Sunday, September 18, 2005

NerdTV and others

NerdTV is the brainchild of PBS and Robert Cringely and is one of many new download only video shows that feature leaders in technology. As a fan of podcasting, I am very interested in this new wave of content and delivery, what many are calling or the precursor to IPTV (Internet protocol TV). Video over the internet is nothing new much like audio over the internet was nothing new when podcasting was developed, but like podcasting, IPTV is about the delivery of the content.

I have heard (sounds reliable to me) that more people are spending time on the internet and less time in front of the TV. It makes sense that the delivery of entertainment content should be through the Internet. There is a convergence of TV and PC or Mac that will take place over the next few years. Microsoft is selling it's Media Center edition software under the guise of this framework and they have IPTV in the works.

Over that last year we have been seeing content for internet specific flow through RSS aggregations that moves towards IPTV implementation. Shows like Systm, commandN and NerdTV are all tech focused, buy I have a feeling more mainstream content will be ready for internet savvy users.

Yes the nerds are early adapters so the content is focused towards that group, but the tip of the iceberg is not even here yet. We should see a mass influx of program content over the internet with delivery using RSS technologies and I bet apple's Itunes product. Apple already supports video feeds so we can get most of the early content through them.

So what are the factors that will slow this trend? IPTV needs bandwidth and with a slow adoption of broadband in the US it could be the old bells and cable ops that slow this trend, which is something they would like to slow since it would eat their business models and create competition.

The reason I think about IPTV is because I like the choice is has to offer. The comparisons to podcasting can not be more congruent in my view. Content that has a niche appeal is much more cost effective via IPTV and most likely would not see the light of day on TV or cable. I want choice. I like seeing interviews of the best technology minds today, and nerdTV is the right medium for this content. I just watched the second installment (they are weekly) an interview with Max Levchin who is the co-founder of Paypal. It is refreshing to see Charlie Rose quality interviews with geeks like us.

Time will tell how IPTV intersects the mass audience, but my bet (and Microsoft too who I normally don't bet on) is that IPTV will be the future of content delivery with more choices when you want them and how you want them.

* Cnet posts a good review here

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