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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2007 IPTV

From YouTube’s continued dominance, the television networks’ newfound willingness to experiment online, the rise of the desktop Internet TV application, and a plethora of new PC-to-TV devices and set-top boxes — it’s been a big year for Internet TV in all shapes and forms. In this post we look back at 2007 through the lens of last100’s coverage, highlighting some of the important stories and trends, and how they point to what we might expect for Internet TV in 2008.

YouTube dominates

While the market for Internet TV is growing steadily — survey after survey shows that people are consuming more video online than ever before — as 2007 draws to an end, Google-owned YouTube is still the number one video destination site.

This isn’t just true in terms of traffic but also in terms of “mind share”; when people talk about online video they often refer only to YouTube. As a result, a number of hardware companies have added YouTube support to their devices in 2007, such as YouTube-compatible cameras and mobile phones capable of viewing and publishing video to YouTube.

And then there’s the strong relationship between Google and Apple, which this year has led to YouTube support being added to both the AppleTV and iPhone, with a change in the video format to boot. Apple successfully persuaded YouTube to start re-encoding its video catalog to the much higher quality (and Apple-preferred) H.264 codec.

Not one to rest on its laurels, YouTube introduced a number of new features of their own, including a redesiged player, the introduction of interactive overlay ads, better copyright filtering, and — like many Google properties — improvements to its mobile offering.

What’s can we expect in 2008?

Coinciding with improvements to the quality of Flash video, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen has said that the company is currently testing a version of its player that detects the speed of the viewer’s Internet connection and serves up higher-quality video if the user wants it. According to Chen, we can expect to see higher-quality playback on YouTube as early as February 08.

Also in part related to an upgrade to Flash Lite (Adobe’s version of Flash for mobile devices) that offers full support for Flash video, along with the launch of Google’s mobile phone-oriented OS called Android, 2008 will likely see YouTube being supported on an ever greater number of mobile devices.

On the content front, with Google stepping up its monetization options for YouTube, including expanding its ad-revenue share scheme with more independent producers, 2008 may well see more professionally-produced video being offered on the site.

Television networks and movie studios reluctantly experiment

In 2007 we’ve seen a large amount of online experimentation from the television networks (both in the U.S. and UK) and, to a lesser extent, from the major movie studios too. The problem, however, is that many seem to have been doing so with their hands tied behind their back.

In September, we took an extensive look at what the U.S. television networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and The CW, were offering on their own websites. Dan Langendorf wrote at the time:

The good news: Major U.S. television networks continue to embrace Internet technology and are putting their shows on the Web for online viewing, just like they did last year.

The bad news: Their online offerings remain sporadic; their Internet strategies feel like “we have to” rather than “we want to”; and — worst of all — they still haven’t embraced the idea that we are living in a new digital world, with different rules, participants, and expectations all around.

by Steve O'Hear (editor)

Why do we need a gatekeeper when the content providers can sell direct to consumers without paying the carriers a fee?
Or, to be more precise, just paying for the bandwidth they consume?
What happens when the content providers figure this out or when new entrants realize they no longer need to pay for access to customers by paying equity to the carriers?

What happens if people realize that they don't need to pay high fees for services they can create themselves or buy in a competitive marketplace?
Word Processing went through this long ago and we now accept email. VoIP is coming to the force. Video is just another format -- not at all special.
The price of IPTV will be the price of producing a video or paying the copyrights for it and the bandwidth condumed to broadcast it.
That is the main difference with the classical TV, but it is not little.
I you do not have to pay a fequencty, all the expensive hardware to broadcast,
The governments are seeking money to pay for old expensive technologies, but it won't be for long (I honestly DO NOT PITY THEM).

The DRM issue is no different whether you send the bits broadcasting them in the air or IP (as it is increasing the norm within the networks). The decoding is still done by a device at the edge be it a Set Top Box or another device.

It looks like a few understood the power of the new way of transmission.
And the few who understood are strangely quiet, as if they didn't want the news spread...
So, broadcasters of the future, this is your present!
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