Internet TV vs Music vs Newspapers et al

I love this on going discussion. Of course all of you who think that the OPEN internet will be the primary platform for the delivery of traditional tv content are wrong :). But hey, thats what makes a market. Before I get into dismissing some of the traditional arguments why Online TV will take over, let me start you with one that hasn’t been used. Rural Broadband.\

Have you heard much about FTF – Fiber to the Farm ? or FTT – Fiber to the Trailer ? If traditional TV is disintermediated by the internet to the level of Newspapers or the Music industry you know what happens ? The politicians are going to get slammed with complaints about lack of access to Internet Delivered TV. Which in turn will mean the rest of us subsidizing bandwidth and delivery infrastructure to BFE (yep, fiber to there too). So be careful what you ask for.

And as far as al a Carte pricing. The discussion has been limited to cable networks. But of course its a slippery slope. Why stop there ? As I wrote last year, al a carte doesnt have to stop at the network level. Why pay for the entire network when you don’t watch every show. Why have to pay for the entire series of a show when you don’t watch every episode ? Why have to pay for the entire episode when you only want the parts you like and you can get them segmented like you want on Youtube already ? Why have to pay for all of sportscenter when you only want the segments on the NBA ? Why pay for all of Saturday Night Live when you only want the segments spoofing the President ? Why pay for all of Colbert or Stewart when you will pay a little bit more to get the segment that everyone votes is the funniest ? Where does it stop ?

But I digress.

Lets get to the comparisons to why subscriber supported TV will be disintermediated just like Music and Newspapers have been. Content wants to be free , right ? And if it can be free, it will be free. Right ? If content is available for free on the internet, its over for the incumbent producer of that content unless they adapt and adopt the new internet based model, right ?

Music messed up by trying to fight the internet when it was obviously inevitable that music would go digital. Newspapers may or may not have messed up by making their content available online but with the exception of the Wall Street Journal, which can move markets and therefore support a subscription model, the cat is out of the bag, newspaper content is free and on the net. Worse for the newspapers, much of the information any given newspaper publishes, with the possible exception of hyperlocal, is readily available from multiple sources across the net. In addition, the populist blog movement has created an unlimited number of publishers on any given topic, and the Twitter movement has added the realtime crowdsourcing of news and opinion in a way that newspapers cant counter. Sound about right ?

All true. But none is relevant to the Traditional vs Internet TV argument. Here is why:

1. In both music and newspapers the internet option is the path of least resistance.

Used to be that you had to go to the store or an online store and buy a CD. No instant gratification. The CD wasn’t usable in every device you wanted to listen to music on. If you wanted to listen on your IPod or your PC, you had to convert it to the proper format. Thats time and work.

With newspapers, you had to wait for their delivery. Its just easier to go to the net or your TV and get the news ,opinion or reporting you want than to wait to see what is delivered to your door. While some of us like the convenience of having new stories on a single platform, the physical paper, for most people that is not important enough to them.

Time and Work are platform killers.

The path of least resistance to get TV, is turning on the TV. It works. It works fast. It”’s reliable. The product is consistent and equal for everyone. It is predictable. The best content is available first on TV. The same can not be said for internet delivered TV. In fact, its the opposite. You have to work to get your internet TV to work. Which site has which content changes. Which content is actually available changes. Internet TV quality is not consistent from usage to usage. Internet TV requires upgrades to software to stay compatible which creates work (your next flash/silverlight/quicktime upgrade is when ?). The experience is not consistent from website to website. So every time you want to sample something new, you never really know what to expect. TV is the no work platform relative to Internet TV

2. For both music and newspapers the quality of delivery of the content is as good or better on the internet than the physical product

The experience of reading a news story online is not any worse than reading it in a newspaper. Some may prefer a newspaper, but no one feels like they lost something by reading it online or on mobile.

For music, the digital experience of listening to music from an Ipod/Phone/MP3 player/multimedia PDA can be far superior to a CD, and its rarely perceived to be worse. True, some audiophiles may not like digital, but when you listen to your IPod, you get a very good audio experience that you can enjoy anywhere. It can easily be argued that digital is far better than the traditional CD method.

Thats not the case with TV. In just the past 3 years, the TV viewing experience has improved considerably with HDTV and blu ray. But lets put those aside since they are not yet ubiquitous. Traditional TV is a better, more consistent experience than internet TV. As Netflix will gladly tell you, the quality of your experience is dependent on the quality of your connection to your ISP and the quality of your in-home network. Things they have no control over. In addition they will tell you that things that you or others are doing on your PC dedicated to Online TV, or on other PCs on your in-home network, will impact the quality of your experience. In other words, to watch TV, you have to adjust your life and accomodate the PC based lives of others in your home so that it doesn’t interfere withyour Online TV experience. With Traditional TV, it works. You can add as many TVs as you want, and it works at the quality levels you expect.

Internet TV doesn’t match the quality of Traditional TV. Now I know what some of you are thinking. That all of this will be cured with the upcoming onslaught of bandwidth and some undetermined amazing technologies that have yet to be identified that will solve these problems. Ok, when those things happen I may change my position. But I don’t see them anywhere on the horizon right now. In fact, as I have said before, I believe that the innovation that will occur for internet video will be bandwidth consuming applications. Give kids 100mbs or more of sustained bandwidth to work with and they will come up with applications far more interesting than TV. Can you imagine the games you could create ? The health care apps ?

3. Video advertising works better on TV than on the net. Yeah, I said it. Deal with it. Look at the schlock that is passing for advertising on the net. Im not talking about the ad content, Im talking about the ad technology. You are watching a video and you get some dumbass overlay at the bottom of the screen. That is the future of internet advertising ? And do you realize that when you have ad people producing video ads for the net, to create the quality of ads they want to create, it still requires the same people/costs to produce a 10/15/30 second ad to run as a pre roll or inserted ad as it does on TV. Remember, these are the same ad execs that are still producing ads on 35mm film and only converting them to SD quality to run on TV. Do you really think they are doing it any differently for internet video ads.. Think again.

But wait , there’s more. Some have said that there will be untapped geniuses creating new content for the net that will blow away the content that is produced the old fashioned way for TV. That it will be better, cheaper faster. Well I have a suggestion for all of those people who put themselves in that category. Do it for ads first. Find a video based advertising solution that knows which half of its ad budget works. We aren’t talking a 30 minute or 3.5 minute video show. Just a manner of advertising that can be produced in expensively and provide a real source of revenue for all that amazing content that is going to be produced on the net that people want to get paid for. Is that too much to ask ?

