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Free Net TV Threatens Telecoms 116

Posted by Zonk
from the free-as-in-woohoo dept.
An anonymous reader writes "C|Net's running an article about the threat free television on the internet poses to traditional telecoms and cable companies." From the article: "No one is expecting Internet television to cannibalize traditional TV models overnight. Despite advancements in streaming technology, video delivered on the Web can still be choppy, with frequent interruptions as data packets buffer and reload on the screen. In fact many viewers who watched the NCAA tournament aired by CBS on the Internet last month complained about the network being overloaded."
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Free Net TV Threatens Telecoms

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  • Same Old FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:37AM (#15120889) Journal
    Media barons come to power over the decades since that particular media's inception into society.

    A new technology comes along that threatens their iron grip on said media's distribution.

    The archaic dinosaurs do not know what to do so they spread FUD everywhere and turn to the law and lobbying for protection of their source of infinite wealth. They refuse to change to their environment and instead force the environment to change to them--a fatalistic attitude that hinders innovation and growth among other things.

    After all the dust settles, the end consumer (99.9% of the populace) is the one that misses out on what might have been.

    This story could be applied all the way back to printed text that was held from the commoners and slaves to hinder knowledge and understanding.

    It happened with music. It happened with videos. It's happening with television. And it will happen with everything because the people running the industries refuse to lose their power or adapt their production methods.
    "The times, they are a changing." - Bob Dylan
    How about we wake up and change the headline from
    Free Net TV Threatens Telecoms
    to
    Free Net TV to Replace Telecoms
    or
    Community Welcomes New Distribution Method of Telecoms
    We're eating out of the hands of a few select companies and with television over the internet, the fact is that we might not have to.
    • In every colour there's the light. In every stone sleeps a crystal.
      Let's Tear Down the Boundaries of Connectivity!
      There will be no more free TV
    • Re:Same Old FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dsginter (104154) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:54AM (#15121026)
      A new technology comes along that threatens their iron grip on said media's distribution.

      I'm pretty sure that most of them realize that DRM is the Dark Horse in this situation. With DRM, then can add IP distribution to their cable boxes and DVD players in order to distribute their content in high-quality *before* it is slated to be viewed. That is, they can buffer the content while you sleep and work. It will be ready for you to watch when *they* want you to watch it - all on their terms.

      IMHO, DRM is going to be bitter sweet for the OSS community. Nobody seems to want it, yet, without it, there is no incentive for "the little guy" to make any real content. Sure, a few Honest Joes will pony up the cash for their content, but, in my experience, the rest of them will simply steal it.

      If OSS would consider DRM, then we could come up with a grass roots effort to displace Big Media (e.g. - pay the Little Guy for good content). The thing is, the sheer size of the viewership would make content *nearly* free (e.g. - 30 million viewers pay you 10 cents per episode and you are rich).

      The knife cuts both ways but we need to be pragmatic.

      OSS+DRM+cheap hardware & grassroots distribution and support = end of Big Business
      • http://www.animemusicvideos.org/ [animemusicvideos.org] is real enough for me, though it does borrow heavily from other sources. http://www.amvhell.com/ [amvhell.com] is especially good. What we need are laws that will make it easier for this sort of thing. Also see: http://www.archive.org/details/opensource_movies [archive.org]
        Seems to me that there are enough "little men" with (almost) all the incentive they need.

      • "...without it, there is no incentive for "the little guy" to make any real content. Sure, a few Honest Joes will pony up the cash for their content, but, in my experience, the rest of them will simply steal it."

        One thing, I think, that your comment doesn't take into account is the artificial price of "content". Huge media enterprises have enormous layers of management and staff in addition to tons of equipment and property. On the other hand, "little guys" can make extremely popular and enjoyable prog

      • Umn, how can you have a system for DRM that can *possibly* be secure (IE unable to work around) while having the source open..? I'm against DRM as a general rule, but even *IF* the OSS community wanted it, once the implimentation is OpenSource, then so is the means to hack around it, and remove it's restrictions.
      • IMHO, DRM is going to be bitter sweet for the OSS community. Nobody seems to want it, yet, without it, there is no incentive for "the little guy" to make any real content. Sure, a few Honest Joes will pony up the cash for their content, but, in my experience, the rest of them will simply steal it.

        If OSS would consider DRM, then we could come up with a grass roots effort to displace Big Media (e.g. - pay the Little Guy for good content). The thing is, the sheer size of the viewership would make content *near
    • They refuse to change to their environment and instead force the environment to change to them--a fatalistic attitude that hinders innovation and growth among other things.

      George Bernard Shaw might disagree with you:

      "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

      Besides, what on earth are you talking about? Internet TV is shit at the moment compared to traditional broadcast metho
    • Re:Same Old FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:38AM (#15121439) Homepage Journal
      Or more simply,

      "New technology threatens now-obsolete business models."

