Computer to TV ? .Shouldn’t it be the Other Way ?

Internet video is going to take over the world. We want unlimited choice. We want user generated content. We want our TV shows streamed to us. Give us the long tail. Please.

Because we want all of this magnificent video, we want, no we need to be able to hook up our computers to our brand new HDTVs. Of course its not that easy for non techies to get the internet video from the net, through your PC or router to your TV. But thats what we want.

Its exactly why Apple and others are coming out with product after product that transports that magical 100mbs of Youtube, AOL, Revver, Yahoo or whoever’s video from your PC to your TV.

So the contrarian in me asked the question: “Should we look at taking the video in the other direction? “. Should we be sourcing video from traditional TV delivery options. Can user generated content be uploaded to cable or satellite companies and then delivered as regular TV to be played back from a settop box or DVR.

Your DVR, whether you know it or not is a PC. It has a hard drive that is probably as big as the hard drive in your PC. The one huge difference between your PC and your DVR is that the DVR has a user interface that is optimized to sort, select and display video content on your TV. In other words, dozens of companies are trying to create add on devices that will somehow make your PC act more like a DVR.

So why not just use the DVR ?

There is absolutely no reason why you couldnt subscribe from your DVR to a CBS “User Generated Content” feed that has the same content as what they offer to their Youtube Subscribers. The difference of course being its in TV or HDTV quality. The content would be delivered through your cable or satellite provider. There is no limit to the number of content providers , large or small that could offer subscriptions.

What about pure user generated content ? What about people’s cat, kids and response videos ? Simple.

Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, Time Warner, Charter, Insight, Cox, any cable or satellite provider could easily offer a website that allows users to upload content the same way they upload to Youtube. One key difference is that they wouldnt have to limit the length or encoding quality of the content. Youtube and other sites that make their money selling ads around content, have to limit quality and length of video to minimize file sizes, which inturn minimize their bandwidth costs. Bandwidth costs are so expensive at the volumes Youtube streams, many have questioned their ability to cover those costs even with the constraints.

Traditional TV delivery methods however are multicast , as opposed to internet videos unicast approach to video delivery. In English, that means that the cable and satellite companies could take the uploaded videos and push them out to all DVRs of anyone who has subscribed receive those videos in a single stream. internet video requires 1 stream per person per video.

The user side would be incredibly simple.

If you subscribed to all of CBS videos, you get them. If you subscribed to all of NBCs video, you get them. If you subscribed to all of Universal Music’s videos. You get them.

Or you could subscibe to all user uploaded videos that are in the comedy category. Or all user uploaded videos that are in the news category. Or you could subscribe to all the videos uploaded by Mark Cuban, or whoever. Or if your hard drive in your DVR was big enough, you could just subscribe to everything.,

If you subscribe to everything, it would be easy to have software that updated your DVR with just new offerings.

Basically, what would happen is that your DVR would act as your local server and rather than searching for videos on the net, you would search for them on your local DVR.

Of course there are challenges to this approach. It wont be easy to get users who upload things to go to cable and/or satellite sites to upload there instead or in addition to Youtube. So Youtube will probably have more content. This approach works best with content from the major media companies.

Plus there are general advantages to the Youtube approach. One of the cool things about Youtube is that it has so many videos that you can find almost anything. Youtube’s current large inventory of videos would be a big advantage

One key advantage the cable/satellite guys would have is with advertising. Whatever advertising DELIVERY methods Youtube, etc used to sell advertising could easily be implemented on a DVR. Like internet video, delivery of ads from a DVR is easily quantifiable and reportable, but of course the quality of the video and the ability to offer long form click through options (if a user clicked for more information, its easier to deliver a quality 1, 2, 5 minute or longer video thats already hosted on a DVR than it is from the net)

Each approach would have its plus and minuses, but if cable and/or satellite decided to dive into the user generated content businessgiving users a choice, things could get interesting.

95 thoughts on “Computer to TV ? .Shouldn’t it be the Other Way ?

  1. Its time i was just able to watch TV from my computer. Thats the way to go! It has to realtime and channel appropriate!

    Comment by Holly -

  2. A resource for satellite TV is at Direct TV satellite, Dish Network satellite TV

    Comment by docsharp01 -

  3. An excellent resource for satellite TV

    Comment by Lawrence -

  4. If you need a new battery, I suggest you could purchase one from , which would shipping to you fast and the quality is satisfy satisfied.:)

    Comment by photo frame -

  5. An excellent resource for satellite TV is at Direct TV satellite, Dish Network satellite

    Comment by Lawrence -

  6. An excellent resource for satellite TV is at Direct TV satellite, Dish Network satellite

    Comment by Lawrence -

  7. Very interesting post.

    Comment by work at home guide -

  8. i still love traditional television

    Comment by Mr Cool -

  9. Hey Mark,

    A little off topic though as a Mavs fan, how about someway we can actually catch NBA games in other parts of the world? I`m in Japan though only get a game a month on TV. Hopefully Joost will be able to do something about that, though it`s a little ridiculous for a league trying to expand across Asia.

    Comment by Sebastian -

  10. Not only do you see TV moving to the Web, but you will see it become much more interactive and entertaining with voting, contests and other games. Competition is going to get fierce and portals will start rewarding consumers in order to keep them loyal and coming back.