But before you do that, let me offer one piece of info for you. You would think that by now there would be some level of video interactivity available for internet video, right? Hot spots ? Click anywhere and go somewhere on the net ? It’s technically possible, but 99pct of the internet isn’t compatible with them and the likelihood of standards appearing in the next 3 years are slim. On the flipside, there are real steps forward being taking , finally, with interactivity on TV. All those set top boxes are digital. They run software like Tru2Way. They really do track usage in a verifiable way that advertisers trust (disclosure, I have an investment in Rentrak, a company that does this). Things that the internet is capable of doing with video, but for which Google has not really approved any standards. Yep, think your reliance on Cable .Sat. Telcos is interesting ? The future of internet advertising standards is in the hands of Google and their Youtube volume.

In order to be sustainable as a platform, there has to be a way to pay for it. TV is winning this battle and by all appearances is advancing further, faster in a more standardized way than Internet Video. Hard to believe, but you need to ask yourself “Who would you rather depend on for open platforms and standards for advertising, google or cable/satellite/telcos”.

I’ve been wrong before. But every time I look , everything points to digitally delivered TV over cable/sat/telco advancing further and faster than Internet delivered TV.

59 thoughts on “Internet TV vs Music vs Newspapers et al

  1. Just saw the film Tokyo! done by Michel Gondry, Bong Joon-Ho and Leos Carax. It’s opening at the Angelika Theatre in Dallas on 4/17/09. Definitely worth checking out!

    Comment by Phillip Yurmouthe -

  2. Pingback: The Future of TV: IPTV is Roaring Toward Us | Tom Keller

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  4. Wow Mark,

    I have you call you out on this one…

    We have already done the first one… “Do it for ads first. Find a video based advertising solution that knows which half of its ad budget works.” We know, at a census level AND can verify attention as well! !! SLAMDUNK !!

    We have succeeded in doing this and it’s called U.S. PATENT # 6,606,745. But guess what? So many people are trying to save their skin that nobody will do anything differently or out of their comfort zone.

    We built it but they aren’t coming…

    I also have to call you out on “The Great Internet Video Lie”…

    Inadvertently, while trying to come up with a game show simulcast, utilizing our patented advertising mechanism, on both TV and the Internet wherein one could play on either “live” we came upon a solution To overcome one of the stumbling blocks and what do you know… WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING STREAMIN’!!!!!

    Love your blog… Keep ‘em on their toes!

    Comment by C. Preston Griffith -

  5. Does anyone have legitimate info on cable architecture and why it will eventually allow for unlimited VOD more efficiently than the CDNs?

    I recall Mark’s post a while back explaining the limitations of the three or four main CDNs so I understand why they are not good for more than a few live broadcasts or anything from one to many at one time. What is it about cable architecture/platform/bandwidtch etc, that makes it any better?

    This is the underlying component to Mark’s predictions and most of you guys seem to overlook it.

    Apparently,cable architecture or MORE capable than internet architecture in its current form.

    I do know that companies such as Google are working to re-birth the internet and perhaps it would answer these types of questions. One to many communication is a also huge problem for internet services like Twitter telecom services like SMS.

    Feel free to email me at zach.weisman@gmail.com

    PS Mark, I’m the dude who asked to play Guitar Hero w/ you at TechCrunch 50…

    Comment by Zach Weisman -

  6. I have a few questions:

    How will a 3 y.o. know what their favorite tv show is if the web eats TV?

    What internet series directly earns enough from advertising, t-shirt sales or other business models to pay its creators and staff enough to make a middle class living?

    What internet series has production values equal to ‘Two and a Half Men’ let alone CSI MIAMI?

    Which of these news organizations has the best journalists and the highest journalistic standards: Google News, Yahoo News, AOL News? (Sorry, MSNBC is old media centric!)

    Name 10 internet only music artists who have sold as many units much as number 10 on the billboard charts?

    Not to say it won’t happen, but if the internet is going to aspire to being the dominant ad medium, the internet giants are going to have to start recognizing their social responsibility in the news arena by supporting news professionals and committing far more dollars, man-hours and promotion than the slapdash efforts they have so far thrown at entertainment programming. Otherwise it will be the world’s most expensive media museum.

    Comment by michael jacobs -

  7. I only turn on my TV to watch Survivor, Amazing Race, and 60 Minutes. Anything else I watch on the Internet or TV DVDs.

    Comment by nunya bizness -

  8. Instead of the conversation being about the internet being the optimum medium for television, why not the opposite. Is there anyways television could utilize a web browser better than the internet’s ability to utilize television?

    Comment by Charlie D -

  9. “all of you who think that the OPEN internet will be the primary platform for the delivery of traditional tv content are wrong”

    Obviously you are oblivious as to the thousands of folks now watching internet content on their PCs!

    PCTVCables.com

    From MC> Or maybe the word “primary” has different meaning to you

    Comment by pc tv cables -

  10. Greetings from BFE.

    I live a town of 6000 in rural Wisconsin we have cable, dsl and video providers. The surrounding farms have Wireless DSL, not great speeds at 3mb, but usable. Cable, a now over 30 y/o technology, is still no where to be found. I think you are drastically over estimating the cable infrastructure.

    Also, you completely ignore the customer costs in this arguement. Buy cable for SD $50/mo, want on-demand add $20, want HD add $20. Oh and don’t forget you need to buy a new $400-$2000 tv for every room you want HD in.

    Or buy a 1 y/o computer from a university surplus for $75, get internet $50/mo.

    As far as quality, some sites stream in HD (Fox for one) so streaming is better quality than SD.

    Ease of use, my 3y/o knows how to find his favorite shows website and mouse over the words to find the videos to watch. Cable on-demand I need to know the network the show is on, and if the network has subnetworks ie. nick, nick jr, noggin, “N” I can spend half an hour to find a show.

    Comment by Joe -

  11. Technology seems to be reversing itself just to sell equipment.Cable TV started in the rural areas where they could not get a wireless yes wireless signal.There were no commercials just get what you paid for and today commercial advertising is built into all programming from movies to network shows even without a commercial break.HD can be obtained for no monthly fee the old fashioned wireless way and the advertisers will still make money.We want wireless phones and wired TV? I think we are all very confused or kept that way. Thanks for the insight.

    Comment by Greg -

  12. Mr. Cuban,

    Being as tech-savvy as you are, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve heard about IPTV. I think it’s a topic of discussion being overlooked.

    As an overview: Traditional cable providers send all cable channels through their network to your home. This necessitates the need for set-top boxes to decode the encrypted signals and output them to the TV based on what the user selects. All channel changes, etc. done by the user are done at the set-top box.

