Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Can cable handle HDTV?

Consumers are buying HDTVs in larger numbers than ever, and they love what they see, right? Maybe not, if they're cable subscribers. HD needs a big pipe to bring you that crystal clear picture, which has cable operators scrambling to find the bandwidth to accomodate the future of TV. But their solutions might just give subscribers headaches. Full story from USA Today.

So as usual, we ask the question: what does it mean for multifamily? Well, think about it... the cable providers' issues are multiplied several hundred-fold in a typical community. Not only do they have to provide enough bandwidth to enable one subscriber to enjoy that new LCD screen, they have to do it over several hundred units. I'm not saying they won't be able to do it - the technology is improving all the time. But if you're going into a new deal with the local franchise, you should be careful to make sure that your residents will be getting all the channels and services that they expect. USA Today does a good job of covering most of the issues here, but there's a lot more for us to cover in terms of satellite and digital TV as they relate to apartments. Stay tuned...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Verizon wants to make TV more enjoyable

Verizon Communications wants to offer interactive menus, remote control improvements and on-screen "widgets" in an effort to out-think the competition and deliver an improved television experience for consumers. Full story from Forbes.

The phone companies now offer TV, cable companies now offer phone service, and they both want to sell you Internet service and cell phones. The satellite guys think they have something to offer, too. The competition will be great for the consumer, but all these choices bring up some huge questions for multifamily developers: What the heck am I supposed to do now? How am I supposed to wire my building? Will those exclusive access and marketing agreements cut it in the era of ultimate consumer (read: your resident) choice? Telecom providers are doing a lot to offer better services at better prices; now developers are going to have to do the same. Let us know what you think.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Students Say iPods More Popular Than Beer

A study recently released by the Student Monitor named Apple's iPod music player as the most "in" thing among undergraduate college students. Almost three-quarters of the students surveyed said that iPods were "in" - more than bar hopping, video games and social networking. Check out the article here.

What does it mean for apartments? Well, a lot. Younger residents have immersed themselves in the "digital lifestyle", so you better be ready for it. They have a limitless appetite for media and information - and they expect it to be fast and available on the go. Whether it's iPod docking stations, high speed Internet access, wireless networks, cell phone network boosters, or a Slingbox, there are all kinds of creative things you can do to leverage the technologies that your residents already embrace to increase loyalty to your property. We want to hear from you... how have you used technology as a selling point at your communities?