A Little Ditty about Web Video and HDTV

This is an HDTV christmas. HDTV pricings are dropping, while the size of the screens gets bigger. Its a trend that isnt going to stop. In fact, some think that 70″ LCD will be the norm in 5 years.

What does that have to do with Web Video ? Everything

The thing about big screens, is that High Def content looks better the bigger the screen. Standard Def content looks worse the bigger the screen. Compressed web video looks bad if you try to expand it to fill your PC monitor. It becomes abstract art if you try to put it on your HDTV.

But thats just a minor issue. Here is the issue that everyone seems to be missing.

If you have a new HDTV look at the video inputs, or do something different and open up the manual. Either way you will come to find that the only way for your new HDTV to receive and display HD content in HD is through a component, DVI or HDMI port. Thats it. You may have S Video or Composite there, and they may allow you to connect to your cable, satellite or PC, but they don’t play in HD.

Now look at the back of your PC. Look to see if you have a component, DVI or HDMI port out ? Chances are that unless you bought a PC with high def video in mind, you don’t

To quote from Cool Hand Luke; “What we have here is a failure to communicate”

The PC you have, and that most Americans have can’t connect to their brand new HDTV and play High Def content. (That is even if they have the 2.8Ghz processing power required in many cases).

So all the prognosticators who believe that streaming or downloaded High Def content over the net is right around the corner. Well, maybe only if that corner includes not only huge bandwidth upgrades, but also massive replacement of video cards or PCs with brand spanking new units. (Of course there is irony in the fact that if your CPU or video processor is fast enough, you can play HD content out of your VGA port to your PC monitor. But VGA inputs are going away in HDTVs and VGA to component doesnt work well and to DVI converters are expensive and confusing to typical consumers).

So how many people are going to upgrade or replace their PCs in order to connect to their new HDTVs ? How many are going to put the brand new or upgraded PC they just spent good money on close to, and shared with their HDTV and their high speed data connection and give up CPU and Bandwidth performance rather than just leasing a box from the satellite , cable or telco provider ?

I personally dont think many will and the natural replacement cycle will take many, many years to create a compatible installed base of PCs

So the opportunity for Video over the web to replace TV , if you think such a destination is possible, is going to be hurt by the quickly growing base of HDTVs. The expansion of HDTV content through traditional distribution is going to be helped

But wait, there’w more.
2 Way CableCards from the Cable providers and Satellite receivers on a PC Card from DirecTV or Dish Networks could quickly pre empt any chance video over the net had to replace traditional TV distribution. . If either of those becomes a USER INSTALLABLE , no more than 1 call to the provider option, then the PC might become a home for distribution of HD content to HDTV, which would of course put more nails in the video over the net replaces TV coffin

Personally, Im still suprised that cable and satellite providers would rather absorb the capital costs of boxes and all the inherent risks associated with changing technology and pricing rather than put the electronics on a card or chipset, with the appropriate HDMI or VESA output, that is sold cheap or bundled with service and control the entire thing through their sofware. There is no reason why a lot of this cant be on a chipset that is provided to PC manufacturers for Home Theater PCs, making every PC sold a client where the enduser picked up the capital cost.

If they would, then “plug your PC into the cable port in the wall and into your HDTV , and away you go becomes a reality”. Satellite would only have to worry about installing the dish. MultiRoom would be simplified as PCs around the house could handle distribution to local TVs or monitors..

And video over the internet replacing cable and satellie would be just an amusing memory

82 thoughts on “A Little Ditty about Web Video and HDTV

  1. Hi- I have a widescreen HDTV that I bought to use for cable, and as a second monitor. I did finally get that to work, but then I upgraded (ie. bought) a new PC. It\’s a quad-core HP, running NVidia 8500GT video card. Oddly, this is the same type of card I had in my old computer with one minor difference- No VGA port! It only has HDMI and S-Video! I Have to use an adapter, currently, to connect the old CRT monitor I\’m using to my PC. Now, the TV set is connected to the PC by S-Video cable, but the damn card doesn\’t seem to acknowledge it. The TV also remains unaware that a signal is supposed to be pumped through to it. Please advise, if you can, on the finer points of connecting HDTV and S-Video. I am at something of a loss.

    Comment by Eric Sizemore -

  2. Another option that is used it to download movies, videogames etc to your PC and store onto and external portable hard drive. You can use the software to format it for your DVR from satellite and then play the files through the DVR. We have a club which has the software to change the file formats and download the files.

    Comment by HateCable -

  3. MythTV or TiVo is a thousand times better than what Microsoft or Apple have. The funny part about it is TiVo and Apple have allot in common in that they both copy the underlying open source code – but then go on to restrict what you can do. At least TIvo returns the favor more-so than Apple. Microsoft just buys other peoples crap and than brands it. I would agree that hooking up a PC to TV is non-sense for the masses. It probably will happen eventually if someone develops a decent business model and can get funding and contracts for content. The solution is really very simple to get HDTV content over the internet to the masses on the TV. You need device with wifi that connects to the broadband router that streams it to another box that connects to the TV. It really can be simple enough for the masses to understand if someone wanted to get into the market.

    Comment by Mike -

  4. See the Highest Quality HD Video Streaming on the Internet at http://www.alphaexposure.com/videostreaming

    Alpha Exposure, LLC and Zero Footprint Solutions, LLC have joined forces to deliver the next generation of Internet streaming media technologies. We provide video using completely new core and enabling technologies to instantly provide streaming High Definition video up to 1080p quality to virtually any broadband user. The system is optimized to support television networks and movie rental companies moving into the online video markets in terms of quality and concurrent users. The timing for these services is perfect, says Robert Brim, CEO and Co-Owner of Alpha Exposure. We are a success driven marketing company that uses advanced technology to provide value added services to a new and rapidly growing online video market.

    Zero Footprint Solutions, LLC has developed the first and only currently existing Open Media Operating System for the Internet, which together with our unique core and enabling technologies, allows us to support instant on-demand worldwide application, data and media delivery and usage, without the need for installation of any software applications, media players or other software on the users computer. This allows us to instantly reach the other 72% of users who cant or wont download and install software to try/use a new service, with capabilities that previous downloads and installations of specialized applications and media have offered.

    Zero Footprints rapid deployment technologies allow us to remotely distribute virtually any application functionality and opportunity-specific layout definitions to our clients, with little or no upfront infrastructure investment. Together with the efficiencies generated through Zero Footprints rapid development and deployment technologies, we enable transparent, fully automated private labeling and customization. This allows us to create highly scalable viral marketing opportunities without manual intervention, while simultaneously offering our clients and customers unprecedented real time micro targeted advertising possibilities to better monetize content.

    People are looking for different types of entertainment, when and where they want to see it and we can deliver a high quality experience that meets their needs, says Brim. To view demonstrations of advanced high quality HD streaming, visit us at http://www.alphaexposure.com/videostreaming or contact us at 1-417-332-0456.

    Comment by Robert Brim -

  5. If I were you, I would look into the HP MediaSmart HDTV. They just created a new interactive website at http://www.yankthewires.com

    Comment by HDTV -

  6. I like this forum. I learned more about HDTV from the discussion. Here is a cool page with good info: http://www.satellitesweeper.com/hdtv.htm

    Comment by Nathan -

  7. People will not do it instantly. It will take years for the old to fade into the new, just like CDs, DVDs, MP3s have in the past. The people that do these things instantly are the kind of people who\’d read this blog. :p

    Like moi et toi!

    Comment by HD Bliss -

  8. Fajny blog tylko, e nic z niego nie rozumie.

    Comment by Joasia =] -

  9. We are the japan dill on dish satallite

    dear value customer do mail us, as you get the dish satallite specification.