    IPTV, on the other hand, behaves entirely different. In an IPTV network, all channels, whether local or national, reside somewhere on the service provider’s infrastructure. Instead of sending all channels down to the user, only the requested channel is sent. Say the customer wants to watch a Mavs game on HDNet. He sends a request to the provider via the set-top box. The service provider then sends that lone channel back to the user. It behaves much the same way a user accesses a website.

    The beauty of this system is that it allows, with much greater ease, the ability to create a la carte programming solutions. This system also allows for greater access of content. From any IP-enabled device, one would have access to the content they are paying to access. I could watch shows recorded on my DVR from a beach in Florida or catch the Mavs game from my Blackberry while out of the country.

    Advertisers should love the idea of IPTV as well. Targeted advertising is taken to a whole new level when the customer could have the ability to select the types of commercials he may be interested in. See a commercial for a sale going on at some store? You could select the commercial from your TV and visit the store website or look up store hours.

    One problem with traditional cable is the limited access. If I record something on my DVR at home, I’m stuck watching it there without going through great pains to work around the issue. The success of iTunes and NetFlix illustrates that people are willing to pay for content that they can access with ease. Whether it’s downloading a song via iTunes on an iPhone or streaming a movie through a TiVo or XBox 360, access is important. Tying exclusive customer content with services could also entice users to go through legit means for watching TV.

    Another problem faced by traditional cable is the cost to upgrade infrastructure capable of a la carte service. I’m less familiar with cable architectures, but I can guarantee adding this capability is far more difficult than with IPTV. Since IPTV only provides the channels the customer is using, no extra effort is required to only provide select channels.

    While some of these features may not be fully operational or still in concept, the capability is there. Not to sound biased, but I work as an engineer for Alcatel-Lucent. We provide and manage the equipment for multiple IPTV service providers, most notably AT&T U-verse. I highly recommend you find some time to stop in at the Executive Briefing Center in Plano to check it out for yourself and see hands on the potential.

    From MC> You might want to get up to speed on cable architectures

    Comment by Kyle McNeil -

  13. Interesting and bold commentary Mr. Cuban.

    Just attended the Future of Television and Nxt Stage Conferences in Los Angeles. Would have loved to hear you share your thoughts in their circles.

    Comment by TheAlphaCo -

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  15. Quote MC “Why would we pay for content that they are giving away for free?” – You basically answered your own question, you aren’t going to pay for their content and slowly but surely they aren’t going to care. Again, they have made it so easy to get the shows I want on demand that I will watch three 15 second commercials without hesitation. Content creators/providers will start to deal directly with advertisers and ISP’s will become the new network. It’s already happening.

    Comment by Ross Bates -

  16. Mark,

    Of course you are going to say TV is the way to go because you own a network. When you made your money on the net you were saying things like this:

    Videomaker: Do you think that streaming video will begin to rival television as the video delivery medium of choice?

    Cuban: I think that in the next five to ten years you won’t be able distinguish between the two. Think of it this way: ordinary cable TV is just a video monitor attached to a dumb computer (a set-top box), connected to a cable that goes to a network. The problem is that it’s mostly analog and doesn’t scale or do anything else. My personal thought is that a Pentium computer will replace the set-top box. It will have a DVD player, HDTV decoder, wireless keyboard, analog TV tuner, IEEE 1394 and USB connectivity. It will have a hard drive for a personal TV recorder and high-speed Internet access via an Ethernet connection out to a cable modem or ADSL line. And it will connect to a TV or PC monitor or both. Most importantly it will look like a DVD player instead of an ugly beige PC so we won’t be afraid to put it on top of the TV in the living room. All of this will become available for under $1500, starting by Christmas in small quantities, quickly dropping to under $1k next year. With one of these in the bedroom and living room, you won’t care if what you are watching comes from a traditional TV station over cable or from Broadcast.com over your Internet connection. You will just hit a button on the remote and go back to eating popcorn.

    What is it? Am I missing something here?

    From MC> How old is that 9 years old ? Like people today, I expected everyone to have 100mbs to the home. oops..DIdnt happen. .I was also working to have multicast installed at every major isp, with delivery to the home, and then host and peered with broadcast.com. That died with Yahoo and never happened and doesnt look like it multicast across the net to the home will happen.
    In addition, that was before digital cable was launched. So I was talking about digital competing with analog delivery of TV from cable. ..What is funny is that what I was talking about as going to happen in 2000 or so, is what you and others seem to think will happen now. Years later. It still isnt happening because the internet infrastructure hasnt improved as much or as fast as broadcast delivery over cable or satellite. The internet has lagged severely in video delivery compared to other platforms. Some people just dont want to face facts. But thx for the blast from the past

    Comment by Brent -

  17. I could care less if it Internet TV becomes the defacto standard. Hopefully it does not for awhile and I can continue to pay $40 a month for Internet only and enjoy all my content free on the Internet.

    I could care less if the avg non tech consumer continues to get screwed by the cable companies because of their laziness, ignorance and lack of interest in creating their own solution.

    But yet again all those factors prompt us Internet tech entrepreneurs to build solutions for the lazy and profit!

    Comment by Internet CEO -

  18. So the Cable companies will provide a solution with VOD? Do I still have to rent a cable box? Do I still have to buy a basic monthly subscription? Or will they give us exactly what iTunes and other services currently offer? That is, will they let me pay for only what I want? The cat is out of the bag on this one. Whether or not the networks screwed themselves or not by allowing ala carte purchasing online is their problem. Their best bet is to figure out how to best to monetize this distribution method. If not, consumers will just turn to sites such as megavideo that do not give a dime to content producers.

    Comment by Anthony -

  19. Mark,
    I am sending this out not only to you but to your readers , some of them (if not most) seem to be very sharp in those sat/tv/internet technological areas. The fact is I do not have the answer but someone out there in cyber land may want to shed some lights on this.
    I remember a few months ago in one of your blog (internet vs. TV video), you spelled out what you would like to see happen in this area:
    1) The ability to watch your favorite shows when you want (VOD through a set top box configuration)
    2) The ability to download and watch your family pictures ( vacation slide shows, or kids sports, games and activities) etc…on the same TV medium.
    3) The ability to program and control the content of what is being viewed by your kids on that same TV screen etc….
    The consensus from your own comments and the vast majority of your blog readers is control over content consumption and some form of interactivity with the medium. It seems to me that we are slowly (maybe not slowly) moving away from television and internet protocols but more towards a digital signage business model. In other words having a global operating system platform that is scalable and programmable from the hundreds of thousands of users down to one. At that point the visual support (TV screen, HD, internet monitor) does not matter as much as the application that it provide. Why not use the digital signage model as the new platfform for movies and entertainment consumption? Your thoughts.

