The next dream of telecoms providers is network function virtualization, the ability to virtualize customers hardware instead of shipping them a device. The example given to the The Register were DVRs, instead of shipping a cablebox with recording capability to the customer the DVR would be virtualized on the telcos internal infrastructure. You could sign up for a DVR VM, point your smart TV at the appropriate IP address and plug in a USB disk for local storage.
The problem has been the hardware available to the telco, the routers simply did not have the power to provide a consistent internet or cable connection, let alone add virtual devices to their systems. At the upcoming MWC, Wind River will be showing off Titanium Servers for virtualizing customer premises equipment, with enough processing power and VM optimizations that these types of services could be supported.
"Intel is starting to deliver on its vision of x86-powered modem/routers in the home , as its Wind River subsidiary releases a server dedicated to delivery of functions to virtual customer premises equipment (CPE)."
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