He said that he downloaded a HD-DVD quality video at the Verisign CES booth and realized that this technology will enable him to get his movies much faster and at a lower cost than traditional movie distribution methods. [source]
I agree and would add that P2P technology will be necessary as downloadable video reaches scale with television distribution. Imagine if 10 million people downloaded a TV episode rather than tuning into the broadcast. This will happen this decade.
My hunch is that Verisign will be able to combine their P2P technology, with their Internet infrastructure, and their brand of security and trust to convince content owners that P2P has legitimate and positive role in their distribution strategies.
January 11th, 2007
Brian Gruber was the Director of Marketing for CSPAN back in the 80s, now he is bringing content from the public sphere of the World Affairs Council, CSPAN, and guest lectures of independent bookstores into a great new online community site called Fora.tv (plural of forum).
I spoke with him at CES this week and got a walk through of the site. He said that he has been visiting universities as well as several US and European public affairs groups. They all want Fora.tv to distribute their content and to build community around their content. Fora.tv has edited video and commentary in regional and topical channels. They have great transcription and chaptering features that make it easy to navigate the video. My favorite feature is the Fora.tv Think Tank. Here they post content around a narrow topic, interview thought leaders, and post videos and comments from all of us. The goal is to provide a rich information experience around narrow and current topics.
Moving forward Brian hopes to create a network of video blogger “stringers” that he intends to give press access to public affairs venues and cash to cover production costs. Folks can just show up with their cameras and plug into the audio press pool.
Brian has received funding from several angels including Will Hearst who loves the idea of bringing public affairs content and online communities together. I see this as important as Doug Kaye’s IT Conversations … Doug gives me access to keynote speeches of the Web 2.0 conference and many of the leading technology thought leaders … Maybe Brian can give me access to Davos!
January 11th, 2007
Does iTunes run on iPhone? This is what many folks are waiting for. We want to be able to get podcasts directly to a mobile client without having to sync from a PC. If not then perhaps I can run my Google Reader on the iPhone … if so then this will be even better than iTunes!
January 9th, 2007
I am so excited about being able to move my Mac Mini from my living room back to my home office. I have been dealing with scan converters, cables, switch boxes, and poor resolution for too long. Sometimes I bring my computer monitor into my living room just to add podcasts to iTunes as the scan converted resolution makes reading small text difficult. I just don’t want to operate a computer in my living room and with a TV display. Once I get my Apple TV, I will simply use my Mac Mini again like a workstation and be able to watch high quality video on my TV that will stream from the Mac Mini on my home network. I think that lots of other folks will be doing the same. This product will make downloadable video mainstream. Independent content publishers like Rocketboom and ZeFrank will soon have the ability to reach a mass audience and consumers will finally have an easy way to choose better content. This is a great day in the history of media.
January 9th, 2007
I am so pleased to have discovered the iRecord booth at CES (it is #69628 at the Sands). I met the CEO, Mohammad Ayub Khan, and his son (pictured below). These guys are great. I just had to spend some time at their booth gushing on about how great their little box is. I asked them to make a live version that can be used as an encoder source to a standard RTSP server. My hunch is that we will see such a product from them later this year. If we do then it can be used as a very low cost way to stream lecture content that can be archived and managed from a centralized publishing system. This will be important for some of the projects that Chris Dawson, Obadiah Greenberg, and Brian Gruber are working on … more on this soon, I hope.
January 9th, 2007
I have been hanging out at CES. I was told to watch out for the long taxi line at the airport but found that it was a good place to meet folks on their way to the show. I ended up meeting a guy who is a key influencer at a major account that I am working on. I invited him to join my cab and was able to pick his brain a bit. After securing my hotel room, I headed over to the PodTech BlogHaus at the Belagio. Lots of PodTech folks where there … I made a point of bringing my iRecord and showing it to Robert Scoble, Dave Winer, and Doc Searls. I call it the “Silo Buster” since it creates video with standard H264/MP3 codecs and the standard mp4 file format that plays back well on any platform. I think that it is important to not tie your content to any one technology vendor.
January 9th, 2007
An open source DRM system has been contributed to SourceForge by ObjectLab. This project promises to implement standards created by ISMA and OMA. Use of this technology in a commercial offering will probably require a license. I wonder what the costs will be.