    Comment by Michel Thomas -

  20. Okay, I can’t resist. Yes, I am comparing apples to oranges for today, but it’s only because the apples haven’t all rotted and been thrown out yet. Everyone is moving towards oranges. I’m a tiny tiny market? Apparently WE (you included) are a tiny market -MC – “ITunes on my pc connected to a TV works just fine.”

    Yes the video is often low res, yes the advertising model is ‘apocalyptic’, yes the future is unclear. I am not talking the span of 3 or 5 years, I am talking 10 or 15 years. But to me the overwhelming evidence today says the cable/sat companies don’t get it and aren’t going to get it. Therefore solutions are now and will continue to come from new corners of the market.

    Comment by BillFitz -

  21. Slight change of subject but news by any other delivery method except internet will die. What about opinion pieces? Magazines have survived. I don’t think opinion pieces will survive in newspaper form but won’t bloggers etc.. still look to “experts” for their opinion on your team or company?

    Comment by Mike -

  22. Mark wrote: “From MC> I dont need to pay for Apple TV for that. ITunes on my pc connected to a TV works just fine. No question that Itunes does a great job providing old shows. But over the next 5 years, all those shows will be available on demand from your cable /telco/sat provider as well. Probably for no extra charge as part of your monthly bill.”

    So what you’re saying is that cable will subsume all these things over the next five years. Fine, but for me, the problem is NOW. I’m totally with you that many of these services are niche at best, much as cable was in 1980. As a commenter posted above, cable boxes are eons behind in terms of interfaces and usability. It works great if you have numbered channels, but when you get into search, it’s not even Alta Vista, let alone Google. I’d love for my cable company to get this video delivery stuff right. I’m using what they offer. But when it’s not enough, I’m not waiting on the sidelines.

    Comment by BoscoH -

  23. I agree and disagree with you. Internet TV right now isn’t great. But it is only the beginning. I download tv shows and I watch sporting events – why? Because sporting events need to be seen live. If I know the end result, I could care less for watching the game. But for a tv show – waiting a day for the download is much is the path of least resistance. To watch a show without commercials is worth the work.

    I see tv changing in the next 5 years. I hope its the cable/satellite providers that pay the price…

    Comment by Todd Bush -

  24. You should read this article that supports my post:

    http://adage.com/article?article_id=135440

    Comment by Christopher Penney -

  25. Cable companies face a pretty nasty conundrum.

    Diminishing control over demand (viewers have more distractions – social media being a big one) AND diminishing control over supply (“Fred” reaches 50 million kids with nothing more than a Handycam and Youtube account).

    This is causing some a nasty spiral. Considering that as Cable Co’s lose revenue, they opt to produce cheaper content (low cost reality tv type cheese). That will turn off more and more viewers, thus reducing Cable revenue even more. Again, requiring even cheaper content. The cycle will continue….

    That will be a really tough problem to solve. It will take some big bets on top-tier shows.

    Comment by Christopher Penney -

  26. i think you are wrong (as you say you have been in the past) – and your disclosure kind of kills it for me. interactivity won’t happen faster on tv. that is just plain silly. there is a poplar standard for hotspots online. it’s called flash.

    kids have laptops not televisions. this is where they watch tv. they’re mobile and transient. they don’t come home to their flatscreens and tivos like i do. when your kid asks for a tv, do you give them a laptop or a tv?

    Comment by david hyman -

  27. Isn’t the broadband internet service that will kill off the cable/sat/telcos provided by the same cable/sat/telcos?

    I doubt that hulu will always be satisfied with inserting a few short unobtrusive commercials.

    There are always technical issues in getting video to the home. The cable/sat/telco take care of them for their subscribers (and it has to work 24/7 or their customers will scream loudly). For Internet tv, you are on your own.

    Comment by JT Greg -

  28. In addition, local tv stations haven’t figured out what to do with all of their digital spectrum. There’s another wave of content to emerge.

    Comment by Duane -

  29. Mark,
    I think that your approach to a-la-carte is incorrect. By your logic, you could apply it to everything. Why pay taxes if you don’t use all of the infrastructure that the government provides? Why pay for a full ticket to a basketball game when only the last quarter matters anyway (hehehe)? It’s just not a logical way to look at services and I don’t think it’s fair to compare TV bundles to other things that really can be done piecemeal such as buying coffee by the pound or paying for gas by the gallon.
    I look at it as this: A provider is forcing me to have 100 channels and pay for them all. They could easily allow me access to only 10 channels and charge me 10% (or a fair percentage…i don’t know how content licensing works) of my current cost. In the long run, I think that I still would want access to more channels. Maybe not 100 but definitely more than 10 and I would be happy to pay for it.
    I feel that the big conglomerates have done a good job at looking like the bad guy in search of higher profit margins but if they took a more user-centric approach to business, they stand to make just as much based on increased volume.

    My 2 cents…

    Comment by Nick -

  30. I have to agree with Juncti with regards to this argument would be mute if the Cable/Sat/Telcos would embrace their OnDemand section with greater fervor. Cablevision tried the “hosted DVR” route and the content providers erupted! But if every Cable/Sat/Telco moves this direction the content providers will have to change their thoughts. I agree that InetTV will never replace traditional TV, but is has shown the world the failings of the Cable/Sat/Telco providers. And can easily be corrected if these guys would look at what Hulu (and others) are doing and make their OnDemand service as elegant and attractive to the average user. The Hulu will become that place you go to watch stuff in the office to pass the time…

    I also have to agree with BillFitz with regards to your statement about having to have a way to pay for it. I believe your requirements for “way to pay” are a bit narrow, and history has shown that if it’s an attractive medium they’ll make ways to monetize it. TV may have the lead but the internet is eating up market share which means TV needs another disruptive advance to keep that share from eating too much away. And I feel like it’s staring them in the face, but they’ve yet to fully embrace it…OnDemand.

    I’d sit through commercials (instead of FF like I normally do) if I knew I could get the content I wanted when I wanted, outside of the times I’m just flipping through the channels.

    From MC> agree 100pct. In my conversations with the cable/telco/sats , its all about VOD. They realize they can add unlimited inventory of VOD content. Its just a matter of having the right interface and programming guides. What the internet folks dont seem to realize is that addressability is going to be a function of cable and satellite long before the internet (because of privacy issues). So not only will there be more VOD, but the VOD that is offered to you can be customized specifically to your requirements. There are actually more technical capabilities from your TV provider than the internet

    Comment by Trae -

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  32. BFE = Bum Fuck, Egypt as in way out in the middle of nowhere

    Comment by sayid -

  33. Apple TV, Mark. Get one and buy the shows you forgot to DVR, or didn’t watch the first episodes of. Or the episodes that got interrupted by a test of the EAS. Or the episodes that got digitally hosed for 20 seconds at a time. Or episodes interrupted by a car chase. In all my experience buying shows on Apple TV, I’ve had one screw-up, a mislabeled Monk episode from season 3 or 4.