    CBS, the leading global Internet sports media company, was engaged in a daily head-to-head battle with its competitors. In an effort to distinguish its site and maintain its leadership position, SportsLine develop a ground-breaking online loyalty program to reward people simply for visiting the site. SportsLine Rewards was named \”One of the Ten Best Internet-based loyalty programs\” by Ellen Reid Smith, a noted loyalty marketing expert. a search engine (powered by has been launched to reward regular users with loyalty \’Chips\’ or rewards toward free iPods, game consoles, Itune gift cards, digital cameras and other electronic goods. – The Wall Street Journal October 2006

    Internet companies, locked in a fierce battle to get more people to use their search engines, are dangling rewards and cash prizes to attract customers to their sites. Yahoo also might get into the loyalty game. Earlier this year, the No. 2 search engine surveyed some Yahoo mail users about the kinds of gifts from music downloads to airlines miles that would entice people to use Yahoo as their primary search engine. – The Wall street Journal February 2006

    Palo Alto, CA April 4, 2007 Metacafe, one of the worlds largest video sites, today announced that the Producer Rewards program continues to attract more viewers and content month over month since its launch in Fall 2006. Five months after going live, Producer Rewards videos have been seen more than 62 million times, with the viral video sensation Robotic Beer Launching Refrigerator alone receiving nearly 1.3 million views in the month of March. The break out hit has earned creator John Cornwell over $6,600 and an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. To date, 21 creators have earned more than $5,000 each. ( has launched the beta version of their new video sharing community website. The free video sharing community isn\’t just another YouTube. \”We\’re building an online community and offering an incentive to share videos from the growing list of video web sites,\” explains co-founder Adam Oliver, a former Director at
    The Flixya multi-tiered rewards program features $5000 worth of merchandise. Members can earn points for sharing videos, friend referrals and posting comments. 30,000 points will get you a $100 gift card to Abercrombie and Fitch, 110,000 a T-Mobile Sidekick 3. At the top of the list, 600,000 Flixya points will get you an Apple Macbook Pro.

    Comment by Todd Dugas -

  11. I constantly am shocked that not one major media player is willing to create dashboard and software to do this. At some point someone must create an interface that facilitate all of your equipment thru your nice big screen. supporting all content. Apple seems to be making the effort, albeit all connected to Apple technology but a company that could master the bringing together of content into a consumer friendly software would set the trend for the future.

    I endlessly believe that looking past the dazzle of quick profit might reveal some the best technologies yet to come. Building from the content up. This could allow us all to get back to our proper jobs tech companies building tech and content companies making content.


    Comment by Joe McKesson -

  12. Your are not thinking for the future if you do not want to move on with a streaming hd television network. I own a samsung 1080i dlp and just purchased a new hp dv laptop with an hdmi output. My resolution on my laptop is 1440 x 1220 which would be the perfect host for hdnet, discovery, and inhd. I am an avid hdtv fan and am awaiting imax quality personel monitors. Looking past the copyrights, the ability to save movies for the satisfaction of not having to keep up with and protecting the disc. External hard drives continue to excel their capacity meaning you could have individual harddrives protecting all means of high risk information from intrusion. I would much rather have internet hd than go through any cable or satelite provider and be treated poorly. What you do is great and I think you are doing many things to contribute to hdtv and sporting. No saying you are not an incredible business man. Much respect for you, D.

    Comment by D -

  13. Here is what we really want:

    We want to be able to search for whatever content we want to view, billions of choices for billions of people. It may be user-generated or copyright production. We want to quickly find the video or audio and then watch it in high-def on demand in a split-second. We don\’t want to be limited to whatever CBS or FOX produced for us. We want every video ever made to be available right now and high quality.

    Our homes are set up to best watch content on our HD televisions. So we need the video and audio to feed to our television, but we still need the mouse and keyboard to do our search and select.

    Youtube is as close as we get right now. Tons of choices, all on-demand. But image & sound quality are poor. Internet video torrents are second best, with high quality but less choice and lag time to wait for download. FiOS Television is third best with high video quality but very limited choices and less on-demand choices, and no upload ability for user-generated.

    Comment by Jeff in Dallas -

  14. I use my ZEN (great alternative to video iPod with twice the resolution and built-in FM tuner) like a DVR. I download movies and TV shows from\’s Unbox and watch on the ZEN when on the move and plug into my TV when I\’m at home to see DVD quality on the \”big screen\”. Since it will take just about any type of video files, I can get my content from tons of sites on the web. It also just happens to hold thousands of songs, photos and even data, as it lets you assign part of it to be a flash drive. As a filmmaker, I\’m always wanting to move big data files to other people\’s computers or editing systems, etc., so this cheap little device serves just about all my needs. Who needs DVDs, Netflix, etc. Even Wal-mart is getting in on the action. Video stores are in deep do-do. All you need are video kiosks where you load up your ZEN or other mobile, handheld device (this would work for people that don\’t have much computer literacy). Those of that are comfortable with computers can already get what we want and play it on our TVs.

    Comment by Linda Nelson -

  15. I\’m in partial agreement with Mark on this one. I have a PC connected to my HDTV. I\’m a geek with this stuff and it\’s still a pain in the ass to make it user-friendly enough that my friends can use it without reading the manual I had to write about it. Maybe a Mac would be easier but then I lose my ability to do all sorts of fancy up-converting and filtering of my DVDs. Plus I\’m not a freaking hippy, though I do eat a lot of organic food.

    If the cable companies Microsoft and Sony were smart they would make the devices we already have connected to our TVs integrate with the YouTube, Vidiac, iTunes and Revvers of the world. I\’ve got an XBOX 360, PS3 and shitty Motorola HD-DVR from Comcast. They all have access to my broadband connection and my TV so where\’s my web content?

    Microsoft has their Live Marketplace but has anyway actually tried to search for content on the XBOX 360? You can\’t. Microsoft is limiting the amount of content on it since they have no search function. Lame.

    Sony is even further behind with the PS3. It\’s web browser is hip by 1999 standards at best. It will play Youtube videos but only because they use the old far inferior Flash 7 video codecs. But I shouldn\’t have to type in http://blah.blah/blah.htm with my controller.

