Teaser of Russell's post:
In a private note to several of his colleagues (including your truly) Dave Burstein of DSL Prime reports this morning he has found out that Verizon is about 12 to 18 months away from executing a plan to open the set-top box to all Internet video. This woud be done by means of Verizon FIOS, their broadband video service.
And by all Internet video, not just the video content provided by Verizon content partners, but all of it.
Hmmm. While Russell suggests that Internet video will be available, he doesn't give specifics how this would work. Will the set-top box feature a built-in web browser? Will it require a keyboard and mouse to navigate Internet video content on your TV and wouldn't this be a redux of the failed Microsoft WebTV (now MSN TV)? Or is Verizon planning instead to use a 4-way keypad on your typical TV set-top box remote control for content navigation? Plus using numbers 0-9 pressed multiple times to enter letters A-Z, which is a pain.
I would think that Verizon would have to partner with YouTube, Google Video, and other major video content players if they want to make it easy to navigate their Internet content simply using a 4-way keypad. They'd have to "skin" the web content in order to make it easily viewable and easily navigated from a remote control with no keyboard or mouse support.
Or perhaps, we will see a redux of the WebTV and similar devices, where future set-top boxes will have full keyboard/mouse support to enable Internet access for accessing online video content, as well as checking email, chatting/IMing, etc. Of course, a wireless keyboard/mouse would be preferred for the best 10' experience. Maybe it will support USB cameras as well for 2-way videoconferencing and audioconferencing over IP (VoIP). It could use Bluetooth for the audio part, so you can answer VoIP/video calls on your TV using your favorite Bluetooth headset, such as the Plantronics 510-USB. Or since the set-top box is already connected to your home stereo system, you could pipe the caller's audio out your 5.1 surround sound speakers so you can have a headset-free, handset-free, speakerphone-type call in 3D surround sound!
Of course, then you'd need a really good echo canceller built into the set-top box, which will add to the unit cost of the set-top box. Still, a cool future concept. Not to mention cable companies typically charge you a maintenance fee on the set-top box, a remote control renting charge, etc. So I'm sure they could recoup their costs. So... ummm.. any takers? I can be a beta tester! :)
Anyway... Check out Russell's post...