    It’s not all Internet vs. all cable. These are overlapping platforms with overlapping strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a problem that Apple TV solves that cable doesn’t. A couple years ago, everyone was telling me about Firefly, a one season Fox show that is a cult favorite. I bought two episodes via Apple TV for $4. I was hooked and bought the rest of that season. Find me Firefly on cable, on demand, etc. And on the content side, there was an expensive asset with no channel before the Internet video services came along. As a content guy, how do you ignore that?!? You must have green-lighted a bunch of things that flopped on cable and could inexpensively find their niche (if they have on) via an Internet TV service.

    From MC> I dont need to pay for Apple TV for that. ITunes on my pc connected to a TV works just fine. No question that Itunes does a great job providing old shows. But over the next 5 years, all those shows will be available on demand from your cable /telco/sat provider as well. Probably for no extra charge as part of your monthly bill

    Comment by BoscoH -

  34. Apologies, let’s just say it’s a profane acronym for ‘the middle of nowhere’. Any small town in rural america.

    Comment by billfitz -

  35. I would have understood more of this if someone would explain what the acronym BFE means (I did an acronym search but still can’t figure it out!).

    Black Fibre something or other? or ?

    Comment by Noel -

  36. Mark, I agree with some others above..
    Its not going to be an overnight thing.. but eventually its going to happen. I love ya man.. but ya gotta deal with it.

    Quote from one of my favorite movies

    Where I come from, you always say “Amen” after you hear a prayer. Because that’s what you just heard – a prayer. Where I come from, that particular prayer is called “The Prayer for the Dead.” You just heard The Prayer for the Dead, my fellow stockholders, and you didn’t say, “Amen.” This company is dead. I didn’t kill it. Don’t blame me. It was dead when I got here. It’s too late for prayers. For even if the prayers were answered, and a miracle occurred, and the yen did this, and the dollar did that, and the infrastructure did the other thing, we would still be dead. You know why? Fiber optics. New technologies. Obsolescence. We’re dead alright. We’re just not broke. And you know the surest way to go broke? Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow but sure. You know, at one time there must’ve been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company? – Lawrence Garfield (Other Peoples Money)1991

    Comment by savednoteguy -

  37. I know you are not a big fan of peer-to-peer file sharing. Last I read (about 18 months ago), Joost was based on peer-to-peer for delivery.

    You’ve probably addressed it but how does Joost.com fit in the overall scheme?

    Why couldn’t a “video server” be able to download segmented HDTV files from a Joost like network? The viewer would watch the show after the download, much like a personal video recorder?

    I must be missing something…

    Comment by Quinn -

  38. Mark,

    Thanks for the response. I won’t go into the technical arguments of switched RF on licensed bands vs. cable/fiber/ethernet (fiber will always win). But I can say the shared nature of RF has many solutions, and the FCC has been very active in the arena of more appropriately aggregating channels. The point I think we both agree on is that bandwidth to the home is a temporary (10 years?) limitation. You chose to make the rural broadband argument. I’m saying that dog won’t hunt.

    To be fair in addressing your other technology issues, lets take a look: (I’m a geek, but I am going to try to keep this in english.)

    MC – “TV is the no work platform relative to internet TV.” ++ I think this is a true statement for many over the age of 40, and most “non-technical” people. Tons of companies are working hard to flip this around though. In my home, NOT using a computer to get TV is HARD WORK. Further, using a TV to watch content instantly makes the other things I enjoy doing while watching (namely using the internet) MUCH harder. So, this argument is true for the majority today, but won’t be true for our children.

    From MC> And some people build their own cars and rebuild engines. You are a tiny, tiny market. For your kids it will be a tiny, tiny market.

    MC – “Internet TV doesn’t match the quality of Traditional TV.”
    ++ REALLY? You readily admit this will change, but then you back off and say “I don’t see (the changes) on the horizon.” Let’s just start with the fact that HD is 1080 lines of horizontal resolution and the monitor I am looking at right now does 1200 lines of horizontal resolution. Is that near enough on the ‘horizon’?

    From MC> Apples and Oranges and hopefully you know it. Monitor resolution doesnt make Youtube look any better or all of the sudden uprez content encoded at 300k to 3mbs

    MC – “Video advertising works better on TV than on the net.”
    ++ Well, again you make a statement then back off and say improvement “is technically possible”. You are also a bit narrow in your definition of “BETTER” advertising as well. While you may say BETTER means its nicer to look at, I argue most advertisers will say BETTER means they can PROVE it works. I’ll defer back to my comments above on the metrics advertisers get from their “schlock” video advertising and ask them which type they want to invest more money in.

    From MC> You might want to look at what Canoe and others are doing with addressability and zoning among other things. The technology for advertising delivery to digital set top boxes blows away anything happening on the net. Particularly becauseof the Net’s privacy concerns. Bad ads are bad ads regardless of platform. But customized ads improve the odds. That cant happen on the net for privacy reasons. Thats going tohave an impact. Unless Facebook Connect is adopted as an acceptable foundation for advertising delivery the net will fall further and further behind in the personal delivery of advertising

    And finally,

    MC – “…there has to be a way to pay for it. TV is winning this battle…”
    ++ REALLY? I can’t think of any other technologies where the “old” was winning the price battle before the “new” became entrenched. Hmm, cassettes and CD’s? Landlines and Cell phones? I would love to see Netflix subscriber numbers now that they offer ‘play instantly’. I am wondering into areas of my own ignorance, but I also I wonder what Google ad revenue growth looks like vs. tv ad revenue growth….hmmmm…..are we being too narrow when we define “how it is paid for”?

