Marvell is going to Hollywood next week in an effort to show the film industry what it’s missing because the U.S. has such slow broadband speeds. The chip firm is teaming up with Jason Reitman, director of “Up in the Air,” at the W Hotel in Hollywood on Tuesday, where it will show off a line of chips destined for home modems and residential gateways that can handle broadband speeds of between 100 Mbps and 2.5 gigabits per second.
Why should Hollywood care about fast broadband? Well with such fat pipes, 3-D would just be the beginning. One might be able to film a group of actors located in different parts of the world instead of bringing a bunch of people to one location. Plus the actual movie-watching experience could come even more immersive if broadband speeds in the U.S. were more than 600 times faster than the nation’s average of 3.9 Mbps.
But unfortunately for those of us in the U.S., we’re not actually going to see Marvell’s Avanta chips designed for fiber networks for a while. Nafea Bshara of Marvell explains that the lack of competition between ISPs and coupled with the lack of a big government push to increase speeds means that Marvell is counting on the Asia-Pacific region for sales of the Avanta chips over the next few years.
But once we get fat pipes — and symmetrical ones with both fast upstream and downstream speeds (GigaOM Pro, sub req’d) — Bshara says we could experience the best aspects of having services reside in the cloud. “There are whole new applications and new business models for the Internet,” Bshara says. “We want to encourage new breakthrough usage models that will really drive broadband and Hollywood can do that.”
Forget email. He envisions a world where web-based hardcore gaming is possible and there’s no need for someone to decide between a Playstation or a Wii console because they’ll be able to access whatever type of game they want over the web. However, he may be overestimating Hollywood’s willingness to usher in the future of streaming movies instead of buying DVDs.