Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi

Larry Dent is the owner of Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi.

These articles were written for the Islander Weekly.

Comments can be forwarded directly to

Larry's Tech Talk

Forget Everything!

If you think consumer electronics is approaching a plateau, think again. What else could “they” invent and what else could consumers possibly need? Remember that saying, “the only thing certain is death, taxes and change.” I read two articles this week that will change everything, and we can look for that change in the next 12 months.

The first column I read was about IPTV. What could IPTV possibly be? OK, we all know what TV stands for, and a lot of people know that IP stands for “internet protocol”. Let’s combine the IP and the TV and we have “Internet TV”. If you think about it, what distribution network could be better for audio, video and consumer entertainment than the internet? I am guessing that the only reason it took this long for this concept to become reality was that our networks weren’t fast enough to support the large data streams. But that’s all changing, network speeds, both wired and wireless are getting faster and faster. "Bandwidth” is the buzzword.

Netflix put rival company Blockbuster in Chapter 11 with its “first to market” digital video streaming service. So, why not deliver television content the same way? The Cable and Satellite TV providers better pay attention because market share will change quickly. OK Larry, but I already have cable TV, why would I change to this IPTV thing? In other words, what’s in it for me? Great question, and I have two immediate answers for you. With IPTV, you will be able to purchase digital content “a la carte”. Currently our Cable and Satellite providers give us packages that we pay for. But a lot of those channels we pay for in a package go unused. IPTV will offer much more flexibility. And the second answer is, since the TV content will arrive via the internet, it will pass through your home’s router. So any device like your iPhone, laptop, or Droid will now become a TV. Pretty cool huh? Let’s put the IPTV concept on hold for a minute and move on.

It was leaked that Apple Computer will enter the flat screen TV business within the next 12 months. If it was any other company, I would think they were crazy, but due to the success of Apple’s “i” devices they might just take existing TV manufacturers to school. I have to be honest, profit margins in flat screen TVs are very slim. The big retailers offset that by selling extended warranties, expensive cables, and installation services. But Apple not only invented the iPod, they also invented the iTunes service. Do you think maybe Apple Computer will offer an IPTV service?

The hardware and service combo will give Apple a huge advantage. It is estimated that IPTV will take 10% of the cable and satellite market share in the first year. And since Apple devices have been so successful you can bet that a TV from them will be amazing. What if your computer, DVR, music, videos, and TV all resided in one device? Are there any manufacturers that could put all of that together? You can bet “the ranch” that Apple could put all of that together. I won’t even mention Apple’s incredible and intuitive operating system software that will tie all of the functions together.

FORGET EVERYTHING, because it all is about to change.