    Here\’s what would be cool. I drop an RSS link like into my XBOX, PS3, DVR and it allows me to hop to any of those pages and see the videos very easily and it\’s constantly updated with the hottest videos from that site so I don\’t have to type in URLs.

    The Apple TV shouldn\’t win. It only supports HDTVs, it\’s only 720p, it only pulls stuff from iTunes. It costs as much as a base Xbox360. I won\’t buy one because frankly I\’m out of ports on my TV and can use my PC. But I think a lot of people will use it because it\’s going to be idiot proof.

    Then again you make something idiot proof and they make a better idiot.

    Most people are sitting on 3-8 Mbps internet connections. The bandwidth is there for HD. Not great HD but at 2 Mbps at 720p you get about the same amount of data per pixel as you get with a 500kbps stream at 428×321 which looks pretty decent. How do you monetize it? Pre-roll ads. Users will watch a 15 sec ad to be able to see quality that makes regular Youtube videos about as much fun to watch as falling down a flight of stairs in leg braces.

    Comment by Chris Jones -

  16. My question is. Why has no body amalgamated a TV and a PC into one unit. Its all very well bringing out show centers and media extenders but why not work backwards. Why can’t you buy a HD LCD with built in PC.

    Comment by Nigel Morris -

  17. There is absolutely no reason why you couldnt subscribe from your DVR to a CBS “User Generated Content” feed that has the same content as what they offer to their Youtube Subscribers.

    First, off you have a typo in you content.

    Secondly, there are many problems with this for CBS 1. Providing the infrastructure to host videos and 2. filter the content property (block repeat, porn, objectionable, bad quality, viruses) and 3. mass produce a DVR for users

    You are on crack. Lets face it, thats too expensive especially considering broadband is still limited and there are already a million ways to get internet content on your TV. You might not like any of them, but oh well. Oh, and they are improving.

    Also, I highly doubt people will pay a monthly free to see stupid youtube videos (of existing TV crap) and user content on their PC. We’re getting nickel and dimed to death already between cable and internet access.

    Comment by Ed -

  18. Well, it may seem like Cuban just invented the idea of putting video uploads on DVRs, but the truth is that this has existing for a while.

    First, Comcast unveiled a video sharing site, called Ziddio ( that allows users to put their video on TV. It works the same way as YouTube, except video appear on the website as well as through Comcast’s on-demand service.

    Second, Tivo has TivoCast, which is essentially Internet content that is downloaded via your home network and stored on your DVR. In fact, I currently receive content from: Rocketboom, Cnet, and the New York Times. Tivocast was launched last year, June 2006.

    Last, check out my PVR blog ( where I discuss this story including some of the problems with TivoCast.

    Comment by Jose Alvear -

  19. THIS technology already exists and is being rolled out in a bundle of 5 powerful digital video products. This company is publicly traded under DFXN…….it is going to revolutionize the way we communicate and do business across the Globe! Products include Video Email(V-Mail), Live Video Broadcasts (TV), VIDEO IM (up to 5 people on a screen at one time), Video Podcasts & VIDEO BLOGGING!! Remember the name HELLOWORLD & VM DIRECT…….This is a Google, Myspace, YouTube & Microsoft rolled into one and just in its beginning Stages!! Check it out!

    Comment by -

  20. We still love the standard TV but this will definitely be changed.

    Comment by Catalin -

  21. Sounds like MSN TV circa 2007 LOL

    Comment by Jake Weirson -

  22. youtube and podcasting is just the very beginning.

    Comment by Stead -

  23. Cool!

    Comment by drew -

  24. I think I’d just be happier if TV were banned instead of worrying about where it’s going to be watched. So I’ve started the Teleban, devoted to just that lofty goal 😉

    Comment by Saskboy -

  25. Organizing user contributed content for that scenario will be very interesting.

    Comment by Genealogy Genie -

  26. Visit

    Comment by ziko -


    Internet is information going through wires to a “processing box” and a display.

    TV is the exact same.

    The only difference is that with the Internet, everyone can develop applications. Open up the cable box to community development and you might see some exciting things.

    The end game is not in the user created content – it is in the studios’ hands. P2P technology like Joost will win in the long run regarding interface, but backbone companies like LVLT will really be the winners.

    It’s that simple. Watch for all the cable providers to roll out their IPTV soon.



    Comment by Nic Rio -

  28. Mark I think its a great idea and want to make it happen. I’d love to co-found a company with you to create the HD-Internet (
    Hope to hear from you.

    Comment by Jin Woo -

  29. Microsoft’s release of Vista should be an interesting experiment with media center and CableCards. If a DVR is just a computer, why not give it the flexibility of a computer? In 2-3 years, a quality home theater computer that can store every movie you own, all your music, and can replace your cable box, will cost less than $750.

    Comment by Kevin -

  30. What do you think of a site like It seems like they’re trying to do something new with broadband video. They have short form content and user-generated stuff. I know it’s not directly related to tv, but it seems like a new model for content delivery.

    Comment by Jembellenator -

  31. You know your stuff is sometimes deserves reading. I find much new info for me, thanks!

    Comment by Nina -

  32. While I agree with Mark, but I also believe people should have as many choices as possible.

    Comment by Harry Casimir -

  33. >> So why not just use the DVR ?

    Exactly. I’m in the middle of spec’ing out hardware (projector, etc.) for our media room and I’m going back and forth on Media PC vs just getting DirecTV’s HD DVR. On one hand, who wants the hassles of another PC in the house (yes, I know the DVR is a PC, too, but our Tivo doesn’t cause nearly as many problems as the Windows desktops do!) when you can have a small, simple box that rarely has problems and just does what its supposed to?

