Smart House


The National Cable & TelecommUnications Association's new Washington digs are quite something.

I missed the open house a couple of weeks ago, but took a quick tour on my own while waiting to talk to NCTA President Kyle McSlarrow.

The first level of the two-level headquarters only blocks from the Capitol, is divided into several demonstration areas under the umbrella title "Cable Innovates."

Areas include "Cable Plays" (games); "Cable Works" (work applications); "Cable Rocks" (sort of a party area with big screen TVs and an HGTV popcorn popper; "Cable Entertains" (big-screen TV); and "Cable Provides" (a high-tech kitchen including a refrigerator with a TV set built in.

It all reminded me a little bit of the Carousel of Progress ride that so fascinated me at the 1964 world's Fair and later at Disney World.

Fascinating is the operative word for the display, which is classy and a good advertisement for the wonders of the wired world. The games area includes two chairs with accelorator and brake pedals hooked to an XBox racing game.

On the shelves of the "living room" area that contained some high-tech gadgets and homey touches included pictures of cable "family" members including Kay Koplovitz and Brian Roberts.

The work area allowed me to send a video e-mail, which I did to myself, or log on to the Internet, which I did and left the B&C home page, which I did solely becuase I am that kind of thoughtful guy and to make sure NCTA had some high-quality Web product to demonstrate the increasing reach of the information age

NCTA has also tricked out a screening room that will give MPAA a run for its money as the premiere destination–pun intended– or movie screenings in the Capital. the 105-seat theater has Dolby THX surround ound, can deliver movies or TV shows, and even has a Buttkicker (that's its name) amplification system under the seats that can add some vibration to the viewing experience. Shades of the film, Earthquake!

NCTA had some help decorating the digs. It put out an RFP for help and HGTV and LG prominently helped out, with LG monitors covering the walls (some 50 of them, though I saw one Westinghouse TV as well), and HGTV's name prominently displayed.

By John Eggerton