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Jeff Pulver Is Betting on Internet Video 75

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the terribly-original-ideas dept.
Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Jeff Pulver, the self-described futurist and entrepreneur who started the company that was Vonage's predecessor, is shifting his sights to Internet video, according to the Wall Street Journal: 'Mr. Pulver is creating his own Internet TV show, which he is modeling on Rocketboom, a popular Internet video-blog that broadcasts a three-minute news show daily. He is considering launching a broader Internet TV subsidiary and is weighing whether to invest in several emerging Internet video companies, though he won't name them. Someday he wants to start an Internet reality TV show.' Pulver says, 'The same DNA that disrupted the telecom industry is well on its way to totally revolutionizing the way the TV, film, and broadcast industry is going to be,' adding that he's now looking for 'the Vonage of Internet video.' And by the way, he regrets leaving the Vonage of Internet calling before it got hot: 'I blew it. I had the juice. I could have done something.'"
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Jeff Pulver Is Betting on Internet Video

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  • by Silverlancer (786390) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @02:49PM (#15526492)
    Considering the performance of the recent IPO, I would think that would be a bad thing...
  • Bandwidth (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I think it's a great thing to see the Internet taking over all types of media. We are beginning to see less need for standard brick and mortar establishments, and the ease of finding informaiton has never been so great. However, I don't know what type of acceptance he will find with this new technology. I've seen several programs that air online, but only a select few seem to keep up with the programming...not to mention the bandwidth requirements for the hundreds of millions of people that could possibly t
    • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @03:12PM (#15526720)

      Multicast isn't implemented currently in the IPv4 internet (it's in the spec but not implemented for the most part), so he's going to have to wait for IPv6 before any streaming TV show becomes possible. Currently, all we can guarantee is unicast, and the numbers are dismal for that.

      As an example, from this page [sorenson-usa.com], if you have a 2 frame per second video at 320x240, you're probably going to use 35kbps. From the master bandwidth chart [wikipedia.org], a T1 line has 1.544Mbps. Divide through, and you'll see your T1 can service about 44 customers. A T3 can service 1278.

      Now look up the prices on how much a T3 will cost you. And realize that with that you're serving about 1300 customers. Scale it and you'll see why video isn't a winning game yet, money-wise.

      IPv6 multicast is going to happen first before streaming video becomes financially feasable.

      • Multicasting can be done in IPv4. The BBC are running a test streaming their TV stations via the internet using multicast. http://www.bbc.co.uk/multicast/ [bbc.co.uk]
        • Yeah, I know it's part of the spec but IIRC most of the routers on the net aren't configured to pass on multicast packets. That's why the BBC says that you have to be in the UK, and have a net connection from their list of approved partner ISPs. If you're on a different ISP, the packets will be dropped.

          Still it's cool that someone out there is trying to do this - multicast rocks. I can't wait for it to become more widespread.

      • To get around the current issues without waiting for everyone to shift to IP6, what would be needed is system for video steaming that made use of a p2p network.
        • I've had that very thought. If everyone watching contributes some of their uplink bandwidth, then that should do it. Only problem would be latency. Not everybody in the group has a cablemodem, not everybody in the group is "nearby", and if you miss video frame "x" it could be a while before it shows up from another peer. That would make the broadcast lag.

          But yeah, in lieu of multicast or explicit multicast being implemented at the routers, this is a good idea.

      • Multicast isn't implemented currently in the IPv4 internet..

        Well, that is one interpretation. You can do multicast with IPv4 many ways. Anyway, IPv6 is being rolled out by companies that will be doing that sort of thing, not because IPv4 can't do multicast, but because big companies like Comcast are running out of IPv4 addresses to assign to cable modems. In fact, I think they are just finishing their rollout.

        Currently, all we can guarantee is unicast, and the numbers are dismal for that.

        Most video

      • Multicast isn't implemented currently in the IPv4 internet

        Well if even you weren't going to use the IPv6 technology you'd either have to have either:

        A.) Hope that everyone will get FiOS [wikipedia.org] installed in their homes soon. (or equivalant 15-30mbps down)

        or

        B.) Dedicated hardware for video compression and decompression. Like something a way better than H.264 [wikipedia.org] (Mpeg-4)

        Sadly, neither of these two things are going to happen any time soon, but when 25% of the people start getting fiber to the curb and video hardware comp
    • It recently became much easier to deliver large screen video at moderate bandwidths.

