Over-the-Top Boob Tubes

About 12 million U.S. homes will also be home to TVs outfitted with broadband-powered, video-capable devices, says a fresh report from Emerging Media Dynamics Inc.

That adds up to about 20 percent of all broadband homes in the country. Looking further out, the firm predicts 72.8 million homes will have these capabilities and "could exceed even the dramatic growth rate of broadband connectivity itself."

In addition to advanced set-tops that will be supplied by operators themselves, the report, Delivering Internet Video to TV Sets, also pores over more "over-the-top" devices and services, including souped up digital televisions, Apple TV, the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sling Media's SlingCatcher, and the Amazon Unbox.

With such a proliferation on the horizon, should operators be shaking in fear about these potential revenue-suckers? It could depend on how broadband-savvy the masses become by that time.

"The mere availability of devices capable of tuning TVs into Internet video viewing devices doesn't guarantee that viewers will actually use that capability," the report points out.

Ain't it the truth? While the intuitive interfaces on digital video recorders have done wonders for those who can't watch their favorite shows live, how many consumers out there still have "programmable," larger-than-a-breadbox VHS players still blinking the neon "12:00"?

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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