Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOm today reports that Broadcom will be ensuring content from the Chumby would run on their chips, which she sees as a move to signal their approval of the pseudo-TV/widget device as a concept.
If you had asked me five years ago if this was where it was all headed, I would have a hard time giving you any supporting evidence to back that claim. Five years ago, the TiVO was king and the technology du jour was Podcasting.
I have to wonder, though, if the widget route is the best way to go. Certainly now, while the market is burgeoning, there’s a hippie happy spirit of togetherness and partnership. Broadcom becoming compatible with Chumby, Intel teaming up with Yahoo, and Sigma Designs porting Flash lite.
Video Podcast technology, in its essence, is simple. A simple text file pointing to online video and audio files to be downloaded for later viewing. What’s more, it’s better suited and “shape-able” for bandwidth conscious MSOs. The current push for PVRs on all digital TV operations looks like they’re creating a system that’s a push towards a hybrid of streaming and podcasting than it looks like a push towards widgets.
So what happens in a few years when all the televisions sold have widget-centric Internet chips in them?
I’d suggest that there’s a war coming between the two methodologies, but given the unambitious wiles of podcasting in general, I have to wonder if it’ll even put up a fight.
One thing is clear to me, however: podcasting should be the platform of choice. Certainly, as the technology currently stands, it’s harder to manage licensing and syndication issues than with closed source, but it’s less suceptible to the magical disappearing acts we’re starting to see with Hulu leaving Boxee and TV.com.
As a long-time evangelist for podcasting as a technology, I’d love to see it win out. Realistically, though, I’m not sure if it will. The major stumbling block keeping it from widespread commercial adoption is the lack of built in ability to monetize it any other way than with advertising, something that’s not exactly in long supply at the moment.
What is the solution? Will more of these types of inevitable fallouts push innovation in the realm of podcast technology?
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