An Internet Video Blast From the Past

Thanks to a comment poster for bringing this back to my attention.  Its an interesting read from November of 1999.  I sure had high hopes for video.


by Larry Lemm
November 1999

Videomaker: What is and what do you offer fledgling video distributors?

Cuban:’s mission is to turn the Internet into a broadcast medium. We are much like the DirecTV of the Internet. We have put together the technology, infrastructure and software, and have aggregated content in order to aggregate audience. With this base, we offer content creators the ability to put their products of all kinds in front of an audience at a minimal cost.

Videomaker: Recently, I believe you made the statement “eventually most of the streaming video that people will see on the Internet will be home videos.” Why do you think that is true?

Cuban: Only because of sheer numbers. It will be so easy to present video to small audiences. Instead of the summer vacation or wedding video sitting on the shelf, we will post them on our family web sites so that grandma and grandpa can watch whenever they want. We will do the same with high schools posting their games, debates and school plays.

It will be far more convenient than corralling everyone into the family room or making copies of the tape to send everywhere. When you add up the numbers, a couple of hours from a lot of families dwarf the total amount of content created by traditional producers.

Videomaker: When do you think we’ll see this shift in focus from commercial video to personal video on the net?

Cuban: Over the next two years, as people get cable modems and DSL lines, they will start to put pictures, then videos up. All you have to do is look at the new Sony PCs with IEEE 1394 i.LINK interfaces to see how easy it will be. Soon all PCs will have these interfaces and the floodgates will open.

Videomaker: What opportunities do you think this will present to videographers, Webmasters and advertisers?

Cuban: There are two elements here, true businesses and labors of love. The labors of love that are non-commercial, will thrive. People will create their own El Mariachi-type productions for the ego gratification and some will get discovered and go on to bigger and better things.

For businesses, there will always be a place for quality production. The quantity of home video will almost be equaled by the quantity of corporate video. These businesses will need top-notch production services for Internet and Intranet video. Every new product, shareholders meeting, new building and maybe even new employee will have some video component that will be hosted by the company. Webmasters will have to know how video on the Internet works and have partnerships in place to host and promote content that will reach outside the corporation.

For advertisers, the realization should set in very quickly that the Internet world is no longer flat. That banners to catch people’s attention will diminish in effectiveness and video and other multidimensional elements, from animation to future media types will take their place. The agencies and advertisers that learn to harness this ability, particularly in a broadband world, will get far better results

Videomaker: What will do to support this trend?

Cuban: We will continue to build our infrastructure to support the largest possible audience. We currently are pushing out broadband video at 700k, 30 frames per second. We will continue to push the envelope of technology, working with advertisers to introduce broadband video ads on our site, Media Asset Management partners such as ISLIP technology and with digital distribution opportunities as well.

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 over your Internet connection. You will just hit a button on the remote and go back to eating popcorn.

Videomaker: What is the most important thing a home videographer can do to get ready to stream video?

Cuban: Play with it. The more you know, the more you can try. You can go to or and find out what you need to digitize your creations. Once you have learned to digitize, you can get low-cost hosting space on sites like and upload.

Videomaker: Where do you think the future of Internet video is headed?

Cuban: All media used to be defined by its spectrum or physical form. You had a TV channel. You had a tape. Now all media is going digital. In a digital world, media can be stored on any digital platform, from a hard drive to a personal digital recorder. Or it can be transported on any digital medium from digital cable to DTV, to dialup over AOL. Because digital transport, like the Internet is becoming more available and less expensive, I think we will see digital video content becoming far more available where we want it, how we want it. This is both good news and bad news for the video business. It means there will always be an outlet for your work and that there will always be production demand. But because everyone has access, there will be far more competition to be seen.

Videomaker: What do you think will be the biggest innovation for streaming video in the next year?

Cuban: Falling bandwidth prices. More bandwidth to the office and home means more choice and opportunity.

18 thoughts on “An Internet Video Blast From the Past

  1. should have been, but instead it just disappeared. I typed in in to my browser and it just goes to No video to be seen.

    Comment by Chris Nystrom -

  2. Pingback: Mark Cuban thinks video will be 1999. - Matt Gerlach

  3. Mark if you have any other great ideas and you need investors, give me a call. I have $100.00 burning a hole in my pocket.

    Comment by MIKE HYPE -

  4. This feature film movie trailer was shot recently in Fort Worth,TX. Technology is changing the scope of who has access to quality equipment.

    Comment by Julie -


    Comment by DON -

  6. Mark – You are right that broadband to the homes is not as cheap as it should be. In this economic downturn, a lot of people are not seeing the value of cable and broadband for the high dollar monthly expense and they are canceling service all across the country in unprecedented numbers. Frankly, I don’t see why it has to be so expensive, either. This is something that should be getting cheaper and better like the rest of the computers and electronics in today’s world.

