Dublin, Ireland, July 13, 2005. "What we have is the Internet TV equivalent of half-time at the Super Bowl and millions of traditional TV viewers suddenly running water and using the phone," says Robert Winters, co-founder of Shenick Network Systems.
While it's hard to imagine what Shenick is selling, or even talking about, the problem they're trying to solve is real enough.
Don't believe me? Witness the following scenario:
SCENE: A ranch-style house in the north Dallas suburbs. In the living room, sprawled in the recliner, sits Lyle Jonesington. On the couch sit the Jonesington kids, Midge and Smidge. Buffy, Lyle's wife, is busily fixing dinner in the kitchen.
LYLE: Buffy, get in here. It's almost time for the Super Bowl half-time show. Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and George Harrison's ashes are going to do a Disney-themed montage of reggae superhits with Kelly Clarkson and AC/DC. The networks have finally put something out that the whole family can enjoy.
BUFFY: I'll be right there. Just about to add some water to this instant pot roast.
LYLE (Wincing): Mmmm… sounds great!
MIDGE: Golly, Dad! I'm so glad we have IPTV. Now that the network-based digital video recorder forces us to watch commercials again, I'm feeling inclined to buy some Super Bowl merchandise.
SMIDGE: I beat ya to it, Sis. Just ordered a dozen commemorative T-shirts using the credit card swiper attachment on my new cell phone. I love convergence!
LYLE: Okay, kids. Pipe down! The show's about to start.
BUFFY: (Turns the kitchen tap on then, after hearing groans and shrieks from the living room, she turns it off and looks around the corner): What happened?
SMIDGE: My phone… it's dead.
MIDGE: The TV's out!
LYLE: Aw, catfish! Something's gone horribly wrong here! But not to worry, I know just who to call.
LYLE: Robert Winters, co-founder of Shenick Network Systems, that's who. He knows just what to do when millions of traditional TV viewers suddenly start running water and using the phone. (Pauses, contemplatively.) Of course, I'm going to walk next store to use the neighbor's phone. That old codger still has a TDM landline, the poor fool.
MIDGE: What's TDM, Dad?
LYLE: Ancient technology, kid. Before your time.
BUFFY: Well, I hope you're not going to borrow the neighbor's phone without offering him some of my instant pot roast.
LYLE (Muttering under his breath as he walks to the door.): C'mon, there's no need to punish the geezer.
BUFFY: Excuse me?
LYLE: Nothing, dear. Okay, I'm off to call Mr. Winters. Don't flush the toilet until I return. It's half-time at the Super Bowl, for gosh sakes. You could bring the Hubble right down on our heads.