    Comment by Scott Marlowe -

  34. Mark,
    I think this is an innovative idea but coming from the Satellite industry which is where the Cable Comapnies get 90% or more of their content I am concerned about the bandwidth capabilities of all providers given that they get so much of their content from Satellite delivery. If you remember when we were pushing Local-into-Local for those with the dish, bandwidth, compression and satellite capacity was the main issues. When you compress more info(by trying to generate more “Channels”) the transponders get compressed too much causing deteriorated video. That is why we now have multiple Satellite reception dishes. I.E., in oreder to provide the amount of programming or channels, each transponder has to be compressed. We started with somewhere between 2-4 channels per transponder. We found that the more data we tried to squeeze on a transponder(to get more local stations, etc) the more the picture deteriorates.
    Anyway, this is a great idea and please look at my introductory post here on your blog right before this entry.
    we need to talk!
    Bryce McGuire

    Comment by Bryce McGuire -

  35. Mark,
    I have sent you an email via an email addie i got from Google. I hope you received it.
    My name is Bryce McGuire and am a veteran of the Satellite industry working for innovators such as echosphere(Dish Net), Hughes Network(DirecTV) and Uniden.
    I am very, very interested in a dialog with you regarding someof this Hightech, convergence products that you are mentioning. My company is doing just that.
    To keep this email/blod response short I would ask that you contact me by my email or if you got the email I sent youthenyou will see more contact info for me.
    I have a lot of experience in workign for professional sports figures and most predominantly, The cowboys.
    I urge you to give me a call or an email ASAP. I do realize you are very busy and I may have to wait awhile but I do know that what my company is doing and the products we are releaing as well as future products that this will be of immense interest to you.
    Best regards and look forward to communicating further with you.
    Bryce McGuire

    Comment by Bryce McGuire -

  36. Enjoyed the post. I’ve argued in op-eds in Newsday etc that we’re living in a new golden age of television, driven by the new tech facets you describe, which encourage more complex narratives –

    One quick other comment: how is 24 “neo-con” garbage, as “Rat” said above? It’s a high-octane show that pulls no punches.

    Comment by Paul Levinson -

  37. Americans are concerned how much of our attacking Iraq is to merely allow private companies to loot their oil wells and to also profit for providing the arbritrarily high-priced military equipment and services. VP Cheney himself has 433,000+ shares of Halliburton stock and stands to become a billionaire by this war. America is losing favor in the world because we are no longer even pretending to not be a country which sits in idle consumer bliss while the current leading group plunders foreign countries under the guise of spreading democracy.

    Comment by James Vaughn -

  38. yup it should be the other way around TV to computer not computer to TV, its much cheaper that way I think..

    Comment by Trisha Parks -

  39. I adore Interenet video, though it takes too much money out of our charge… But the future stands for it.

    Comment by Schina -

  40. Public Access Television: Great Idea.

    Comment by Steven W -

  41. I would think the fact that there is live, free hdtv, and many channels of live hdtv if you pay would make downloading look like junk. The internet cannot offer high quality live tv and even the videos I’ve downloaded that were supposed to be a higher definition weren’t. Not to mention the fact that is still takes forever to download anything good.

    Comment by spa covers -

  42. I don’t watch TV and I don’t want. TV contains from garbage. It brings nothing useful to the masses, just unfiltered garbage. Internet is the same, but it have much more content and I can decide whether I watch it further or go to the other source

    Comment by Fireplace -

  43. I think youtube could actually catch up with the Tv industry and overatke it, they will need to do modifications. If only youtube will make an option so that people can watch TV online, it will be a nice backend for them, but sounds quite complicated.

    Comment by imutopia -

  44. I think there are a couple of things you’re overlooking.

    One is the basic bidirectional revolution that the Internet has unleashed. Where viewers used to passively sit on the couch and receive whatever the Big Boys deigned to give them, users now have their own readership and listenership and viewership. The appliance that connects a user to this flow has to offer more than receiving and storage. Users also need to edit and score and crop and transition and title and animate. That’s why the appliance is the computer. The computer does all of these things — for text, photos, audio, video, animations, etc. — and you can also use it to passively watch.

    A corollary to bidirectionality is selectivity. Let’s say I want to see the crepe-flipping video by the couple in the apartment. It’s probably not in the top 1 million of Internet videos, but no matter — I want to see it, and I want to see it right now. And I already can at YouTube. However, under your idea, I would have to know in advance which particular Food/Comedy channel offered the crepe-flipping video, and wait for it to be delivered to my local server, which would have to have a hell of a capacity to store all of the bazillions of quirky videos I will mostly never get around to watching, making all of that bandwidth and storage space a total waste compared to simply using only what I actually use — just the crepe-flipping video.

    Also, relegating the crepe-flipping video to its own channel and appliance leaves it at a unidirectional dead end on my server, as opposed to the Internet at large, where I can easily email or post a link for the benefit of an accountant friend in Illinois or other readers of Mark Cuban’s blog:

    Bandwidth — not the computer — is the bottleneck that’s hampering online video. But bandwidth is not a technological barrier to be worked around, it’s a political obstacle to be removed. Internet users in places like Korea and Slovenia already get 100 times the Internet speed that Americans do for the same price — enough for very high quality, uninterrupted video. ( See Moyers: )

    My computer has a big, brilliant screen just waiting for the fiber optic “information superhighway” that the telcos promised to build in the 1990s which never materialized. Or, I can take it to, say, Reykjavik, and start watching right now.