Microsoft, RealNetworks, Adobe, and Apple all have their own closed systems for video protection. At one time, Microsoft was so dominant that many adopted their DRM as a defacto standard. Their DRM efforts has always been a strategy to lock users into their operating system. This is to be expected from a company and explains why Apple wont license FairPlay. We should expect Adobe to do the same with their system.
Supporting open standards and paying royalties to patent holders is our best bet for future proofing our products and insuring that content owners and consumers wont be held hostage by vendor strategies that keep us in codec silos.
I expect to see the open standards for DRM implemented in commercially available solutions from Envivio.
December 14th, 2006
I just voted in Farmington, Connecticut … I am hopeful for some positive change for our country.
November 7th, 2006
I received my iRecord and have successfully recorded some video to my iPod. I love it. It will store about 3 hours of video per Gig in standard H264/MP3 format directly to my video iPod. I could hook up an external USB drive to it and store tons of video or simply plug in a 1GB USB stick and capture a full-length movie.
November 7th, 2006
Yesterday morning I turned on the TV to try to catch some news while I was getting ready to head out from my hotel room. I flipped through a couple of channels until I found Good Morning America. They found a video clip from a security camera inside a school bus full of kids which flips on its side, smashing the whole gaggle of kids against the side of the bus. The picture quality was poor but there was enough detail as well as the screams of the kids to broadcast a real sense of horror. I wonder how many people watched this video … how many parents with their kids who were eating their breakfast and getting ready to hop on their bus themselves soon after. GMA played the video at least two times … I am simply disgusted by most of network TV.
November 7th, 2006
October 24th, 2006
I bought my duckie on October 19th at 2:44 am (late night impulse buy) and it showed up that day on the show here! Can you find which one I bought? Which one will you buy here? Who will be the first to buy the “Bling Duckie”? I bet we will see several Bling Duckies being sold in the near future. Go Ze! This changes the economics and business model behind blogging and online video. Let folks vote with their dollars. Enough of the page view advertising model that is just an echo of the mass audience TV ad model that has degraded content production to the lowest instincts of the audience.
October 24th, 2006
On Digg …
That Zune will support H264/AAC and MP3 is a big deal. This is the first sign that Microsoft realizes that they wont corner the online video and audio market with their proprietary codecs and formats. It means that they will need to make root and branch changes to their DRM technology. Apple has forced Microsoft to use codec and format standards … hopefully Microsoft will be forward thinking and try to force Apple to adopt some sort of open DRM standard.
Am I too optimistic?
UPDATE: Yep, it just transcodes standard H264 into a closed MS codec.
October 20th, 2006
Here are a couple of kids having fun while the TV industry rethinks its distribution channel and content line up. (link) I keep thinking that they look like Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt as kids … imagine that. Did they think that they would be disrupting the TV industry then? They certainly are now.
October 20th, 2006
Reading Mark Cuban’s post on Apple and YouTube this morning made me think: why wouldn’t Google license all music for use for any YouTube member?
So the music industry makes $11B in CD sales per year but the annual TV ad spend is $70B. It makes a lot of sense to me that Google would pay a lot of money (currently $15M per year as predicted by Cuban) to each label to secure rights to this music for YouTube user/publishers.
I bet that the artists and the labels would prefer YouTube users to have better fidelity for their lip synch tracks. Discovering new music will driven by a “watch me listen to music and dance” culture that would gladly see a few Google ads to give them real safe harbor.
October 20th, 2006
I just ordered the iRecord device. I like the idea of separating the video encoder from the video input and the storage. I will want to try video inputs from different cameras and video sources including scan converters and perhaps a document camera. Being able to swap out USB storage is great. I could have a couple of external USB drives and capture a ton of footage in a web and ipod ready format!
October 19th, 2006
Hello “CBS”, glad you could join the million other users who now have their own channel. I watched the “cat fight” video that you posted and I decided to switch to another channel. Please try to post some content that is more interesting. I do like your YouTube profile, however: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=CBS
October 19th, 2006
While some folks hope that DRM will enable new business models around media rental including limited duration ownership (time or number of plays), it has, in effect, forced consumers to buy their content multiple times and lose access to their content. Planned obsolescence seems to be a driver for repeated purchases. Have you ever purchased an LP, cassette, CD, and digital version of the same album?
