If only it could be the good ‘ol days again. At least that’s what I’m sure Cable TV executives are thinking to themselves. In the past couple weeks the Cable Industry has witnessed a wave of new technologies that plan on taking the industry head on. Just over a week ago, the New York Times published an article about a new technology called “Vudu”. What is Vudu?

Vudu, if all goes as planned, hopes to turn America’s televisions into limitless multiplexes, providing instant gratification for movie buffs. It has built a small Internet-ready movie box that connects to the television and allows couch potatoes to rent or buy any of the 5,000 films now in Vudu’s growing collection. The box’s biggest asset is raw speed: the company says the films will begin playing immediately after a customer makes a selection.
Not only are there start-up companies that are trying to completely revamp the landscape but even AT&T is trying to grab a piece of the market. According to a Wall Street Journal article, AT&T is planning to roll out a new TV system called “U-verse”, and they are planning to spend as much as $6.5 billion on the project between 2004 and 2008.

In addition to facing businesses that plan on taking cable television head on, the industry is vulnerable to emerging technologies, specifically IPV6 (or the new internet). IPV6 is the a project that will expand the number of IP addresses available to digital devices. They plan on providing enough IP addresses so that every device can have its own. Additionally, IPV6 could prove to be a much faster network. According to recent reports, a team of researchers were able to transfer packets at 9.08 gigabits per second across 20,500 miles of network. While these speeds will not be accessible via commercially available services (Comcast, Verizon, etc), it is a sign of things to come.

As network speeds increase, it will become easier for the common consumer to download full length movies and watch hd quality streaming media. Bottom line: tough times ahead for the cable television industry.