    Comment by Mark Czerniec -

  45. I think you need to take into account who the target audience is for the differnt forms of media. Those surfing youtube are typically either at work and looking for a distraction or at home and surfing the web in the middle of a commercial. As far as I know, no one sits in front of computer with their significant other and say “Let’s make this a youtube night”.

    Comment by Dave -

  46. Mark,

    I like your vision. Could you please comment on the value of also reading books? It may be low-tech, but just as important.

    Comment by Dan -

  47. Cisco (w/ their Linksys and Scientific Atlanta assets) may be able to provide the technology to open this space up in the future, but currently too much inertia, asset/relationship protection, and old school mentality from the cable operators and content owners.

    Comment by nextblitz -

  48. Hey Mark,

    I am in advertising and marketing and I am curious about folks’ comments on where they see video production going in the future as it relates the Internet, from a marketing perspective. In our company we do a lot of DRTV with local commercials, etc. Is the future of video production going to be primarily web-based? Any thoughts?

    Comment by Scott Infante -

  49. Marc,

    I’ve followed your work since you started the audionet, thanks for your vision. Now to the discussion at hand, all of these new alternative distribution methods area great, and as we all know content is king, but when you start downloading and transferring all of this content, who owns the copyrights?

    Comment by marvin -

  50. Jeremiah Christopher you copy them blog???

    Comment by Dred -

  51. Well finally we have an application that will do it all we have the very first IPTV platform that will allow you to run you business and download your videos. This is the future and its now BIZ n’ Box will allow all businesses to do what they want and how they want without interference from Broadcast outlets or internet sites just have it your way!

    Wow what exciting times!

    Comment by Alex -

  52. well we are about to change everything with the very first business and consumer product that will do it all……downlaod your ipod videos to ring up a sale at your business and take a credit card or check…..

    Comment by Alex -

  53. Mark,
    My tivo will allow me to move content from the dvr to my pc using the Tivo Desktop software. I can also set up my desktop software so that if Tivo grabs the latest Galactica, my pc will automatically grab the file, wirelessly, and have it waiting for me on the pc. Its painfully slow, for now, but it does work. I have Tivo wishlists set up for a few shows that I watch and various directors that I follow and when that content becomes available, Tivo will snag it for me and move it across the network to my Dell. But wouldnt it be great if I could tell Tivo, find Godzilla episodes and off it goes, delivering the content almost immediately?
    And you’re spot on about the future of media/content accessibility. I can see (as a software developer) that the future of content propagation will be user driven and individually selective. For instance, if i want to watch the fifth episode of Brady Bunch, *click* – and done. We’re almost there with BitTorrent, however that is somewhat on the illegal side. Apple’s pay per episode is o.k., but ultimately content will be free and readily available.
    The next few years will be exciting to see who brings their A game to media delivery.

    Dan Woolston
    Senior Software Engineer
    Integrated Coding Inc.

    Comment by dan woolston -

  54. Mark –

    I’ve been waiting upwards of five years for a component where I could store my music/videos/pictures and control/watch/play them on my TV. I purchased a PS3 this weekend because it comes the closest to what I’ve always wanted, I have no plans of using it for gaming. The interesting thing is that I almost decided to hold off until AppleTV came out but the deciding factor for me was the PS3’s browser and the ability to watch Gootube on my TV.

    The problem with doing this the other way around is the cable companies don’t provide a-la-carte programming. I’ve completely gotten rid of cable because I was paying 75$/month for basically a few HD channels that I was watching. I didn’t need or watch the other 123 channels. I pay half that price for my internet connection which I need for other purposes anyway and now I get tons of on-demand content for free. Or I can watch selected offerings via iTunes and the like for a small fee.

    The cable companies need to pull their collective heads out and come up with a-la-cart programming. Their argument about infrastructure costs just isn’t going to wash in the future. Now if I could pay a connection fee to the cable company of say $7.95/month and pay piece meal for my content, I might go for that.

    – Troy

    Comment by Troy Bourdon -

  55. Mark, as I sit here with the AFC championship playing back in a corner of my laptop screen, which I copied from my ReplayTV DVR this morning before leaving for work, I AGREE WITH YOU.

    I would rather capture shows to my TV and transfer them to and watch on my computer (or by extension, iPod) than capture them to my computer and watch them on my TV.

    How many people carry their TV with them?

    Comment by Scott auld -


    Mavs #1 :/ Sorry i’m an ohio boy

    Comment by nick righter -

  57. One question that many here have is that the content on youtube is so low-fi why would you want to see it bigger on your TV? I would suggest you go to and check out a trailer. The quality is virtually DVD quality. I personally don’t think the general public cares about anything else but-Is it easy? Can I get it now? Does it look good? With more choice coming the consumer’s way Mark your are still in ‘the catbird seat’ so to speak due to HDTV. No matter which way the content is delivered the ultimate viewing would be on an HDTV screen.

    Comment by E.L. -

  58. Henrique Valle – everything you mention is possible to do with DVR, set-top boxes, and VOD servers.

    Comment by Tyler -

  59. Suggest Mark talk to Tivo – They have been hawking this DVR idea for a year or more. The DVR is the HD Series 3 and the service is called TivoCast.

    Comment by John Garrison -

  60. “One key advantage the cable/satellite guys would have is with advertising. Whatever advertising DELIVERY methods Youtube, etc used to sell advertising could easily be implemented on a DVR. Like internet video, delivery of ads from a DVR is easily quantifiable and reportable, but of course the quality of the video and the ability to offer long form click through options (if a user clicked for more information, its easier to deliver a quality 1, 2, 5 minute or longer video thats already hosted on a DVR than it is from the net).”