    DVI-D monitor cable Suitable for digital single link monitor connections Gold plated connections Fully shielded for error free connections and the best possible picture quality …

    The Nikkai Pure Connectivity HDMI interconnects are designed to allow the transfer of high quality digital AV signals with the minimum off loss. Ideal for use with the

    latest High Definition (HDTV) AV equipment. …

    HDMI to DVI-D single-link digital video interface connects components of the two formats for highest-quality HDTV picture. Features Gas-Injected Dielectric for maximum signal strength and high-density triple-shielding for maximum rejection of RF and EM interference. …

    Want to save up to 30 on your order and this DECT Wireless Phone Line Extender? All you have to do is subscribe to our email newsletter and we will send you vouchers every month. With a new SALE every 4 weeks why not join over 400,000 people who already receive our newsletter. There is no tie in and you can easily unsubscribe, so sign up now to get your first vouchers instantly.
    Please use the Check Stock button to refresh the information below. Your goods are ONLY reserved when you go to the checkout.

    Comment by larry david -

  10. Hello Buyer, We
    are dealer of all kind of brand new Laptop Computer Plasma TV.phones and more other,s They are all brand new and at cheapest price,You can also Email us via our company Email Address
    (throwphones@yahoo.fr)TEL+447024075360
    (throwphones@yahoo.fr)

    Zenith P42W22B 42 Inch Plasma TV Blowout $700USD
    Gateway 42″ Plasma TV 16 : 9 Aspect Ratio, Supports1280 $800 USD
    Samsung HP-R4252 Plasma TV & Monitors $900USD
    Samsung HP-R5052 50″ Plasma TV $1,500USD
    Panasonic TH-37PWD8UK Plasma TV $650USD
    Gateway 42″ Plasma TV 16 : 9 Aspect Ratio, Supports 1280 $700USD
    Sony Wega Ke-42M1 42-Inch EDTV Plasma TV $800USD
    Panasonic TH-42PWD8UK Plasma TV & Monitors $650USD
    Gateway 50″ HD Plasma TV 16 : 9 Aspect Ratio $1,500USD
    Panasonic TH-42PWD8UK 42″ Plasma TV – Exceptional 4000:1 $70USD
    Panasonic TH-42PD50U 42″ Diagonal Plasma TV Special Order $750USD
    Samsung HPR5052 50 High Definition Plasma TV with $1,100USD
    Panasonic TH-42PWD8UK Plasma TV $800USD
    Philips 42 Inch Plasma TV and Monitor 42PF9630A $1,050USD
    Toshiba 37HL95 37″ HD LCD TV (Toshiba 37HL95) $800USD
    Avion 32″ LCD TV LTV-320, 16:9 HDTV/SDTV $500USD
    Audiovox Electronics Corp. FPE3705 37″ HDTV Ready LCD TV Audiovox Electronics Corp. FPE3705 37″ HDTV Ready LCD TV $550USD
    Samsung 40″ HD LCD TV $900USD
    Sceptre X42GV-Naga LCD/TV X42GV-Naga LCD/TV $950USD
    Kreisen Silver 40″ Wide HDReady LCD TV and Stand KR400T $1,000USD
    SVA VR-30 Flat Panel 30-Inch Widescreen HD-Ready LCD TV $500USD
    Samsung Consumer (DVD/TV/Etc) LNR328W 32″ LCD TV $600USD
    Sharp LC-37DB5U 37″ LCD TV HDTV LCDs LC37DB5U TVs $850USD
    Sharp AQUOS LC-20S4US 20 AQUOS(tm) Flat Panel LCD TV $450USD
    Dell W3207C 32-inch Widescreen High Definition LCD TV $650USD
    26″ Widescreen HD LCD TV $450USD
    Viewsonic 40″ Widescreen LCD TV $800USD
    HDTV “Samsung 30″” Wide SlimFit HDTV – TXR3080 $450USD
    KDF-E42A10 42-In Grand Wega 3LCD Rear Projection HDTV $550USD
    Sony KDFE42A10 42″ Grand Wega HDTV $700 Philips 32PT8302/37 32″ HDTV $400
    Panasonic PT-50LC14 LCD Panasonic 50″ LCD Projection $650USD
    Samsung HC-R4755W 47-Inch Widescreen Tabletop HDTV $500
    Sony 55 Inch Grand Wega HDTV LCD KDF-E55A20 $1,050USD
    Panasonic TH-42PHD5UY HDTV Monitor42″ Plasma Display $1070USD
    Viewsonic 40″ Widescreen LCD HDTV N4060W $1,000USD
    Samsung HL-S6187W 61 Projection TV – 61 – DLP – NTSC $1,100USD
    Vizio 32 HDTV Television $450 USD
    Hitachi 42″ Wide Screen Plasma HDTV 42HDF52 $650USD
    Sony KDL-46V2500 46” Bravia V-Series LCD $1,500USD
    Sony KDL-40V2500 40” Bravia V-Series LCD 1080p HDTV $1,000USD
    Sony KDL-40V2500 40” Bravia V-Series LCD $1,350USD
    Sony KDL-46V2500 46” Bravia V-Series LCD $1,350USD
    Sony KDL-46V2500 46” Bravia V-Series LCD 1080p HDTV $1,500USD
    Sony KDL-40V2500 40” Bravia V-Series LCD 1080p HDTV $1,050USD
    Sony KDL-40V2500 40” Bravia V-Series LCD 1080p HDTV $1,300USD
    Sony KDL-46V2500 46” Bravia V-Series LCD 1080p HDTV $1,570USD
    Sony VAIO V505DC2 Series Notebook Intel Pentium4-M 2.2 $800 USD
    Sony VAIO PCG-V505AC Notebook Computer Intel Pentium 4 M $700USD

    Sony PlayStation 2 PS2 Slim Game Console – SONY

    Comment by lio -

  11. Hello Buyer, We
    are dealer of all kind of brand new Laptop Computer Plasma TV.phones and more other,s They are all brand new and at cheapest price,You can also Email us via our company Email Address
    (throwphones@yahoo.fr)TEL+447024075360
    (throwphones@yahoo.fr)

