Thursday, April 20, 2006

HD = Heavy Disruption

From what I can make of it, this new HD set-top box offer from the ever-terrifying Free brings together a couple of my favorite disruptive elements: dual-mode GSM/WiFi wireless service (which looks like it will authenticate on any Free HD box, thus validating the FON model) and inclusion of 18 DTT channels. All for only EUR9.99 a month above the normal EUR29.99 for DSL, SD TV, and inclusive calls (including of course nomadic ones on the WiFi service). As with everything else Free has ever done previously, we will see iterations of this cropping up in other markets.

UPDATE: Many Francophone Prix D'Or mega-uber value readers have written in to clarify a few points. First, the EUR9.99 figure is a one-off payment, not monthly, with an approximately EUR200 handset cost borne by the subscriber (hey I studied Spanish in high school, okay?). One also points out that Freebox users will also be allowed to make calls to the PSTN on any internet-connected computer in the world using any SIP-compatible IM client, with calls billed to the Freebox account (I find this very curious). It also appears that the HD box contains a video encoder, for which no purpose is stated in the release.