Rearden Steel Unveiled

from the interactive-TV's-next-attempt dept

Well, hell… if Dennis is going to scoop me on the iMac announcement, I’m going to post what the real deal at Rearden Steel is. First, they’re no longer Rearden Steel. Out with the stealth and out with the “misleading” name. They’re now Moxi Digital, and (as expected) they’ve got themselves a box that is supposed to revolutionize interactive TV. It sounds interesting, but my first reaction is “yes, but what exactly does it do?”. The description given in the article screams “feature creep!” to me, as it seems to want to do everything. A box that does everything sure is nice… but it’s tough to convince consumers that they want everything, especially when you can’t pinpoint one thing that they specifically want. Update: The NY Times has a more detailed article about the Moxi device and positions it against the new iMac and Bill Gates’ vision – as all three are presenting today about their visions for connecting all sorts of home electronics devices.

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Comments on “Rearden Steel Unveiled”

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Mgallagher says:

Somebody help me here...


I’ve been having an on-going conversation with a friend who thinks that Interactive TV and convergence devices will be huge, both in terms of business and the functionality they offer viewers. I honestly just don’t get it.

Can someone explain to me why I would want to interact with television programming? I have an internet appliance sitting on my coffee table with a cable modem connection, if I want to to any e-mail or web related stuff, it’s right there. If I want to buy something from the HSC (ugh), I can pick up the cordless phone sitting next to the internet appliance. I don’t even like the little logos that the networks put on the screen, I can’t see liking clickable overlays. Program guides are nice, but I kind of like flipping channels. Video on demand is also cool sounding, but I like browsing at Blockbuster too.

So seriously, what am I missing here? What sort of programming would incorporate “interactive” elements that would offer me (the viewer) enough additional value to part with some extra cash? And on the subject of value, don’t the economics work against ITV? We’re more or less saturated for viewing time, so it isn’t like any of this will get people to watch MORE TV, so there won’t be more viewer-seconds available in the ad markets. So it seems that any additional viewing outlets are cutting into a fixed-size pie. I would guess that’s what you see the all rerun channels like Classic Sports and TV Land. Low production costs, so you can still make money off small audiences. So ITV has to generate money outside of traditional broadcast/cable models, right? Plus, won’t adding interactive features make programming MORE expensive?

Like I said, I must be missing something here. Can someone enlighten me?

Andrew Knapp (user link) says:

Re: Somebody help me here...

Well for one thing, for Video on Demand to work like it should, you’ll need to interact with your set-top. For example, if you order a Video on Demand movie and start watching it, then the phone rings. You’ll want to answer the phone, so in order to keep from missing your newly-ordered movie, you’ll want to press “PAUSE” on the remote control. When you press PAUSE, the set top will ‘interact’ with the headend/video plant and tell that stream to ‘PAUSE.’ OTherwise, you’re just watchinga broadcast movie and you can’t ‘interact’ with it!!!

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