    Zenith P42W22B 42 Inch Plasma TV Blowout $700USD
    Gateway 42″ Plasma TV 16 : 9 Aspect Ratio, Supports1280 $800 USD
    Samsung HP-R4252 Plasma TV & Monitors $900USD
    Samsung HP-R5052 50″ Plasma TV $1,500USD
    Panasonic TH-37PWD8UK Plasma TV $650USD
    Gateway 42″ Plasma TV 16 : 9 Aspect Ratio, Supports 1280 $700USD
    Sony Wega Ke-42M1 42-Inch EDTV Plasma TV $800USD
    Panasonic TH-42PWD8UK Plasma TV & Monitors $650USD
    Gateway 50″ HD Plasma TV 16 : 9 Aspect Ratio $1,500USD
    Panasonic TH-42PWD8UK 42″ Plasma TV – Exceptional 4000:1 $70USD
    Panasonic TH-42PD50U 42″ Diagonal Plasma TV Special Order $750USD
    Samsung HPR5052 50 High Definition Plasma TV with $1,100USD
    Panasonic TH-42PWD8UK Plasma TV $800USD
    Philips 42 Inch Plasma TV and Monitor 42PF9630A $1,050USD
    Toshiba 37HL95 37″ HD LCD TV (Toshiba 37HL95) $800USD
    Avion 32″ LCD TV LTV-320, 16:9 HDTV/SDTV $500USD
    Audiovox Electronics Corp. FPE3705 37″ HDTV Ready LCD TV Audiovox Electronics Corp. FPE3705 37″ HDTV Ready LCD TV $550USD
    Samsung 40″ HD LCD TV $900USD
    Sceptre X42GV-Naga LCD/TV X42GV-Naga LCD/TV $950USD
    Kreisen Silver 40″ Wide HDReady LCD TV and Stand KR400T $1,000USD
    SVA VR-30 Flat Panel 30-Inch Widescreen HD-Ready LCD TV $500USD
    Samsung Consumer (DVD/TV/Etc) LNR328W 32″ LCD TV $600USD
    Sharp LC-37DB5U 37″ LCD TV HDTV LCDs LC37DB5U TVs $850USD
    Sharp AQUOS LC-20S4US 20 AQUOS(tm) Flat Panel LCD TV $450USD
    Dell W3207C 32-inch Widescreen High Definition LCD TV $650USD
    26″ Widescreen HD LCD TV $450USD
    Viewsonic 40″ Widescreen LCD TV $800USD
    HDTV “Samsung 30″” Wide SlimFit HDTV – TXR3080 $450USD
    KDF-E42A10 42-In Grand Wega 3LCD Rear Projection HDTV $550USD
    Sony KDFE42A10 42″ Grand Wega HDTV $700 Philips 32PT8302/37 32″ HDTV $400
    Panasonic PT-50LC14 LCD Panasonic 50″ LCD Projection $650USD
    Samsung HC-R4755W 47-Inch Widescreen Tabletop HDTV $500
    Sony 55 Inch Grand Wega HDTV LCD KDF-E55A20 $1,050USD
    Panasonic TH-42PHD5UY HDTV Monitor42″ Plasma Display $1070USD
    Viewsonic 40″ Widescreen LCD HDTV N4060W $1,000USD
    Samsung HL-S6187W 61 Projection TV – 61 – DLP – NTSC $1,100USD
    Vizio 32 HDTV Television $450 USD
    Hitachi 42″ Wide Screen Plasma HDTV 42HDF52 $650USD
    Sony KDL-46V2500 46” Bravia V-Series LCD $1,500USD
    Sony KDL-40V2500 40” Bravia V-Series LCD 1080p HDTV $1,000USD
    Sony KDL-40V2500 40” Bravia V-Series LCD $1,350USD
    Sony KDL-46V2500 46” Bravia V-Series LCD $1,350USD
    Sony KDL-46V2500 46” Bravia V-Series LCD 1080p HDTV $1,500USD
    Sony KDL-40V2500 40” Bravia V-Series LCD 1080p HDTV $1,050USD
    Sony KDL-40V2500 40” Bravia V-Series LCD 1080p HDTV $1,300USD
    Sony KDL-46V2500 46” Bravia V-Series LCD 1080p HDTV $1,570USD
    Sony VAIO V505DC2 Series Notebook Intel Pentium4-M 2.2 $800 USD
    Sony VAIO PCG-V505AC Notebook Computer Intel Pentium 4 M $700USD

    Sony PlayStation 2 PS2 Slim Game Console – SONY

    Comment by lio -

  12. its simple
    a wireless network box is attached with proper cables to your HDTV
    Your HDTV can play the files. They are downloaded through your computer connection to the internet, or directly.

    It costs a couple of hundred dollars, like an early VCR or DVD.

    Then I can post on my computer a file and you can get it..

    Let’s try it and see if it works.

    Comment by daniel -

  13. The PC is in an unenviable position when compared with dedicated hardware like set top boxes. The PC must be the “jack of all trades” whereas dedicated hardware will always do the job better in an emerging technology, because it has the luxury of a one track mind.

    Complicate the issue with multitasking and the number of variables spikes exponentially. On top of all this, Microsoft’s products are monolithic (as opposed to modular) in nature- so you load driver after unnecessary driver at startup and theres no way to separate them. A large part of our problem is this poor design- but hey, they’re great at marketing.

    Comment by Jason Hoskins -

  14. In my opinion HDTV and Web Video will be still developing each in its way in the nearest future. Of course in some years we may expect that HD video will be a common thing even through Internet because technologies are developing more and more fast. But there always is a question if we need this technology. Because ok it’s very nice to watch a programme in high quality but sometimes we don’t need high quality to watch something but we need to get it fast from Internet without paying big money for all the equipment…well I think maybe USA is about to step in the era of HD Internet video but the rest of the world is not ready for it yet…

    Comment by Katie -

  15. As usual, Mark, you’ve raised a number of important issues.

    Just a few observations from me.

    DVI is and will be more common than you estimate. My 2-year old video card has DVI out. Granted, its a full fledged GPU.
    But even my latest small form factor *office PC* has DVI out!
    And now that Windows Vista is released, I think a lot of PCs will move to better class graphics.

    Getting massive amounts of HD video to be moved around on the net and match the speed of cable/satellite will require substantially wider bandwidth than what will be available over the next few years.

    For most non-technical end-users, HD over satellite/cable is much easier to setup than HD over net to PC which is then piped on to the TV.

    Comment by vamsi -

  16. I can switch back and forth between my PC/HD dvr/Xbox 360, I think I have a little more insight into this particular conundrum

    Comment by BloggingHaroon -

  17. BTW, the site is http://ticktockstock.com

    Comment by George Hightower -

  18. BTW, the site is http://ticktockstock.com

    Comment by George Hightower -

  19. Mark,
    Congratulations on your HDNet contract with AT&T.

    I’ve speculated all along that AT&T is testing Rim Semiconductor’s IPSL technology in order to provide 26+Mbps to its San Antonio market. Yesterday, AT&T confirmed they are getting on average 25 Mbps and “much much more” to some customers. This all with FTTN. VDSL 2 does not have the reach for the average AT&T customer >3,000 foot copper loop, and it’s clear other flavors of DSL technology are providing the solution. Check out the site. This company is on the cutting edge.

    Comment by George Hightower -

  20. 1) DVI is a common connector on any mid to high end computer system built in the last 4 years. Reasonably, most people should have it.

    2) If they don’t have it, they have a VGA port, which is standard on a very large number of LCDs and Plasmas.

    3) Anyone that thinks that a 70″ HDTV will be the norm has obviously not poked their head into the average American living room any time lately. More likely than not, the standard size will be in the 40″ range, because anything larger is an enourmous investment in space and money, and would frequently fail the Wife/Girlfriend/Significant Other Acceptance Factor.

    4) Barring a wholesale rewiring of the entire cable system, true 1080p content will most likely never reach American homes over cable. It’s too bandwidth intensive, and it’s not worth the additional cost.

    5) 1080p is a waste for any TV under 50″.

    6) You can go to any Circuit City or Best Buy and buy a DVI to HDMI cable. And converting DVI to VGA is as easy as hooking up a tiny converter to one of the DVI ports.

    7) Video over the internet will probably never replace cable. Mainly because it’s easy to pirate video over the internet, and not so easy if it’s over the air. Yeah, you can pull TV shows off your DVR’s hard drive, but it’s a pain. On the other hand, recording shows passing through your computer over the internet is a snap. With storage space increasing as exponentially as the price per gigabyte is decreasing, a full terabyte of storage space is not only no longer unthinkable, it’s downright affordable.

    8) The DVR isn’t going anywhre. I can honestly say that since I’ve gotten mine, it’s changed the way I watch TV. I’m not beholden to a time slot anymore. I can watch an entire weeks’ worth of Futurama episodes on Saturday morning, or catch up on all my favorite shows on Sunday afternoon, when I have time. I can DVR an entire season of a show and watch it from start to finish. The technology isn’t going away, and will only become more prevalent as people realize how much of a difference it can make in their lives.

    Sorry about the numbering, it’s just how I laid this out in my head.🙂

    Comment by Adam Licht -

  21. I just bought a new MacBook a few months back and recently got a 32 inch LCD and all I needed was a Mini DVI – VGA cable and an easy audio cable that plugs into my headphone jack and I was all set. HD and all, so I don’t really see it as that difficult.

    I can’t imagine newer PC’s are that much different so it shouldn’t be real hard to hook that up for anyone.

    Maybe it’s just that Apple makes it easier, but then again their new iTV that’s about to come out doesn’t really seem all that great considering by buying a few short cables I pretty much already have that setup, excluding the rumor that iTV is supposed to include a DVR and is high speed wireless, it just doesn’t seem much different that using a couple cables to hook it up now. Most people already have a DVR through their cable company anyways so seems kind of a waste of money right now. I very well could be missing something though.

