Network end users to pull down 2 gigabytes a day, continuously?
constantinegi at corp.earthlink.net
Mon Jan 8 03:17:42 UTC 2007
I may have missed it in previous posts, but I think an important
point is being missed in much of this discussion: take rate.
An assumption being made is one of widespread long time usage. I
would argue consumers have little interest in viewing content for
more than a few hundred seconds on their PC. Further, existing
solutions for media extension to the television are gaining very
little foothold outside of technophiles. They tend to be more complex
for the average user than many vendors seemingly realize. While Apple
may help in this arena, there are many other obstacles to widespread
usage of streaming video outside of media extension.
In entertainment, content is king. More specifically, new release
content is king. While internet distribution may help breathe life
into the long tail market, it is hard to imagine any major shift from
existing distribution methods. People simply like the latest TV shows
and the latest movies.
So, this leaves us with little more than what is already offered by
the MSOs: linear TV and VoD. This is where things become complex.
The studios will never (not any time soon) allow for a subscription
based VoD on new content. They would instantly be sued by Time Warner
(HBO). This leaves us with a non-subscription VoD option, which still
requires an agreement with the each of the major studios, and would
likely cost a fortune to obtain. CinemaNow and MovieLink have done
this successfully, and use a PushVoD model to distribute their
content. CinemaNow allows DVD burning for some of their content, but
both companies are otherwise tied to the PC (without a media
extender). Furthermore, the download wait is a pain. Their content is
good quality 1200-1500 kbps VC-1 *wince*. It is really hard to say
when and if either of these will take off as a service. It is a good
service, with a great product, and almost no market at the moment.
Get it on the TV and things may change dramatically.
This leaves us with linear TV, which is another acquisition
nightmare. It is very difficult to acquire pass-through/distribution
rights for linear television, especially via IP. Without deep
pockets, a company might be spinning their wheels trying to get
popular channels onto their lineup. And good luck trying to acquire
the rights to push linear TV outside of a closed network. The studios
will hear none of it.
I guess where I am going with all this is simply it is very hard to
make this work from a business and marketing side. The network
constraints are, likely, a minor issue for some time to come.
Interest is low in the public at large for primary (or even major
secondary) video service on the PC.
By the time interest in the product swells and content providers ease
some of their more stringent rules for content distribution, a better
solution for multicasting the content will have presented itself. I
would argue streaming video across the Internet to a large audience,
direct to subscribers, is probably 4+ years away at best.
I am not saying we throw in the towel on this problem, but I do think
unicast streaming has a limited scope and short life-span for prime
content. IPv6 multicast is the real long term solution for Internet
video to a wide audience.
Of course, there is the other argument. The ILECs and MSOs will keep
it from ever getting beyond a unicast model. Why let the competition
in, right? *sniff* I smell lobbyists and legislation. :-)
Gian Anthony Constantine
Senior Network Design Engineer
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