By Paul Maxwell To Stream or Not to Stream Sure is different today … linear is on its way out! No it’s not! Yes it is! Cable networks hold all the cards as the over-the-airheads slowly wilt. Until this upfront. And the Internet. Or not. Hits don’t matter. It’s the long tail, after all! Hits are all that matters! Broadcasters win after all! With an Idol and an event or six. No they won’t! Cable has hits, too … not to mention Monday Night Football … maybe the best regular example of "appointment television" ever … and now on cable (and satellite and wireless and the Internet and radio and magazine – but cable gets the local ad sales!). Multicast must carry would steal our spectrum. [Well, right about that one; no argument here] Hey! A channel is just a number in a guide and on a remote. Whoa, there. I think we’re on to something. A channel is what a cable system says it is. So, why does it have to be all day, 24 by 7? It doesn’t, of course. And in many cases, it isn’t. Like ESPN Gameplan or Sunday Ticket on DirecTV. Bandwidth management (for ROI) is the MSO mantra. And there’s Hi-Def with retransmission consent and VoIP, broadband access, MySpace and YouTube, wannabe new networks, line extension networks from popular ones and more … such as the maybe coming soon U. S. Olympic Sports Network all vying for limited space … and stuff like on DirecTV’s "Mix" channels of six or so feeds on one screen (better middleware, I’ll bet). Whew! Life is complicated! Well, part time is a step up from just VOD. Bet we see some wannabe nets and a handful of extant ones – but limited in popularity and viewing in certain time "zones" – share a bandwidth designation … but NOT a channel number. Don’t laugh … digital switched video, network PVR and more are on the way (as soon as the legal questions are answered). So, why not share bandwidth but not a number? Random Notes *Details? Ludwig Mies van der Rohe noted, "God is in the details." Le Corbusier observed, "The devil is in the details." Kind of depends upon your point of view I suppose. Time to update it: God and the devil are in the algorithm. Without those prescient numbers, nothing much we do today would be possible. *More Do-Gooding: Yeah, I know, we all get a lot of requests for charity giving (and we give; witness the help we’ve given via Ann Carlsen and Leslie Ellis just in the past few weeks) … so, I’ve got another one … via LaRae Marsik and friends at October Strategies for Alzheimer’s Disease. Please go to http://www.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeam.asp?, and click on October Strategies … and help a little. Thanks. Now, what was it I was writing about? *Chicago: Big city; big show … for the "little guys" who aren’t, as you know, so little. The ACA and NCTC meet here this week. And, as usual, I’ll be here to learn a lot. Special congratulations to Steve Simmons and his Patriot Media team for winning Cable World’s "Independent Operator" award … wait until you see his grin on the cover.