For cord-cutters, the television makers at the Consumer Electronics Show gave us a lot of complex sorta-solutions to what is (on paper) and easy-to-solve problem. If these companies want to reinvent the television, they should start with reinventing cable. But, since the industry has made it clear that will not happen, CES has shown us the techie version of a solution, which looks like all we've got for now. Much of the stuff doesn't exactly deliver. But, it represents the immediate future of TV, as far as a cord-cutter (or, more likely a cord-never) is concerned.
Taking the Box Out of Cable
The Theory Behind the Trend: This version of cord-cutting is more of an illusion than a solution. Taking the term "cut the cord" a bit too literally, tech companies have invented new ways to get cable without the set-top box. If we can't see where the cable comes from, we might forgot about all that money we pay for all those channels we don't want.
What's New This Year: Electronics makers have released variations on this idea before. But at this year's CES we saw smaller box replacements that could do more than ever.
- Intel's Magic Chip: Coming soon to a television near you: the cable chip. Working with Comcast, Intel will put chips in televisions
- Roku's Streaming Stick: This stick, which plugs into the back of a compatible television, debuted at last year's CES. But this year it made the leap to cable, announcing a deal with Time Warner. In addition to all the other apps, like Netflix and Blockbuster on Demand, now those who subscribe to that cable company get all those channels live streaming, too.
- Asus's Qube Cube and Netgear's NeoTV PRIME Box: And here we have the Google versions. These are not exactly a replacement for the Google-made Nexus Q, the very bizarre orb it released last year to the confusion of many a tech nerd. But they run on Google software, As for content, it connects up to cable and all the Google Play.