Video Telephony or Video Services

August 3, 2007

This last week I've been doing some reading and discussing with others the role that video will play in our daily lives and communications needs.  Just as background, we have two Tivos at home and the Slingbox that Jeff gave us at VON last year.  And yes, I have the mobile slingbox client loaded on my phone.

Since having and using Slingbox for the last year, I'm a convert and yes, I am convinced that people will pay for video on demand services via the Internet (both broadband and mobile).  The question is what will the business model look like?

This is what I suspect will happen: 

First - the current content providers (read TV Networks) will be key in providing access to the media and will eventually host the programming on a pay per view / subscription basis.
Second - your current entertainment supplier (read cable/SatTV supplier) will offer you access to this content. 
Third - you'll use either set-top box from the cable/SatTV company or your computer or your mobile to view the programming.

To make this work, a couple technical hurdles must be crossed:

Streaming - anyone that thinks that the content providers will let you download the whole program onto your laptop is dreaming - even YouTube doesn't do that!  Content will primarily be delivered via streaming - mostly to counter pirates and manage ad time.
Transrating / Transcoding - let's face it, with so many different devices and network conditions, no one format will work all the time.  Something will have to take the responsibility to convert the video to match the device and network conditions AT THE SOURCE.
Authentication/Billing - lastly is making sure that the subscriber is who he/she says they are and track usage.

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts?





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