Sunday, December 05, 2004

Fairly busy getting ready for holidays.

I've been sampling the future of TV via "broadcatching". Combining Bittorrent with the advanced mpeg-4 compression of Xvid/DivX has made it feasible to share current TV shows in very good quality online. This obviates the need for Tivo like devices. Add in another technology such as RSS and the entire thing is automated just like Tivo. The fly in the ointment is of course copyright and DCMA. Englightened media producers would embrace this technology but instead they will sue their customers until they realize it is hopeless. Then they will get on board with a way to profit rather fight it approach.

I was thinking about how such a service could work and came up with one idea that might be satisfactory. If producers of TV content replicated the P2P, MPEG-4, and XVid/DivX technologies but did so under a pay per download service they might be very surprised how well it could work. If they combined this service with a light layer of DRM and kept the costs to say a dollar a video they could have a winner. They could even embed some sponsor ads as well. I prefer to watch my video on TV so I would like to have a burn to disc option. I came up with the idea of adding a watermark to the video with the purchasers personal info embedded during the burn to disc option. Since most new shows are now HDTV and are letterboxed this information could be placed as a visible but transparent watermark in the black bars on the screen. This wouldn't be too annoying and would help satisfy the copy control of the disc. I wouldn't think that most people would want to circulate pirated videos with their personal information for everyone to see. Undoubtedly, someone would come up with a work around but I think this could work.

One of the best features of the current system is the ability to sample programs from other countries such as Canada and Britain. Of course, most of the content is of US origin but there are some very fun things showing up from overseas. I'd even be interested in non-english content if someone was up to adding subtitles.

Thanks to the Net, the world just keeps shrinking.