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iPod Touch And Media Servers Bring Video Downloads To Home And The Road

Oct 9, 2007
We are living in an exciting time. As the Web 2.0 bubble expands and the popularity and acceptance of user-driven ( which is just another word for independent, btw) content increases, we are finally seeing "new and improved" ways of consuming this content. Streaming is still the most popular method of watching internet distributed content. But, with the introduction of the new iPod touch, iPhone, slingmedia slingbox, TiVo, and Apple TV, we are begining to see the completion of the distribution channel from content creation to internet distribution to delivery in the family room and your pocket.

I don't think the importance of this can be underestimated. Think back to 5 years ago...how much online video was distributed? What were the levels of quality? It is easy to see how far we have come. A parallel can be made to the software industry. It is now very rare to run off to the store to purchase software. Yes, major packages such as an OS upgrade, Office suite or design/production software are still delivered on physical media. But most small to medium sized software packages are purchased and distributed online. This trend has moved to the music industry with iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster. This is a huge shift that will also sweep up the video industry.

The audience for watching video on a computer is small. I doubt that anyone over 45 is even willing to try watching more than a 3 minute clip on a computer screen. Long form programs such as TV shows and movies belong on a TV. Another important factor is comfort. Most people want to sit, back, relax and enjoy the show...that is hard to do in an office or den setting. The final issue is that TV viewing-especially for movies-is considered to be a group activity. Many people like to watch movies with family and friends, this is impossible to do when all huddled around the computer.

So, we have new exciting options available. While geeks have been pumping online content to media center PCs or hacked Xboxes for years, we are now moving into the land of the rest of us. The new devices promise plug-and-play simplicity and a "look mom, no wires" approach to download movies off the net or from other networked computers.

The abiity to watch independent content in the family room is a huge win for content creators. Anyone can grab a DV camera and make a movie. We've seen this through the past five years in the explosion of no-budget filmmaking. The hardest part has always been getting your movie seen. Now with the internet as the distribution channel we've eliminated the need for getting a "real" distribution deal. And now, that we can get into the family room it's time to grab the popcorn!

This trend is also moving to mobile video with the hot new iPod touch and iPhone. These devices offer beautiful large displays, decent battery life and support for movie downloads from a number of providers, including Apple's on iTunes and HungryFlix.
About the Author
It will be interesting to see the iPod video download market expand and grow over the next few years. Will 2008 be the year of video downloads? Time will tell.
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