Excerpts from an interview with Mark Cuban, the founder of Broadcast.com, and who most recently has launched HDNet, the first national network to broadcast all of its programming in 1080i resolution, the highest-quality format of high-definition:
[On future technologies:] There’s ultrawideband and there’s some fiber-to-the-home things that I think are interesting. Right now, we’re kind of in an application lull. We’re at a point of diminishing returns with processor speed, so the PC industry and the technology industry have made audio/video in the home their holy grail for the next few years–whether it’s faster wireless inside the home, whether it’s a different distribution mechanism, whether it’s HD in the PC, the media center stuff, so that’s kind of the sweet spot right now.
But I think longer term, the biggest upside is going to come from mega-bandwidth to the home. When you start getting over 100 megabits [per second], it changes things; 5, 10, 20, even 30 [megabits per second] just lets you do traditional applications faster–it doesn’t really open the door to new applications. But when you start getting past 100 megabits, then you can start doing things like take a consumer high-def camera or just a regular digital video camera for that matter, plug it into to a PC, and at 100 megabits you’re going to get a crystal-clear resolution sending it back to your doctor.
For the elderly, I could see insurance companies investing in buying a video setup, which would enable the whole house or an apartment with cameras to keep an eye on the elderly or to set up a checkup PC where you just have a high-resolution Web cam and you have the person fill out a questionnaire online and have a doctor on the other side doing two-way video with them. If you can’t get out of your house, that’s the next best thing to being there.