      This has been happening since the Industrial Revolution. The big difference is that now the old dinosaurs have enough sway in Congress that they can throw a wrench in the machine of the free market in order to sustain their existence without having to adapt to the new realities of the market.

      Companies whose existence rely on a 19th century means of distribution, which include all the media companies (books, newspapers, magazines, music, movies, even software), are being made obsolete. This will soon transform the music industry in a hugely positive way by allowing a more democratic method of distribution ("Down with Clear Channel!") which I think will revitalize a stale and non-innovate industry. Other media will follow.

      Right now you and your buddies playing music in a garage can, with a small investment of a few hundred dollars or so, record, master and produce music for sale. What happens when the same will be true for video... on-demand video... the blogosphere revolution hits television(?) This is asteroid hurtling towards the prehistoric-Earth of the media dinosaurs and they are scared stiff, because for the first time in decades, they will be forced to compete, innovate and adapt.

      • Right now you and your buddies playing music in a garage can, with a small investment of a few hundred dollars or so, record, master and produce music for sale. What happens when the same will be true for video...

        What has happened to the recording industry? Not much, that I can tell. Almost all popular bands are still owned by Big Music. The industry does seem to be in decline (or just a slump, who can tell?) but it doesn't seem to be due to the proliferation of recording technology.

        • What I'm trying to say is that the recording industry as in "big music labels" are becoming more and more obsolete. The _only_ thing that they can give that you can't do yourself for a modest sum, is exposure... and unless you are a cog in the industrial bilge machine that is big music, you won't get that anyway... and even if you do, you sign away 99.9% of your chance to personally end up in the black.

          As big music continues to increasingly homogenize itself, independent labels, and even independent artist
    • I could not agree with your points more! I welcome this new trend with open arms. I know I've made reference to these guys before, but I LOVE what they're trying to do - www.endlesseurope.com . I feel like these guys 'get it'. Their launching a travel reality show that encourages user-interaction from day one. They're sending two backpackers to Europe for the summer, giving them three daily challenges, and encouraging them to party it up. Anyone can apply, post questions for the applicants, suggest challeng
  • Why would (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:43AM (#15120936)
    Web can still be choppy, with frequent interruptions as data packets buffer and reload on the screen.


    Why would I want to get that for free, when I already pay for it from Comcast?

    • Dude, you should switch to Dish Network, they offer that as well as service outages when it rains.

      • Not to mention Dish and their "HD Lite" pseudo HD, which is utter garbage.

        As far as the original topic, people will claim that it's not forward thinking enough to say that the natural progression of free TV isn't high quality free TV on the net. The reality is, it isn't. Getting the video to your living room, which will always be the setting of choice for watching TV, will never be something that is easily accessible. Tie that in with the fact that even though people think we're going to magically pull b
  • ObNitpick (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:45AM (#15120949) Homepage Journal
    Walt Disney's bold move to let people download TV shows for free could spell trouble for cable and satellite providers

    If I understand correctly (which has been known to happen occasionally) shows will just be offered as a stream, not readily downloadable. My guess is they'll also use an .swf wrapper like youtube/Google video/etc. to guard against easy ripping.
    • I wonder what exactly is going through their minds when they decide to let people stream a show as much as they want, but not download it. It's almost as though they think that they can make money simply by inconveniencing their users.
    • Re:ObNitpick (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gr33nNight (679837) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:56AM (#15121044)
      If thats the case then use this: http://feelingtea.com/decode/google/index.php [feelingtea.com] It is a fM Google, Youtube & Ifilm Video Downloader (from the site), and it works great.
    • stream ripping (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)
      Unless they limit the stream rate server side, it's trivial to rip any stream out of it's wrapper and download it at full speed.

      I always wondered why most sites don't take that basic precaution when they're providing non-downloadable streaming video. It really isn't a problem unless I'm forced to download the thing in real time... that's a bit painful, though not a showstopper.
      • It's trivial to most of the /. crowd, but the millions of Joe Sixpacks out there will always be there to create new flocks of ad impressions every time they watch something unless someone releases an idiot-proof stream-ripping app.
    • Look at the source code for a Youtube/Google Video page. You can find the URL to the movie being played.
  • by babbling (952366) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:45AM (#15120954)
    The guy presenting this lecture [google.com] has the right idea.