    As I see it… high resolution online programming including HD will become more and more prevelant and to go back to Apple… I can’t imagine their too excited about YouTube and Google striking up all these deals with TV networks and showing their content for free.

    I do see tv going mostly online within the next 5 years and although Mark and others have been discussing the bandwidth problems that may arise from that… I just feel that that average tv watcher wants tv and internet as one with the ability to get on demand video at a click… even if for the time being the quality of the resolution isn’t the greatest.

    Bryan

    Comment by Bryan Hauer -

  22. YO Marky Mark…

    i REMEMBER it was a BIG DEAL when my folks got a coloured TV for the ’68 Olympics…therefore i REMEMBER that television was LESS shlocky then than it is NOW!!!

    Pay a couple of grand to see the craters on Howard Stern’s face a bit clearer, or girlie-men masquerading as FOOTBALL players [if you caught the hits on Namath during the recent “60 Minutes” episode you’ll KNOW what i’m talking about—think Payton Manning would still be playing if he got HIT like that???]

    The General Electric portable B&W set i got for my 13th birthday has ALL the resolution i need, and with the QUALITY of progamming today, HD is like putting Rolls Ryoce paint on a Hyundai

    Comment by EminemsRevenge -

  23. You don’t realize how much of your life revolves around electronics until your power goes out. Electricity really is the king of kings.

    When we had those hefty hurricanes hit South Florida last season and the year before and the power was out for many days, it was like going back in time watching local TV channels on one of those portable black and white sets. We’ve come so far technologically in the past 50 years and it’s times like that, when you really appreciate all the cool stuff we have now like HD TV, the Net, cell phones, and all the other gagets and toys.

    But you’re dead on right Mark. Technology is advancing so rapidly now, the left hand isn’t always in sync with the right hand. And without all the pieces in place at the same time, even the best ideas fail.

    Looking at HD TV’s now in 1080i is simply breathtaking. It’s like looking out a window and being there. The color fidelity and resolution are incredible.

    The drive to deliver HD content via the Net will continue, no doubt, but whether all the ventures will succeed is questionable for many reasons, some like the hardware issue you mentioned in your post will present major challenges, and there are a host of other obstacles.

    So your HDNet is going to be the top HD content delivery model, market leader and innovator and will continue to be for the forseable future, I’m sure.

    Comment by Kevin -

  24. Mark…with respect, you are wrong – I have had my PC connected to my large TV for several months now, it has a VGA port in it.

    I have blogged about this on my blogsite broadstuff here as it is a common myth.

    Comment by alan patrick -

  25. (before you read this, think of me as a young man who wants to own his own NFL franchise through working up from scratch)

    wow. just wow. i just can’t believe this. Look how you just totally ripped any thinking that people were going to start streaming shit online on a regular basis. wow, i actually want to believe you, because you are right. anyone who does any research knows that online forums are still in the growth stage, and those haven’t reached their final potential. i’ve seen many examples i have no need to plug.

    i mean you are a true business man. from what i read online you own some company that makes the new HDtv’s or whatever. how SMART! these things JUST came out. Now you’re pitching for people to buy them over Christmas. i mean you’re not duping me at all because you have me convinced that buying one of these tv’s is a good investment…almost! (just kidding, that’s awesome, awesome marketing…now get this blog out there to a shitload of people, i.e. facebook)

    i want to apply these skills in my life, no matter what i do. i know my dream right now is becoming a ‘liberal’ owner in the NFL, one that deals with bullshit personally. you’re down there sacrificing all this time to watch all these games.. that’s not just for sho. you know what that’s for? it’s to get your damn team motivated. I don’t know enough about Arhtur Blank the falcons owner, but damn is he a character. other than you, arthur blank is the only owner of a sports franchise in which i can put a face on. i don’t even know the face of the owner of my favorite team the kansas city chiefs!

    i mean even if i never meet you, you can be DAMN sure that i will at least look at what you do, and try to emulate it into whatever venture my life takes me. And after i read your wikipedia thing (which you should update yourself)i see that you are interested in reading the book fountainhead. i was never actually interested in reading that book until i read the quote that you may have said about it “like thinking as an individual, taking risks, and taking responsibility for successes and failures” i mean this quote may not look much but wow, that says ALOT.

    So in conclusion, please keep on doing these things that you’re doing and maybe if i keep on doing what needs to be done (without risking my integrity as well as others) i will become successful someday…

    by the way, great poise on PTI. wow. answering all the right questions, being polite enough not to answer others… youre almost torn straight from Machiavelli.

    Comment by Charles Martin -

  26. Mark, I read about this interesting device that converts the HD signal thru a small USB adapter. Maybe this is a possible solution for all those folks without a HD Tuner card on their PC?

    http://crunchgear.com/2006/09/20/pinnacle-pctv-hd-pro-stick/

    I have yet to try it myself, so i’m unable to give an opinion. But looks like an easy way to watch HD on my PC.

    Comment by Brian -

  27. Wow I must be completely missing the boat here. I bought a pc video card 6 years ago and I have almost never used it. Why, because when i want to use the TV i use the TV and i want to use the computer I use the computer. This isn’t because I am a luddite, I wanted it to work, It was just impractical. It had nothing to do with video quality.

    However I do feel that HDTV is the wave of the future, but right now the options are just too confusing for the average person.

    Comment by superdave -

  28. Some lucky residents surrounding DFW like Keller, Plano and Grapevine have had fiber optic cable installed to their homes by Verizon. Video services have been recently added there and in CA, FL, NY and other states. AT&T has not committed that far so that Dallas residents can take advantage yet. In any case, the PC may not be the primary vehicle to iTV in the future anyway.

    Comment by Jim Smith -

  29. Ok cool, i live in an affluent area, so i guess normal isnt mass populace america, but lots of people here have HDTV sets as 1080p monitors using the DVI ports from such cards as the NVIDIA 7600GT – really the Westinghouse digital 1080p is inexpensive and the graphics card is 69 bucks, plug-play hit the remote its all good. The biggest complaint i heard was the outrageous price of a long DVI cable.

    e.g. the people that can hookup , will hookup. That part is easy.

    However, not one of these people is using the PC-HDTV connection for streaming HD off the web, even though quite a few have FIOS.
    They dont even seek HD video there. They do google earth and photo galleries and such. Web bandwidth just is not well suited to HD… so this same HDTV is used for home theater and such and HDnet and Discovery HD, cinemax. IPTV may well be great for postage stamp sized videos but no way would i expect HD to get much traction even with the die-hard bit-torrent crowd.

    Keep up the great work and thanks for the Dan Rather reports- good stuff.

    Regards, Jeff http://jeff-johnson.com

    Comment by Jeff Johnson -

  30. A lot of this is invention for revenue sake. I remember when almost everyone had a black and white TV, and there were no remotes. Flat screens are great (because of the space issue), but a lot of the iterations are just so the companies that make these things can make a buck.

    Comment by basketball -

  31. Donald Trump is ripping you big time on CNBC’s “The Big Idea”.

    What an a$$hole Trump is!

    Comment by Joe Hernandez -

  32. In the future, you won’t need a DVI or HDMI port. TV’s will have an Ethernet port, which will allow remote connections to your media server(s). Think of it as an “extender” to your existing media center. All media will be streamed to your TV which will have decoder hardware/software built. No messy OS’s to worry about, plenty storage remotely, simplified cabling, protected media path for DRM, etc. – it’s done.

    You’re article is so 2007.

    Comment by HiDefLoLife -

  33. I hate to say it, but you’re totally wrong. My three-year-old home-built DVR running BeyondTV (www.snapstream.com) plays back off-air HD. It has an old Athlon XP 2400+.

