Saturday, June 20, 2009

The link between DirecTV and Kindle

The Kindle is an interesting device in a relatively uninteresting market (to me, anyway. I understand that lots of folks appreciate books more than I do). What's interesting about it to ne isn't really the screen or anything like that, it's whispernet. Whispernet is the wireless data connection built into each Kindle. When you buy an eBook for the Kindle, it just magically appears a few minutes later. This happens because a cellular data modem is built-in.

Well, DirecTV receivers need to occasionally upload a relatively small amount of data to their headquarters once or twice a month or so, and sometimes would like to know it's geographical location to within a zip code.

Guess what: cell data modems can do just that.

DirecTV receivers could replace their built-in phone line modem with a GSM modem and antenna. The SIM card could be built in to the receiver's crypto card. Folks would no longer need to plug a phone cord into their receivers.

The one rub is that DirecTV needs to offer service in places where there is no cellular service or the signal is unusable. The workaround for that would be to have a USB modem that could connect the receiver to a landline the way they do today.

The other idea for people who live in a cellular service area, but don't have service near the receiver, would be to put the GSM modem physically on the dish, and let the receivers talk to it the same way they talk to the SWM. USB modems for laptops can be made only an inch or two long. A GSM modem could be made in a similarly sized plastic block with a pair of F connectors on either end and tap into the cable for power and data I/O.

The big question is whether or not there's anyone at DirecTV who can make the logical leap that would be required to see how this would make sense for them.

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