    In short, he thinks small icon advertisements (eg. "drink coke") should be put in the corner of a TV show, and then the TV show should be freely distributed on bittorrent. Everyone wins.
    • It's not a bad idea, but TV ripping groups already blur out network icons in their offerings. Some people would still download the ad-blocked version just out of spite.
      • Do you think they would, though? A better-quality version that pre-dates the rest of them, and the only difference is a watermarked Coke logo in the corner... I'd say the majority of folks would grab THAT torrent rather than the one that appeared an hour later. Ripping groups work more on the basis of serving the masses... my guess is they'd just drop that particular show from their "to do" list once they lost the edge. Exactly how inconvenienced are you willing to be to avoid ads?
    • There's nothing I hate more than the stupid animations that pop up in the middle of a show to advertise other shows, or just tell you what network you're watching. On MTV2 they've gone so far as to cover the MIDDLE of the screen with animation in the middle of a show @#$@$!$#! I definitely don't trust anyone to put non-obtrusive ads overlayed in the corner of a show. Pop-up ads and flash overlays are REALLY annoying.
    • I only wish that they would do something like this. Then people like me who hate ads could invest in ad blocking consisting of a piece of cardboard and some masking tape, and those that don't mind being marketed to could opt to watch the ads. Everyone wins.
    • In short, he thinks small icon advertisements (eg. "drink coke") should be put in the corner of a TV show, and then the TV show should be freely distributed on bittorrent.
      That all sounds fine, until you realise that the screen will end up like the "Million Dollar Homepage".

      They don't know when to stop, do they ?

    • In short, he thinks small icon advertisements (eg. "drink coke") should be put in the corner of a TV show, and then the TV show should be freely distributed on bittorrent. Everyone wins.

      I'm also a fan of product placement, so long as its done tastefully. Products are a part of our culture, we use them all the time. Its unlikely that a billionaire business tycoon on TV would drive a 1976 Pinto. Why not have Ferarri or some high end/high dollar car manufacturer compete for having this new billionaire busin
    • In short, he thinks small icon advertisements (eg. "drink coke") should be put in the corner of a TV show, and then the TV show should be freely distributed on bittorrent. Everyone wins.

      Another thing. The small icon advertisement thing is used all the time during sporting events. Endorsements for clothing, equipment, and other goods and services are displayed via green-screen type overlays, billboards, on-screen overlays, and to boot they still have dedicated commercials.

      A success story with marketing thi
    • I already want to kill him, but what I would actually do is to write a plugin for xine that identifies these adverts and blanks them out (assuming somebody else didn't beat me to it).

      I don't look at adverts on slashdot, why should I look at them on TV? (Ignoring for the moment the minor point that I don't watch TV)

      People need to find a better business model than adverts. And they definitely need to find a better model than charging you for the service and STILL having adverts. The BBC has been proving that
  • Progress (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mcai8rw2 (923718)
    As telecoms develops, any and all 'archaeic technologies' will eventually be replaced. This includes T.V. in its current form.

    This will not happen for a long time though, not until the connection speeds and data compression/quality manage to provide an equal to what is currently available.

    We can see slight shifts of emphasis now [in the U.K.] with legislation going about switching OFF analogue signals [soon-ish]. This leave just the digital environment. And as more and more of our entertainment goods
    • Yet in the UK digital TV is allocated its own spectrum of frequencies -- a great waste of bandwidth that is by no means a la carte, it is prepackaged.

      The key isn't just dumping analog, it is dumping mega-watt transmission frequency regulation. We don't need mega bandwidth or mega compression when you already have a ton of frequencies barely used. XVID and other compression codecs are just fine (its about 300 meg for 24 minutes, right?), and neighborhood mini-distributors can have torrents ready for near-i
      • ...but this step would likely give us way more choice and open the door for many more content creators to enter the market.

        And that is the reason why the regulations exist to begin with. They don't want just any old subversive to have access to a broadcast medium. The propaganda machine cannot function without these regulations in place. Further subjugation would not be possible if alternative sources of information are available. This why there is such a mad scramble to control the net.
    • And as more and more of our entertainment goods goes to digital, we will find that the distinction between 'Telly' and 'computer' and 'phone' and 'dvd player'will dissolve till we have the grail of home medai management.

      So the grail is a TV that takes ages to turn on, needs drivers/software installing, needs endless configuration, crashes all the time and is crippled when someone is saturating the internet connection?

      But then maybe I'm a Luddite, I don't even see the point in digital TV: you get obscure cha
      • I entirely agree with you. I can see the inaccuracy in my post... Like many things...ebooks, 3G Video Phones, et al...the time it takes for the 'new' technology to change into 'widely used, simple, swift efficient technology' is Huuuge, as there is the inevitable period inbetween when the technology itself is ironing out kinks, and societies infrastructure [phone lines, consumer acceptance etc] WON'T handle it. Which gets us into a whole new debate about launching products/tech too soon. >_ I DO beli
  • As a slashdotter who is stuck on dial up due to my unfortunate location, I think I'll be sticking to older forms of TV for a while. I'm not exactly sure what they mean by internet video or why its so popular, so far it only seems to "buffer" and slow my blazing fast 56k connection...
    • As a slashdotter who is stuck on dial up due to my unfortunate location


      Oh, so you're in Australia too?

      Seriously over here there's a lot of people still on Dial-up. Satellite has just had a big push but here in WA the funds ran out way too early.