Imagine if there was a trusted database that stored all of your media purchases. This database could be accessible via a simple HTTP url that would list these purchases. Then distribution, storage, and format could be separate from content ownership. I should then be able to download content from many sources anytime as long as these sources can validate that I have purchased this content previously (from any other source).
I propose that someone start a business with this service. I would be happy to pay $20 per year for this simple web-based database if someone could make it very easy to register my content purchases. I recall MP3.com having a widget that would register my CD when I popped it into my computer. I would gladly agree to terms that stated that I did in fact own the CD or DVD. This service could also be tied into the major online retail sites with an API that would let them automatically register my purchase with this service.
What do you think of this?
October 9th, 2006
If anyone has tried this and/or understands whether this is a legitimate service please let me know: http://www.myipodownloads.com … So far I have been too chicken to try it out.
October 2nd, 2006
In his October 1 Cenematical post, Christopher Cambell suggests that WalMart is bullying the other studios and is keeping them away from Apple’s iTunes. My hunch is that this is not the case. I think that Apple is happy to give Disney a short term exclusive to test the market and lock in a business model (pricing and terms) before they allow the other studios in on the same deal (if they are lucky). Apple’s relationship with Disney has allowed them to define the business model that works best for both of them. They know that in six months the others will be begging to be a part of it.
What a contrast to other digital content service deals where the service vendor struggles to get a big selection by trying to make deals with as many labels or studios as possible on their terms. ITunes will continue to be the first digital content distribution service that has the content owners begging to join them. Next year Apple will be distributing content from all of the labels, networks, and studios … mostly on terms that are favorable to Apple.
October 2nd, 2006
Here I am trying to talk Scoble into letting me host some of his HD quality content: [link]
I recently joined Verisign which acquired technology from Kontiki. I think that this technology is a good fit for the distribution of very large files, like HD video.
I think that peer-assisted delivery will become a necessity as more and more folks download TV and movies from the net.
September 26th, 2006
I really enjoyed reading “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson. Chapter twelve The Infinite Screen – Video After Television is especially insightful regarding the economic and cultural shifts that are in play as a result of changes in the means of production, distribution, and discovery of media. The chapter starts with a great quote from David Foster Wallace:
TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests.
September 24th, 2006
Steve Bryant has posted a great list of recent online video business milestones.
September 21st, 2006
I had my first “three screen” experience after I bought The Life Aquatic from iTunes.
First I watched part of it on my Mac Mini, then I transferred it to my iPod and used the AV out cable to watch more of it on my TV, then I watched the rest of it on my iPod directly while on a flight. That night I plugged my iPod into another TV and watched part of it again.
It was a great experience. I plan to do it again.
More about the gear I used here: http://podslug.com/blog/?p=59
September 20th, 2006
My Mac Mini is in my living room. I have a $19 multi-input video switch, a $99 scan converter, a $19 iPod AV cable, a $99 iPod HomeDock, a video iPod, and a TV that has a composite video input (most do). So I have a variety of ways to watch my iTunes video on my TV: standard Mac Mini display (either in standard desktop mode or with the full-screen Equinux MediaCentral software interface) that is converted to composite video via the scan converter, iPod bottom connection via my HomeDock, and the iPod top connection with the AV cable. All are connected to my video input switch which connects to my TV.
The scan converter makes the video a little fuzzy but lets me use the Equinux software interface which I love. I also have a $39 wireless mouse/keyboard which lets me navigate video, photos, radio streams, and play Equinux games from my couch. The HomeDock lets me charge my iPod while watching video. However, I recommend just keeping it simple for now and sticking with the $19 iPod AV cable. With this you have one cable and you can find a lot of video devices that will use it as a composite audio/video input source. This makes it very easy.
I just ordered this $19 DVI to S-video converter which I am hoping will look better than the $99 scan converter, but I doubt it will. With scan converters, you usually get what you pay for and I don’t want to spend $1000 for one that might only be a little bit sharper.
Hopefully, folks will collect interesting videos via iTunes and use the iPod and the sneaker net to move it to the video display location of choice. I hope we can have viewing parties where we each bring our iPod to share the stuff that we have found. My favorite find so far is ZeFrank. I also like Democracy Now. I just bought “The Life Aquatic”. What is yours? When can we get together and watch what we have found? Here is a list of some IPTV shows that you might like.
