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Geoff Daily

App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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March 26, 2007 8:02 PM

The Perfect Storm of Internet Video to the TV

I've watched in amazement over the past twelve months as the TV industry's attitude towards Internet distribution has run from an uncertain decade-old cold to an unbridled hot.

It arguably started about this time last year with the success of CBS streaming March Madness live, then on through ABC’s summer ’06 trial of offering free ad-supported full-length first-run shows like Desperate Housewives, to the recently announced partnership between NBC and NewsCorp to develop a YouTube competitor seeded with TV shows from NBC and Fox. The dams have burst and TV content is flooding online.

Now, we’re straddling the threshold of another revolution in the distribution of Internet video: the tumbling walls between PC and TV. I’m talking about watching TV on your TV but through the Internet not the traditional broadcast/cable/satellite.

While we’re a LONG ways away from any sort of widespread adoption of the Internet as a cable replacement, the number of new ways to experience TV on your TV through the Internet has exploded, opening up the possibility to some seriously significant audiences.

Apple and BitTorrent both boast more than 100 million users, and have recently made major new releases in this space – Apple TV and the BitTorrent Entertainment Network respectively. Microsoft has seen its Xbox Live Marketplace grow in a year to six million registered users, many of which are downloading and watching TV shows through their Xbox 360s. AT&T;’s HomeZone will eventually be available to more than thirty million of its broadband customers, enabling the delivery of premium movies and deep libraries of Internet video on-demand over the Internet to the TV.

I wanted to shine a light on this particular area of Internet video for several reasons:

For one, the lean-back TV viewing experience is still the dominant way to watch video, especially longer videos, meaning that screen has the biggest audiences who watch for the longest amount of time.

Two, when watching TV people have higher expectations for the video quality, something that’s only heightened by the availability of high definition televisions, which will put additional upward pressure on the size of the video files that need to be transferred.

And three, the Internet holds distinct advantages over broadcast/cable/satellite technologies in that there are no limits to how much content can and will be made available through the system.

Combine the increase in eyeballs watching long-form Internet video on TV with the increasingly higher quality of those videos and the endlessly expandable amount of content that can be accessible and you have the perfect storm for massive new bandwidth demands on networks.

Sure Internet video to a computer is and will continue to be a big, big deal and not one to take lightly, but keep an eye on Internet video to a TV set as it may prove to be the biggest deal of all.

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