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Stay tuned for HDTV over DSL

The big phone companies might be toying with high-quality video. I'm not holding my breath.


But bring some snacks for the wait. CED Magazine has a column on the Bells getting interested in high-quality video over DSL, particularly if ADSL2+ comes along. One of the driving factors may be high-quality compression codecs like Microsoft's Windows Media 9 and MPEG-4 AVC.

But for context, let's go back to one of my own 1999 stories about SBC's "Project Pronto" investments: "This is going to make streaming video real," Steve Dimmett, vice president of marketing for SBC, told me. "This is going to be video on demand."

The Bells have been trying to get into video for about 15 years. It's always just around the corner. They've tried merging with cable companies (remember Bell Atlantic and Tele-Communications, Inc.), they tried VDSL in the late 1990s, they're working with satellite companies now. Maybe this will help them get it right. I'm not holding my breath yet.

That said, Verizon is planning some interesting things with video over its Fios fiber optic service.

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