    You lost me on this last paragraph.
    I know that compared to regular TV click through rate measurements are much more than they ever had in regular TV, but compared to the user actions you can get from the PC world, DVR advertising is far, far behind ads on the PC. It

    True: requesting more info on a DVR might be important and measurable, but the tracking stops there. The user was interested in the next minute of video. He might be a hotter prospect…so what?? The user can’t act on the advertising beyond watching the extra minute, and this is not what advertisers want (at least not those coming from the PC to the TV world). They want people to go to a site, subscribe to something, or spend time playing a little stupid game, they want people INTERACTING with the brand, ACTIVELLY. And that’s what’s missing in the TV world + DVR you mention. Would advertisers really be in awe? Would it really be sooo much better to know CTR compared to not knowing CTR? Hmmmm…. not so much. CTR just tells you that your ad doesn’t suck, it doesn’t tell you how good it is, as it stops measuring the further steps of the sales funnel.

    I think they would only be in awe if we could convert this action/interest into more concrete user actions, and then we have head back to the PC world, because no one in their mind will write anything down or type while sitting on the couch. Either we will have a device that captures stuff from the DVR back to the PC or we wont advance a lot in this advertisement + DVR thing. There is a link missing that faciliates action. Of course all this I said would be a waste of time if DVR’s and ads started having functionality such as “send more info to my email” or something like this. But the interaction that is so needed for a tracking point of view needs to happen on the PC, period.

    I know: you DO have the click fraud thing going on, but that’s a whole new discussion.

    I tell you what will happen and what will decrease TV ads ROI even further: very very soon Google will release a cost per ACTION engine. Instead of paying when people click on your stuff, you will pay a bit when people click on your ad, a bit more when people subscribe to your cast or feed, a bit more when people play a little game, or even more when you put something in your shopping cart, and the full fare when you actually buy. Advertisers will pay google as you go: all software parts are there and Google would be idiot NOT to make this.

    Advertisers will know exactly where the bottleneck is in the sales process, collecting feedback and generating mouth to mouth will be ever easier. And that is killer stuff to have, that you simply cannot have with your DVR scenario, not at least the way you said it…

    So, will this DVR thing happens? Yes. Will it be killer for advertisers? NOT AT ALL!

    TV ads ROI will continue to decrease…

    Comment by Henrique Valle -

  61. How to Load Balance a Web Site on Multiple Geographic Datacenters… Cheaply!. This article explains how to geographically distribute a web site for $100 or less per month, including web hosting, geo-ip services, and DNS services.

    Comment by Cheap books -

  62. Here’s the deal. Mark has little ability to get this going, unless he can convice Brian Roberts, Paul Allen, and Glenn Britt to invest even faster in their VOD platforms to allow for this to happen. But, then again, they want to, they just don’t have the ability to do so. It’s not a money issue, it’s a technology issue. Most of the technology that will be available to even consider doing this won’t be ready until 2008. Though, in 2008, this will just be licensed shows that networks are willing to pay to have on the cable companies’ VOD servers.

    I know that VOD is available today, but the ability to monetize it isn’t. This is why the technology won’t be available until 2008.

    Once this all gets up and running, you might see networks such as CurrentTV take advantage of the VOD platforms and (pay to) place user generated content on them in hopes they will be viral (?), ehem, popular enough to gain an audience and monetize it through a pre-roll or some other type of ad.

    Though, I forgot to mention the Telcos. They might be able to get to market with this concept a little quicker than Cable, but then again, they don’t have the subscriber base yet to make a huge impact.

    Comment by Tyler -

  63. Imagine what will happen when Broadband over power line technology enters the playing field. You’ll have yet another choice, and in the end it will all be integrated in one set of units.

    The winner will be the one with the most server storage. Guess who that currently is?

    Comment by BPL Focus -

  64. Mark, you make a great point here. However, I think the main issue with the future of content distribution is really changing the mindset of media companies that don’t want to lose control of their content. I want to view my content how I want to, when I want it, how I want it, where I want it! Media companies don’t understand that yet. They want to charge per distribution method, per view, per device or per format etc. Maybe they will catch up, but I won’t hold my breath.

    If you just consider that it really took a third party company, Apple, to stir things up–and they aren’t a media company! Apple really broke the scene wide open with the iTunes Music Store which is by far the most successful online entertainment media distribution company. Now they let you view content, purchased once, on your computer, iPod and TV. The problem here is that it’s hardware and software company making the sale. Apple ties their content to their proprietary hardware and software using DRM. I consider this approach an okay start, but nowhere near the end. has a better model for consumers. If they can roll that model out across the board for audio and video we’ll be better off as consumers.

    Comment by John -

  65. I think you’re on to something there. Except that I’m not sure people like CBS or NBC top picks. I believe they would want more of a personality doing the picking. Jay Leno top picks for example

    Comment by Tim Clague -

  66. I think its a wonderful thought. The technology has no such limitations, i mean we can really expect such great quality locally in near future…
    Nice work Mark!

    Comment by Apurv -

  67. Mark, already has a user generated TV channel concept in the works.

    It’s called FameTV – the worlds first user-generated content television channel! FameTV is a new channel on the UKs Sky Digital network. It’s only available in the UK for now during the beta tests.

    Heres how it works: If youve opted in to the Revver broadcast channel, you might be selected by the fine folks at FameTV to have your video broadcast on FameTV. Heres where you make money: Every time a viewer votes on their favorite video via SMS, the viewer is charged a fee (if you voted for Taylor Hicks, youve done the same thing). Revver gets a portion of the revenue that that SMS vote generates. They split that revenue with you, 50/50, no surprises there. The video maker still owns his content, still can share it with whoever via Revver or wherever you syndicate it, and video maker maintains control.

