@Gary – Although I was not involved in the design (I wish I had been), the Comcast DVR presently in use in our area (Motorola DCM-3400-M) is very, very unbalanced and is software heavy.It is extremely slow (and it's also very full of firmware bugs).To make certain the problems were not a hardware failure, the box has been changed out approximately 5 times, but the problems remain.Every time Comcast performs a hardware update, they correct a problem or two, but in the process they break something else.They are either not hiring competent programmers or they don't know how to find a competent company to which to outsource.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.