The latest media processing beast out of Cisco's labs is the MXE 3000, a high-powered transcoding central that aims to take video in any format and deliver it to the end user in basically any other format. The translation between different media formats is supposed to be transparent to the consumer, highly automated and integrated into the network itself, and it's supposed to just work. And oh boy, video distributors need that kind of help today.
For example, I have this fancy Verizon
Paradise already, right?
But there are limitations in Verizon's system. A recent beta program would let me stream videos from other sources besides the actual DVR box, such as Google's
With something like Cisco's new hardware installed somewhere in Verizon's data center or service station, all that haggling between video formats could conceivably have been done without any help from my own systems. YouTube clips would be intercepted and properly formatted on their way from Mountain View to my living room. My personal videos would have to be sent out to the service provider for a quick fix, but considering the massive two-way bandwidth in the fiber-optic FiOS system, this should not be a problem.
Extending the reach
Similar services could then be concocted for cell phones (a natural stretch for Verizon, while Comcast
The technical side of the equation is nearly complete, though it will take a few years to roll out these media processors or their equivalents across an entertainment-hungry nation. That's okay, and the networks can take their sweet time, because it'll probably take even longer to convince Disney
All quiet on the Western front
Studios occupy one side of this Maginot line, and consumers the other. In the middle, distributors like the cable networks and rental specialist Netflix
And it will get done. Trust me on this.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Netflix, Google, and Disney, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.