Cable Finds New Ways Not to Say Yes
By far, the most eye-popping part of the cable show's landscape was the Broadband Home—a multi-million dollar overwired prototype that included video, voice and data services in every nook and cranny of an upscale house. Most of the products—from an HDTV Jacuzzi to the Internet-connected refrigerator—have been seen at CES for the past two or three years. Of course, most cable managers had not seen that venue—although the top executives have been eyeing the scene in Las Vegas in January during the past few years. For the cable industry, the landmark was putting it all under one virtual roof—and all delivered via their broadband connections. There were even a few debuts, such as Worldgate's "Ojo" videophone (piggybacked onto cable modems), destined for retail distribution by late summer.
Heavy traffic in the Broadband House demonstrated appetite for the products. Finally, something the cable executives might actually buy—if only for their own personal home use.
Even more intriguing was the CableNet collection of more futuristic network and home connectivity services. This annual cornucopia is intended to demonstrate prototypes of products—including advanced video and data systems, linked together through industry-sanctioned interoperability tools and protocols.