Can Broadband Replace Old TV, Cable & Sat TV?

Theoretically yes! Especially now that even Comcast and Verizon have started to talk about broadband connections that zap data back and forth at speeds in excess of 100 megabits per second. As the speeds increase, the ability to call up niche content will theoretically be faster than a blink of an eye. From Joost to YouTube — the future is full of video, says The Modesto Bee.

“We’ll move from a world of 300 channels to 3 million” predicted Michael Liebhold, a senior researcher at the Institute for the Future, a Palo Alto think tank.

While it is easy to get carried away in the euphoria offered by broadband nirvana, I would like to temper such unbridled enthusiasm. Between 300 and 3 million stand such pesky problems such as expensive infrastructure to store and serve up this video content. Of course, there is also that damn problem: can video content made for a handful of people actually make money?

Fears that consumers will abandon cable in droves to watch online videos may be overblown, said Bruce Leichtman, head of Leichtman Research Group in Durham, N.H. “Television already works pretty darn well,” he said. “The Internet will augment and complement television. To think it will replace TV is where people are getting carried away.”

I concur — maybe not 3 million, but 3000 would be more like it. After all, who wouldn’t want a dedicated channel of Monk episodes. Or, for that matter, BBC do-it-yourself shows.