      Even things like Windows updates can't be done without planning to leave the computer on overnight.
      • Actually I'm stuck in the middle of a rather populated area in PA, USA. Cable comes from NJ and is too far, and I'm a stone's throw out of reach of DSL, mostly due to their incompitence, I think.
        • I set up a friend's network who was literally across the street from dsl using a cooperative neighbor, the "free" wlan router included with the neighbor's dsl, and a $20 wireless card.

          It's worked great for 3 years now, both people pay 1/2 and think it's great.

          Your neighbor might not want you to saturate the bandwidth with internet video, but some dsl is quite snappy these days.

      • You mean you don't normally leave your computer on all the time?
        • You mean you don't normally leave your computer on all the time?


          In rural WA, you can't guarantee the power will be on all night, every night. It's always the night before the big meeting that the damn UPS starts going BEEP BEEP at 3am.

          No, we don't leave the computer on, we turn everything off at the wall.
    • Well, I hope you move soon :) The U.S is canceling all of it's analog TV broadcasts by 2008. Everything is going to be purely digital, baby! yeah! About time I get more than 10HD channels. Ugh... :)
  • by Entropy (6967) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:47AM (#15120962)
    so why can't it get here already??

    ONE pipe to each home. Pure fiber. Multi gigabit standard.

    All data to and from the home, be it voice, audio, video, text, &c &c &c flow through that pipe.

    Airwaves free to use for mobile applications.

    GUH! Why can't the future just be here?
    [/rant]
    • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:53AM (#15121021) Homepage Journal
      I'll get blasted for this and called a troll, but my real opinion is that the distribution cartels (phone companies, cable companies and TV companies) don't want it to happen. They've controlled the system for too long, and they're fearful (rightfully so) of losing out to the smaller direct-caster. Broadcast (ie, not a la carte) is dying.

      The best way to let things progress is to stop holding to the old norms (regulations). Look at all the bandwidth set aside fo television and radio at 50,000 watts per frequency range. All that lovely bandwidth could be better prioritized with lower transmission power and WiFi or something similar. Even cell phone companies hold way too much bandwidth for the type of transmission used, it is crazy that EDGE/3G/whatever isn't even faster than it is today.

      I truly believe we'd see much more technology growth if we didn't hold to standards created 20, 30, 50 years ago. UHF and VHF should be dead, and HDTV along with it. If people want HD broadcasts, they could be better suited to a faster more localized version of the torrent protocol -- maybe set up by a few re-distro companies, maybe by amateurs, let competition bring it about.

      As for paying for it, I believe 5 second spots work just as well as 30 and 60 second spots. The rare times I watch public programming, I actually hear "brought to you by the McDonalds corporation" better than I hear a 30 or 60 second McD's spot.
      • "the distribution cartels (phone companies, cable companies and TV companies) don't want it to happen" There is sooooooo much tech that would benefit consumers if government wasn't overly protective of entrenched buisness interests. It doesn't just apply to DRM and he media cartels either, i see it in so many facets of life in general. A simple example would be alternative fuels. The existing energy cartels want to be the ones providing the impetus for change, and quite simply, had the government which sup
        • It doesn't just apply to DRM and he media cartels either, i see it in so many facets of life in general.

          Actually, I'm not against DRM, I am just against laws that protect and require DRM. I think in a more-free market, DRM might have some realistic functions, but I believe competition would make DRM worthless since people would generally prefer the uncluttered media rather than the cluttered ones.

          provided some real incentives and subsidies we'd have moved into a far more fuel efficient modus operandi a de
      • I'll get blasted for this and called a troll, but my real opinion is that the distribution cartels (phone companies, cable companies and TV companies) don't want it to happen.

        Great karma whoring. You start with the obligatory 'I know I'll be modded down' intro, then immediately pander to the crowd by railing against the evil 'media cartel', at the same time pretending to be a controversial minority. The slashdotters who think the same way and want to feel part of a 'counter-mainstream' movement all agree wi
        • Great karma whoring.

          I'm no karma whore -- I get modded -1 as often as +5, usually for the same opinion. It is more important to me to hear VIABLE replies that properly debate my point, so I can be better prepared to debate myself. The best part of slashdot for me is that I learn where I'm wrong, often. I have my display browsing to -1, so moderation means nothing, and I've often replied to insightful -1 troll posts myself.

          I don't want to have to set up an Internet connection, a computer, TV card etc just
          • Broadcast TV is not free, it is paid for by advertising paid for by consumer purchases.

            Internet TV will /still/ have advertising. You are also not required to buy things advertised during the programmes you watch, and you can buy them even if you only watch over the Internet.

            I see no reason why a simple Cisco/Netgear/D-Link "Direct-cast" box wouldn't be released for $49.99 at Circuit City that grabs the WiFi signals and puts them up on your TV or your PC to view.

