I was watching an episode of The Office, streaming from Netflix for which I gotta say, I LOVE the Netflix streaming! No longer do I have to wait a few days for a DVD for which I probably won’t watch since it comes when I don’t feel like dedicating the evening to watching a movie. While the Netflix streaming does not have a lot of current movies, they do have a bunch of TV shows available which is perfect for capturing an episode or two before bed.

Watching this streaming rental, I was whisked away back to a time when I had a chance, or rather offered a chance, to my employer some years ago in the early commercial Internet days (a large worldwide technology company) to integrate streaming media into their products. I was doing a lot with multicast technologies at the time, and even started writing a book about it at the time (but never finished), so had a pretty good idea on how to accomplish this. I outlined a plan to integrate TV outputs into a cable modem (a product line we acquired through an acquisition) and multicast support to deliver media content to not only PC’s, but also TV’s, since who really wanted to watch videos on their 14″ CRT monitors (remember, this was before flat panel displays and media center PC’s). The idea was, since an ISP provided the cable modems to the customers, and said providers were also TV content delivery companies, the technology would complement each other while reducing bandwidth requirements. I sent the idea to the CEO of the company, who in turn forwarded it to the director of the newly acquired media services division. The director was going to be traveling to our corporate office soon, and would set up a time to talk with me further about my idea. Mind you, this company was founded on ideas like this, and even prized a concept for using satellites for communications drafted on a bar napkin! Well, I worked more on the design (minus the electrical engineering aspects, a skill I lacked) and even identified and resolved some initial flaw, awaiting for my big pitch. I finally received the call: I would meet with the person in three days! Whoo Hooo! NOT! The day before the meeting, I found out that the director left his position for another company. I emailed the CEO again, and eventually the predecessor, only to be now ignored. I was fit to be tied from being ignored about an idea that seemed like natural progression, even if it was a bit ahead of its time. I zipped up all the documents, flowcharts and code samples and forwarded it out to the handful of cable modem and cable TV box manufacturers I could find, along with Blockbuster. I did receive a few ‘thank you’ responses, but in retrospect, I should have patented the idea instead.

Fast forward to today. We can time-shift TV (but not radio??? Stupid laws!!), YouTube almost anything, Bittorrent the latest movies, and now Netflix announced a set top video rental/streaming box. Ahhh yes, a patent would have been nice. I guess the world was not ready for this technology then, so I will have to wait for my big break in my next lifetime. However, it is good feeling to know you were ahead of the curve. I can’t wait to see where this technology goes next (providing the RIAA & MPAA get out of the way!)

Oh yeah, what does this have to do with Shrunken Chesticles? As I said in the beginning of this post, I was streaming an episode of The Office from Netflix. Shrunken Chesticles was a term used to describe someone ‘flat as a board’.