1933 set the stage for six remakes and the whole horror/fantasy genre…King Kong!

2006 could be the year that Tellywood makes another remake with real user interactivity that allows for alternative endings, like Kong ending up owning the Empire State Building and the heart of Ann Darrow (Fay Wray). Tellywood’s itty-bitty biplanes might be no match for the strength and heart of the big ape.

Content today isn’t just on celluloid or even on a disc for that matter. It’s a mixture of analog and digital and it doesn’t seem to know fear. Broadband is a long way from taking over the world but it is growing bigger and stronger every day. By the end of 2006 we could have as many as 350 million global broadband subscribers and these folks aren’t signing up just to send emails or IM faster. They’re there for the content.

Tellywood has an army of lawyers and congresspersons but it may already be too late for them to whip the big guy into shape. They have made it abundantly clear that they are not going to release “superior” content in high definition until they have superior Digital Rights Management, a really cool Broadcast Flag and someone plugs the D*** analog hole!

Their goal? Make their content impossible to copy and nearly impossible to use.

But people increasingly have too many toys to develop, share and enjoy their content – cameras/camcorders, MP3/iPod players, DVRs, storage devices (flash, HD, CD, DVD) and the growing number of personal and independent producer content sites. They like all the choices for content at home – and on the road – and there’s no turning back no matter how many chrome chains Tellywood slaps on them!

They have gotten a taste of freedom and are increasingly going from being couch potatoes to tailoring their video and TV content. True not everyone has or will have broadband connectivity – at any cost. Hey, some of us don’t have an iPod. And even at a hundred bucks some folks won’t have an MS Windows system in their abode!

These folks aren’t worried about DRM, Broadcast Flags or analog holes. They’ll stay connected to their cable and watch what comes down the pipe. They may even go techie and venture into the pay-for-view, video on demand arena. But their numbers are rapidly dwindling.

To deliver King Content to the masses you’ll need to put on our 3D classes because without them we see several Kongs. Microsoft and Intel have different views of convergence between themselves as well as with the CE manufacturers. Microsoft sees the path built around Vista on a PC. But the CE folks see convergence based on Java with multiple devices – game systems, DVD players, DTV, DVR, audio unit, etc.

In this version of the movie the Microsoft Kong tolerates Tellywood because they suit his purpose – owning the transport. He’s even willing to keep the next generation disc BD/HD controversy stirred up by doing things “the American business way” – incentives, promotional events, discounts and credits to PC folks. This is a thousand pound gorilla with very deep pockets! It convinced HP – an early BD supporter – that HD is “obviously” a more cost-effective approach.

Of course the TV top struggle between the Xbox and Playstation as well as Microsoft’s vision of Windows-protected downloads have nothing to do with the situation…it’s all about what is best for the consumer.

Tellywood will soon find out content isn’t nearly as profitable as being the transport gatekeeper to the consumer.

Microsoft is a little miffed that Intel chose to join up with Apple – who also likes Java. There’s a very good chance that Apple sees a gentler, kinder way to the top of the TV set with a new version of the Mac Mini. Granted Apple only has about 4+ percent of the PC market but that’s pretty good considering the total PC market only grew 2 percent this year.

Maybe there is something to the halo effect theory. The iPod/iTunes set the $1 song threshold the RIAA doesn’t like because hot songs are worth more than dogs. The video iPod/video download set the price for Two-Buck Chuck video drinks and millions are bellying up to the bar. Tellywood isn’t happy with this approach either. After all, some video content brings everyone to the table while other content doesn’t draw flies!

Speaking of things that fly, content no longer travels through the air to the TV or is delivered on a disc. Now we’re getting cell phones that not only handle calls, have cameras, provide web access and send/receive instant messages and email. The new ones do it all – play music, show TV clips, swipe credit cards, scan product labels, work as debit cards, deliver GPS service (GPS? It’s a phone! For gawd sake call ‘em), handle your banking and even send video mail. Japanese users bought more than 52 million units this last year and they just live on a collection of tech-hungry islands. The ROW? Multiply the number by six!

The usage and applications are growing and so are the storage requirements. This all runs counter to Tellywood’s goal of pay-per-access and someone has to tell them that they don’t control all of elected/self-appointed government officials of the world, just one country’s and in an internet world there are no borders! Especially when France has said P2P sharing is no biggie and 12-15 year olds live to break their DRM chops!

Every storage supplier – flash, hard drive, optical – is working hard to convince you that for all of the consumer applications, theirs is the right approach. Hard drives have finally become glamorous again…especially the sub-2 inch units. Capacity keeps doubling at the same unit cost and we can’t fill them up fast enough.

Despite their high cost per GB, the flash producers say that just like ICs they can increase capacity/performance and lower costs faster than the disk people can. Four GB of flash is pricey compared to 10GB sub-1-inch HD. By 2010 they may come close.

There are some ingenious designers that are working on hybrid drives that combine the instant access of flash with the growing capacity of rotating hard drives.

Even as MS Kong keeps the natives off balance over the future of blue technology (manufacturers have to have something to look forward to and the press has to have something new to write about). The Redmond-based gorilla doesn’t have a HiDef strategy for its Xbox but it sees the brave new world where content will only be downloaded. The big ape isn’t dumb but he overlooks a few facts:

* Not everyone has a couple of T1 lines coming to their home and over 40% of the world’s villagers don’t even have dial-up
* 4% of those technoweenies (see above) have something called a Mac OS and others have (gasp!!) open systems. They would throw themselves into the volcano before using a Windows transport
* New Yorkers (and others around the globe) think today’s content storage is pretty darn good considering the price
* Unless you’re a nomad you collect “stuff” and you don’t jump to the next great thing just because…it’s the next great thing

There are about seven billion discs being made today (Figure 8) that are played on more than 200 million DVD devices around the globe. The devices don’t cost $1,000 and the discs don’t cost $25+. Most of the media stores weddings, vacations, funerals, parties. It looks good in standard def and it won’t look any better played on a HiDef screen.

If people want to record their TV shows for later watching they’ll use the analog hole or their kid’s “work around” and blow off the broadcast flag. If the Tellywood DRM is too difficult to work with, they’ll go on line and order a pretty-good copy from one of the hundreds of offshore Cayman accounts.

The advanced codecs that are coming out for existing pickup mechanisms – H.264 and VC-1 – will put all of the HiDef content, director’s cuts and outtakes on a single DL disc you can buy for a few bucks and play on your $30 player today!!! There will be more pretty damn good content than you’ll be able to sit through without hitting pause and going to the bathroom!

In the 2006 remake of King Kong there are a number of different endings. Some of the people at the foot of the Empire State Building will be rooting for Kong…some for the toy airplanes…some for Fay.

But most folks? They’ll go home saying, “yeah it was a pretty good movie…and it was cheap! Heck in New York we’ve got lots of big gorillas.”

In the end it won’t be the airplanes or beauty that does Kong in but…lack of interest !!!!!