    You can see an example of how Revver works on one of my humor video sites:

    I think as soon as the “Reality TV” wave begins to diminish, you’re going to see the next wave beginning in the US, which will be a host of “User Produced Style” TV shows on the major broadcast and cable networks networks.

    It’ll be quite interesting to see how it all plays out, but if it takes off like it has on the Net, TV will never be the same.

    Comment by Kevin - -

  68. Mark, I am at a loss I can’t seem to understand why cable/sat providers haven’t done this, I have a Dishnetwork Highdef 921 DishPVR, the hard drive and the cost $1000 when it was new basically make it a computer. So why does it not have internet like a computer I just don’t get it. Add a Cat5 hookup and bamm there you go internet.

    Comment by david -

  69. Obviously, the PC is a great medium, but just like people still like to read real books while they can read them online, people are always going to want to watch TV. The issue is whether or not the things people do on a PC, they’d like to do on a TV. Not too much. It’s the content, and the ability to, say, listen to MP3s through a home stereo system (instead of just the PC or an MP3 player).

    Comment by basketball training -

  70. Mark, when video in camera phones improves, your post will become a reality. And eventually cameras will have HD video in them. That will generate the real explosion in user genterated content and the subsequent demand for content delivered to television.

    Then again, by that time, the difference between the computer screen and the television will be blurred even further so it may not make a difference.

    Comment by Difster -

  71. Control is a device of the previous generations. It will not work on ours. PC will prevail over TV.

    Comment by Gavin the Photographer -

  72. Great article Mark. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Dr. Michael Roberts -

  73. Ijust wanted to tell you personally, I love they way you think. And write, it’s very enjoyable to just read your blogs. May I suggest you get a team together and try to get your idea set up on a smaller scale, then see if it takes off. Sounds, to me, like millions.

    Comment by Judi Bennett -

  74. I think HD net should start the ball rolling.
    Get things happening Mark!

    On a related note…….Are these blogs inspired by the daily conversations you have with your staff regarding ways to improve and expand your businesses, or are they simply ideas floating around in your head?

    Either way, you seem to have quite a sense of the big picture for someone who is so busy day to day.

    Keep it up….although I know you will.

    Comment by Brando -

  75. Honeslty, if you ask me human wants never take a break, they always look forward in development and betterment of quality in all ways, so basically, no matter how far we go, it will be the same like always when it comes to wants.

    Comment by Dedicated Hosting -

  76. There is so much more to video on the internet than television can ever provide. I think the word here is convergence. Videos are becoming an integral part of many websites. Websites are becoming niche TV stations. But unlike television, these websites are also interactive. Take for example Myloanchoices, they provide a series of interactive videos on a quite boring subject of secured loans. That’s what I call long tail. Give it a year and websites like this will be everywhere. Video publishing is cheap, the distribution channel is cheap. I think rocketboom, youtube and podcasting is just the very beginning.

    Comment by Nigel Bassett -

  77. YouTube cannot deliver high quality videos yet. But peer-to-Peer delivery can.
    This works especially well with “channels” like CBS or NBC which can be distributed as BitTorrent podcasts.
    These P2P shows can be downloaded by a PC but also by a set-top-box. That is the future.

    Comment by Louis Choquel -

  78. Yes totally agree, with apples unavailing of its new device i dont know and am somewhat pessimistic about weather it will work or not.

    Comment by Aaron -

  79. The possibilities are endless with the internet and the technology that is coming out of it. I’m amazed by the HD quality video’s I’ve watched on the internet as of late.

    Comment by -

  80. I think its a great idea.. that can be expanded…
    for example.. why not have a box set..& (DVR) that can connect to multiple networks.. dish, direct tv, zoom, local, and Cable.. you pay for the shows you select from the line up that is generated on the Box menu.. .. (could be done.. web services…)
    Box manufacter would make money on commissions sold from the use of picked shows from the channel lineups.
    I like it.. doable plan.. all you need is startup capital..
    good topic Mark.

    Comment by Mike Verinder -

  81. I don’t really want to see anything I have on my computer on my TV except maybe some pictures and video clips. But it’s not that big of a deal to me. At some point in the future it will be…when everything should meld togther (iPod, TV, computer, etc.). But for now, the programming and content and applications aren’t really driving me to demand or desire it yet.

    Comment by basketball training -

  82. How is pushing content to your DVR any different than what aggregators do for podcasts now? I connect to the ‘net and my aggregator checks for updates to my subscriptions and pulls the new casts. Perhaps I’m not seeing the obvious difference?

    Comment by Jay -

  83. Now Google doesn’t look so dumb for paying so much for YouTube. The content is there. After more infrastructure is added and bandwidth picks up, the limitations (specs) for uploading content to YouTube will go up, and they can offer YouTube content as you’ve described. It will take a while for other places to catch up, because YouTube already has so much content.

    Ultimately all content is still downloaded in order to be viewed. That has to come from somewhere and the quality of the download requires more bandwidth.

    Comment by Toby Getsch -

  84. I used to think exactly that way – TV to computer/web and back. Imagine someone providing tools and service for that feedback loop system. He would know a lot more of their users and their social cirlce(thanks to social networking), that service provider has aggregated a group around content that is ripe for either an upsell/targeted ads. In fact you are recycling content and gathering more ad dollars. Just like Sienfeld on tbs, fox etc.,
    Half of youtubes most of the content is pirated. They are snippets of TV program that are uploaded. You end up watching it because someone told u in u r social network or b’cos that content had too many eyeballs.
    Give users tools for “whatever u want whenever u want on whatever device” market, let them host/publish on a standard platform. In fact I am looking for some angel funding to build a s/w prototype for this.