    And yes, Mac users are also in a good place because every new Intel Mac can playback 1080/24p encoded as H.264 like it was built for that purpose.

    Comment by Jeff -

  34. Are you crazy?
    I have a 32″ HDTV hooked up to my computer via a DVI -> HDMI lead, I download a hell of a lot of HD content, and watch it all with my 400 dell computer and a 100 video card upgrade (couldn’ve been cheaper, but that’s the one I went for)
    So in short, your article is completely wrong, a 500 computer will happily perform as a HTPC.

    Comment by Alex -

  35. “Im still suprised that cable and satellite providers would rather absorb the capital costs of boxes and all the inherent risks associated with changing technology and pricing rather than put the electronics on a card or chipset,”

    Really? You’re surprised? It’s taken the cable and satellite providers this long just to deliver video on demand and learn how to save video to a harddrive (the DVR). And frankly, they still don’t have that right. I have DirecTv and the DVR they offer now after the switch from Tivo is a piece of crap. The cable companies and satellite providers are dinosaurs when it comes to technology.

    Comment by Ben in Denver -

  36. I don’t see a problem with the upgrade, even if the cards lack the output you mention.
    People with HDTVs are rich (and probably tech-savvy). Computers/cards are relatively cheap. This shouldn’t take long for them/their kids/neighbor/friend to fix.

    once fixed, illegally or legally, the change will happen. Some guy in Denmark will figure out how to rip HD DVD in a few weeks (if not already), and save HD on Media Center PCs (probably a paid software which will itself be pirated/ripped). There goes your theory.

    Comment by sahil -

  37. Why would I want to buy HDTV in the first place ? All the content sucks. Sorry. Id rather the networks hire better writers and artists than going out and HDTVing everything. And actually Mark, consumers to get a jump of resolution when they purchase a digital tv and DO NOT use cable or dish such as myself. SDTV is a great option for people that want to watch crystal clear football without the monthly membership.😛

    We’ve been screaming iTV for years with Liberate(gone), and Microsoft. Aint going to happen. All these companies are too busy chasing their own tails while iTunes racks up the big bucks distributing content on the fly.

    Comment by Tim -

  38. This whole thing was somewhat beneficial when you could connect your PC into a normal SD TV. The scan lines disguised a lot of the pixelation. I watched a lot of soccer matches this way streamed live through pioneering IPTV software like PPTV and Sopcast. I was so happy with streaming decentralization that I would have paid for what still is a free service (though one which requires a lot of research/effort).

    People sharing their bandwidth with each other to stream a common desired video source is a genuinely heartwarming exercise in communal-stick-it-to-the-man but the witch hunt against it means we probably won’t see a way to make a legal buck out of it before the owners of the content force it to die out.

    Comment by Dibyajoti Biswas (DJ) Athens Greece . Global Account Manager Ltes Global Solutions LTD -

  39. Speaking of HD, I’d like to personally thank you for the two HDNet channels on Direct TV. We moved into new offices and have the DirectTV HD DVR’s with Panasonic HD Plasma monitors. The quality of most the HD content is pretty good, but without question HDNet is the best. Sometimes I’ll watch a movie I didn’t really want to see just to admire the quality of the HD picture. Also, to my surprise, the HDNet World News and newly introduced Dan Rather reports are well done and a breath of fresh air in their straight forward, non-sensationalist approach. I was a little leery of what Dan Rather would do

    Comment by Dibyajoti Biswas (DJ) Athens Greece . Global Account Manager Ltes Global Solutions LTD -

  40. First, it takes a hell of a lot of effort which is representative of only a tiny portion of the populace, and I don’t think a rapid increase in this know-how will come about soon. Heck, my uncle works for a cable company and he knows next to nothing of most HD setups. The downside to this is that many companies will squeeze money out of you without necessarily meeting your needs. Most customers go through hell to get their HD on, and are happy only when the whole thing is showing 1080p on their living room.

    Second, the novelty of PC on HD wears off fast. Youtube, pretty much the only video/over/web service that matters, looks awful no matter where you display it.

    This whole thing was somewhat beneficial when you could connect your PC into a normal SD TV. The scan lines disguised a lot of the pixelation. I watched a lot of soccer matches this way streamed live through pioneering IPTV software like PPTV and Sopcast. I was so happy with streaming decentralization that I would have paid for what still is a free service (though one which requires a lot of research/effort).

    People sharing their bandwidth with each other to stream a common desired video source is a genuinely heartwarming exercise in communal-stick-it-to-the-man but the witch hunt against it means we probably won’t see a way to make a legal buck out of it before the owners of the content force it to die out.

    Comment by Dibyajoti Biswas (DJ) Athens Greece . Global Account Manager Ltes Global Solutions LTD -

  41. Mark,

    Your thoughts on Morgan Freeman’s Clickstar (clickstarinc.com)?

    Comment by A. Grahovic -

  42. I think the hardware is a minor roadblock compared to bandwidth availability. Well equipped PC’s are becoming cheaper every year so buying a HD capable PC won’t be a big deal. Downloading that DVD HD quality video is a different story.

    Speaking of HD, I’d like to personally thank you for the two HDNet channels on Direct TV. We moved into new offices and have the DirectTV HD DVR’s with Panasonic HD Plasma monitors. The quality of most the HD content is pretty good, but without question HDNet is the best. Sometimes I’ll watch a movie I didn’t really want to see just to admire the quality of the HD picture. Also, to my surprise, the HDNet World News and newly introduced Dan Rather reports are well done and a breath of fresh air in their straight forward, non-sensationalist approach. I was a little leery of what Dan Rather would do, but watching his reports have reminded me of what a first rate newsman he is.

    Thanks

    Comment by LA Guy -

  43. just a data point: the cheap Vizio 32″ LCD tv from Costco has one HDMI input and two (count ’em) component video inputs, along with VGA and the usual S-video etc. for $699. it is 720p. I haven’t tried hooking a Mac up to it yet because I need a DVI->HDMI adapter but those are cheap. supposedly, though, you get a better display using the VGA input, according to some HDTV forum I read and forget where it is.

    Comment by 42 -

  44. DVI->HDMI cables are low cost and easy to obtain for those that know they exist

    Comment by James Clarke -

  45. The masses are not going to connect PCs to their HDTVs. What will end up happening is that some dominant media client device (probably iTV) will emerge and that will connect the TVs to the PCs or network storage. I currently use the Sony RoomLink system that streams TV, Video, Pictures, and Music from my office to my HDTV in the family room and it works great. Netgear’s first products from the SkipJam acquisition will probably be very cool as well.

    Comment by Doug -

  46. You’re mistaking. Almost all modern PCs are equiped with DVI. I haven’t seen PC without DVI for a last 3 years

    Comment by Bolt -

  47. You stole that quote from Gun’s N Roses

    Comment by rob -

  48. Mark,
    You raise some good points even if the details were inaccurate technically. But I think even you have missed the biggest (pun intended) issue: file sizes. HDTV is HUGE!
    Forget crap like Apple’s “near DVD” quality-it’s unwatchable. SD from sources like DirecTV and digital cable is so bad it’s unwatchable due to compression artifacts. OTA HD can look pretty good-but there are still artifacts-and that’s at 19 Mb/s. When I switched to cable I A/B’d OTA vs. their HD and found it acceptable. The SD looks horrible bit I watch that as little as possible.

    I’ve not seen any realtime internet video that I deem of acceptable quality. I’ll watch-but only if the content is unavailable elsewhere. Once you see HDTV it’s hard to look at anything else.

    My sister has had HDTV for over a year. To me that means it’s moved well beyond the “early adopter” stage. And as she and my brother-in-law expose friends to HD they also buy sets. As you are well aware Mark-sports really shine in HD.

    My DSL speed is about 1.5 Mb/s. I could get faster but would have to pay far more than I’m willing to.

