As Verizon fibers up to bang broadband heads with the cable industry for control of your TV and Internet viewing pleasure, enter the electric utility industry with its own socket-based plan to offer broadband access.
But I digress. I really want to write about my new TV, a Samsung high-def flat panel LCD, not because it puts my 22-year-old, once state-of-the-art Mitsubishi 19-inch Diamond Vision behemoth to shame, but because Samsung, along with many other HDTV-makers, has a licensing pact with Gemstar-TV Guide wherein the latter will provide a built-in channel guide. Good-bye cable box.
The problem for Gemstar — which bought TV Guide from Murdoch who bought it from Annenberg for billions — is that the in-set channel guide for these cable card-enabled TVs does not work. No, it’s not just my new cable-ready TV, it’s all of them. Gemstar has left these manufacturers — and the purchasers of their sets — in the lurch. Now that Mark Cuban and Verizon’s FiOS fiber service are climbing into bed with Gemstar, I just thought I’d pull a Jeff Jarvis and do a little consumer activism. Alas, I don’t have as many readers as Jarvis to precipitate a consumer revolt, but it does feel good to expose Gemstar’s problem, since it remains literally out of the public eye.