1. What is it About
The dream has finally come true. There was so much hype around TV getting streamed over the internet for the past decade or two. But now, the new model is well established. Content is truly dynamic these days, from production to distribution, to rating, commenting and feeding. There is always someone who is producing something for any imaginable taste. The best way to find these videos is to see what likeminded people watched. Computers take care of it all now. For every type of content (like comedy, thriller, cooking, etc.) computers combine two kinds of data: what I like to watch and what others like me like to watch. It is quite efficient. The computer knows when I watch programs, what I watch, when I stop watching them and how I reacted to programs it chose for me. It also has access to similar content through channels, feeds and ratings provided by other citizens of this planet. Basically, everyone is programming the machines for everyone’s benefit. At last we are free. Gone are the days we had to watch low quality programs when they wanted us to see them.
2. Where is the Fun
- Everyone can become a producer and a consumer. There will be much more variety on content. Every niche will be covered and is accessible cheaply by anyone with access to Internet.
- Watch your favourite TV programs on anything, anywhere at anytime. Mobile devices can stream content wirelessly. All content will be available on demand. Even time-shifting will be legacy.
- You can produce and broadcast your own content and receive royalties. The more your content is watched the better. With peer-to-peer systems, you don’t have to worry about distribution cost as the system automatically scales up based on more demand. The model is simple: The more people watch your program, the easier and faster it is for others to download your program. You simply receive your royalties. Finally creative people will get the credit they deserve.
- Since you can pay and get paid in miropayments, content becomes cheaper and more accessible. This reduces the use of illegal copies of copyrighted material. People are usually willing to pay a small price and have a clean conscious.
3. What are its Applications
TV content streamed over the internet, commonly known as Internet TV, will have a huge impact on lifestyle and how people consume content. The most important benefit is the new business models that will help content producers, distributors and consumers all at once. Two important parameters exist: money and delivery.
- Some are very happy to pay for what they want to watch. They like subscription models and are happy to pay a fixed amount for a certain amount of content, so they don’t have to worry about the money while they are watching something.
- Some people prefer not to pay. They are happy to watch some adverts, so they don’t have spend money.
- Some want to get free content with no ads. Some producers are also interested to promote their content for free.
- Some don’t like to be fed. They want to choose what they want to see and when they want to see it. YouTube is a prime example. Their users like to search for content. Jump from one to another similar content and so on. They are in effect, active viewers.
- Other people like to turn on a TV and have a relaxing time watching a particular ‘channel’. They don’t want the hassle of deciding what to watch. They just want to be fed. They consider it therapeutic.
The rise of the Internet delivery systems, with correct software and business models, is going to revolutionise content creating and distribution. In short, there will be more to watch, easier to get content and cheaper to produce and consume them.
4. How Developed is it
TV is big business and Internet will become the natural medium that TV content is delivered over. Large corporations are already spending vast resources on this. There are three main areas that are addressed:
- Business model. The current model of broadcast-once-consume-by-all will need to be replaced by new a model. YouTube’s user submitted content is only a small step towards the ultimate business model that will benefit all three parties; the content producer, the distributor/publisher and the consumer.
- Technical development of scalable and fast delivery systems that works over the internet. Peer-to-peer networks are the most promising approach. BitTorrent is the most efficient protocol to deliver large content over the internet. You can use Vuze to access legal, high quality content submitted by users. There are many other competing systems such as Joost, dedicated to TV distribution over proprietary peer-to-peer networks.
- Internet backbone bandwidth expansion. Currently, only 5% of internet users use peer-to-peer networks to receive TV content, though the downloads amounts to 50% of all content downloaded, according to a survey of ISPs. Services such as Joost are not yet main stream. If more consumers join in, you can easily imagine that the Internet backbone may not be able to handle this amount of traffic. Hence, there is a big push towards upgrading large bandwidth channels that connect the countries and continents together so that TV over the Internet can become a reality.
Delivery through established set-top boxes such as Xbox 360 or PS3 may also turn out to be the decisive point where people start to watch more content delivered via the Internet than via traditional means.
5. How Can it be Improved
There is still much to be done before TV on the Internet becomes reality. The availability of large amount of digital media on the net means you need to be able to search them. If computers could understand the context of images and films, many options suddenly open up. You could contextually match TV programs so they could be fed to users with similar interests. You could search for specific episodes or search documentaries for certain scenes. You could insert dynamic ads based on the context.
6. What Does it Lead to
After all these years, finally, the true realisation of the long tail will take place for TV. In a world that everyone is a creator, an organiser and a consumer all at once, a large amount of new content will be created on a daily basis. TV is a fantastic medium to efficiently and quickly deliver strong messages to the viewers. You can put the viewer in somebody else’s shoes and walk them through a story. The cost of production of videos is reducing continuously as video recorders become cheaper while still producing decent quality videos. In particular, thanks to developments in Machinima, 3D animations and virtual reality video production will take a whole new level and many more may jump in to provide their stories and fantasies in visual formats. Because everyone can express themselves artistically, you will have access to a large amount of content that would not have been possible to produce economically before. A whole new world of creative content awaits us.