In Perspective - How old are you?

Wed, 06/30/2010 - 8:30pm
Brian Santo, Editor-in-Chief

You’re engineers

Brian SantoSemiconductor companies are bitter competitors, and yet you’ll find engineers from Intel, Hynix, AMD, Samsung, Toshiba, Infineon, STMicroelectronics and more comfortably attending the same conventions and conferences.

CE makers are bitter competitors, and yet you’ll find engineers from LG, Sharp, Sony, Microsoft, Apple, Thomson, Nokia and more comfortably attending the same conventions and conferences.

Pay-TV companies are bitter rivals and … carefully keep to themselves with their own segregated trade shows and exclusive conferences.

Yet this month, we find NCC Media (the spot advertising company co-owned by Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable) representing DirecTV. TWC Media Sales and Comcast have been handling sales for FiOS for months.

The NCTA used to keep a list of the top-25 MSOs. A few months back, it revised its list to the top-25 multichannel video programming distributors, mixing up cable, satellite and IPTV.

Pay-TV companies have been hiring each other’s people for years. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that a pretty sizable minority of the current membership of the SCTE is associated with a company that used to be a phone company.

We’ve even seen the companies that used to be phone companies and the companies that used to be cable companies aligning (if not exactly joining forces) against the FCC. The enemy of your enemy is your friend, or something like that.

The vast majority of vendors that make hardware and/or software for cable also make similar products for IPTV and DBS – when they’re not the exact same products. Pay-TV providers often use the same technologies, the same standards, the same protocols (e.g., EBIF, MoCA). And in some instances where they’re not, maybe they ought to be.

Clearly, everyone in pay TV has business, technological and political reasons to associate. But still, we’ve got The Cable Show over here and TelcoTV over there. I’m all for making money off trade shows, but seriously?

The difference between delivery platforms might make a difference to the people who have direct responsibility for building and maintaining those networks, but to everyone else, the difference is irrelevant. And with the communications industry inching toward all-IP, the delivery platforms aren’t going to be all that much different for much longer anyway.

Bickering about how much fiber you have in your respective networks is marketing silliness. You’re engineers – act like it.




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