      This year we presented a 720-pixel wide video of our online university's virtual graduation ceremony at http://graduation.jonesinternational.edu/2006gradu ation/ceremony.html [jonesinternational.edu]. In addition to the broadband version you are probably looking at, there is a stream for 56k connections and one for 36K, all are displayed at 720 pixels wide. We were originally going to provide streams higher than 512K, but there wasn't enough visible
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @02:55PM (#15526545) Journal
    Sure there's a market for internet-distributed video content. But the major players (major media conglomerates) will make sure that broadcast (whether via cable or air) remains in the lead for video content delivery. Why? Because it's more efficient when you're 'reaching out' to a hundred million or more households, and that's where the big ad money is.

    Never mind the fact that tiered internet is going to slaughter any kind of competitive content delivery marketplace.

    So, Mr. Pulver, go ahead and start your Videonage. Good luck getting mass media and the governments in their pockets to let go of their stranglehold. Good luck paying for all your high-speed bandwidth and priority handling, and good luck finding a revenue source.

    /Sorry, had a big cynicism sandwich for lunch -- but I really don't think an 'internet' version of another utility-type product is going to work out until the entire structure of the entertainment industry changes (which means, not in our lifetimes).
    • Why? Because it's more efficient when you're 'reaching out' to a hundred million or more households, and that's where the big ad money is.

      Is Multicast one of the many things that's supposed to actually work when using IPv6? If so, that's a nice reason to switch over sooner rather than later...

    • > broadcast (whether via cable or air) remains in the lead for video content delivery. Why? Because
      > it's more efficient when you're 'reaching out' to a hundred million or more households, and that's
      > where the big ad money is.

      No, it's limited by transmitters and local regulations, and you're broadcasting the same thing to everyone. Internet based delivery means ads/promotions etc can be targetted at smaller groups, or perhaps even individuals, depending on your religion, job, social class, whethe
      • "Internet based delivery means ads/promotions etc can be targetted at smaller groups, or perhaps even individuals, depending on your religion, job, social class, whether you drive, read books, listen to music, cook, etc etc."

        It also means that people won't watch the ads. The entire ad industry would contract (to our benefit, IMO) unless law forces us to watch the provided ads along with the content (you know, like the DMCA can do, in effect) -- and we'd end up with more pervasive marketing and less blata
    • download.tv is making money.

      no they are not making billions every minute but that is not the definition of success.

      I suggest you learn about what makes a sucessful business and study the current thriving internetTV content companies and see what really is working.
      • "no they are not making billions every minute but that is not the definition of success."

        Absolutely. Success is having a better ROI than the opportunity cost -- and if we're talking about a change in delivery mechanism for video media in general, then you've got to make more money than traditional broadcast would. As I said, there's a role for niche players, which download.tv is -- but there's a more profitable role for broadcast.

        Whether or not some internetTV companies are thriving, traditional boradc
    • " and that's where the big ad money is"

      Well its also extremely badly targeted as in most people don't want to see most of the ads they are bombarded with. Google's ad model is better because it targets the interests of the person looking at them. Internet video could likewise target their audience much better than broadcast can. I for example never buy prescription drugs unless a doctor makes me. I have ZERO desire to be bombarded with drug company ads and in fact find it offensive to sell serious pres
      • I agree that blanket advertising is annoying, but the biggest advertisers aren't looking to narrowly target tgeir ads -- they are looking for broad brand awareness as much as immediate ad-generated sales. Target, for example, wants EVERYONE to see their ads as much as possible. These are the ads that really set up braodcast with an advantage.

        Interesting point about semi-locally hosted video servers. But for a pay-per-download type service, this would mean each provider would need a local server, or we'
        • "But for a pay-per-download type service, this would mean each provider would need a local server"

          Not really, you would just have to have a payment mechanism from whomever is running the caches to the original content provider, with the cache provider getting a small percentage of the take. Its not a model very different from iTunes, except that its very distributed.
          • And whoever is running the caches will soon be distributing ads along with the content. You know, to 'offset cost increases' while 'maintaining current pricing structures'. Cynical, I know, but the economies of scale would result in a few major companies holding most of the 'local' cache servers. At that point advertisers would get their foot in the door, since they'd only have to approach a few companies to reach their market(s).
  • I would love to see an imdb type site where you look up a movie or TV programme, read the reviews sent in by fellow surfers and if you like it then download the movie. This way you get a chance to see what you really like rather than what the corporate big-wigs want you to see.
    • by aftk2 (556992)
      With their iMixes and ratings, and the (albeit ginger) foot forward they've taken with certain television shows, the iTunes Music Store has a chance to be this site - perhaps all that's necessary is to put forward a more community-centric design - using the same content - rather than a multimedia-centric design.
      • I'd also suggest a site called Gather.com. Right now it is just images and articles that are submitted by the members, but eventually the site's designers (one, a former Lotus exec) plan to introduce video content. It uses a ratings/comment system that is entirely driven by the users and best yet, a points system that translates into cash or deals at participating businesses. /plug
    • I find these rating systems crazy, all they go for popularity where they don't realise that you are going to buy more from a variety rather than a limited selection of the most 'popular items'.
  • Reality TV? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @03:06PM (#15526648) Homepage Journal
    Someday he wants to start an Internet reality TV show.
    Because when JenniCam shut down, it left an void in the web.
  • is that everyone and their brother picks their own whacked out codec and uses that one.

