Residential gateways set to anchor home services

It was once thought that the sun revolved around Earth. It was also once thought that the television revolved around the home entertainment center. The first thought was proven to be wrong centuries ago; the second is being reconsidered as televisions become the centers around which home entertainment and information services and applications revolve, bringing together pieces as disparate as entertainment, voice communications, high-speed data and Web connectivity.

The anchor that's holding the TV in place is the residential gateway, a complex device that can deliver multiple services to the TV including television video itself, data, voice and even wireless communications. It's also a device that the FCC, as reported in its national broadband plan, would like to see more freely available to cable consumers from more sources via the retail market.

"This device has evolved beyond its historical role as a simple black box sitting on top of a large TV set into a smaller form-factor device supporting a variety of functions, notably interactive television applications," said a story in E Commerce Times which used a study by Parks Associates to show consumer preference for applications compiled and delivered via the gateways.

The drawback of advanced RGs, the article concludes, is that retail suffers when operators maintain control because "certifying multiple third-party CE devices for service delivery would be an expensive proposition for operators."

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