New York -- Telecruz Technology Inc. president and CEO Kris
Narayan last week tried to drum up interest in an inexpensive new chip-set technology that
would add convergence features to televisions.
Telecruz will likely bypass the emerging digital cable
set-top market and work directly with television manufacturers, Narayan said. The
technology would allow manufacturers to add interactive-television services ranging from
electronic programming guides to e-mail and full Internet browsing for about $17 to $25
over the cost of a comparable television.
'I believe that ultimately, it will all go into the
television,' Narayan said, 'because that's where the best cost proposition
The economics of putting the technology directly inside the
TV, rather than in a set-top box, are compelling because a manufacturer can use a single
power supply and cut down on the cost of other materials. Working directly with the
television manufacturer helps to ensure better on-screen displays, Narayan added.
Television-makers are not likely to become heavily involved
in selling interactive services on a month-to-month basis. But Narayan said those
high-volume companies are still eager to add such features because they're afraid
that otherwise, their products will simply become monitors for personal computers, and
they would lose their brand equity.
He admitted that one reason why Telecruz is shying away
from the set-top is because there are so many other Silicon Valley companies targeting
'About 40 companies are going after the same
box,' he said.
While most consumers might prefer not to pay a monthly fee
for a digital set-top when they could get the same features in a television set,
that's not to say that there's no market for set-tops with interactive features.
But the sooner those boxes are deployed, the better.
'There's an intermediate need for set-top
boxes,' Narayan said, because there are people who want features supported by set-top
boxes, and there are others that don't. 'Over time, the need to have those
features inside the TV will increase,' he added.
Because the life cycle of the TV is longer and the number
of TVs per household is increasing, set-tops may deliver interactive services to homes
that aren't yet ready to replace their televisions. That number of homes is likely to
be high while consumers hold out for low-cost digital televisions.