Next year I may replace my TV with an LCD monitor and the Apple iTV device. It looks like this device requires a Mac to download and store the video. I would rather see Apple come out with a stand-alone iTV device … well, I guess that is just a Mac Mini with FrontRow.
Engadget has an extensive write up of how to get video from a Mac Mini to a TV.
I predict that Apple will do for downloadable movies what they did for downloadable TV. They will start with a few Disney shows and very soon all of the other studios will beg to be included in the Apple media distribution and marketing machine. Apple will teach folks how to find and view content of their own choosing including independent RSS feeds. The economics of movie distribution and marketing will radically change, consumers will have more choice of independently produced content, some consumers will become content creators, and the Captains of Consciousness will loose their grip on our culture and politics.
Yes, there are issues with Apple having so much control but I support them because what is most important is the behavioral shift from traditional TV consumption and movie distribution to user selection of media via the Internet. Standard and open technology like HTTP, RSS, OGG Vorbis/Theora, VLC, H264, and MP3 will enable people to develop alternative systems that will provide the newly trained masses with even more choice and control. For example: the Democracy TV Platform for Linux.
I’m optimistic. Are you?
UPDATE: I received the $19 DVI to S-Video/composite adapter and it works much better than the scan converter which is too fuzzy. I recommend using this with your Mac to send video to your TV. For audio I have a mini to rca adapter that allows me to plug into the speaker out of my Mac and send this audio to my TV’s rca audio input.
September 13th, 2006
My Mac Mini will soon be moved to my living room as I have just purchased a delightful piece of software that brings a TV-friendly UI to my online media: Equinux MediaCentral. This app takes over my desktop with an inviting menu with which I can browse my iTunes feeds, my stored media (videos and photos), view my DVDs, as well as browse popular Flickr photostreams, YouTube videos, Google videos, and many many other feeds, movie trailer streams, online radio stations, games and more … Skype too … please check it out. I believe that it is what FrontRow and MS MediaCenter PC will try to become … but it is here now. I paid $30 once and now my $500 Mac Mini with OSX Tiger may be the perfect convergence set top box. I installed the RealPlayer and the WindowsMedia player for the Mac on this box too and MediaCentral integrated these player engines into the app as well.
Someday I’ll go buy a big LCD monitor and a bluetooth keyboard/mouse so I can use the thing from 10′+ but for now I may use my little monitor or a scan converter for display on my regular TV and a silly long USB cable for my keyboard … I am really excited about this!
September 4th, 2006
On August 29, 2006, Jeff Pulver published a Guide to “TV Shows Only Available on the Internet”
I wont have time to watch them all … please tell me which ones you like.
August 30th, 2006
Lately, I have been flying cross-country on United. Twice I had to see the horrific violence of Mission Impossible III. Twice I complained to flight attendants but they only offered the advise of “please fill out a complaint at united.com”.
This last flight back, however, I complained again while seeing more graphic violence of The Sentinel and again I complained. This time the purser said that they have been hearing a lot of complaints about them showing Mission Impossible III. He said that after each flight he files a report and has been filing reports recently about their customer complaints about the movies being too violent. He said that he thinks that they will change the movie selection based on this.
When talking about my complaints with Jeff Payne he concurred and made a great analogy about these in flight movies being like second-hand smoke. Non-smokers are being subjected to something that they really despise in a public space. I really like that analogy.
Now I am happy to report that if we complain they are listening and they are taking our views seriously. Please make a point of complaining to the in flight purser if you also think that folks (especially young kids) should not be forced to watch media violence as they are strapped down for six hours. I believe that this will make a difference.
Hats off to United Airlines for at least acknowledging this problem and making some efforts to clear the air.
August 20th, 2006
On March 14, 2006, Charles Iliya Krempeaux published:
Why Ogg Theora Matters for Internet TV
Ogg Theora provides an unencumbered codec for video in contrast to H264 which is a patent and licensing encumbered standard and in contrast to various proprietary codecs like Windows Media.