            Or for £0 you could just watch your nor
    • It dosn't even have to be fiber! ADSL can do up to 8mbit which is more than enough for a few mpeg 4 streams.

      Fiber rollout is very expensive, but its naturally going to happen over time. Your still going to require atleast one copper pair for 911 service, fiber cannot carry power and 911 services have to just work, even when the power is out.

      HDTV is going to be a niche market for many years yet. I'm big into video and mpeg 4 on my regular TV is fine for me.

      In the mean while someone needs to roll out a ADSL
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:48AM (#15120975) Homepage Journal
    I've been looking for advice and opinions on a "dream" of mine on the verge of coming true -- an idea I call No Copyright Studios. Basically the idea was initially to sponsor bands who dropped all their music into the public domain in exchange for all the free marketing that could drive more fans to their shows. Now we're looking at enticing another group of artists to work to build a digital library of free programming in exchange for driving people to see them live: the theatre group.

    I've been thinking about all the great actors I personally know (I love SOME local theatre) and how they could record some of their skits as mini-TV-shows to broadcast freely online. I've also thought that we could get a few different groups throughout the country to work on similar vignettes, creating interest not just in my local Chicago area.

    The more I look at the quality increases of amateur performers online, the more I realize that the big cartels that controlled distribution for nearly 70 year ARE in trouble. No, we aren't there yet, but we're getting there. I just picked up 3 3-chip DV cams for under US$4000 total, brand new, 16:9. Amazing what competition can do to drive prices down so that amateurs can start competing with the big guys. Even HD cams are dropping in price.

    I think the big issue right now is forgoing "protection" of the medium or the data and just letting it go wherever it can go. In the long run, people seem to be willing to pay for a la carte entertainment, so I believe that we can see a return to the old days when artists were sponsored by the masses solely to create. No Copyright Studios has numerous ways for artists to make money without copyright, including charging for fans to watch the band in the studio live (via the web). As more people embrace the idea of letting your digital product become your marketing sysetem, the quality will go up. Competition still exists even when a product is given away.

    The question is: what will the cartels do to stop it? The big print media outlets are forming blogs, which are succeeding within reason (Slate?). The big radio outlets are jumping beyond their pre-set formats, bringing some people back to the radio, and some are even podcasting.

    Can big media hold on when the prices are quickly dropping to zero and advertising can be bypassed with the press of a button? What is the next step for them?
    • ..."dream" of mine on the verge of coming true

      Try nightmare.

      Ze dark side has won. Get over it! We'll rebuild ze boundaries of connectivity.

      • The dark side and the light side are both evil. The one true path is the edge of the coin. Wide is the path, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction. The dark and light sides are both wide.
    • I've been thinking about all the great actors I personally know (I love SOME local theatre) and how they could record some of their skits as mini-TV-shows to broadcast freely online. I've also thought that we could get a few different groups throughout the country to work on similar vignettes, creating interest not just in my local Chicago area.

      This would work great for improv performers, I think. Since Chicago is so known for improv, I think that it may be a good place for you to start. With improv, you

      • This would work great for improv performers, I think. Since Chicago is so known for improv, I think that it may be a good place for you to start. With improv, you can always guarantee that next week's show will be completely different. You can also guarantee that you will have material to post online next week.

        Bingo. There are GREAT theatre groups in Chicago (even beyond Improv). There is no reason why their production level can't increase slightly (based solely on donations of people who like to watch th
  • Of course network tv is threatened by this. It's old technology and hasn't changed much to adapt to younger generations. TIVO started the push towards controlling your tv, but thats not enough. People want to watch whatever they want, whenever they want it with little interuption. Some may say this is unrealistic, but if the public demands it long enough, someone will provide it. ABC is already starting to offer some shows.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

  • by MECC (8478) * on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:53AM (#15121024)
    It would seem Disney is confused about what it want, or who its friends are. Back in November of 2002, Disney sent a letter to the FCC asking "transmission network operators do not encumber relationships between their customers and destinations on the network."

    Recently [governmententerprise.com]: "Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger weighed in on the network neutrality debate Monday with an opinion guaranteed to please his hosts here at the TelecomNext show -- in that he doesn't think any new legislation is needed."

    Now, Disney wants to be a content provider, yet is siding with the telecoms in an endeavor that will ultimatly hurt content providers by trying in vain to prioritize selected traffic for selected content providers and consumers. Whoever it was at Disney that understood that trying to guarantee that a class of traffic gets prioritized fairly throughout all routers running the internet was virtually impossible must have left.

    It would seem Disney want to feed them selves with one hand, and stab themselves with the other. What a Mickey Mouse operation.

    • I see where you're going with this, but I think you might be forgetting that if network traffic is prioritized, Disney is exactly the type of content provider which is going to be right up there at the top of the pile, becuase they have plenty of money to buy off the telcos with. I'm sure Disney would love to be able to say how fast their TV shows were compared to that of smaller, independant networks.
      • I think you're right, they probably could buy off some of the telcos, and arguably the largest ones. There are at first glance, however, two significant problems with this.

