Did you happen to read Steve Wildstrom’s set-top story today in BusinessWeek? Unfortunately, it fails to mention a few key facts.
Wildstrom segues into a discussion of CableCARDs by talking about how much he hates his Motorola hardware. He explains he’s fed up because “the program guide is awful, I can’t search for shows, the hard drive is too small, and the remote often fails to respond.” Know what? None of those complaints has anything to do with Motorola’s technology.
Motorola does not make the software that is delivered on its hardware (at least not in the U.S.), and the amount of hard drive space included is directly related to keeping the cost of the hardware down for the many, many consumers who don’t want to spend more than a few bucks a month on a set-top.
Do I agree that the software interface could be better? Always room for improvement. Am I glad that retail innovation is likely to spur operators to do more with set-top UIs and even add new set-top features? Yup. But does Motorola deserve top-paragraph blame for why Mr. Wildstrom is not happy with his TV experience? No way.
Wonder if the Motorola set-tops are actually as good from a hardware perspective as I think they are? Consider that the top operators in the country (not to mention the world) have selected to deploy Motorola’s hardware, including Comcast, Verizon (people love the FiOS 2.0 interface) and AT&T. Even with the bigger choice in hardware provided by CableCARDs, Comcast recently committed to a multi-year purchase agreement for next-generation Motorola set-tops. I doubt it’s cause their executives enjoy sitting down to lunch with their Motorola account reps.
By the way, know who’s making CableCARDs possible so consumers can have a choice about what set-tops they use? Among others, Motorola is currently shipping single-stream and multi-stream CableCARDs by the boatload.