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A Peek Into the Digital Future?

21 Jul, 2014 By: Dan Crider, Volume Video

The issue of Netflix wanting to run their fleet of 18 wheelers roughshod over Verizon’s roads without paying extra taxes to maintain them got me thinking about how this plays out over the long haul. I thought about a few potential scenarios, some more possible than others:

■ Someone new (Google?) comes into the picture as a new mega-ISP, flush with massive bandwidth from all the dark fiber they have been quietly buying up around the country. They serve as both content provider and distributor, cornering the market on lightning-fast downloads and streaming for an incredibly cheap price subsidized by its other businesses. To compete, Verizon buys Netflix, and other companies partner up with equally synchronistic bedfellows. Within three years all ventures collapse since nobody understands the other side(s) of the business and they eat each other from within. Somewhere, the ghost of Blockbuster says, “Heeeyyyy … that’s my jam!”

■ Fiber? Cable? DSL? It’s all obsolete as everything goes wireless. After quietly building wireless bandwidth to a level where it can support the traffic, the cell phone companies drop their data limits and embrace streaming big time, adding set-top boxes that are basically cell phones you can operate with your cell phone. (After the Big One finally hits SoCal, their spinner powered STB is the only game in town.) Soon, the cable and fiber companies are begging Netflix to use their roads at a discount. The new super ISP, T-Mob-Verizo-Flix, just laughs and has the former CEO of Redbox peel them another grape.

■  The whole issue becomes moot as the last person in America to learn how to use BitTorrent (93-year-old Marjorie Henspittle of Appalachia, Tenn.) logs on to The Pirate Bay and successfully downloads season 12 of “Game of Thrones” — the one where Tommen hooks up with Deanery’s daughter (Honey Boo Boo Stormborn) and they rule Westeros with an iron fist, a velvet glove and dragons. Nobody in Hollywood gets paid for anything anymore, but they still continue to create programming simply to qualify for awards shows.

■ Once every physical dollar has completely been replaced with a digital penny, the studios find that they can only afford to create Vines and superhero movies with sock puppets. No problem, though, since the average Mac user can make an effects-laden comic book movie in their backyard using a 4K camera for less than $500. Soon the world runs out of comic book heroes so we have to import them from the Third World. (Look! Up in the sky! It’s Súper Poderoso Hombre Asombroso Fantástico!) Nobody is getting paid (still!), but since network TV is now 97% awards shows (and “CSI”), the content flows and flows.  

■ YouTube is allowed to place remote wireless cameras everywhere, and just by being born you are automatically signing a release allowing them to broadcast webcam footage of you getting hit by a car, robbing a liquor store or whatever shows up on their cameras. But the most popular YouTube channel, now in its 15th year, is the Sneezing Panda Channel (SPC), responsible for 73% of all traffic on fiber and cable. (In second place, the Getting Hit by a Car channel, which mostly is people throwing themselves in front of cars in an attempt to win something at the YouTube Award Show.) 

It’s gonna be a brave new world! How’s your bandwidth?

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