    Comment by calerius -

  85. People want to watch certain things on their computers and certain things on their TV.

    Apple has done a good job providing this. I still think there are many things missing such as the ability to simply surf the web with Apple TV, but it’s gettin there. I personally just hook up my macbook to my widescreen HDTV and viola it works without having to spend $299 on an Apple TV. Plus, it’s only two simple cords so the thought that you have to be a tech person is not true.

    I can then watch anything online on a big screen tv (which looks fine) and then use my Apple remote to watch movies from DVD or that I’ve downloaded from iTunes. The only benefit of Apple TV is that it does this wirelessly.

    I guess I can’t understand why you’re saying “it should be the other way” when it comes to getting content. I really don’t see the benefit of getting my programs from Comcast and then putting them on my computer. I sure don’t want to watch those TV programs on my computer and if I want them on my iPod I just download them from itms.

    I really think we already have on demand at all times. We can get our internet video whenever we want and also get our movies (most of them) whenever we want and also DVR our shows whenever we want, so I guess I’m unclear on what you’re saying.

    People want their shows and movies to look good and the current combo of DVR and iTunes already does this. I really don’t think people care about the quality of youtube videos. The quality seems adequate enough already. I sure don’t need to see some 12 year old kid in Ohio dance to some Shakira song in high def.


    Comment by News Blog -

  86. for me, internet video give us another option of entertainment.. but i think a lot of pepole still love the traditional tv..

    Comment by carllys -

  87. User-Generated content is overhyped, it’s meant for computer consumption, a 30 second to minute clip viewed in a small window. Grab anything off YouTube and watch on a TV (hell even click to full-screen button), it’s awful and unwatchable, flash cannot do high resolution video.

    BskyB actually has been trialling your idea for a few months now in the UK; user’s upload their videos to Revver, Sky has a set channel to air user’s content and they split the ad revenue. But most content shot by user’s is from a cameraphone, that kind of image in 16:9 is not pretty.

    YouTube is not TV, it’s highlights and clips. TV is and will always be cable/ISP because they’re the only one’s with the bandwidth.

    Now, niche professionally shot content – there’s a market with a bright future.

    Comment by Adam Cains -

  88. I would add that it wouldn’t need to be exclusive to Cable and Satellite. Broadcasters could use their multicast channels to do the same thing, wirelessly. Most of those channels are going fallow with nothing more than weather radar.

    All user generated content still scares me from an advertising standpoint. Most conventional content is “safe” but alot of user stuff isn’t. If I were P&G I wouldn’t want to be associated with supporting video like the infamous girlfight.

    Comment by S Hammer -

  89. Can I just be the first to say this is a really great idea? I’m an independent filmmaker and I’ve put my shorts all over the internet, but it drives me crazy that people have to watch them at such low quality. If I could upload my videos at full resolution and people could watch them on TV, that would be fantastic. It would save me from making and handing out DVDs. But why would this have to be a feed-based push thing? What about the on-demand cable systems already in place? Would that kind of personalized cablecasting take up too many resources to make it worthwhile?

    Comment by Kyle Gilman -

  90. It would be great if Mark had some way to try this out. Like his own broadcast network and a relationship with DirectTV or DISH or something like that.

    Comment by Michael -

  91. The fundamental problem is the difference between advertising method. TV uses push advertising to promote its shows. While you’re watching content you already enjoy they mention to you other content you might enjoy (bumpers). These work well because the number of shows isn’t that high (500 channels x 20 shows per day per channel) = 10000 shows to choose from.

    User generated content comes in much larger doses and uses pull advertising (you only see it when someone you like tells you about it as in a blog). The TV guide system just doesn’t scale to the millions of shorts for user generated content. The PC with its Internet infrastructure, bookmarking and discovery options is a much better platform for low-quality hit-and-miss programming.

    Comment by Orion Adrian -

  92. I think that the DVR should be included in this. I feel so limited with my expensive HD Tivo. I should be able to get streaming content to it whenever I want. I should be able to get instant movies from Netflix on it (hear that Netflix? Renew your agreement with TiVo!). That box has so much potential, but currently it’s being used as a glorified VCR and that irritates me. I want more stuff on it, and I think you’re on the right track.

    Comment by Lamarr Wilson -

  93. Hey MARC!
    Have you heard about the government limiting freedom of speech in BLOGS?!? You have to get on this topic! It’s outrageous! I posted it on my blog, which I linked to.

    Love your stuff!
    Jeremiah Christopher

    Comment by Jeremiah Christopher -

  94. This won’t work and isn’t a feasible option. People want choice. You have a problem and you’re trying to solve that problem by making people operate within the box that you provide for them. Your forcing the user to get the content from where you provide it and how you let them. You can never offer the flexiblity of a PC, where the user can get it wherever and however they want.

    With the recent rulings, maybe there will be DVR’s consumers can purchase that you can get the cable or satelite provider’s feed, and also plug it into the network so you can also access video from any pc on the network. The xbox is very cool how you can do this but it limits you to WMV, which is why it’s not as big, it restricts the user.

    It seems like the best route are these devices that hook up to your tv and you hook it up to the network. Ideally it would be to not have this extra box, and have this functionality built into the DVR.

    Comment by MetaGunny -

  95. Mark, your bias is going to hurt you in the long tail, oops… i mean long run. people want both quality and control but what so many are drawn to now is the control aspect. content put out by traditional gatekeepers is consistently getting trashier and trashier. not too mention the propaganda that is forced upon the people 24/7 like “24”.

    that show is neocon garbage and many are sick and tired of it, who cares if the picture is incredible. i rarely watch mainstream anything these days because i have too much content to choose from that isn’t mind numbing. personally the cable companies can go to h***, they are the problem not the solution.

    Comment by Rat -

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