A lot of attention was spent on codec quality and many came to the conclusion that proprietary codecs like Windows Media would continue to lead in quality and drive the market for online video. I think that YouTube has disproved this with poor video quality but excellent user experiences with Flash video.
The user experience of watching YouTube video on the iPod and PSP is painful. This makes me think that H264 will be the long term winner unless these hardware vendors adopt Ogg but I am not sure why they would do this.
What do you think?
August 10th, 2006
On March 27, 2006, IBM published: The end of TV as we know it: A future industry perspective
“The tech- and fashion-forward consumer segment will lead us to a world of platform-agnostic content, fluid mobility of media experiences, individualized pricing schemes and an end to the traditional concept of release windows. “
August 7th, 2006
Lots of folks are talking about Zune … here are a few good links:
I believe that Microsoft’s effort will broaden the mass-adoption of IPTV with technologies that will initially favor the large content owners but will open up the market for independent and smaller content owners as well. Yes, Zune will probably strengthen the Windows Media Codec Silo but it will also create healthy competition against Apple iTunes+IPod IPTV. At some point, the increasing frustration with the two proprietary solutions will drive more consumers to demand the use of standard technologies that are unencumbered by vendor lock-ins. Apple will have a big head start with H264.
July 23rd, 2006
On July 20, 2006 Obadiah Greenberg wrote:
Interesting and useful trick from Google Video to allow for “deep linking”, or adding a start/end time to the URL of a video in order to create a clip or quote. [source]
I didn’t know that this was possible with Flash via HTTP (progressive download) and posted this on Scobleizer. I am eager to hear how they pulled this off!
July 20th, 2006
On May 22, 2006, Neil Kjeldsen wrote: Download Your TV – The Current Options. This is another must-read item from the blog archives with a great set of comments.
July 18th, 2006
MoveDigital offers a bulk purchase price for bandwidth as low as .39 per gig after a $10,100 commit for 10,000 gigs. [source]
They have also introduced an innovative service where patrons can help you pay for your bandwidth by donating bandwidth to your MoveDigital account. [source]
July 18th, 2006
On Oct 13, 2005, Mark Cuban wrote: How Bob Iger Saved Network TV. I found it an interesting read with a lively debate in the comments section. This is worth looking back on now and then as we watch this IPTV disruption in real time. I certainly don’t agree with some of his opinions but what he says in this post was right on.
July 18th, 2006
On July 16, 2006, Reuters reports:
YouTube, the leader in Internet video search, said on Sunday viewers have [sic] are now watching more than 100 million videos per day on its site, marking the surge in demand for its “snack-sized” video fare.
YouTube boasts nearly 20 million unique users per month, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, another Internet audience measurement firm. [source]
I just posted this comment to TechCrunch:
YouTube will buy or imitate http://revver.com … and monetize these viral videos that are spreading like wildfire all over MySpace, blogs, and the social networks with simple and acceptable ads. Viewers will accept and enjoy post roll ads after YouTube content. This model will significantly disrupt the $40B US TV ad market. The viewer and the independent content creator are now back in charge of media entertainment.
BTW, I have also heard that companies are putting up corporate training and internal communication videos on YouTube just because it is so simple to use. Marketing departments now have a way to publish video and bypass their cranky IP departments. [source]
July 17th, 2006
On July 14, 2006, Robert Scoble wrote:
Bill Crow at Microsoft is providing a TON of information on the new Windows Media Photo format (new file format coming out with Windows Vista). [source]
Ray Lane is quoted by David DeWalt of EMC as saying that 75% of all software profit is held by three companies and 50% of that is held by Microsoft. [source] Format lock-in is one of Microsoft’s most powerful tools for maintaining this. This “codec silo” explains why it is still so difficult to consume digital content on a large variety of platforms.
July 15th, 2006
On July 14, 2006, I wrote this comment on Scobleizer:
I agree that it would be corporate suicide if Adobe starts to charge for their player but I have seen companies with such free-product reach with no immediate monetization succumb to pressure to push pro versions and ads. I have no idea what Adobe has in mind but they must be thinking hard about how to make money off of YouTube and Google Video. What is your guess about how they will do this?
I am very torn about Flash Video. I really appreciate their commitment to Mac and Linux. I think the light footprint of their player has dramatically simplified the consumption of online video which has dramatically increased the audience of users who are willing to watch online video. All great stuff.