    Podcasting worked because everyone used mp3. Internet TV would work if everyone used say mpeg4, but they dont, some use Quicktime, some mpeg, some Flash movies, some REal, etc.....

    makes it impossible for the general non guru to have internet TV at home today. The only way to get it today is to be an expert with a MythTV box or a linux/windows box collecting all those different filetypes and using mencoder to transcode
  • Any article that characterizes bit torrent as just a popular "internet video service" loses quality points IMO. The rest of the article seems pretty straight forward but if the author can't be bothered to find out what bit torrent really is when he's talking about Bram Cohen that raises a red flag.
  • well on its way to totally revolutionizing the way the TV, film, and broadcast industry is going to be,' adding that he's now looking for 'the Vonage of Internet video.' Not so fast... While Internet broadcasting sounds like a good idea but there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed before companies start dumping millions that route. While there may be a cluster of people that would be willing to watch content, how many people would honestly swap their televisions for glaring at a computer monitor
    • While there may be a cluster of people that would be willing to watch content, how many people would honestly swap their televisions for glaring at a computer monitor.

      I did, well in a way. I disconnected cable TV but I took it a step further and actually took 30 seconds to find a set top box that will play video content (mpeg1,mpeg2,mp4,xvid) called the DSM-320 and it is not only dirt cheap but let's me use the TV in the living room.

      I now get a large amount of TV content from online after fixing all of it
    • video is a whole different monster...

      how about multicast?

      and before someone else replies, yeah, I know... bwahahahahaha!

  • "Someday he wants to start an Internet reality TV show."

    I'm sorry, but watching someone browse pr0n is not what I envision to be good television. Not unless they give me URLs, too.

  • It would be an interesting race between video-on-demand from incumbents like comcast, and internet video from upstarts like youtube, ifilm etc.
  • And yet... (Score:1, Troll)

    by tomstdenis (446163)
    1. Massive amounts of bandwidth
    2. Media to represent message
    3. Ability to gather audience
    4. ??? == Something to say
    5. Audience [and/or profit!]

    Same problem with Blogs you'll have with this [on top of the bw problem]. I'm sorry but just because you have a webcam and a net connection doesn't mean I want to waste part of my lifetime listening to retarded 12 yr olds emo about how life is so cruel and what not. Or how the latest iGizmo from Apple is all the craze and Vista will crush Linux or whatever...

    I
    • My thoughts exactly. The entertainment industry is unable to come up with anything worthwhile for me, So why sould I care about the latest ways they will deliver it to me or control what they deliver?
      • Usually when I get bored and need entertainment I either play videa games, write code/text/etc or just go for a walk.

        You don't HAVE to be sitting on your ass staring at an electron gun to be content.

        Tom
        • You don't HAVE to be sitting on your ass staring at an electron gun to be content.

          Yeah! You can lay on it and watch an LCD instead!

          It's much more fun that way.

  • What a safe bet considering every major internet portal now has their own dedicated video services (google, yahoo, msn, youtube). Popularity is not the problem, its hard to actually make any money off this crap since its stolen from other sources and teenagers are too busy spending $5 to send a 100 byte text message. It sounds like hes making his own content though, which should be very hard to profit from as the current video sources are all profiting by simply being a gateway to stolen properties. I'm
  • futurist? (Score:2, Funny)

    by toastmaster (311275)
    sort of off topic, but what schooling is required to being a futurist? is that a four-year program?
  • Before I invested in such a scheme the business plan would need to solve the following problems:

    • Tiered internet - how will you deal with the cable companies quadruple charging you to reach their customers since you're competing directly with them?
    • Last Mile - The last mile connection to 90% of the US is either the phone company or a cable company. The cable companies are owned by the content producers. The phone companies are half owned by content producers. Both can bundle their video service with the co
    • Once all those issues are solved, you would have missed the boat. The game will already be over. The real money would have already been made.

      You obviously are risk adverse, so am I, and that's ok. But, it's thinking like this that keeps folks like me and you on the sidelines watching as the world changes.

      I wish I was more visionary and dedicated. It's seeing the future and being able to knock down the barriers (like you've described) that makes great entrepreneurs. It's not like video on the internet i
      • Once all those issues are solved, you would have missed the boat. The game will already be over. The real money would have already been made.