    From MC> You sure like to compare apples and oranges. Netflix delivers old fashioned DVDs via the mail for 99pct of their revenue. They have warehouses full of DVDs. Go to the Netflix forums or read the links in my posts for their position on performance of instant on. Its a great feature for NF users, if you have the optimal setup. And there is no question that ad revenue from google has in the past blown away ad revenue from online and offline. Overture gave them the holy grail with search advertising and Google took the ball and ran with it , well. But, look at their comments on Youtube. We are talking about video here right? They talk about how difficult it has been for them to make money with Youtube and to find the right way to deliver advertising. (or feel free to read any of my posts on the matter) Im saying that overlays and pre rolls are not the “PPC” equivalent for video. Its not an approach that is going to create an inflection point for hyper growth. In fact, its evidence that internet video has a significant problem. The overlays are “banner ads for video”. The pre rolls are tv commercials. Plain and simple. You might want to re examine quite a few of your arguments

    So, Mark, I hope I haven’t missed your points in this follow-up comment. I really dig having these little debates with you. Unfortunately, if I still don’t get it, I guess it will have to wait for the day we get to sit down over that beer and hash it out. Person to person, without all this technology in the way. ;^)

    Comment by BillFitz -

  39. Hey Mark, one of the things i think you’re overlooking is that all of the things that cable can and will do (fast, reliable, easy), the Internet will eventually (soon) be able to do as well. But there is one major thing cable can’t do, and its something the Internet does extraordinarily well: Personalization.

    http://www.squawkingtech.com/2009/03/why-will-the-internet-supercede-cable-tv-personalization/

    From MC> You might want to talk to some internet privacy people about that. And you might want to talk to some folks at Canoe and in the advertising industry about what is happening with personalization in cable.

    Comment by Lee Hoffman -

  40. You may have convinced me here…Nothing compares to the ease of flipping on the TV and channel surfing. If tv was on the internet, we would have to choose what we want to watch, and guess what, most people just want to watch whatever is on! Plus, sporting events and other live broadcasts dominate the tv industry and I can’t see those productions being put online. Maybe in the future, if the internet expands to unforeseeable bounds, we will watch tv online, but for now, the tv dominates and people like it that way. Nobody wants to boot up a computer or deal with computer problems for their most basic form of entertainment.

    Comment by Paul D -

  41. Pingback: Squawking Tech » Blog Archive » Why will the Internet supercede cable TV? Personalization!

  42. You admit that Hulu is better for on demand, but you think that they are going to have difficulties with licensing? Wait, they own the licenses to the content, so what’s their problem again? Also, you make fun of the ads but when I watch DTV it’s always on DVR and I skip 100% of the commercials. When I watch Hulu I think, “thanks for making this so easy on me, yeah I’ll watch your three 15 second commercials.” That ad space is serious gold.

    from MC> No question that the owners of the content are the owners of Hulu. But as I have said, they arent stupid. They wont trade digital dollars for digital dimes. Hulu will always have content that is not current and being paid for. For instance, when HDNet licenses certain movies, we make it clear that the movie can’t be available for free anywhere online. Why would we pay for content that they are giving away for free ?

    Comment by Ross Bates -

  43. Blogmaverick has a high percentage of readers that are extremely tech savy while the great majority of America, such as myself, is not nearly as knowledgeable on these matters. Given this, just as Mark and many posting commenters have noted, tech challenged people will be slow to adapt, and this more than any technology advantage / disadvantage will result in content being delivered just as it is today for many years to come. As technolgy evolves and improves, tech savy consumers will follow the technology while the masses will continue to utilize the delivery method that is easiest to use, and that seems to be via telco, cable or sat. The $$ associated with advertising to the masses will keep current distribution methods alive for years to come. The big hurdle I see out there for cable is the impact of HDTV and their capacity driven inability to deliver enough HD content. I am fortunate to live in an area where Verizon has installed fiber and I can tell you that their cable competitors are getting thrashed simply because they can’t offer enough HD content. Mark was right on that issue…once you view regularly in HD, you will not want to watch a standard digital picture.

    Comment by dave o -

  44. I think you seriously overestimate the nimbleness of cable/sat companies. How long has OnDemand been around? And why is the user experience still so godawful? The interface looks like Yahoo in 1995, there’s a delay after you click on something that’s longer than the old dialup connections, and about 50% of the time I get an error message (although the video usually plays regardless).

    You get to see all the goodies, but when are these going to actually be rolled out?

    Comment by Keir -

  45. Mark,

    I am slightly in awe at your persistence on this thread. Since you seem to have endless energy on this topic I’d like to propose sometime we grab a beer and debate this in person. I can’t figure out if you sincerely feel strongly about your viewpoint, or if you are just banging against the naysayers to see if they can poke any holes in some new content ownership/distribution scheme you are about to unleash on the market.
    I am a network engineer with a broad background in different transport technologies and markets. I’ve worked on OC192 fiber links in the world’s largest datacenters, and I’ve climbed 480 foot towers in BFE to reboot cutting edge WiMax base stations.
    Why does this matter? Because the first problem in all of these arguments is the quality of the pipe delivering the content.
    In college I wrote a paper on the myth of the information super-highway. Basically I called out the challenge of serving content of any real quality to an audience of dial-up users. That was 1992. In 17 short years we have seen that myth vanish.
    I can tell you from first-hand experience, this country has more than sufficient dark fiber running coast to coast to inundate every home in the country with more simultaneous HD channels than any of us could use in a lifetime.
    Want to talk about rural broadband? No problem, pick any point in our country and I’ll show you someplace where that dark fiber passes BFE on its way to NOT-BFE. Want broadband there? Stick a tower in the ground, pick your wireless technology and start selling multi-megabit bandwidth to starving subscribers. We watched Sprint invest $3.2B last year in Mr. McCaw’s Clearwire communications for just this reason. Faster than any of us realize (and faster than you seem to be willing to admit) technology has and will continue to solve the bandwidth problem.
    Now that we know we have sufficient bandwidth, let’s talk advertising; because the ADVERTISERS ARE GONNA LOVE THIS. Let’s begin with those ‘dumbass overlay’ commercials. Do you know what I hate most about watching U.S. Sports? Commercial breaks. Why do we have commercial breaks? Because our antiquated technology that TV is based on DID NOT support overlays. Today, traditional TV is moving rapidly to an overlay model. Look at all the shows (even on HDNET) where for a few minutes every hour one type of a promo or another is “overlayed” on the program. It’s everywhere. Now look at international Soccer. Soccer doesn’t stop for 6 minutes at a time to sell beer and trucks, they run straight through with constant overlays. Most NFL and NBA fans wouldn’t mind seeing their games that way. Especially if they are AT THE ARENA/STADIUM for the game.
    It’s important to remember that while all of this content and overlay ads are being served, we are doing it in a true ‘two-way’ fashion. For every single user on the network I can collect metrics, ridiculous amounts of metrics. How many users, in which places, are doing what type of viewing? No problem. Which context-sensitive ads do I want to send in RIGHT NOW? Users viewing the SAME content but with a different historical context get their own custom ads.
    Then the real VALUE kicks in. How many users responded to my ads? How many actually bought my product? Which cross marketing plans should I send to which users based on their responses? What are the trends this week, month, year? Like I said, ridiculous amounts of metrics. Try doing that on broadcast TV. Amazon has already proved this. As a result of true ‘two-way’ communication, Internet based technology has and will continue to revolutionize the advertising industry.