My concern is that it is proprietary and non-interoperable. This means that if they become the de facto standard then they have too much power and content owners are too dependent upon one company for distribution.
So, yes, I am paranoid. Companies must do what they can to stay in business and drive profit. If Adobe does not have a return on their Flash Video investment then they might seek some sort of monetization strategy for the client software. It might be suicide if they don’t do this at some point. [source]
July 14th, 2006
On July 7, 2006, Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing wrote:
Ed Felten — the Princeton engineering prof who led the effort to crack the Secure Digital Music Initiative and did yeoman work on the Sony BMG DRM fiasco — has published a fast, ten-page white-paper on the complexities of Network Neutrality. [source]
Here is a link to the article in PDF form.
July 13th, 2006
On July 10, 2006, I posted this:
More on “codec silos” … we are thinking about short term user issues (installation) but we should also keep in mind the longer term issues if any one vendor makes it so easy that they force a lock-in on their proprietary format.
I think that our only hope is for Apple and RealNetworks to create a completely interoperable IPTV stack based upon the MPEG LA standard of H264 in MP4 or 3GP over RTSP or HTTP. We need two strong vendors to drive this effort together. When this happens Microsoft will eventually be forced to add this standard IPTV support to their media player and then we will have a good solution that will work out of the box for most consumers regardless of OS and browser or device.
If Microsoft just simply added support for ISMA standard MPEG4 codecs and formats these problems would go away for consumers. It is amazing that they have to push Windows Media format at the exclusion of the standard rather than letting it compete on its technical merits. Adopting standards would really improve the consumer experience with MS products. They are holding back the general IPTV industry with these practices. [source]
July 10th, 2006
From their fact sheet:
YouTube is currently serving 70 million videos per day to six million unique users daily, up from 3 million in December, with more than 60,000 videos being uploaded per day. YouTube is serving more than 200 million page views a day and is ranked the 18th most trafficked site on the Internet, according to Alexa.
YouTube was founded in February 2005 from a garage in Menlo Park, and development began immediately. We started a public preview in May of last year and officially launched the company and service in December 2005. YouTube has already grown to serve more than 70 million video views per day and is receiving more than 60,000 video uploads daily.
The online advertising market continues to grow and has increased by about 30% to an estimated $12.5 billion in 2005, according to the IAB/PricewaterhouseCoopers. With the explosion of Internet video in 2006, the increase in home broadband access (more than 60% of homes have broadband), and with consumers spending more time on the Web, companies are shifting their advertising budgets from traditional TV advertising to the online video market. This presents a significant market opportunity for YouTube.
July 9th, 2006
YouTube originally started as a personal video sharing service, and has grown into an entertainment destination with people watching more than 70 million videos on the site daily. [source]
Recall last April a report in Forbes with 40MM daily views with an estimated bandwidth cost of $1MM. [source]
At that time Peter Forret wrote a post with calculations of their bandwidth usage and costs. [Link]
July 9th, 2006
On July 6, 2006, Gopi wrote:
With the current 3 minute video they can insert just 1 video ad and i doubt the max they can ever get is $5/CPM…So with 250k views per day the current monetizing potential per week is just $8750 (5 x 250 x 7). [source]
I think that this is a healthy start. Throw in some banners from Federated Media and Google Ad Sense and you have a nice income stream for a two or three person team.
July 7th, 2006
On July 6, 2006, Robert Scoble wrote:
Hmmm, I thought I accurately reported what Andrew had told me and others at VLoggerCon, but Chuck says that the $85,000 amount was just the top line in their ad sheet and didn’t represent any ads sold. Demonstrated that I should have gotten more facts before I reported that they had sold ads for $85,000 a week. Looks like the highest they got was about $40,000 for a week, but they were struggling to close more ad deals. [source]
I can’t believe that with an audience of 250,000 per day they couldn’t find some advertising, though. I know people who are making $10,000 per month in Google ad revenue with less traffic than what Rocketboom was getting. [source]
On July 6, 2006, Heather Green of Business Week Online wrote:
NO SALARIES. This underlying tension was heightened by the fact that Rocketboom was still trying to get on its feet financially. Though the show is produced for around $20 a day, that figure doesn’t take into account the labor costs, or the fact that the pair didn’t draw salaries. This spring, Rocketboom made news when it sold a week’s worth of ads through eBay (EBAY) for $40,000 (see BusinessWeek.com, 2/10/06, “What’s Rocketboom Worth? $40,000?”). But they hadn’t yet brought in a steady stream of advertising. “If they were making money, they might say at least this is working to some extent, so let’s continue,” says Chuck Olsen, a popular video blogger in Minnesota and Rocketboom correspondent. [source]
I think that if they had hooked up with Revver or Federated Media Publishing then they could have built a good ad revenue stream already. I believe that they still can do this!