    A HD film uses a minimum of 20 gigabytes authored with the latest AVC or VC-1 CODECs. So a film would take a couple of days to download! And where do you keep it? A hard drive will fill up pretty quickly with files that large.

    So that’s why I laugh my ass off every time I hear some tech “visionary” talking about HD over the internet or through VOD.
    It’s a simple issue of bandwidth. It will be MANY years before it becomes feasible.

    So I’ll watch my HD DVR and buy my Blu Ray movies, thanks!

    Comment by Kraig Bailey -

  49. Ok.. so all this HD Video and especially when speaking of SPORTS and ENTERTAIMENT always seems to leave out HD Audio. Who gives a rats ass about audio when the video boys need all the bandwidth??? Well… http://www.jdmmobile.com then!

    xx

    Comment by Jimmy Daniel -

  50. Mark’s got some good points here, but he’s off the mark (pun intended) saying folks don’t have DVI. DVI is shipping on most PCs these days (and every Mac for several years). Theoretically, iTV and Xbox 360 can remove some of the barriers as well.

    I completely agree that much of this stuff is pretty technical and seemingly expensive. I’ve just launched a site detailing how I’m ditching cable in favor of downloads and recording television OTA. The site just launched, so it’s a little rough – but the details are here: htttp://www.ditchingcable.com.

    Comment by Randy Stewart -

  51. Why can’t my TV just be a computer?

    Comment by Average Betty -

  52. Laptops have outsold PCs for a while now so a PCI/AGP card might not be the smartest thing to do. Not to mention it’d void warranties and most of the population doesn’t know how (or want to) open their PCs.

    USB or firewire? an option, but cable companies have made the smart decision; control access at the source. The bandwidth required for HD will be from your cable provider or ISPs own network, you won’t be able to go to YouTube and stream high-def because your provider won’t give them the bandwidth (I’d be surprised if they gave them enough for DVD quality in the future).

    I seem to make futile point in every blog post you make, but I always liked practice. I realise you are a big booster of High-Def, it makes you money and it’s in your interest to play it up, but it won’t be reaching critical mass for years (I’d say closer to 10 than 5) and even then you’re looking at whether the picture quality is worth 20 times DVD quality. ISPs would much rather you watch DVD quality for now, the backbone for mass HDTV is years away.

    Why are you so certain A. PCs will still be the masses home node and B. That a physical connection to the TV will even be necessary?

    Wireless N is around and can easily handle the average family’s media consumption in High-Def. 1-2 years and it’ll replace Wireless G as standard.

    And I’ll jump on the bandwagon and join the group proclaiming cell phones to become all singing/dancing mobile computers.

    My bet is on Apple flopping in 2007, beyond the Macnuts the ISP/cable market will sink them, who will buy a media box when your cable provider will give you one? (we all know you’re paying for it by your monthly fees but even with a Mac, you have to get your bandwidth from someone :P).

    Sorry I’ve gone off-topic but well, my responses always do.

    Comment by Adam Cains -

  53. Yeah, but try using that DVI out on your standard video-card. Just connecting the cable is unlikely to work — there are software settings you need to tweak to make sure the card is sending video to the port. It doesn’t always work and it just plain sucks. Truth is, this stuff is not easy and the points raised here are very valid.

    RetiringEarly.com

    Comment by fin_indie -

  54. HD is over rated for now because there is a lack of content available. I am not a big dvd guy because I dont like watching movies more than once. I have a computer monitor that has an HDMI connection. This allows me to connect my comcast HD(which cost $15/month) box even though comcast does not support this connection(?). I feel that comcast is robbing me because they were pushing this digital tv revolution like we could’nt live without it, but they lack the programming to keep my interested. But now I stuck with this LCD monitor and an LCD Tv that look worse than my analog tv when you hook them up to a regular cable box.

    Comment by Walter Johnson -

  55. I just finished purchasing everything for a Home Theater System and had to educate myself before doing so. As a computer geek that hardly dabbles in A/V stuff I was amazed at all the technology out there and lingo you had to learn just to make a half way educated decision. Trying to make a right decision between DLP, LCD, Plasma, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, Composite vs. HDMI vs. S-Video, Divx, MPEG-4, etc. etc. took me a while.

    And yes, the PC to Home Theater idea took a little bit of thought. And thanks to the proliferation of the XBOX360 a relatively inexpensive HD DVD solution is available to all.

    Just a heads up regarding the HDMI cables, you can get high quality, inexpensive ones at http://www.monoprice.com. And no this is not spam just a happy customer.

    My number one complaint about the “Web Video” is like yours – when will see the required bandwidth from our ISP’s??? Wasn’t it Al Gore that promised HUGE Bandwidth for everyone? Do I remember right that the Telco’s charged us ‘upgrade’ fees for this soon to be delivered bandwidth? Verizon is the only company I know of in the DFW area that has FIOS available; and that in a very limited area. When will we have the option in North Arlington?

    Comment by Scholty -

  56. I’d like to think that my comment on the Tim Duncan post sparked this post. But then again I live in a dream world.

    I am not really concerned if Web Video gets to HD anytime really soon but I wouldn’t mind incremental moves towards that end. YouTube, Google Video, etc. should really start serving up slightly better quality as it can. I am not sure if they have already made any jumps in quality, but I wouldn’t mind seeing one soon.

    Comment by Colin D. Devroe -

  57. Alas, things are even worse due to our DRM overlords. I.e., one can not plug a Cablecard into a PC since the whole system has to be certified. (You can’t even move the cablecard from one cablecard-ready TV to another without reregistering keys at the cable company.) And if you buy/upgrade a PC to Vista, it will only play hidef to a HDCP monitor as opposed to monitors people own or can buy. And CC2 is not out and cable companies are trying to delay the July 07 deadline. Plus the stream of newspaper articles from denouncing the sacrilege of spending money merely for much higher quality.

    Sigh.

    My only hope is Apple. the company and its customers are not trying for lowest priced commodity. Apple has a real advantage as a systems company controlling hardware and software. Plus Jobs’ Pixar cred and iTunes experience gives him a chance to overcome the inertia of the antediluvian media executives. The iTunes DRM is annoying, but it seems to me to be reasonable and acceptable. iMovie has been hidef for a year and H.264 seems like a plan, so perhaps if in the next year we see a iTV version 2 and PowerMacs with blu-ray and … then things may turn out better than I fear/expect.

    Cynical P.S.: someone with your resources could produce a dozen or two spectacular “adult films”, sell them at/below variable cost and drag the hidef adoption curve of the nation ahead by a couple years.

    Comment by lee -

  58. I’m a videographer with an HD camera. Woo Ahh. HD is overplayed and overvalued. It is pretty much a way to make more money for the industry instead of waiting for a real innovation to come along. It’s just like John Madden 06, John Madden 07, etc. Just make a High resolution TV just like we’ve had with computers and monitors. Make DVDs with a flexible format, just like watching Windows Media or Quicktime. That way we don’t have to pay up the wazoo for these lame hardware upgrades. HDTV should just be a big computer monitor with X resolution, Y contrast, Z refresh, and easier scaling.

    Comment by Gavin the photographer -

  59. While not as ubiquious as HDMI, many HDTV manufacturers (sony,samsung, mitsubishi,ect) still include Firewire (IEEE1394) on many of their models. A significant portion of personal computers have integrated firewire, and the capability can be added for less than $50.

    This allows streaming of HD content from low powered PCs (decoding done by the television), the addition of external HD PVR cababilities (DVHS&Hard disk based solutions) and direct HD camcorder viewing (some consumer models). While it isn’t the preferred interface of manufacturers, I would say it is the most versatile. As you mentioned however, the average consumer is not going to be buying based on input options.

    Comment by James Osadcuk -

  60. Of course many people don’t care about the size of their TV and prefer web video for its cost advantages.

    Comment by John -

  61. Mark – you seem to be assuming that HD content on your TV has to come from a local device. Most set-top boxes connect to the internet, or at least some internet-accessible server.

