Looks like video is the new frontier now that YouTube struck a billion dollar buyout not to mention all the traffic and promotion that they get from various outposts on the web. It really showed the power of socially-driven, platform-independent video. It was something with a great deal of latent demand but worn out of our consciousness as many of us resigned ourselves to the nightmare coming from the unsettled video format wars from the empire being split across Real, QuickTime, and MediaPlayer. I must say that Flash pulled a brilliant coup by offering us a real cross-platform video experience through their embedded video player.
Now a lot of investment opportunists and startups are eyeing the next wave of video. Invading your computer in earnest. Despite plummeting ratings across the developed world, TV is far from dead if only the major broadcasters would wake up to the golden opportunities in front of them.
The fact is the current broadcast model of TV just doesn’t fit our lifestyle anymore. However, the entertainment value of professionally produced video content is a hard one to knock even with the YouTube collective (which is really driven by copyright infringement and original amateur content). They have the paid professionals (stars, producers, writers, etc.) and technology.
The problem is, these days we can’t be tied down to a location and can’t be forced to sit in front of a dumb box at a given time slot. We need a convenience store type service rather than a mom and pop grocery that closes at 4PM.
Basically, the big challenge of bringing TV to the desktop is to replicate the broadcasting technology. Finding content and delivering it to the user without consuming loads of bandwidth much like TV tuner simply pull content out of the airwaves or cable. Peer to peer technology is well-suited to this since it not only helps deliver content at a lower cost but can also skirt over copyright issues by avoiding central servers.
Joost “gets” this concept as you can see in their about:
Joost™ is a new way to watch TV, free of the schedules and restrictions that come with traditional television. Combining the best of TV with the best of the internet, Joost™ gives you more control and freedom than ever before – control over what you watch, and freedom to watch it whenever you like. We’re providing a platform for the best television content on the planet – a platform that will bring you the biggest and best shows from the TV studios, as well as the specialist programs created by professionals and enthusiasts.
Joost™ – About us
They are also very smart in compartmentalizing the core P2P technology and having it as a separately licensed technology that currently powers Skype and Kazaa before it. I’m sure it will spawn other ventures in the future as well.
After Zennstrom left to work full time as the CEO of Skype, de Wahl took over as the chief executive of JoltId, the company that controls the peer-to-peer technology that powers not only Kazaa, but also Skype and now The Venice Project. “Skype licenses the P2P technology from Joltid,” de Wahl says.
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However, I’m not sure that the dynamic duo can pull it off this time. Only time will tell but the main issues I see is that unlike the other applications of P2P technology, the broadcast model doesn’t translate as well. File-sharing and even VoIP fit perfectly with the P2P model because you’re either exchanging individual data or each other’s voice.
When it comes to TV broadcasts, what exactly are users trading? It’s not so much the content but the bandwidth. As far as the desktop TV model goes, I think something more like Democracy Player with it’s open platform is more in line with user needs. Any alliance (though highly unlikely) can easily marginalize Joost and the like if only they can agree to a distributed platform for delivery.
It’ll be interesting to see how the desktop video turf wars play out.