July 6th, 2006
On July 5, 2006, Chris Pirillo wrote:
Don’t count on MP4 playback out of the box in the next version of the Windows Media Player. I filed this “bug” a few months ago, but apparently not supporting MP4 (by default) in WMP11 is a feature: “Spend the money. Pre-install the codec. The PSP relies on it, the iPod relies on it, and Microsoft should have had its hands in one MP4 spec or another. Drop the political bullsh*t and just do it for the sake of your users who don’t know what’s going on.” Their response this morning was simple: “This is currently expected behavior.” Expected behavior? Language barrier. Perhaps Microsoft is hoping that more people install and use iTunes. I’m not sure why? Meanwhile, I’m looking at my iRiver Clix and wondering… why can’t it support the leading video format? [source]
July 6th, 2006
On July 5, 2006, I posted this comment on Scobleizer:
I see at least two problems with Flash:
1. I can’t play the flash video on: the ipod, tivo, psp, any set top box, the Nokia 91, any phone, or any other portable device for that matter … Flash may work on 98% of the PCs but this is only a fraction of where I want to watch my video.
2. What if Adobe decides to bundle the Acrobat reader in the same way that Apple is bundling iTunes with Quicktime for Windows? Why not? Then what? What if they start including some sort of advertising pre-roll or start charging for the player? Why should they give it away for free once they have total lock in? Would you? Do you think Adobe makes a dime off of YouTube or Google video? Don’t you think they want to?
Let’s just imagine for a moment what Microsoft would have done if they had a monopoly on online digital video playback. They got pretty close before iTunes and Flash saved us. Content owners were afraid. Rightly so.
Now let’s imagine another scenario: Microsoft buys Adobe and then decides that Linux and Mac playback should be handled in the same way that Mac support for Windows Media is handled. Now we are all sunk. [source]
July 6th, 2006
On July 5, 2006 Robert Scoble wrote:
Why don’t I use Flash for my Web sites? Here’s a good reason. [source]
The post has kicked off a pretty good debate in the comments section. My opinion is this:
I predict that Flash wont be the winner in the codec silo war because they have placed their bet on the proprietary on2 codec but we can expect a lot of frustration as folks struggle to publish video on the web in a way that will reach across OS and device platforms.
I predicted that the winner will be H264 in 3GP via RTSP and HTTP here: http://podslug.com/blog/?p=32
The only viable way out of the codec silo is if two strong vendors (like apple and real) agree to support the h264 standard with open file formats and open streaming protocols … then MS will follow, then Flash. This will only work if every part of the system is interoperable.
I wish the answer was Ogg Vorbis and Theora but I just don’t think that there will be enough market momentum behind this open source alternative to move the vendors to adopt it. [source]
What do you think?
July 5th, 2006
On July 4, 2006, Robert Scoble wrote:
PodSlug: The main distribution mechanisms are:
Comment by Robert Scoble — July 4, 2006 @ 4:23 pm
This was a response to a comment that I posted here. It will be interesting to see what PodTech ends up doing with online video. My guess is that they will create both Flash format video for instant video playback on the site and H264 for iTunes and iPod distribution. His reponse shows how fractured the use of online video is.
What formats and codecs do you recommend?
July 5th, 2006
On June, 30 2006 Mark Glaser wrote:
Movie Download Services Still Need Work. He cites Roberta Zouain’s pack2go blog as saying: “portability is also important — I want to be able to watch the movie not only on my computer, but also on my TV, my iPod, my cell phone, etc. So I should be able to have my content on any format and whenever I want.”
These aspirations are blocked by video technology vendors who use their proprietary file formats and codecs as ways of locking users into their systems. I call these “codec silos”.