    I don’t want a dedicated PC in my den with my TV. I want to be able to post my video to a server, and then view it on the TV. Or, alternatively, send video from my PC (laptop?) to the TV wirelessly.

    It’s been a really long time since the cable I/O’s on a device were the end-all/be-all limit of what they were capable of doing…

    Comment by Brian Greenberg -

  62. Yes, there are a lot of DVI ports out there on PCs. We see them come through PC Magazine labs all the time. But I think you’re missing one big thing about hooking up your PC to your HDTV.. You don’t need cable or SAT for a great picture. Over the air HD is free, and with an HD tuner card inside, you get glorious high resolution video, and now with the new Media Center software in Vista, finally we have a front end to rival TiVo.

    Sure, you don’t get ESPN, or HDNet Movies. But you do get four or five networks, PBS, and other channels too. Here in the bay area I get 20 or so high definition channels for free, dropped into my PC. Oh, and because it is DRM free (at least for now), I can copy shows and watch them on my notebook while flying, stream them to my XBox 360 upstairs (hooked up to the OTHER HDTV via component cables), or save them to watch later.

    Oh, the other part of your argument, the wire part, hopefully will be solved at CES this year when we see the first UWB accessories. Hopefully we’ll be able to attach one end to our PC, the other end to our HDTV and it’ll handle the heavy lifting. Without a $200 cable from Best Buy.

    jim

    Comment by Jim Louderback -

  63. Sorry, it’s nando again ^_^

    If you where at all intrigued with the whole descentralized IPTV streaming (P2PTV for future reference) paragraph, you might want to check out my blog, I wrote a nice little history of-cum-what it may still become post about the whole thing.

    You can find it here: http://paxaeterna.blogspot.com/2006/11/p2ptv-two-years-later.html

    Comment by Fernando -

  64. Mark, I’ve had about two years of experience playing with PC on SD, PC on HD, HDTV, IPTV streaming… here’s a bit of it, hope you have the time to read it:

    I went about procuring HD content a bit strangely, using my somewhat extensive knowledge of both HDTV technology and PC technology to pay about a third of what I would have if I had gone about it traditionally. I bought a widescreen samsung monitor (not a TV perse) with the proper component and dvi inputs, then had my cable company provide me with an HD dvr. My 5.1 sound? Off of my computer’s amplifier. It works like wonders.

    Since I can switch back and forth between my PC/HD dvr/Xbox 360, I think I have a little more insight into this particular conundrum.

    First, it takes a hell of a lot of effort which is representative of only a tiny portion of the populace, and I don’t think a rapid increase in this know-how will come about soon. Heck, my uncle works for a cable company and he knows next to nothing of most HD setups. The downside to this is that many companies will squeeze money out of you without necessarily meeting your needs. Most customers go through hell to get their HD on, and are happy only when the whole thing is showing 1080p on their living room.

    Second, the novelty of PC on HD wears off fast. Youtube, pretty much the only video/over/web service that matters, looks awful no matter where you display it.

    This whole thing was somewhat beneficial when you could connect your PC into a normal SD TV. The scan lines disguised a lot of the pixelation. I watched a lot of soccer matches this way streamed live through pioneering IPTV software like PPTV and Sopcast. I was so happy with streaming decentralization that I would have paid for what still is a free service (though one which requires a lot of research/effort).

    People sharing their bandwidth with each other to stream a common desired video source is a genuinely heartwarming exercise in communal-stick-it-to-the-man but the witch hunt against it means we probably won’t see a way to make a legal buck out of it before the owners of the content force it to die out.

    Nowadays, UEFA.com is capitalizing on this and offers Payperview streaming of matches but the buffering and the strain on their servers are unavoidable.

    It’s also worth noting that the DVR’s fall from grace may not be too distant. I’ve begun having troubles rewinding and forwarding DVR’d NBC content lately, and though I’ve been told it’s a glitch, I can envision a future where a DVR’s functionality is severely restricted. Which is a shame, I love pausing to watch particularly arresting/ingenious HD commercials… I just no longer want them shoved down my throat.

    Which leaves us with PC on HD. Could it happen? Yes. Anytime soon? No. Who’s more likely to thrive on this new market? Apple and Microsoft. MS is already delivering HD downloads over Xbox live, but that’s pretty much all it is, and Apple may release something similar soon, a sort of content download/DVR hybrid.

    While MS seems to merely be providing another way to distribute content, Apple may be working on something far more insidious, similar to the nature of the Ipod, which aids the delivery of content for a profit on the same platform that allows illegal content to be everywhere.

    As owner of HDNet and specially of HDNet Films, I can see why you would want to be well informed/prepared. After all, it’s your content that will be subject to this developments sooner rather than later. Personally, I don’t think it’s about restricting the distribution of the content at all, rather, of winning consumer loyalty and educating them to welcome different ways in which they should expect to be profited from.

    … say… if this was at all educational… can I get some words either to my email or my blog?

    I’d be thrilled beyond words,
    Nando! ^_^

    Comment by Fernando -

  65. I’m a little confused about the imaginary line drawn in the sand between the internet and cable/satellite. It’s all digital distribution. Cable can carry internet and the same with satellite. It’s all convergence.

    Comment by Chris -

  66. Having worked a few years ago with a now defunct company, Precision Digital Images, writing software drivers, I too await a better experience. I have budgeted ($1600) for a HDTV purchase for our family next year.
    What most appeals to me is to get rid of the interlacing, that’s the (i) after the vertical resolution number, and I think that one should make sure one gets a 1080p, instead of 720p as exists in about half the sets being marketed, by my latest assessment.

    Comment by Baiss Eric Magnusson -

  67. Why not a slingbox in reverse? You’ve already bought your slingbox, you already have your sling software… now stream from your internet connected pc to your TV…

    Comment by Ranjit Mathoda -

  68. All four of my Macs have DVI out. My 80-something year old grandfather just picked up a 42″ screen from Costco. His next purchase is going to be a Mac Mini. He hooked up my Mom’s PowerBook to it over Thanksgiving and was blown away. Surely HP and Dell will figure this out before Apple manages to capitalize on it.

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  69. To the commenter who talked about cables…don’t play into Best Buy’s hands on the HDMI cable. When they sell you that $2000 TV, they make $20. When they sell you the $100 cable, they make $90. They would rather sell you the cable than the TV! But here’s what they won’t tell you…your cable provider will sell you the cable for $10, if they don’t throw it in for free when they install your HD box. Tell the blue shirt that you already have the cable, then get yours from Comcast.

    Comment by Eli -

  70. I think you make some valid points, but I don’t think that growth in the internet video market and the ability to play this content on an HDTV are as intertwined as you believe.

    Internet TV will evolve and devices (glorified PC’s) will be specifically purposed to bridge the gap.. ie, Tivo, PS3, Slingbox, etc.

    I think the set-top box manufacturers should more aggressively allow content on the internet to be accessed – for that matter, they should allow you to store your own video on the box and make it available on the tv without a “PC”. I would pay for that box in order to help defray the initial capital costs.

    These things will continue to emerge – you are correct in recognizing an issue. You just underestimate the ability for that obstacle to be removed.

    Comment by Jeff Geiser -

  71. I recently pulled the trigger on a first-generation Toshiba HD DVD player. More efficient video codecs, lossless audio formats, and increased media capacity allow for an HD experience that is noticeably improved over what my cable company delivers. There is much more to HDTV than mere resolution. If a 1080p signal is compressed to snot it will look like snot. (In this respect, all the attention paid to 720p/1080i/1080p sort of reminds me of how consumer-grade digital cameras are marketed using the somewhat meaningless megapixel metric. How many of us need to print our family snapshots at billboard size?)

