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Bill St. Arnaud is a R&E Network and Green IT consultant who works with clients on a variety of subjects such as the next generation research and education and Internet networks. He also works with clients to develop practical solutions to reduce GHG emissions such as free broadband and dynamiccharging of eVehicles (See . View my complete profile

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

2007 - The Big year for Broadcast TV over the Internet?

[Around the world broadcasters are preparing plans to launch delivery of prime time TV shows over the Net. CBS is rumoured to be planning a major initiative to offer all their prime TV fare over the Internet a day before it is broadcast on the airwaves. The new Apple TV box may also provide a significant incentive as it allow TV viewers to wirelessly connect their computer to the TV in order to watch movies and shows downloaded or streamed over the Internet. A good example of this trend is in New Zealand where the national broadcaster is making all their video fare available to download over the Net (but so far they have decided not to use P2P like BitTorrent for file transfer). With the advent of Joost and Internet triple play companies like Inuk, 2007 could be the big year for broadcast TV over the Internet. The biggest stumbling block besides the last mile bandwidth problem, still seems to be content and protection rights - I find it hard to imagine the current content business model will survive which is entirely dependent on failed DRM schemes, take-down orders and lawyers. Thanks to pointers from Donald Clark and Dewayne Hendricks -- BSA]

I found a site where you can get streaming video of lots of current
and old TV shows, plus a selection of other media types such as
anime. Its called 'TV Links': . Worth
checking out if you're interested in catching up on some shows that
you've missed over the years. For instance, I've checked out some
early episodes in the 'Black Adder' series from the UK. The video
and sound quality is surprisingly good.

-- Dewayne

Television NZ Ltd has just launched its on demand TV services. A limited, but fair, offering originally (don't know if some of it is restricted on geographical location). They are working hard on the copyright for more content.

Using Akamai around the country to spread the network load - but at
200MB+ per 1/2 hr show, this will cripple even further the limited
regional backhaul NZ has and further the growing clamour for "more fibre in the ground" and for community-backed open access passive infrastructures.

From David Farber's IPer list

Begin forwarded message:

Hi-def's DRM: Dead with Rigor Mortis: In a timely illustration for
the camp that contends Digital Rights Management doesn't work, never
did and never will (see "Jobs endorses unchained melodies"), the
proud hackers over at the Doom9 forums announced their latest
breakthroughin high-definition DVDs. Previously, hackers had found
ways, albeit cumbersome, to uncover the "volume key" that would
unlock individual Blu-ray and HD DVD discs (see "You couldn't seem to
agree on one standard, so we took the liberty of hacking them both
for you"). Now a hacker known as Arnezami has teased out the
"processing key" that can be used to unlock, decrypt, and backup
every HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc film on the market.

As Cory Doctorow notes at BoingBoing, this is a copy-protection
scheme that took years to develop and it was broken wide open in
weeks. "For DRM to work, it has to be airtight. There can't be a
single mistake. It's like a balloon that pops with the first prick.
That means that every single product from every single vendor has to
perfectly hide their keys, perfectly implement their code," Doctorow
writes. "There is no future in which bits will get harder to copy.
Instead of spending billions on technologies that attack paying
customers, the studios should be confronting that reality and
figuring out how to make a living in a world where copying will get
easier and easier. They're like blacksmiths meeting to figure out how
to protect the horseshoe racket by sabotaging railroads."

From Dewayne's list

Why piracy is still more common than legal video downloads 12/27/2006 9:27:38 AM, by Ryan Paul

A recent study conducted by consumer and retail analysis group NPD
claims that peer-to-peer (P2P) video downloads (which in the study
are synonymous with illegal downloads) are outpacing purchases from
legitimate video download services five to one. The study, which was
performed with NPD's VideoWatch tracking software on "the home
computers of more than 12,500 U.S. households," states that 8 percent
of Internet-using households downloaded video content from P2P
services, whereas 2 percent paid to download video content from
legitimate providers. The study also indicates that nearly 60 percent
of video files downloaded from P2P sites were adult-film content,
while 20 percent was TV show content and 5 percent was mainstream
movie content.

Avast, matey! Opt-in!

The opt-in methodology used by NPD could lead to significant under-
reporting of P2P downloading since those who are voluntarily tracked
by NPD's software are probably going to be less inclined to violate
copyright law. Chances are that the ratio of "legal" to "illegal"
downloading is further tipped in piracy's favor than NPD's study
indicates. Nevertheless, assuming that NPD's study approximates
reality, one could attribute the strength of piracy and the limited
adoption of commercial and P2P-based video downloading to several

First, legal movie download services are still relatively new, and
the movie industry's trepidation has prevented a diverse body of
content from becoming commercially available. I still don't know of
any legal video download service that offers my favorite episodes of
Babylon 5, for instance. If the new digital economy is all about the
so-called "Long Tail," then online video stores are missing a major
opportunity by not playing their cards and rapidly expanding their
selection. This is doubly true since the "selection" of content
available on the P2P networks is truly impressive. P2P wins the the
selection category hands down. This is doubly true when you consider
that NPD found that 60 percent of P2P downloads were pornographic in

Another obvious factor is Content Restriction Annulment and
Protection (CRAP) technologies, more commonly known as DRM. Consumers
who pay for digital video downloads want to be able to play those
videos with the software of their choice, without a lot of trouble or
the imposition of additional limitations. Consumers also want to be
able to convert legitimately downloaded content to other formats so
that it can be played on mobile devices. Pervasive DRM and high
prices make legal video downloading much less appealing to the
average consumer.