As someone who fervently follows all things hi-def I have to say I’m a little puzzled by some of the reports that Apple may enter into the HDTV content delivery fray. Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I don’t believe Apple has the means or capitol to do so, but I wonder why would they risk the potential exposure. I can only assume that Apple has been planning something along these lines, for quite a while and have weighed the potential risks, and feel they have enough killer app’ness to move forward.
Listen don’t get me wrong, I’m a believer, but you have to admit it’s quite an undertaking, the whole premise of going to existing bandwidth suppliers (Digital CATV and Direct Broadcast Satellite) with the goal of piggybacking on their networks, to deliver content to those same customer’s, sounds a little far fetched.
Lets say your Apple (lucky you) and I’m oh say Comcast (yay I’m rich) you say, we’d like about 10 to 15% of your current bandwidth please. Of course I’ll sit there and wait for the punch line, I might even try to crack a joke and say you need to download something big? Yeah that’s a silly analogy, but my point remains, where’s the benefit for those with the big data pipes? Which gets me to the point, I know, about time.
Those of us, who live in the real world, understand that such an arrangement would boil down to cold hard cash. Of course Apple has it, but why spend it? If I had to take the magic eight ball approach here, I’d say that this content delivery mechanism will become a reality, but not quite as fast or with the same depth that some are predicting. Even with H.264 a hi-def movie would be well over today’s 6 or 7 gigabytes that a standard definition DVD takes up.
Can you really see a system that takes many hours worth of downloading at current speeds and takes up 5 to 10% of the average hard drive’s space as a viable approach to deliver one movie? I might be a little narrow sighted here, but I don’t see it given current compression schemes and typical end user connection speeds. Which is why I’m perplexed, it’s the technical issues around the premise that have me scratching my head, not Apple’s potential in pulling it off.