A War of Wires - Digital Cable and Cable Modems
by Grant Clauser
Apparently, the cable industry (and interested manufacturers) has not been sitting still as satellite TV and DSL Internet access continue their respective assaults on cable's entrenchments. But for the retailer interested in selling consumer-ready cable modems or cable-compatible DTV set-top boxes, there are still major barriers to be breached.
To its benefit, cable is one heck of big pipe, up to 100 times faster than standard phoneline modems, and is already installed in the majority of U.S. households. But the cable industry has a bad reputation of poor customer service and poor picture quality to erase, and going digital seems to be the way to do it. At the 1999 Western Show, the cable industry's version of CES, both major players and newcomers tried to stake some presence in cable's new digital revolution.