    It will be years before bandwidth availability permits downloadable HD to rival the quality that next-generation video formats (HD DVD and Blu-Ray) offer today. Consider that a dual-layer HD DVD can contain 30 GB of audio and video data. Lower compression ratios and high resolution will only become more important as people purchase larger and larger sets. That “near DVD quality” download from Apple is going to look craptacular on a 70″ LCD set.

    Comment by Matt -

  72. I think the people buying HDTVs today are “early adopters” and other consumers will have to be sold on the technology.

    Internet Video has had a much larger headstart in reaching into American homes, and chances are if you have broadband, you’ve watched Internet video. Computers and broadband have a much higher ownership rate than HDTV, and it has an advantage that HDTV does not have and can never have – leveraging the long tail.

    HDTV has a better technical quality than TV-over-IP; I’ll grant that; but with compression, you can get 720p at a streamable rate for most broadband connections.

    But the biggest problem with the scenario that you describe is the idea that video-over-Internet and HDTV are competitive technologies. They really aren’t – HDTV is going to have higher adoption among people who are more comfortable with getting information and entertainment from a television. TV-over-IP is going to have higher adoption among people who are more comfortable with getting information and entertainment over the Internet. This means most of the Boomers will be HDTV adopters, most of Gen Y will be TV-over-Internet adopters.

    There’s also the simple idea that even among the technically savvy members of Generation X, which can go either way, there really isn’t a whole lot of compelling content on HDTV that justifies the recurring expense of a cable installation and additional fees. There are only a few good shows on television; and unless you’re a major fan of nature documentaries or Mavericks Basketball, why would you spend the money when there still isn’t a whole lot of content?

    HDTV adoption will likely occur when the U.S. adopts a model like Britain’s Freeview, offering 30 or so channels, for free-over-the-air, in each market.

    Comment by Brian Boyko -

  73. The majority of PCs being sold today are still using the “VGA” port, even if they’re being sold with an LCD. Just like they still have PS2 ports.

    Comment by Elias -

  74. I gotta disagree with you on this one, Mark. But only on the hardware portion. Honestly, I don’t think most of the future buyers of HDTVs will even worry about hooking a PC to their television simply because they’ll be content with the HD offerings from over-the-air, cable or satellite. And, in a way, I guess that agrees with your point, but for the fact that not everyone wants to worry about hooking a PC to their computer. In the long-term (15 plus years), yes they will. But not now.

    However, the early adopters are more concerned and will always find a way to hook the latest and greatest goodies to their HDTVs. That is where boxes like Apple’s future media center, or a PC with Windows Media Center running on it will shine. It doesn’t take much to get DVI out to the HDTV — doesn’t take much, that is, to the early adopter. Though, I think we’ll see more units like the one Apple proposed, heck, you can get a PC that small right now, too.

    And you didn’t mention HD-DVD or BlueRay, but I don’t think that is going to be a big deal, yet. My old DVD player works just fine into the component input of my HDTV, and if I go out and buy an upscaling DVD player, it will look even better.

    Something you forgot to mention, though, is the lack of digital inputs. The lack of HDMI and component inputs in many of today’s HDTVs being released is troubling. It isn’t an issue for me now, but it quickly will be. Spending $500 for a HDMI/XM/component/7.1 reciever is not something I really want to do so I can hook a Wii, Mac iTV, cable box, upscaling or high-def format DVD player, etc., to my television. But it looks like I will as my high-end inputs are shrinking.

    Sad part is I’ll never use the two composite video, one s-video or single VGA input on my HDTV. But the one HDMI and single component is going to be a problem in six months. Pathetic! Why go through the trouble of bragging about digital this and digital that and include so many analog inputs on your product!

    Comment by Chizzle -

  75. Another good post. Eventually, all of this will merge: PC, Tivo, satellite, VOD, wireless, home stereo…once all of this becomes compatible and integrated, it will be the holdy grail. Should happen in about 40 yrs!🙂

    Comment by wailea -

  76. “Now look at the back of your PC. Look to see if you have a component, DVI or HDMI port out ? Chances are that unless you bought a PC with high def video in mind, you don’t”

    Huh? Most video cards have DVI-out. My four year old Nvidia card has a DVI-out. As many other readers have pointed out, all Macs except for the iMac and MacBook have DVI ports, and those have “mini-DVI” ports that need a cable that costs $19.

    As for CableCARDs… you seemed to have missed out on several things stopping their adoption. First, CableCARD 2 (the two-way version you mentioned) needs to actually exist. Right now it doesn’t. Next, TVs that support CableCARD 2 need to exist. Not too many support the current version, and even those will not work with the interactive version when it finally debuts. So your silver bullet is at least a couple of years away.

    Meanwhile, I can download a near-DVD quality movie today from Apple, and early next year I will be able to play it on my home theater system. The download is cheaper than if I went to Wal-Mart and bought the DVD. If DVDs aren’t my thing, there’s TV shows. Or I can get the latest lonelygirl15 episode from YouTube.

    Internet video is a classic disruptive technology. “Premium” video, like DVDs, HDTV, etc. have had a hard time improving themselves to warrant their extra cost. HDTV has taken too long to reach most consumers, and who knows when the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD winner will reach anybody. Meanwhile internet distributed video shows up. It’s not nearly as good, but it’s much, much cheaper. It leverages technologies (broadband, GPU/CPU processors, web applications, PVRs, P2P) that were already evolving at a rapid pace. As all those other technologies continue to improve, the quality of internet video will improve with it. It’s not going to win over the mid-life crisis guys — you know the guys who buy a convertible sports car and/or a giant plasma TV when they turn 40. But it will win over their high school and college aged kids who will also turn 40 one day…

    Comment by Michael -

  77. This reminds me of an argument I had with my father over the Thanskgiving break… He bought an LCD TV last week and said it was HD. When I turned it around (because the image looked like crap), he used the coax connector.

    His argument was that “DirecTV says he didn’t need anything to get HD” but yet there wasn’t even the RGB connectors on the back, let alone DVI or HDMI. All he had was S-Video and the stupid yellow connector. Well this insued an argument and needless to say, he still thinks his image is HD.

    This really had no bearing on your blog, I just thought it was a funny story!

    Comment by Chris -

  78. Sorry but I couldn’t disagree more. HD is only good news for web video.

    My post on the subject.

    http://sabet.typepad.com/bijanblog/2006/11/i_disagree_with.html

    Comment by bijan -

  79. Mark:

    As usual, you’ve hit this nail on the head. It’s not the content, it’s the little things that non-technical people think about like cables and connectors.

    One thing you didn’t mention is the cost of cables. HDMI cables are more expensive than other typical cables and electronics retailers are raising prices and scaring customers. A phrase overheard at BestBuy: “Why would you buy a $2000 TV and use a cheap cable?” The sentiment is valid but why buy a $100 cable?

    Take your scenario and add the cable costs. Ouch!

    Comment by Steve Kirks -

  80. Mac users have a distinct advantage here. DVI has been standard for a long time–by 3.5 year old PowerBook has it even. I have a Mac mini in my living room, it connects to my HDTV with a DVI->HDMI cable. Easy as pie. The mini is a perfect living room computer. A tower is out of the question if you want to keep a clean minimalist look.

    But I agree that it will be a long time before most people have a computer hooked into their TV. Gadgets like the XBOX 360 and iTV will have to bridge that gap.

    One quick note, there are cables that convert VGA to component. So it’s not that hard to get most computers hooked into an HDTV. Connecting is just one issue though.

    Comment by Jon Gales -

  81. Starting with the PowerMac G4, about 9 years ago, all Apple computers shipped with DVI out. Adding DVI out to a PC is trivial, perhaps a $50 investment in a new video card.

    I would have to say that people buying HDTV will have what’s needed to connect their computer to the TV. That is if they really want to.

    Comment by bps -

  82. People have been avoiding Media Centers like the plague, and this isn’t going to change.

    People are going to buy iTV. End of story.

    Comment by solomonrex -

Comments are closed.