Did you ever notice that with technology, it often seems to be two steps forward but one step back? Before digital TV, our analog tuners could change channels at the speed of a thumb-press. (This was even true in the early days of the remote controls. My grandmother had a Zenith Space Command, and when my uncle’s black lab came in the room and shook its dog tags, the jangling sound would cause the channels to change wildly!) Now we’ve advanced to HDTV and lots of fancy features, but not everything is an improvement.
For example, what happens when you want to channel surf and you press the Channel Up button? Probably nothing, at least for about a second. I sometimes will press the button three or four times in rapid succession, in hopes that I’ve got the count right to get to the desired channel. It’s a small price to pay for the other benefits, but it’s still annoying.
That’s why Broadcom has developed “FastRTV“, which provides nearly instantaneous channel switching for cable system set-top boxes and other devices. And the great thing about it is that the cable company doesn’t have to do anything different to the digital signal that it is already sending out. The company claims that the switching speed is up to five times faster, but judge for yourself; scroll down on this page to find a video demonstration of the technology.
Now, Broadcom is a company that makes chips that go into the set-top boxes and other devices that the cable companies buy for their customers, so you can’t just go on Amazon and buy a FastRTV device for your system. But it might not hurt to ask your cable company if they offer boxes with this feature. Comcast apparently is deploying boxes with the FastRTV feature, and others are likely to follow suit.
So it may take a little time, but eventually technology takes another two steps forward to put you ahead of where you were. And one more little annoyance is eliminated.