Streaming content delivery is different from broadcasting in that every play consumes additional bandwidth and distance degrades performance. Deep pockets like those at Hulu and Netflix use CDN’s or content delivery networks like Akami that keep cashing server farms in numerous locations to insure a good user experience regardless of location. CDN delivery is expensive. That leaves the hobbyist and smaller producer at the mercy of low qulaity services like Youtube or out in the cold.
Now the advantage of deep pockets may be fading. Using peer to peer technology, a small, single location server can rival the CDN model. Wikimedia is already testing the concept with the Swarm Player browser plugin.
We have enabled this for Wikimedia video via the multimedia beta. Once you installed the add-on any video you view on Wikimedia sites with the multimedia beta enabled will be transparently streamed via bittorrent. The add-on includes simple tools to configure how much bandwidth you use to upload. Even if you upload nothing, using the add-on helps distribute load by playing the video from the P2P network and the local cache on subsequent views. The Swarmplayer has clever performance tuning which downloads high priority pieces over http while getting low priority bits of the video from the bittorrent swarm. This ensures a smooth playback experience while maximizing use of the P2P network. You can learn more about the technology on the Swam player add-on si
We’re apolitical here, but it’s time to call out some gross misbehavior by the political party currently in power. Back when the other party was in power they were declaring outrage over legislation authorizing, and over use of wore taps. Funny how the that outrage turns to the same bad behavior when power power changes hands.
The unfortunate, if not surprising, news story making the rounds today is that the feds in the US are looking to pass new laws to legally require a wiretap backdoor in every kind of internet communication offering. Yes, you read that right. If there’s any way to communicate online, the US government is demanding the right to be able to wiretap it. Any company that doesn’t comply will face fines. This despite the long history of the US government massively abusing its wiretapping privileges repeatedly throughout history.
And, yes, this would supposedly apply to non-US communications services as well:
Foreign-based providers that do business inside the United States must install a domestic office capable of performing intercepts. (Techdirt)
With the Congressional elections just over a month away, this won’t happen immediately. A doomsday scenario for any online privacy protection is looming if voters fire large numbers of Congress persons in November. If this happens the more socialist leaning types will most certainly try to rape and pillage our individual liberties before their terms expire without fear of reprisal. We’ll be keeping watch and alerting you.
Netflix has been making aggressive moves fueled by new income from a rapidly growing subscriber base. The company currently offers 1 DVD at a time by mail with unlimited streaming in the US for $8.99 a month. Based on a plan already available in Canada and reports like this one, a stream only plan for $1 less is coming:
…….could be considering a cheaper, streaming-only plan for U.S. subscribers. Currently if you want access to the Netflix streaming service you have to have a more expensive subscription that includes getting media sent to you through the mail even if you don’t want it or won’t ever use it. Netflix has already started a similar plan in Canada with unlimited streaming for only $7.99. (Neowin)
With new content deals including one with NBC Universal that must have happened just before the new Comcast bosses could nix it, there’s certainly enough content to make the stream alone attractive. More content of $1 less could be bad very news for the cable guys who are losing cost conscious subscribers and Blockbuster who hopes to compete in the same arena.
ThirdPipe has been pitching the idea for two years now that ala carte content choice was going to be the wave of the future. Not only that but that a power shift will occur away from bundlers (cable cos) to content providers. We also warned that once that was approaching that any broadband supplier that wanted to survive had to do so solely on competitive broadband transport rates. —
Hey Cable Guys! Cord Cutting is Real, and It’s a Problem, Says Verizon CEO
The party line from cable executives is that the “cord-cutting” phenomenon–consumers ditching cable TV for Internet video–is a myth. Or, at best, greatly exaggerated. Not so, says Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg.
He told the crowd at Goldman’s media conference this morning that the cable bundle is going to go the way of the wireline telephone business. That is, the next generation of consumers won’t have any interest in paying for it.
“Young people are pretty smart. They’re not going to pay for something they don’t need to,” he said. “Over the top is going to be a pretty big issue for cable.”
The mind is willing but is the body ready? Seidenberg built a robust fiber network. The problem is that in order to get the payback ratios they wanted they had to get a high penetration in triple play buyers. Another words Verizon too had to get ‘on content’ rates to make it pay rather than on data transport broadband rates only. Verizon is in the same boat as the cable cos. Its just he recognizes it.
So Seidernberg agrees with us. So what is next? Well the Epix deal with NetFlix was only the beginning. You can expect to see more NetFlix like deals. Many minor independents who the bundlers could care less about will join the NetFlix and Hulu sourcing complex.
What of the major studios? Right now they will stand pat with their bundle relationships for the next 3-5 years. The prime reason being that there is not quite enough penetration in the home big screen arena quite yet. Not quite enough screens for all the genera of film produced yet. The studios still need a certain percentage of box office to make it profitable. But shortly that will be history. When that occurs the studios will go direct. They will wean off the movie theaters for the simple reason that doing direct removes a big headache for them — negotiation with the Leows, et. al on pricing. The studio will hold the cards in any direct to consumer scheme and the price points will be such that it is not worth the consumer moaning about a bad relationship.
Once the one two punch IPTV and studio content direct take hold panic will set in at the Comcast, TWC and Leows headquarters. Fact, we could see a scenario where the NetFlixs of the future willingly engage in buyouts at pennies on the dollar for the sole purpose of maintaining eyeball share in the home for their content partners. NetFlix would hold network equity, but hand over broadband management to an AT&T, Cisco, or Verizon. Economy of scale baby.
The next 5 years are going to be more fun that the last 5. Trust us on this.
Here’s a big Third Pipe salute to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for taking on a patent troll. While the major beneficiaries are the big Telco’s it does show a third party can step in an correct some of the patent offices incompetence. In the absence of rational oversight from the ambulance chaser club called Congress, this kind of action may be the best hope for freeing innovation from tort. I hope EFF will exercise equal zeal the next time AT&T or Verizon uses a little patent trolling to squelch competition.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is claiming an early knock-down in its ongoing fight to strip a small Florida company called C2 Communications of a VoIP patent EFF calls bogus and that C2 has invoked to pry payments out of major U.S. carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and Qwest.