    So let’s get to the core of the debate, CONTENT. Sports are again an excellent example of how the public votes with their dollars. As a sports owner you understand what it takes to put butts in seats. So why do you have such a hard time applying these same basic principles to the distribution of digital content, specifically television programs? The laws of capitalism say that reasonable people will pay reasonable rates for access to content they really want. You always seem to revert to this notion of “everything on the internet will be free”. I don’t understand that. ITunes and Netflix are both content aggregators that are proving people will pay for content they get to control. The Wall Street Journal is proving that subscription models work when the content quality is there. Do you see how this is just like selling season tickets? Good season, good ticket sales, weak season, weak ticket sales.
    Will we see some ‘a la carte’ approach to content distribution? Probably down to the episode level, but not likely much more. For sports though, the twists could be interesting. How would you like to be able to sell tickets to a Mav’s game per quarter? How much do you think you could charge for tickets that gave permission to stay for OT in a playoff game? Is that a ridiculous concept? What about pay per view games where the price adjusts based on time remaining, score and importance of outcome? Technology can support it, advertisers will support it and CONTENT OWNERS will choose how they slice it up their content.
    Mark, I read your blog because you strike me as an intelligent and pragmatic person. You stir things up and aren’t afraid to question stupidity. So why do you insist on sticking to the concepts of this tired and worn out argument for broadcast programming?


    From MC> You started of with a technology argument which i agree with. There is a ton of fiber available for short and long hauls. Everywhere you want it to be, except to the home (verizon excluded). Backbone bandwidth has never been an issue and never will be. Wireless , regardless of whose is still shared bandwidth. Every mile is like the last mile. And its expensive to build out and node out. Feel free to give Clearwire your cash ifyou believe. They really need it right now. Thats not to say it wont work. It has tons of use and potential, but its not going to be a fulltime video delivery system for TV.

    From there you went into what you believe about aggregation, content and advertising, but never addressed the technological issues I raised in this post. But what it appears you may be missing more than anything is that the technology for the things you want to do is more available on cable and satellite platforms than internet platforms

    Comment by BillFitz -

  46. man. you totally sound like the mpaa 10 years ago. really. when was the last time you looked at the tv shows available on torrents? or when was the last time you watched one on hulu?

    you think quality trumps convenience? hahahahhahhahahah…

    3 words for you: “consumer pain point”

    m3mnoch.

    Comment by m3mnoch -

    • I watch stuff on hulu all the time. Its a better interface than my on demand is right now. But i think its going to be easier for the cable/sat interface to change , and easier for them to expand their programming offering than it will be for hulu to deal with licensing and quality of delivery. Particularly as more people expect HD.

      Ive never said people wont use Hulu. Ive said the opposite. But it wont ever replace TV. It will be a complement. Particularly for in office

      Comment by markcuban -

  47. 1. The Time/Work is a platform-killer argument may not totally hold for those who are using internet TV as a time-shifting device.

    It’s easier for me to click on the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon bookmark in my browser than it would be set up a DVR or VCR to do roughly the same thing.

    2. I concede almost all of your second point, except to say that there are instances where the convenience outweighs the drop in quality.

    3. I agree with you here.

    Question: What is your take on Major League Baseball’s Internet TV setup for watching games?

    Comment by Andy L -

    • MLB does a good job. They provide content you cant easily get elsewhere, and they deliver it to places, like the office,where you typically cant get regular TV. The question is whether or not what DirecTV is doing with games/news will present a conflict. Direct offers 6 screens at once and the delivery quality is much higher. It will be interesting to see if the Baseball Package is impacted by MLB Network’s online offering.

      Comment by markcuban -

  48. Honestly, Mark, you’re so content-provider and bandwidth focused that you simply ignore the entire consumer side of the picture. You fail to acknowledge that consumers regularly sacrifice quality for convenience.

    I’ll preface and note that I’m an early adopter, and thus not representative of current trends, but the masses usually follow, some time later.

    I happily stopped using land-line telephones 10 years ago. An entire decade has passed. To this day, the voice quality/experience on a cell phone is not nearly as good as the quality on a land line 20 years ago — but the convenience of the cell phone far outweighs those negatives. With the proliferation of SMS and mobile data, I don’t even talk on the phone very often anymore — and I don’t miss it one bit.

    Similarly, Internet video quality outright pales in comparison to digital cable television today. On the other hand, I rarely watch TV these days, because most modern TV “content” is outright garbage, and there is much more interesting content (video and non-video alike) on the Internet. What I will occasionally watch is a select few programs (a few things on Comedy Central, some sporting events, and the occasional SportsCenter, plus a show or two from HBO.). Paying all that money for programming I don’t care for is madness. I don’t want to subsidize NBC, CBS, FOX, etc for making reality television. At the end of the day, I don’t care how much more bandwidth Time Warner’s cable network can deliver, because I don’t WANT their content.

    As an example, I like HBO’s Entourage — but I can’t get it from Time Warner without a full digital cable package, a set-top box, and a $10/mo charge for HBO, a “premium” channel. More than $70/mo in total. Showtime’s Dexter would cost me another $10. Alternatively, I can buy Entourage and Dexter on iTunes, per-episode. I can’t stream from iTunes in real-time, but I can download it reasonably quickly. TODAY. I can also stream other shows via Netflix and Hulu. It doesn’t stream in 1080p, but the quality is good enough. Just like mobile phones 10 years ago. Good enough. Imagine what tomorrow’s 20 Mbps connection brings.

    From a consumer standpoint, the ONLY thing currently standing in the way is that Internet video isn’t quite as easy to consume as flipping on the TV.. but Hulu, Boxee, Netflix, TiVo, Apple, etc. are changing that.

    I think you’re right that today’s content providers will cling desperately to the subscriber model. They’ll throw a lot of money and bad ideas at it, too, just like the major music labels keep clinging to physical media and DRM, as their profits go down the toilet. I believe that you overestimate their ability to provide what the consumer wants at a price that the consumer will pay. Some networks will undoubtedly “protect” some content from Internet delivery, in an effort to stem the tide of people dropping traditional methods of distribution. If they do that, people will work around it (P2P, etc.), or just stop watching. The TV is slowly losing it’s spot at the center of the American home that it once was.

