Five DTV-ready combatants from Sony, Panasonic, RCA, Samsung, and Princeton enter our steel cage.
Bridge technology. I almost hate to use the phrase, since it undoubtedly originated on the PowerBook of some Madison Avenue hack. Still, the phrase works so well because we need so much right now. One cannot dabble in technology these days without instantly becoming familiar with the concept of bridging. We don't have it quite as bad as our cohorts in the computer industry, but (whether we like it or not) the grand digital-television experiment has put us all squarely in the gap between the present and the future of video. Sure, you could resist, as so many of us have been tempted to do. But your trusty old television is going to look pretty funny in 2006, when all it coughs up are 500 channels of blank screen. I wouldn't hold out hope that the FCC will balk on their blackout deadline for the analog transmissions. Word is that the analog portion of the spectrum has already been whacked up amongst the bandwidth-hungry cellular companies, which are willing to pay for it. Pop quiz: Who do you think the FCC wants in that space five years from now—television broadcasters (who they've been berating for some time now about dragging their feet on the digital transition and who don't pay a penny for the space) or cellular companies that are going to swoop in, drop a lot of cash, and swoop out with their bandwidth . . . no muss, no fuss. The first person to answer right wins a free chance to buy a new TV (and some expanded cellular service, too).