Friday, January 04, 2008

Netflix's movie-to-TV scheme premature

Netflix's announcement that it will deliver downloadable films directly to televisions via high speed Internet connections is clearly premature given the current pathetic state of America's broadband infrastructure. Even compressed, full motion audio and video requires lots of bandwidth -- and that bandwidth isn't there for most U.S. households. Even more so with high definition video, which Netflix ultimately hopes to deliver.

Many households lack even basic broadband access needed to view graphics-intensive Web sites. A significant portion of those that have high speed Internet access connect at speeds too slow to make regular movie downloading technologically feasible.

Netflix's move is part of a broader trend in which the content providers will drive broadband deployment. Without these bandwidth dependent applications creating demand for enhanced broadband connections, progress would likely continue to move at a glacial pace, increasing the ever-widening digital divide.

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