    Good-bye cable TV, good-bye television networks, good-bye worthless, unwatchable content. I won’t miss you, and the rest of the world won’t, either.

    Comment by Matt P -

  49. I think your missing what a lot of us have said and that is that we are not interested in traditional tv anymore. That is, sitting on a couch, flipping channels and hoping something good is on. Instead we’ve found that we can go online, find the show we want and download it. Instead of paying $100/month to get access to a whole lot of content I will not access and have no desire to access I can visit iTunes and buy a season pass of the shows I like. Does iTunes or another service have everything I’d like? No, but those content providers lose out as I seek out their content on services such as megavideo. I’d rather pay for their content, but if my alternative is $100/month to Comcast I think I’ll take my chances with megavideo.

    Time and Work are platform killers.
    This is an excellent point. 100% true. 100% true for when the mp3 revolution started taking off as well. Downloading a file on napster was hit or miss. Would winamp, or quicktime play the file or was it encoded at some obscure bit rate? You’ve been around technology for more than a week so I think you can agree that this problems you mention are short-term problems. Hell, I don’t even notice when my OS or browser updates Quicktime or Flash anymore; today software updates just work automatically in the background.

    Personally I could care less what the delivery mechanism is. Be it the Internet, Carrier Pigeon, or something else, but the Internet has showed potential for a better way to experience traditional TV content.

    On a slightly different note, the ala carte model which you seem to be against sounds a lot like the movie business that you are invested in. I only pay for the movies I want to see and people, such as yourself, keep making risky bets that you can sell tickets to recoup your investment. You’ve even suggested making theater releases available on-demand the same day as the theatrical release. How is this different than letting me only buy the content I want?

    As for your slippery slope about only paying for the handful of seconds an audience wants to buy, are you for real? Straw man, party of one.

    Comment by Anthony -

  50. Pingback: Internet TV vs Music vs Newspapers et al « blog maverick | MusicalFormats.Com

  51. Sure, internet delivered content sucks if it’s streaming, but I can download HD quality TV shows in 10 minutes to watch later. Commercial free.

    I agree with the above poster in that I can see 2 markets emerging. If a network can offer commercial free, HD quality downloads off their site, pair it with professionally moderated forums, exclusive interviews with actors, and more; I will gladly pay a subscription fee for my favorite shows. Hell, producers can cut out the networks all together and self-publish their own shows! The internet is far from conceding this battle.

    Comment by Joe -

  52. Forget about rural broadband. I live in developed, suburban area, but all of the copper in the local loop (cable and POTS) is buried and is a quarter-century old. I’d be happy with consistent 1.5 Mb/s. One of those “shovel-ready” projects, you know (yeah, maybe in my lifetime).

    I rely on OTA (the local DTV options work quite well), and satellite for one international channel not available any other way (an inexpensive a la carte option), and Netflix. I’ve watched a few Netflix movies online, but it chews up my bandwidth and generally sucks, entertainment-wise.

    Low-rez stuff like YouTube is fine on the Internet, but until everybody’s got fiber to the home, SD and HD should stay with the big-pipe broadband services. I would be interested if a Netflix-type provider could trickle through a cable/satellite feed to a set-top DVR device.

    Comment by Eugene -

  53. The best argument for why Internet TV will replace traditional TV is one you don’t address here: Interactivity.

    But I can see two markets developing. One that continues to cater to the passive viewer, and another that caters to a more actively engaged audience.

    From MC> I address it specifically in the post. Interactivity is more advanced on TV platforms than it is on internet video

    Comment by Michael F. Martin -

  54. I think one thing missing from the Traditional vs Internet argument is the OnDemand service that is slowly growing in many cable providers services.

    Presently I have a cable box with a variety of OnDemand options available. There’s free content from numerous channels like A&E, History, MTV, ect… Some of that in HD. There’s the premium channels like HBO and Showtime where if you’re a subscriber to the channel you get an assortment of content available to stream, and then there’s the PPV system which everyone is familiar with.

    It would seem to me the next logical step would be to continue to migrate to a cable provider hosted content system. Where the shows could be digitally dispersed to the cable providers host server, and then at the designated time slot that people are accustomed to shows airing, they would be available for viewing.

    I think this system would help bridge the knowledge gap of traditional viewers and the more demanding DVR users. Traditional users could tune in on time and the show would appear as it normally would, only now they’d be watching an OnDemand stream from the host rather than normal “live” tv.

    DVR users could subscribe to the show, and when the airing slot has completed, it would appear as available to watch in their list along with the designated expiration date that the content is sure to have. When they go to watch it, they too would only be viewing the OnDemand copy, the local box wouldn’t need to act as DVR any longer.

    Do this and you no longer have to stream hundreds of channels to each receiver, just the one item each is watching. This would presumably save a lot of bandwidth that could then be used to increase internet speed tiers without a huge overhaul of their network infrastructure.

    Technically it would require some new approaches, but overall it could likely serve as a hybrid style solution. Better yet, because the cable provider can control the original content, they can perhaps also include unskippable ads, ads which could be tracked by number of views to help make the marketing people happy.

    As much as I love fast forward on my DVR, I’d happily part with the ad skipping in exchange for a massively OnDemand service of all the shows I want to see.

    Comment by Juncti -

    • From MC> Yep. And, there is nothing that says that your cable/sat/telco provider couldnt keep a copy of everything they ever broadcast on a server and depending on what rights you have, let you have access to it. Centralized storage delivered through the video defined infrastructure straight to your TV. Much more efficient then doing it unicast online via CDNs

      Comment by markcuban -

  55. Do we still have AM on the dial? How about FM?

    yes.

    But they are not the centerpiece of our media experience.

    It isn’t that Cable/Sat/OTA delivered content networks will come down in a thundering heap. The internet will continue to consume viewer hours from other forms of entertainment thus reducing revenue opportunities for others. Please do not frame the conversation as winner take all. Instead realize that a new distribution network (Internet) is the darling of all cool kids. Old people and poor people will still need cable tv and infomercials.

    In the future you will have the chance to brag about the glory days of when the only option was the locked in flat fee set top box that people were forced to take. Sure they could change the channel. But change the channel lineup? Nope. Yes, those are the good days for distribution networks. When they were the final say on content and viewer choice.

    May they rest in peace.

    Comment by Joe Christensen -

  56. Rural broadband is already being paid for by the tax payors. there is a FDA program that if a company raises money to install broad band in rural areas the fda will match it.

    From MC> absolutely. But that still isnt fiber more often than not. And its not enough bandwidth, based on current implementations, to offer a full complement of TV services, internet and whatever else may come. My point was that they are going to need a bigger pipe

    Comment by itechteam -

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