Tuesday, December 26, 2006

HDTV or Web Video

Two very interesting and contrasting opinions on HDTV and IPTV/Video-on-internet:

Fred Wilson reports on "A VC":
I think people consistently overestimate the "quality" and "screensize" issues in the IPTV debate and underestimate the issues of convenience and ubiquity of content. I have found that time and time again, ubiquitous content of poor quality wins over a narrow selection of high quality.

Last night after dinner, our whole family crowded onto the master bed in one of our two hotel rooms and watched Good Will Hunting on my 15" MacBook Pro. Nobody complained about the lack of quality or screensize. I am not saying that families are going to start throwing away their family room flat panels and replace them with MacBook Pros, but I am saying that a ton of content that used to be watched in the family room is going to be watched on other devices.

What are those devices? Desktop and laptop PCs, xBox and other game devices, PSP and other portables (maybe even smartphones). It's exploding TV time and 2007 is going to be a breakout year.

In addition to iTunes/iTV, we are going to see The Venice Project come to fruition in 2007. It will start on Windows PCs, but I hope and expect to see a Venice client for Mac, xBox, and PSP before year end.

And you cannot underestimate the power of web video (YouTube, Google Video, etc, etc). I would expect to see a number of these players adopt a client like The Venice Project and also a p2p backbone, and offer the content that is building on their networks in downloadable formats. I also expect more and more people to connect a web browser to their family room systems and start watching web video sitting around after dinner.

Mark Cuban reports on his blog:
HDTV is the Internet video killer. Deal with it. Internet bandwidth to the home places a cap on the quality and simplicity of video delivery to the home, and to HDTVs in particular. Not only does internet capacity create an issue, but the complexity of moving HDTV streams around the home and tp the HDTV is pretty much a deal killer itself. Together, internet video is destined for the PC monitor for a long time to come. The only wild card that will have an impact is gaming consoles, but they dint offer access to internet video, they all kill themselves by only offering access to content inside their walled gardens. Internet video won't replace TV. It wont even complement TV offerings. It will flourish in the office. It will be a fun way to share personal content privately or publicly. It will be Community Access TV. On the flip side, HDTV is here and now. Its gone from being a future technology that could be cool in our living room to being the King of this holiday shopping season. 10s of millions of HDTVs have been sold and will be sold in the next year. The number of households with HDTVs is exploding. Yet for reasons I cant figure out, the broadcast networks are ignoring the opportunity it presents.

This is a unique point in time for all networks broadcast in HD to push the ball forward. HDNet is going to start a big ad push in 2007. Maybe we can carry the ball, but either way, its absolutely crazy, and stupid to not leverage this opportunity to the hilt. This coming year, 2007 will be known as the year Broadcast TV leveraged HD to create a golden age of TV with huge gains in ratings vs non HD networks, or it will be looked back upon as the year Broadcast Networks blew it.

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