SCTE Cable-Tec Expo: Cable has an evergreen opportunity

Because cable TV equipment can be more easily replaced or upgraded than traditional consumer electronics like televisions--which can last for years or decades--the industry has an opportunity to become the integral player in the new Internet TV space "so people don't go over-the-top, so to speak," Walt Ciciora, a longtime industry executive and consultant with Technology Consultants said during the opening engineering session of SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in New Orleans.

"Once you've sold the TV or the (consumer electronics) product, that's it," Ciciora said. "It's a pretty dismal business when your chance for selling is once and that's it."

That first sale can, of course, challenge cable if the product is loaded with the latest Internet connectivity technology. Cable's immediate opportunity is, at the least, the ability to provide broadband access to drive the devices; the later opportunity is to deliver content when the CE device's capabilities are outdated.

The key, he said, is that cable "has to provide superior service." Included in this is superior technical support because "it would be a real advantage if consumers found easy help to use their devices."

Finally, Ciciora said, while a lot of attention has been paid to the non-traditional cable subscribers who are cutting the cords and looking at alternative methods of receiving content, cable has to build "products and services that will accommodate the elderly. They're going to stay with their programming so keep them in mind," he concluded.

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