My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Internet, Apple iTV and Cable - Pirates of the Caribbean

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Internet, Apple iTV and Cable - Pirates of the Caribbean

Though life is made up of mere bubbles,
‘Tis better than many aver,
For while we’ve a whole lot of troubles,
The most of them never occur.

Nixon Waterman, Shreds and Patches

The debut of the Microsoft XBox 360 with the new Kinect Motion Controller on the hit show Smile Jamaica, aired Tuesday November 9th 2010, Television Jamaica within the Tech Tutorial with Dean McLarty, a youthfully exuberant Simon Crosskill, a confirmed game head.

With this is a female co-host with a rather large derriere and a bosom to match whom I have not seen in a good while, mainly because I don’t watch sports (my brain tunes out after the International News on Prime Time News at 7:00 pm).

Jumping and cavorting about on the screen, they demonstrated to the Jamaican public the wonder of the Microsoft Kinect Motion Controller, which eliminates the need to have a physical Controller, making game play intuitive.

Curiously, weeks ago, the Administrator Kirk’s in an article on the Geezam blog, for which I am a guest writer, featured this revolutionary product from Microsoft, which had been announced since June 2010AD as stated in the article “Microsoft's Xbox motion control system is Kinect” published  June 13, 2010 10:52 PM PDT by Daniel Terdiman, CNET News.

Yes Carlette Deleon aka The Pet Tales Chick aka “Dilly” of Smile Jamaica fame on Television Jamaica, add that to your shopping cart for the Christmas of 2010 as Jamaica pushes 100MBps “Usain Bolt” speeds. However stop calling Neville Bell or dogs for that matter “mongrel”; Neville Bell is a Jamaican and the “mongrel” dog is Canis MixUp-ius Jamaicanus (Jamaican Mixed Bred Dog)!

Later down in the year, in September 2010AD to be specific, Microsoft had plans to sell the new 250 GB Microsoft XBox 360 Slim, a sleeker, quieter version of the Xbox 360 in a US$400 bundle, with the Kinect Motion Controller retailing for between US$150 to US$149 as stated in the article “Microsoft intros Kinect bundle”, published September 8, 2010 8:54 AM PDT by Don Reisinger, CNET News - The Digital Home.

Thus the comment by Technical Officer at Watt's New Jamaica Dean McLarty (finally married his girlfriend!) of the product debut at Watt's New Jamaica a mere “nine days after launching in the US” is in itself an extraordinary leap of faith on the part of Watt's New Jamaica, making me wonder if the Administrator Kirk’s of the Geezam blog had an inside scoop on what was going on at Watt's New Jamaica.

Like Triple Play Provider FLOW CEO Michelle “Dallas” English media distortion field from her exclusive interview with Gleaner Reporter Janet Silvera in the article “Flowing fastest - Broadband changes to revolutionize Jamaica's Internet landscape”, published Sunday October 24 2010, by Janet Silvera, The Sunday Gleaner, the Management at Watt's New Jamaica may be saying that there is a “demand” for the product, despite evidence to the contrary.

It looks like Triple Play Provider FLOW CEO Michelle “Dallas” English “demand” Disease is contagious!

In fact, the outlook for Christmas 2010 in the United States of America looks bleak, at least for Netbooks and Laptops as the Apple iPad, despite disappointing sales figures, is beginning to at last have a noticeable effect as even Micron, a Netbook manufacturer has now forecasted lower than expected demand for Netbooks for the Fourth Quarter of 2010 AD in the article “Micron: Apple iPad, tablets ding PC, Notebook demand”, published October 8, 2010, 7:42am PDT By Larry Dignan, Between the Lines, ZDNet.

To make it worse on the Retail side, Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn has confirmed a 50% bite into the sales of Netbooks and Laptops at his chain of retail stores as stated in the article “Best Buy CEO; iPad cannibalizing Laptop Sales by up to 50 percent”, published Friday September 17 2010, 6:10 am ET by Chloe Albanesius, PC Magazine, Yahoo! News.

This despite a slowdown in sales figures as stated in the article “Jobs blasts rivals as iPad sales disappoint”, published Tuesday October 19 2010 by Reuters, Yahoo! News.