    Comment by Vicki -

  7. Videomaker: Recently, I believe you made the statement “eventually most of the streaming video that people will see on the Internet will be home videos.” Why do you think that is true?

    Cuban: Only because of sheer numbers. It will be so easy to present video to small audiences. Instead of the summer vacation or wedding video sitting on the shelf, we will post them on our family web sites so that grandma and grandpa can watch whenever they want. We will do the same with high schools posting their games, debates and school plays.

    Umm….Can you say YouTube?

    Comment by Mike -

  8. Pingback: An Internet Video Blast From the Past « blog maverick | All About Technology

  9. Why do you have to whine with everything dude ? Get a life.

    Comment by Chut Fakir -

  10. Technology is like the stock market, if you can read it and predict where it is going you can make a lot of money. Reading this is amazing to realize it is 10 years old and how it all makes sense now!

    Comment by Geoff C -

  11. I’m interested to know if you disagree with anything your ten-year-ago-self said here as it relates to what your ten-year-from-now-self may be thinking….

    From MC> The difference between now and then is that bandwidth to the home isnt as cheap or plentiful as I expected, plus there are more standards and advances happening in cable/rboc video than with internet video. I never imagined that would happen. Google is in a position that they can kill off anything they dont support and that wasnt an option back then

    Comment by Fred H Schlegel -

  12. lol thats pretty funny pretty much the opposite of what you said a couple of posts ago..
    thats ok though.. people tend to speak to what they are most heavily invested in at the time. kudos for having the guts to post it.

    From MC> Its from 10 years ago. The sad part would be if it was the same today.

    Comment by savednoteguy -

  13. The $5 billion. I bet Yahoo! right now wishes they threw it into “Twitter” instead! Content discussions recently: All going Twitter. If I log onto Twit, press click Mav’s and Nuggett’s vs. Mav’s pops up tonight on demand. I will start paying for the privilege. For the instant connected service, ON TWITTER! The “next” buyout.

    Comment by patrick @ Santa Barbara, CA -

  14. Mark,

    As a former employee of (and subsequently Yahoo! Broadcast), it was a joy to read this blast from the past.

    It’s amazing how spot-on your comments are in today’s digital video distribution landscape.

    Thanks for everything (and THANK YOU for turning around my beloved Dallas Mavericks!)

    Jeff Skaggs

    Comment by Jeff Skaggs -

  15. It is amazing how the urge to hear Hoosier games virtually created a new medium. It will be interesting in the next 10 years to read back to the founding articles about HDNet… I mean who (7+ years ago) would think everyone would only want to watch HD???

    Comment by Jon -

  16. One of the movies I caught at SxSW this month was “We Live in Public” that follows the story arc of Jupiter/Pseudo and Internet video issues at the dawn and to even today.

    Others were certainly were not alone in high hopes. I still stand by my prior comments on “The Great Internet Video Lie” post.

    What we are still missing is the proper attack for the problem itself and the perception of the problem. Just yesterday I had lunch with smaller plant heavy IPTV providers (VoDSL/FTTH/CLEC/RLEC/etc.) and it was apparent that the answer won’t be over sized as much as it will be right sized.

    Things are just starting to get interesting but not for the new ideas… but rather for the -same- ideas with new possibilities through technology.

    After all, technology is merely a response to a perceived need.

    Comment by Jay Cuthrell -

  17. Outstanding. You had high hopes but in many regards you were wickedly accurate. Based on all your recent posts it would seem the more you learned the more pessimism crept in to your perspective.

    “We are much like the DirecTV of the Internet.”

    Seeing this after all your previous posts I can’t help but feel your setting a stage.

    What’s up your sleeve Mark? Count me in, I’m on board.

    Comment by BillFitz -

  18. Mark,
    Again, what you were describing in 1999 and what the overwhelming of your blog readers seem to move towards today looks more and more like a Digital Signage business model:a global operating system platform scalable and programmable from the hundreds of thousands of users down to one.
    This answes our desire of: (1)control over content consumption and (2)some form of interactivity with the medium allowing you to:
    – Flexibility to watch your favorite shows when and how you want.
    – Download and watch your family pictures ( vacation slide shows, or kids sports, games and activities) etc…on the same TV medium.
    – Program and control the content of what is being viewed by your kids on that same TV screen etc….
    At that point the visual support (TV screen, HD, internet monitor) does not matter as much as the application that it provide. Your thoughts.

    Comment by Michel Thomas -

Comments are closed.