Friday, October 27, 2006

Internet Television Has Arrived: Venice, Penguin, and Democracy TV...

With Google paying $1.65 billion to acquire YouTube, one idea has been irrefutably validated... that the public is primed and ready for Internet video.

We are on the verge of an entirely new media era. Whereas the last century witnessed the rise of radio and then television, it also saw each medium's concentration of ownership by an elite few corporations. Some have argued that the Internet almost immediately transformed this dynamic, and examples were cited such as Napster and peer-to-peer file sharing services transforming the entire philosophical backbone of the music industry.

Proponents of the New Media have been claiming for years that the Internet would similarly transform television and the movie industry. Now, with the undeniable ascendency of YouTube as an integral component of "the media", they might have a case. The public, it seems, is poised for Internet video, and in a decentralized way in which power over content is no longer controlled by an elite few.

With that in mind, I've been playing around with different Internet television software, in the hopes of testing just how ready for primetime such services may be. Obviously, YouTube is the clear frontrunner in online video (and Yahoo, Google, and MSN all have copycats), despite its often choppy picture quality in a small window and the fact that you cannot download the videos to watch later.

However, there are quite a few new services that more closely resemble what most of us think of as "TV". The founders of Skype are preparing to launch Venice, which will offer hundreds of television programs from around the world, for free, available over the Internet, and completely supported by advertising. Meanwhile, the open source community has been racing to develop an internet television application that would not be controlled by any company, but rather its source code would be freely available to everyone. PenguinTV is their most prominent product developed to date, though its seems more suited to video podcasts than it does to a true television-like model. But the best, in my humble opinion, has to be Democracy TV. It, too, is a free and open source application, but what really sets it apart is its "Channel Guide" which lists hundreds of Internet TV channels to choose from - just like the "Program Guide" you get through your cable TV - and with a simple click you can view full-screen (and usually high-resolution picture quality) shows from all parts of cyberspace.

Exactly how internet television will further change the media landscape remains to be seen. But it should be fun to watch.


At 3:39 PM, Blogger Dr Bernie said...

Thanks ... this has lots and lots of potential ... time for ALL of us to play!

At 1:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This one is absolutely HUGE! Its only $.99 and has over 200 live channels and access to millions video on demand.

Best thing... no ads!


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