Not surprisingly, Best Buy’s competitors, Wal-Mart and Target, are stocking up on the Apple iPad this Christmas as stated in the article “Wal-Mart will sell Apple's  iPad, starting with online”, published Tuesday October 12 2010 by NewsFactor, Yahoo! News and the article “US retail powerhouse Target to sell iPad tablet computers”, published Saturday September 25 2010, 3:08 pm ET  by Glenn Chapman, AFP, Yahoo! News respectively.

So Jamaica has finally seen the Microsoft Xbox 360 with the new Kinect Motion Controller. Whoopie!! Everyone is excited – excitement I hope will translate to increased sales for Retailers and Wholesalers come Christmas of 2010 [fingers crossed].

But in the midst of all this excitement, a voice of rationalism speaks as Inon Beracha, partner in PrimeSense, the maker of the Kinect Motion Controller and the holder of the license agreement for their 3D Motion Capture Technology to Microsoft, envisions a world where their device makes remote controls obsolete as stated in the article “Kinect's Israeli partner sees a remoteless world”, published Saturday September 4 2010, 10:48 am ET By Tia Goldenberg and Peter Svensson, Associated Press Writers, Yahoo! News.

His other two (2) partners, founder and President Aviad Maizels, an Israeli Intelligence Officer and CTO (Chief Technology Officer) Alexander Shpunt, developed the product, originally codenamed Project Natal by Microsoft and debut at E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) as stated in the article “Microsoft's Project Natal becomes Kinect”, published Monday June 14 2010 by Christopher Null, Technology Writer, Yahoo! News

PrimeSense  may have the intention to license their 3D Motion Capture Technology to as many companies as possible, Microsoft of course being the first take up the offer, albeit PrimeSense claims that they had approached Apple, only to be rejected by Apple CEO Steve Jobs as stated in the article “Kinect could have been Apple's, Report says”, published Saturday November 6 2010 by PC World, Yahoo! News.

The company, a homegrown Israeli start-up since 2005, developed their technology not with gadgets in mind, but as a technology to license to Third Party Companies to embed in their products as a replacement for the remote control, allowing for depth sensing.

If this product makes you think of the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report (2002), then according to the article “Kinect's Israeli partner sees a remoteless world”, published Saturday September 4 2010, 10:48 am ET By Tia Goldenberg and Peter Svensson, Associated Press Writers, Yahoo! News) your thinking is a bit too simplistic.

PrimeSense product requires no gloves, merely that you stand and orient yourself  so that the 3D Motion Capture Technology can scan your body into the system and thus allow you to control whatever device you desire to control without a remote.

Great, I hear you groan, now the kids will never go to bed, as turning off the TV would require removing them from in front of the motion capture device, if PrimeSense’s technology goes mainstream into TV, refrigerators, Tablets, Laptops, PC  - and yes, possibly Apple Products.

Do I really need to mention its possible integration with the Apple iTV to augment FaceTime, thus making 3D Video Calling and 3D Motion Capture Technology a Reality, especially as Video Calling is on the wish list for the Google TV, its competitor, as stated in the article “Five Ways Google TV can kill Apple TV”, published Friday September 10 2010, 4:36 pm ET by Barbara E. Hernandez, Yahoo! News?

Apple iTV, which is using iOS 4.0 as its cousin the million selling Apple iPad, may eventually see FaceTime as opined in the article “FaceTime could be Apple iTV killer app”, published August 23, 2010, 7:35am PDT by David Gewirtz, ZDNet Government.

A FaceTime with licensed 3D Motion Capture Technology from PrimeSense and DVR (Digital Video Recorder) capabilities from Rovi (formerly MarkVision) as surmised by analyst Piper Jaffray as stated in the article “Analysts predict all-in-one Apple TV in 2012”, published September 20, 2010 11:10 AM PDT by Don Reisinger, CNET News - The Digital Home doesn’t sound too farfetched, does it?

