In the article about the Intel-McAfee merger, I mentioned that Cisco's acquisitions have not actually resulted in any great innovation. The Flip is still the same old camera. The cable box is certainly cheaper, but less reliable. (I have gone through 3 HD DVR set-top boxes with BrightHouse Networks in less than a year.)
Back to the set-top box. Why isn't the set-top box the gateway to the home network? When Cisco bought Linksys, the impression was that the home network was a lucrative market to be exploited. Why is it that the Blu-Ray player has become more of a gateway for entertainment than the set-top box (STB)? My LG Blu-Ray streams Netflix, CinemaNow, YouTube, Pandora, plays my iPod, and more. My STB barely plays and records HDTV.
On that same note, what happened to Microsoft? The Xbox is an entertainment gateway. Blu-ray, a hard drive, games, streams Netflix, Divx movies, and music from a NAS. Maybe even ESPN soon. This is more than I get from a STB. But here's where Microsoft goofed. The Xbox
doesn't have USB connections and it could be the STB.
The Wii is in a similar boat. It is the entertainment hub but stops there. Consumers want simple (mainly because consumers are simple). Most women don't want cables all over the living room, so one box for everything (even if it was in components that conne cted together) would be a plus.
Apple is rolling out iTV. Maybe if Google makes a game console, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Apple, or Cisco will make the one entertainment gateway for the home network. The accessory sales alone - wireless speakers, extenders for other rooms, NAS, media gateways, Blu-ray, external hard drives, etc. - would be a fortune.