For sure, Hollywood studios, broadcasters and service providers are still the glamour part of the news, and they do indeed exert huge influence over the adoption of specific technology standards. But it dawned on me, while in Amsterdam last week covering the International Broadcast Conference (IBC), this service provider-driven mentality is flawed, and it may be finally fading to black.
Clearly, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison. But it is interesting, because it shows that regardless of content or service providers' active involvement, consumers have gone on purchasing MP3 players. Simultaneously, despite all the efforts by service providers, only 100 million set-tops were distributed to their subscribers.
In the beginning, many consumers used MP3 players to rip their own CDs. Later, they learned to download music from the Internet.
What this means, in part, is that the Internet has taken away from service providers specific privileges and advantages they thought they had--namely, locking their subscribers in, with their special devices, services and content.
And this ongoing paradigm shift holds true with other services--including mobile TV.
One mobile TV technology company's CEO said, over dinner at IBC, "Pardon my French, but forget the operators!"
This scorched-operator attitude is becoming more prevalent among many frustrated mobile TV technology suppliers. At IBC, a host of mobile TV chip companies demonstrated devices designed to turn popular consumer devices such as the Apple iPod, Sony PlayStation 3 and portable GPS navigation units into terrestrial digital TV receivers. Don't hold your breath for cellular operators to announce the latest design wins in these categories.