Archive for June, 2009

Digital Transition June 12 – Its the Convergence, Baby!

epgFunny thing happened to me on the way to June 12th’s Digital Transition.  My Electronic Program Guide stopped working.

For those of you under a rock, Digital Transition is when all analog NTSC television will stop broadcasting over they air.  From then on, its all digital, all the time.

There is lots of concern in the media about how people will not get a signal, no longer able to watch TV.  I am concerned about the elderly in particular.  For 60 years, older folks have punched the same buttons and received the same results.  Now you have to scan, set up set-top boxes.  It is tough to change your ways.

But the more interesting thing for me is what is going to break.  So far, its not the broadcast signal.  Those have been up and running for years now.  They will work after June 12.  What will break is the where the broadcast intersects with information:  the electronic program guide (EPG).

This EPG is a part of digital transition that folks don’t have their eyes on.  I have already seen it breaking.  My DVR runs on guide listings based on the analog broadcasts.  Now, the DVR needs a new database schema and daily feed that aligns to the digital world.  This is not rocket science, but it requires software updates and new xml feeds. 

The tough part in modern communications is not the perfection of an individual media stream.  It is the coordination of multiple media, data, and billing streams.  And then, having the customer service that is knowledgable enough to master, resolve problems with all of them simultanteously.

Its the Convergence, Baby!

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