        Real money is being made now, by the entrenched companies in the video space. The problem is, if you have a half-assed business plan that makes no sense and hope to solve fundamental problems with it later, you know problems like going against a monopoly who has already sold your customers their product, then you will not be profitable at any point. It's not that I'

  • Does anyone know of current research on increasing performance live video over IP? I don't know whether the designers of IP factored in high-density media, but with the universal adoption of TCP/IP it seems that we're "stuck"--not saying that IP isn't the best solution. Obviously we have a lot of practical applications of transferring recorded video--all the file sharing services, both web-based and client-based; BitTorrent. Are there any interesting technologies that currently exist or are on the hori
  • Betting (Score:1, Troll)

    by mattwarden (699984)

    Oh yeah? And I'm betting on red.

    WHO CARES?!

    I'm pretty sure I'm about as well-known as this Jeff dude...

    What's the matter, Slashdot? No stories submitted today about spy products you can actually buy [slashdot.org]?

  • It's good and all, but I don't think we'll see much progress on the "internet video" stuff until the Internet is completely tied to the living room consumer electronics.

    While it's great to watch short clips, people don't want to crowd around a PC or sit in a desk chair and watch their shows for the night. They want to plop on their couch, or sit in the easy chair, with their families, and watch content. Internet content needs to seemlessly blend into the living room. When you have instantly available,
    • While it's great to watch short clips, people don't want to crowd around a PC or sit in a desk chair and watch their shows for the night. They want to plop on their couch, or sit in the easy chair, with their families, and watch content. Internet content needs to seemlessly blend into the living room.

      We have this today for audio with a combination of iTunes and the Airport Express, which allows you to stream Internet radio as just another channel on your stereo. Once 802.11n [wikipedia.org] is finalized, I wouldn't be su

  • Democracy Now! (Score:2, Informative)

    by mqduck (232646)
    Democracy Now! [democracynow.org], one of the finest news programs in the world (radical and non-corporate), has been broadcasting daily audio and audio/video for download/stream - in many formats and bitrates, including FLAC and uncompressed MPEG - for years (as well as radio and even TV if you're lucky).
  • by amightywind (691887) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @04:15PM (#15527255) Journal

    The same DNA that disrupted the telecom industry is well on its way to totally revolutionizing the way the TV, film, and broadcast industry is going to be,' adding that he's now looking for 'the Vonage of Internet video.'

    The buzzword density of this statement is off the charts. Any '90's dotcom CEO would be pround. Mark Cuban once had the Vonage of internet Video in broadcast.com. It became the Dallas Mavericks and his private jets.

  • by aldheorte (162967) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @04:24PM (#15527329)
    "Jeff Pulver, the self-described futurist and entrepreneur... says, 'The same DNA that disrupted the telecom industry is well on its way to totally revolutionizing the way the TV, film, and broadcast industry is going to be,' adding that he's now looking for 'the Vonage of Internet video.' And by the way, he regrets leaving the Vonage of Internet calling before it got hot: 'I blew it. I had the juice. I could have done something.'"

    "Self-described" futurist and entrepreneur who uses "DNA" unscientifically and totally out of context (maybe self referential?) and the phrase, "I had the juice." Please, people, editorial discretion! Shame on both WSJ and Slashdot for picking up this claptrap.

    Call me a troll, but it wastes our (as in readers) time to run stories about people's groundless opinions or plans and this sort of thing just rewards the self-aggrandizers who spread false information, often by opinion stated as fact, seek attention for themselves, and cause many social ills.
    • Pulver runs the Voice On The Net (VON), which is a major focus for the VOIP industry. It's not the type of show that's heavily consumer-oriented - it's mostly developers, infrastructure vendors, equipment vendors, VOIP phone vendors who are trying to sell their products to carriers, etc. Lots of Open Source - the Digium folks do a booth, and a number of Asterisk-using groups are there.

      Free World Dialup didn't explode the way Skype did, but it had some good ideas, and not everybody's startup succeeds.

  • With BitTorrent, HDTV, Creative Commons license (and plenty of hot South American supermodels), I'd say these guys are already on track to viable Internet TV:

    http://www.mariposahd.tv/ [mariposahd.tv]

    As far as the platform goes, Instant Media is the best one I've tried, despite the fact that it's only for Windoze:

    http://www.im.com/ [im.com]
  • Unhappy investors in Vonage Holdings Corp., the Internet phone company that had a disappointing initial public offering last month, might feel like picking up pitchforks and torches and marching on the castles of the people who brought it to life.

    But chances are, Jeff Pulver, the self-described futurist and entrepreneur who started the company that was Vonage's predecessor, wouldn't be on that list. That is because Mr. Pulver -- well known in the telecom world for his evangelism on behalf of Internet call

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