        First, they will have to out-spend everyone else in order to do it. They might be able to pull this off at first, but it will get more and more costly in time, and it will cost them more than it does now to move the same amount of content. So, they are in fact guaranteeing that their costs will rise artifically. However, they may b
  • ...how the data is delivered, unless they come up with something worth watching it won't mean a damn.

    We see how the broadcast stations are trying to maintain revenue by just redoubling their efforts to do all the kind of stuff that drives away audiences (longer, more frequent ad break, screen covered with DOGs, truncated credits, entire storylines cut out of programs to force them into ever shorter time slots.)

    Treat the audience with some respect.
    • I hardly watch any TV now. Where I once would sit and watch an evening's TV and watch the best programme on, I'm more likely to sit and read a weblog by someone.

      I hardly watch any TV news now. The net beats it hands down. I can read dozens of different opinions, and it's often not been run through a dumb filter. I can read weblogs of people who are on the frontline, not journalists trying to make a sensational story.

  • by Danathar (267989) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:01AM (#15121081) Journal
    Watch what happens to satelite radio...it will be a pre-cursor to what happens with video.

    I can already take my phone/PDA, load a streaming media player and stream virgin atlantic classic radio through my cell companies unlimited data services at 160Kbs. Take the audio mini-jack out of my PDA, add a power adapter so it does not drain the juice and I can plug that directly into my car stereo system. Presto! The collection of radio stations at broadband speeds are available via my car. On top of that, with 768Kb/s upstream from my cable modem I'm able to access via teh web my ENTIRE music collection at home and have it streamed to my car.

    I predict within 3 years (probably MUCH sooner) you will be able to buy a head unit for your car with either A) cell phone electronics on it or B) a cradle for your phone so the head unit can receive streaming audio from the internet.

     
    • No need for a cradle. When Cells start to support UWB then you can do it wireless.
      Why have a DVD navigation system when you can have a network navigation system with real time traffic feedback? Have it find the cheapest hotel or gas near you? Stream audio and maybe video for the back seats?
      • Well, a cradle would be nice for the power connection unless you want to power the thing on good intentions.
        • Cradles are phone specific. A power adapter is more universal.
          For instance my phone will not work with any cradle at all. You have to use a plug to connect the charger. I think the Razor is the the same way.
          • yea..cradles would be nice but are phone specific. It will be more likely that sprint/verizon will partner with a company like Kenwood or Aiwa and some online radio stations like Virgin...Sirrus and XM could be forward looking and allow access over the internet though the units if people don't want to use satelite.
  • I just posted last week IIRC that
    Internet is going to overtake all froms of media due networking being superior to any distribution(Not in speed right now,but it possible when infrastructure changes) was moderated as funny.
    Well, you don't get straming video from 56K,
    But i don't need it "streaming/Buffering" I just download the torrents and watch it later.
    And you (technically) would be able to download any video torrent with dialup.
    It just will take too much time.
    56kbit=
    7KBs=604 MB day(or about 300 MB day at
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:13AM (#15121177) Journal
    Its not really a threat, well unless you consider watching the profits go from big name studios to triple and quadruple play carriers a threat.

    Did we forget that tiered internet thingy? Yep. as soon as media shifts to all digital, we have a new set of pipers to pay. Instead of the old cable companies and commercials, it will be digital network providers and commercials PLUS the overhead of tiered network costs if you want to watch that with fewer commercials and in real time streaming.

    All of this posturing and lobbying is about capturing market, ensuring that investors will be happy in the future.

    Digital content is simply a different medium, and the big players, even the new ones, are not going to let it go for free. If they can't get advertising dollars for it, they will try to charge premium costs for access to it.

    One thing is for certain, you can bet that Hollywood, television networks, and other media content providers will be vying to pick consumer's pockets for a very long time indeed.

  • When we finally get decent broadband when the upload is same as download, it will be over.

    Why doesn't some savy media house have a few servers with pipes and seed shows with bittorrent. You could place the seeds around the world, like mirrors. Then you produce and release show with a few ads. I know everyone says, well people will delete the ads - but if they are tiny and clever - aka people watch the ads in the superbowl because they are interesting.

    But seeing as the time consuming part of bittorrent is en
    • Right. If you designed your video properly, you could make the automatic commercial killers jump right to your commercial. Most just look for a black screen transitions. After a few failures, most consumers will just stop using automated systems to remove the ads and just sit down and watch them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:23AM (#15121272)
    The US is headed toward being a third-world telecommunications country because the American public is being dumbed down about what is really high speed Internet. Megabit speeds are legacy technology, regardless of what the cable and DSL providers say. Other countries are going to gigabit technology -- to the home and at reasonably low cost (say $50 per month for Internet, telephone, and cable TV combined).

