[opendtv] Re: Cable vs. Telco: What Happens When Competition Outpaces Washington Rules

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 11:56:52 -0400

At 7:23 PM -0400 5/15/05, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
>I think the real point is, what you and Craig have been
>describing already can/does exist. And it has *nothing* to do
>with the IPTV the various telcos have been hyping up.

Correct. We have been over this too many times. The real issue here 
is walled gardens versus open access to any person with a broadband 

>As Kon has pointed out more than once, these schemes are
>mainly used for pirating programs. But in principle, they
>could be made legal.

This is so far from being true as to be laughable. Piracy is 
background noise compared to the legitimate uses of streaming video 
via the Internet. Perhaps Bert should check out the revenues being 
generated via the Porn industry, which is typically an indicator of 
more generalized usage patterns when a technology matures.

How much pirated content is downloaded from CNN, ABC News, Fox News, 
Apples movie trailers site and the list goes ON and ON and ON. Just 
because most of this content is not program length television fare 
does NOT mean it is irrelevant. It may be more relevant as peoples' 
patterns of consumption of visual information change. As Sam 
Donaldson said at NAB, the Evening News is dying.

>What's to stop *any* producer today from establishing his
>own web site, perhaps aided by a Bit Torrent scheme if he's
>willing to trust (or pay?) people to help him out, and
>distribute content that way? He can charge for it a la
>carte, if he so pleases. Or offer package deals. Or make it
>available for free, if he so chooses.

And there are tens of thousands of people who are doing this. All 
legitimate, and some are making money too (although many applications 
are for marketing and product support).

>Of course, unless viewers are the least bit savvy, they
>would be confined to the PC to watch this stuff. But a visit
>to Best Buy should be able to get them a PC card with output
>connections compatible with TV/monitors.

In many cases they PREFER to use the PC because it is properly set up 
for interactivity, searching and browsing. Video is now used for much 
more than just "lean back" entertainment these days. What is likely 
to change in the future is the ADDITION of interactivity, search and 
browsing to the big screen in the family room. This is the best venue 
for group activities, such as shopping, planning a vacation, and of 
course, multi-player games.

>So this already does, or can, exist. It hasn't been called
>TV. It's been called streaming media, or just plain old
>file download. Similarly, MP3 downloads have not been called
>"radio," either.

Tell that to Internet radio stations. There are many streaming 
services out there, and now we are beginning to see the logical 
extension - people subscribing to sources of information that are 
cached locally for consumption on demand.

>This sort of scheme has NOT revolutionized a thing so far,
>yet it's been around for many many years, in one form or

Tell that to the heads of the news divisions of the television 
networks. You really do wear blinders when it comes to understanding 

>And much more to the point, the IPTV the telcos talk about,
>which is much more similar to cable than this basic Internet
>download scheme is, is even more unlikely to revolutionize
>anything. And even much more unlikely to bypass any middle
>man. It's just another walled garden, like cable or DBS.

The IPTV schemes MAY lead to a real revolution, once they understand 
that consumers are not interested in ANOTHER walled garden. Turns out 
that the telcos are going to have a difficult time breaching the 
existing walls, as I have pointed out repeatedly over the past few 
weeks. In the end, the telcos are likely to open up their systems and 
do what they already do well... a pure common carrier/bandwidth play.

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