Subject: Multimedia
From: Steven Owens <uso01 -at- MAILHOST -dot- UNIDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1993 09:15:08 -0500

Lori Lathrop says:
>> Saul Carliner asks:
>> So what do you think of the merger of Bell Atlantic and TCI? How do
>> you think it will change the nature of multimedia as we know it today?

> I've been wondering the same thing. Judging from the local news
> broadcasts and what I've read in the local paper (The Denver Post), it
> all sounds pretty exciting -- putting "...phones, computers and
> television into a single box...."

This is known as "ISDN" in the computer world, Integrated
Services Digitial Network. The usual slogan is something like "Voice,
Video, Data - Three Services, One Line." And it is exciting.

> What I'm really wondering is how long it will take for the new
> technology to become reality. They'll have to jump through some hoops
> to get regulatory approvals first and, according to the article in the
> Post, that could take at least a year.

> I'm not holding my breath, but I've played around with multimedia
> stuff a bit, and I'm anxious to see some advances in the technology.

The technology is already a reality; the question is, how quickly will
the infrastructure and the hardware to take advantage of it at the
user level be developed. Most long distance "trunk" lines are already
digital. The big chicken-and-egg problem is getting ISDN lines "to
the curb" - that's a lot of copper to replace. Some small european
phone networks have switched completely over to ISDN, but you can do
that more cost-effectively with a small country's network.

ISDN is available in our area (Denver, at leat) for $30 a month - and
about $1000 in computer hardware to wire an IBMpc compatible to use
it. However, about ten or eleven months ago I read an article about
an upcoming development, an ISDN modem for around $190 which would allow
you to plug straight into ISDN. Then there's the other chicken-and-egg
problem, which is, does anybody provides services worth speaking of on
this local ISDN network?

Steven J. Owens
uso01 -at- unidata -dot- com

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