I don’t expect iTunes or iPods to support Adobe’s Flash format and codecs. This precludes a terrific opportunity to distribute YouTube’s Flash-based video content on the iPod and iTunes. Hackers do have conversion guides but they are fairly tedious for regular users. However, it is not the goal of YouTube to allow this to happen. Why am I complaining? After all, they are playing $1MM per month in bandwidth to host this video for us. Well, I’m complaining because they use Flash video from Adobe which is just the latest “codec silo” of online media. However, larger distribution opportunities await YouTube beyond the iPod to a broader base of mobile devices.
Why didn’t Adobe (actually Macromedia in this case) choose the H264 standard rather than use a proprietary codec? On2 is the developer of the video codec for Adobe’s Flash video product. It is a significant competitor in terms of quality and it is the clear market leader in terms of client ubiquity. On2 cites the licensing burden of H264 as a core criticism of the standard. Learn more about it here. Adobe and On2 claim that 98% of all computers on the Internet are capable of playing Flash video. Flash support is available on nearly every desktop operating system. They are confident that this will become the defacto standard for video on the Internet. Too confident.
Apple has implemented H264. It helps that their licensing costs are paid to a body, the MPEG LA, which includes themselves. While the H264 codec is a standard, their file format and digital rights management technology creates a silo as their content can only be viewed and edited with their software. Windows users who wish to download Apple’s quicktime player are forced to download and install the 34MB iTunes application. This limits playback of content that has been created for Quicktime as some Windows users wont install all of this software. This does not seem to be a substantial burden however. Apple is seeding its Quicktime technology as a way to force more people into the iTunes network. It seems to be working. Quicktime seems to be the format of choice for vloggers, many of whom use Apple video editing and publishing software to create this content. One recent objection, however, has been from the French government that is seeking to prevent a single vendor lock in for online media distribution. [source]
As for Microsoft Windows Media, its support on the Mac is not certain. “Microsoft will continue to offer Windows Media Player 9 as a free download for Macintosh users, but has no plans to provide future updates or product support for Windows Media Player for Mac.” [source] Microsoft, unlike, Apple had not been willing to sacrifice its core operating software sales to its longer term vision for being a media network. I bet that they are rethinking this now. My hunch is that MS wont open source its codecs (even though it would like to) because this would expose it to further claims that it should be paying for some of the technology within their codec. I expect a steady decline of market share for Windows Media Technologies.
As for RealVideo and the RealPlayer, while support exists on many platforms (MAC and PC OS, Treo, set top box, and handheld) for RealVideo content and while RealNetworks has created the Helix Community Project to move most of their technology into open source, market share for their video format is declining. This despite recent articles citing it as the best codec, including this one from Jan Ozer. RealNetworks’ goal of being a media network made them too heavy-handed with monetizing the RealPlayer with advertising and invasive features like system tray message popups. These decisions have angered many. While their player technology is losing share their services like Rhapsody and the Real Broadcast Network (content distribution) seem to be growing in use. RealNetworks has expanded into casual games and Real.com continues to be a top trafficed site with substantial ad revenue. This will keep RealNetworks alive as a contender in the wings as the market evolves. Recently their Helix Community has made progress with its H264 implementation which is with a standard file format as well (3GPP). Their focus has been on mobile devices which promises to be a much larger distribution opportunity for vloggers than the desktop or the ipod.
Adobe has been developing Flash Lite and FlashCast for mobile devices but it does not support video without another native video playback system which will probably be MPEG4/H264/3GPP anyway.
My prediction is that both Apple and RealNetworks will create interoperable video encoding and distribution systems that will use the H264 codec, the 3GPP file format, RTSP/RTP transport as well as simple HTTP download targeted for mobile platforms that will play well in both the desktop Quicktime player and the RealPlayer. This will enable content distributors to encode video once and reach nearly every consumer. When this happens expect a substantial increase in online video content and market growth.
Hopefully YouTube will make it easy to consume their video on mobile devices. I recommend that they begin to adopt H264 sooner rather than later. This will make it easier to transfer their content to the forthcoming mobile platform of H264/3GP. The sooner this happens, the sooner all video content will be free of the “codec silos”.
July 4th, 2006