Datacasting has long been promoted by engineers as a solution to a bandwidth deprived world. Using the digital terrestrial spectrum various countries have sought to use datacasting as a policy driver to create alternative media distribution channels. So far it has been a monumental flop, with another datacaster last week calling it quits, when former Disney spin off, MovieBeam told customers the service would be turned off Dec. 15.
Launched in 2003 MovieBeam offered high quality video on demand via a hard drive recorder, hooked up to a special slice of the digital broadcast spectrum, otherwise known as the datacasting spectrum. Disney sold out and Cisco and Intel bought in, but while the theory looked good the execution failed to deliver a reliably good picture in a world where consumers are now demanding crystal clear high definition.
What happens to that beautiful spectrum no longer being used is something some of the players expected to bid billions for the 700 MHz mobile spectrum may wish to contemplate.