    Take a look at the white paper at:

    http://www.ieeeusa.org/volunteers/committees/ccip/ docs/Gigabit-WP.pdf [ieeeusa.org]

    However, we must have net neutrality to do it, which means that bandwidth providers can't also be content/applications/services providers. Under such a gigabit Internet concept, you would separately negotiate for content, applications, and services. That blows away the business models of present cable providers and what the telcos are lobbying to get.

    This is where we need to head, and the FCC and Congress need to stop listening to incumbent providers and start thinking about what is best for everyone.
  • by Paladin144 (676391) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:27AM (#15121323) Homepage
    ...literally. I'm sure some of you are already aware of the open-source Democracy Player [getdemocracy.com] that the Participatory Culture Foundation has pulled together. For those who aren't, I would urge you to download it and give it a spin. The player merges bittorrent, rss and VLC (or Quicktime on the Mac) into a single cohesive platform. You can start your own channels if you've got content and a webserver. Bittorrent is built into it so that you're sharing as you're downloading, which takes some of the load off your webserver. It sounds like a really cool idea, but it needs some help to get off the ground floor.

    It's still in beta, and it runs slowly on my Mac, but the way you can subscribe to channels or just download individual shows/clips is pretty cool. Could this be the future of TV? It's not really on-demand; it's more like demand-then-wait-for-download, but you get better video quality than most streaming solutions. I'd be curious to know what people think of this idea.

  • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:32AM (#15121372)
    It all boils down to isochronous delivery: broadcasters have us trained to think that entertainment is event driven, like "Survivor" or another scheduled event. In fact, few shows need be delivered this way.

    The telcos that would prioritize their own isochronous/realtime delivery system only get an advantage there. We can still download movies, sports, or whatever for use at our convenience. This means that the NCAA Final Four is probably hot property for QoS throttling, where downloads of Star Wars movies or even Buster Keaton aren't affected by a time domain.

    Bottom line: only event-driven, realtime entertainment that isn't available for time delay consumption matters. The on-air broadcasters already know this.... and the telcos are just trying to find a way to shave (or add) a piece from the deals we make. They'll likely win, because they're thoroughly bribed the congress for years into doing it 'their way' vis-a-vis their ability to get the FCC to play along, and for net-neutrality legislation to be handily squashed.


    • Hey! I learned a new word! I was gonna be a wank and ask if you meant asynchronous but some little voice in my head kept me from becoming an insta-jerk and I went here instead:


      http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/I/isochronous.html [webopedia.com]


      Whew! that was close

      :)


      MjM

      • >>Isochronous can be contrasted with asynchronous, which refers to processes in which data streams can be broken by random intervals, and synchronous processes, in which data streams can be delivered only at specific intervals. Isochronous service is not as rigid as synchronous service, but not as lenient as asynchronous service.>> this is the citation from your link, and it's not quite correct.

        Asynchronous data means literally without clock. Sender and receiver use timed or externally clocked f
  • ... because you'll have a choice. You can either watch low-res, grainy video with commercials over an Internet connection, or grab a torrent and watch full-quality video with no commercials right off your hard drive. When you can wake up Monday morning and find an hours-old HR-HDTV copy of the Sopranos with 5.1 audio sitting on your desktop, that you can watch whenever you want, you get spoiled.
  • Interruptions... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Fanther (949376)
    Web can still be choppy, with frequent interruptions as data packets buffer and reload on the screen

    Some broadcasters seem to get it much better than others:

    http://delicast.com/tv/Ministry_of_Sound [delicast.com]
    or
    http://delicast.com/tv/NASA_TV [delicast.com]

    The bitrates are not impressive, but I can't recall a single pause/buffering issue with them (adsl2+, UK).
  • Basic cable costs around $25 a month.
    My cable internet connection costs around $45.

    And my cable company is worried... why? Unless the cost of running their cable internet operation is significantly higher, they're actually making more money off me than they would were I merely a cable subscriber. It seems to me that if they adapt to the times, and focus on become one of the primary providers of high-bandwidth internet connections to people's homes, they'll be in good shape. Much of the infrastructure
  • In fact many viewers who watched the NCAA tournament aired by CBS on the Internet last month complained about the network being overloaded.

    In other news... no-one goes to the beach any more because it's always overcrowded.
  • A hundred years ago, people entertained themselves by reading books. Then radio came along, so they'd listen to radio shows instead. The radio programs in themselves weren't necessarily more fulfilling, but the provided a social aspect that didn't come along with books. People would all listen to the same thing at once, then the next day at work or school they could talk about the radio programs. T.V. replaced radio by offering the same social aspect but more than just audio. But TV shows are quickly becomi
  • Free net tv isn't free, they may not charge for the stream but for many it still counts against bandwidth limits. When I turn on my tv connected only to an antenna ... that is free tv. Except of course for the brain burn causesd by advertising but that is a whole different story.
  • Choppy Display (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tansey (238786) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:41AM (#15121463) Journal
    It's not like having a choppy picture is anything new. Back before cable was very popular, and 95% of consumers used only antennaes, static was everywhere. Reception was horrible at times, and yet still people used the technology. One of the major issues was that watching national stations was free while cable was very expensive. It's a trade off that people make between quality and cost, and they know that.