President of PrimeSense, Aviad Maizels, put it best with a vision somewhat in line with Apple CEO Steve Jobs vision of consumer electronics products, which is, quote, “for humans and devices to live seamlessly side-by-side, so that we don't have to do anything special for devices to work”.

Thus the Apple iTV, launched Wednesday September 1 2010 AD as stated in the article “New Apple TV: $99, Netflix streaming, 99-cent TV rentals”, published September 1, 2010 11:43 AM PDT by Matthew Moskovciak, CNET News – Crave

The Apple iTV may be getting FaceTime at the “one more thing” Apple Refresh in 2011,  finally emerging from the shadows as being a mere “hobby” as Apple CEO Steve Jobs succinctly puts it, to becoming a solid product, with the first ever mentioned sales figure two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) since it debut as stated in the article “Jobs touts Apple TV sales figures”, published  Monday October 18 2010, 6:55 pm ET by Jonathan Seff , Yahoo! News.

This despite fears of Apple devaluing their content with their US$0.99 rental of movie content expressed by NBC as stated in the article “NBC won't let Apple TV 'devalue' its content”, published September 23, 2010 9:01 AM PDT by Don Reisinger, CNET News - The Digital Home.

Maybe Apple iTV may also improve the resolution from 720p to 1080p, albeit this may matter little in terms of aesthetics, as it is an IPTV device, not a game console as suggested in the article “Apple TV isn't 1080p and you shouldn't care”, published September 3, 2010 10:40 AM PDT by Matthew Moskovciak, CNET News - Crave – at least not yet, as apps may be coming to the iOS 4.0 driven Apple iTV.

People are leaving Cable TV services as stated in the article “Summary Box: Cable Customers flee, what to Blame?”, published Friday November 5 2010, 10:18 am ET By The Associated Press, Yahoo! News

Consumers may instead be going the route of “time shifting” by recording their programming on their DVR (Digital Video Recorders) for later viewing a trend that Triple Play Provider Comcast, which did the survey, expects to pick up as stated in the article “Survey of viewers shows extent of TV time shifting”, published Tuesday August 17 2010, 6:53 am ET by DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer, Yahoo! News.

If the sign of local Triple Play Provider FLOW and it recent speed bump to 50MBps and 100MBps as stated in the article “FLOW to bring 100Mbs to Jamaican homes”, published Saturday October 16 2010, The Jamaica Observer is anything to go by, Customers may still stick with their Triple Play Providers services!

This even as they switch from watching Cable TV to using the Broadband Internet to watch TV over the Internet as opined by CNET News Reporter, Marguerite Reardon in the article “With Internet TV, cable wins even if it loses”, published October 29, 2010 4:00 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength.

It's not the economy, as people will eat less food to save money, but they won't give up their TV watching. It's the service; that's why people are leaving. Triple Play Provider FLOW in Jamaica and Triple Play Providers Comcast, Cable Vision in the USA are brimming with Premium packages with channels that no one watches, thus Customers complain of not receiving a “premium” service in return.

It's the principal that Cable Providers, such as Triple Play Provider FLOW in Jamaica and Triple Play Providers Comcast, Cable Vision and others in their ilk are charging too much for channels that no-one watches as opposed to people being unable to afford their Cable packages.

What Triple Play Providers need to provide is the very same offering that IPTV services such a the Apple iTV, Boxee, Slingbox and the Roku box, now with a lower matching pricing point of US$99 as stated in the article “Roku XDS versus Apple TV: Round One”, published October 1, 2010 4:31 PM PDT by John P. Falcone, CNET News - Crave and that is the capability for viewers to mix and match their programming at prices that seem reasonable.

Otherwise as the Apple iTV and other IPTV begins to augment other technology such as PrimeSense 3D Motion Capture Technology to their products.

They [Triple Play Providers] will see an increase in “cord cutting” as Customer ditch watching TV content in exchange for getting what they want via the Rise of the IPTV services and Telecom Provider driven services based on Cable Broadband and Fiber Optic services, such as Telecom Provider AT&T U-Verse and Telecom Provider Verizon FiOS.

Effectively IPTV represent the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) coming to rob the Cable TV providers and Networks of their Customers and profitability. 

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