with our Verizon Wireless bundle, there’s a video component. But it likely won’t be called Intel OnCue. Hence the fork.

Again: None of this is necessarily bad news. Beginnings and middles usually have endings. Endings are educational, and almost always contribute to that thing that is wisdom.

Stumped by gibberish? Visit Leslie Ellis at translation-please.com or multichannel.com/blog.

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