2009 Cable Tech Wish List

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Nothing like a few years of bankruptcy drought to color the imaginations of the resource-challenged! In this season’s techie-wish roundup Charter engineering takes the candy cane.

Let’s start with Doug Ike, vice president of advanced video and applications for the MSO, who wants “a fully-featured, Tru2way-based guide — that fits in a DCT-2000.” (Good luck with that.) Also on Ike’s wish list: A magic bandwidth wand. “Wave it over any congested plant and presto! Gobs more bandwidth.” (“Of course,” he adds dryly, “our product team has the magic bandwidth gobbling wand.”)

Marwan Fawaz, Charter’s CTO, seeks not just EBIF-based applications, but 3-D EBIF apps. (Ditto for longtime 3-D TV observer, EBIF evangelist and Starz senior director of advanced services Rebecca Rusk Lim, who hankers for a 3-D TV with rhinestone-encrusted shutter glasses.)

Bob Blackburn, senior director of digital engineering for Charter, seeks an iPhone app that “uses the internal GPS, cross-referenced to an extensive cartographic database, resulting in precise directions to the nearest Guinness dispensary.” Brilliant!

Tom Gorman, vice president of field operations for Charter, seeks a pair of “RF goggles,” to see how much signal is on the plant at any given location.

Also on Gorman’s wish list: A “customer attitude leakage detector.” As a tech rolls up to a home, the gizmo glows in accordance with the customer’s demeanor, ranging from “happy go lucky” to “potential hostage taker.”

Marv Nelson, VP of professional development for SCTE, wants a “small, USB-type dongle that identifies me as a cable customer and allows full access to all of my accounts and services when I’m outside my service area.”

Tops on the list for gadget connoisseur Mike Hayashi, executive VP of advanced engineering and technology for Time Warner Cable, is a wireless Skype camera. Intent: An alternative to walking around, talking into his MacBook — in a multilevel house. With a medium-sized dog underfoot.

Also: “Anything that’s better than an iPhone (I tried Android, etc. … they all kind of suck).” And: Standardized power adapters for all chargers (“and I’m not talking about a giant octopus.”) Lastly: A two-car lift for his garage.

Arthur Orduna, chief technical officer of Canoe Ventures, stepped up to wanting a way to break free of compulsive BlackBerry dipping. “I want a couple of free sessions to a self-help group to break this insidious habit,” he said, dipping into his BlackBerry.

For Bob Zitter, CTO of HBO: “I wish I had an eReader that would be permissible to use when the airplane is waiting on the runway or flying under 10,000 feet.”

Ray Starbird, CEO of Northpoint Media and former Cox Communications director of strategy, just wants Google Voice on his iPhone, for heaven’s sake. “The two together could be as delicious as chocolate and peanut butter … and if AT&T is concerned now, wait 'til Google assimilates Gizmo5 and adds real phone lines and number portability into Google Voice.”

For interactive-TV maven Tracy Swedlow: A digital assistant that cleans her house. (Yes, please!)

May all your wishes find you. Merry, merry!

Stumped by gibberish? Visit Leslie Ellis atmultichannel.com/blogorwww.translation-please.com.