    Where that tradeoff comes in now is in time and attention. People like watching tv on the internet because it's the only thing they have to do, and the few sites that actually try commercials probably don't get as much viewer attention as a tv. People just minimize it and go do something else until the commercials are over. This is different than walking away from a TV, namely because there is no walking involved. People are lazy, yes, but they aren't lazy enough to not minimize a window.

    So in general, I would agree that free internet video will likely bring down the major broadcasters. It will take time of course, and things like poor bandwidth or resolution are definitely a hinderance right now, it's nothing we haven't seen before.

  • unless they have made a breakthrough in mass psychic transference, you get Internet connectivity through wires or waves... that means telcos, cablecos, and wirelesscos... in addition to television the way God created it, by modulated broadcast radio waves.

    so I-TV kills the carriers? boGUSSSSS. the writer is channeling Ralph Kramden.
  • by TheNoxx (412624) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:09AM (#15121774) Homepage Journal
    Sounds kinda like, "These 'video disks' will never overtake our VHS format. Look at how big and expensive they are!"

    Ignoring the ground during the fall, eh TV execs?
  • There is an increasing number of industry leaders talking against free services.
    Namely VoIP, free internet TV and the likes.
    The real fear is for users (of course) because someday some smart guy could be able to have internet traffic filtered out (or hindered) in order to block those protocols/applications.
    Some alre already doing this against VoIP!
  • by DJ_Perl (648258) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:41AM (#15122107) Homepage
    The evening news should not go unquestioned. Think of all the mischievous, world-changing possibilities that open when TV and the net converge even closer. Video streams from two (or multiple) sources could be synchronized and composited together according to instructions on a control channel. The video sources could be DVD's, or video streams from the net. The compositing logic could be on an HDTV, or set-top box. You could watch TV with friends anywhere in cyberspace. You could syndicate and rebroadcast your own channel, intended to be merged and watched with "mainstream media". Think MST3K, Third Voice, or Wayne's World. Real-time critiques of old-style TV. Just you wait till Howard Stern starts ripping on the evening news. In low-bandwidth conditions, TV becomes like "pop-up video", as you IM with friends who are watching the same TV show, at the same time, on your TV set. Imagine special DVD players into which two DVD's are loaded simultaneously. One DVD can make a live mash-up of the other DVD. So you pop in "The Phantom Menace", and a "remixer" DVD that carries control data, and additional audio-video data to show you a special edit of George Lucas' film.
  • Television is so bad, especially network television, that I don't see why anyone would want to watch it at all. The real question isn't where and how you're going to watch TV. The question is why you want to watch TV in the first place. Go read a book, or go outside and do something. Use your mind. Life's too short to spend it sucking at the glass teat.
  • If this content was distruted as multicast streams rather than unicast traffic there would be much less load on the backbone.

    Multicast streams wouldn't be completely on-demand, but there's ways around that.

    -carl

  • To be honest, I signed up for the NCAA webcast, but couldn't figure out how in the hell to actually watch a game. I couldn't find the links to the actual broadcasts anywhere. I ended up just getting my info from ESPN and such.
  • Despite advancements in streaming technology, video delivered on the Web can still be choppy, with frequent interruptions as data packets buffer and reload on the screen.

    They then give an example of a sports program streaming poorly.

    The thing is, most TV ain't sports or anything else where viewers have realtime needs. Sure, maybe some fraction of the market cares about streaming. The rest of us are happy -- no, actually prefer -- time-shifting.

    Forget your streaming "technology" and just make your st

  • Old methods fade away to new methods. They stick around for a while as 'fun' things to do, like hunting or sailing, but new tech replace them for practical business or military uses.

    Hunting was replaced by farming, the stable replaced by the garage, the blacksmith replaced by the machinist, the crossbow replaced by the gun, sails replaced by motors, hemp was replaced by nylon, the royal page replaced by newspapers, the scribe replaced by the printing press, the passenger boat replaced by airplanes, and so
  • Despite advancements in streaming technology, video delivered on the Web can still be choppy, with frequent interruptions as data packets buffer and reload on the screen.

    We all thought that multicast streaming would be the television of the future, but guess what, it won't. Except perhaps for sports or other "live" happenings.

    It turns out internet tv is download lot's of content, watch it when I want. The TiVo proved this type of viewing appeals to users. And protocols such as bittorrent make it possi

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