We believed that we'd created the first viable solution for cutting the cord on the set-top box, enabling the creation of an entire class of devices and accessories freed from the tether of the audio/video cable.
Two years on, I still believe that what we'd created then was absolutely revolutionary.
The shift from standard definition to high definition has obviously added dramatically to the complexity of the solution, too. Where I'm going is that 2009 isn't going to be the year of the dongle, or of the embedded wireless HDTV--not in the general consumer space, at least.
Two major stumbling blocks to success currently exist, neither of which will be resolved in time for the 2009 holiday selling season.
If this were easy, my 2007 predictions would've held true. Wi-Fi wasn't easy in the early days, when I spent a couple hundred bucks for an access point and another hundred bucks for an 802.11b card, only to learn that 0 bought me a solution dramatically less reliable and much slower than the 100-foot Ethernet cable I'd kept coiled under the desk. Well, kind of, depending on what you want out of your Wi-Fi.
If you want reasonably reliable data transmission at a bit-error rate which varies based on all kinds of external forces, and don't necessarily need to stream high bitrate, high quality, delay-sensitive traffic (and if you're a vendor who believes you can successfully perform that streaming, I'm happy to field test your gear in my home, where I can see as many as two dozen Wi-Fi access points at any given time), yeah, Wi-Fi is easy.
I look forward to seeing and hearing what's new in terms of why each vendor's solution is better than everyone else's--compressed versus uncompressed, spectrum position, bandwidth used, yadda, yadda, yadda.
I'll be meeting with most of the players in wireless high-def next week at CES.
However, this really doesn't translate into the TV space. Unfortunately, HDMI cable prices have absolutely gone through the floor over the last two years. Two years ago, the math wasn't quite as disturbing.
Right now, a search on 10 meter HDMI cables on delivers a list where the top six results come in at prices ranging from to . All the hot new TVs introduced at CES 2007 had price tags that made a 0-00 wireless adapter look pricey, but not ridiculous.
But, just as Rome wasn't built in a day, neither was Wi-Fi.
The first 802.11b products hit the market in early 2000, after years of the initial 1 and 2 mb/s 802.11 technology; in the nearly nine years since, we've seen advances in throughput (11b--WPS); advances (?