Brad Stone reports in NYT on the future of set top boxes:
For many Americans, the cable box â€” still commonly called the set-top box, though it is now too big to balance on top of increasingly thin TVs â€” may be the most disappointing piece of technology in their homes. As inventions like TiVo and YouTube alter the way people watch and control video, the traditional box has largely failed to keep up.
Now that is beginning to change.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, makers of set-top boxes exhibited devices with a host of new features: more hard-disk space for storing digitally recorded TV shows, easier-to-navigate program guides, connections to Web sites, DVD burners and video games.
Cable companies were conservative in adopting emerging technology or pushing it forward because of the laws.Â Now that things are soon going to open up, there are changes certain to come:
Â The cable companies and their equipment vendors must adapt to the Internet age quickly, because soon customers will have more choices than ever. Telephone companies like AT&T and Verizon are investing heavily to bury fiber optic cables in most major cities and roll out their own TV offerings.
Clearly, things are going to change in this space.Â And it is clear that things will get very exciting.Â The beneficiary will be the consumer.Â The experience on TV is likely to radically change in the next two years — if not in 2007.