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Did any of you folks that attended CES2006 happen to attend either of the sessions that Barton presented at? These sessions were sponsored by EE Times so they were probably only promoted to professionals. I have underlined potions that echo what I have been saying regarding multimode (internet, cable, dbs) Tivos.
CommsDesign said:
session 1: TV/Web convergence: What'll it take?

Someday, the separate networks that provide TV and Internet services may converge, forcing a restructuring of multiple industries. Just how that momentous event may come about and what its impact might be will be debated in a panel discussion hosted by EE Times at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Jim Barton, co-founder and chief technology officer of Tivo, will challenge the panelists: How can we enable an open network, based on published protocols and interfaces, that carries both video and Web content?

Barton envisions an industry in which set-top makers like Tivo can build systems to be sold directly to consumers and connected to any network. He sees a day when those networks are themselves open to carrying services and applications from any TV or Web application provider.

Other industry observers share this vision. Consultant Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies notes that Web powerhouses like Google and Yahoo are essentially trying to build video engines on top of their search systems to become, in effect, Web-based broadcasters. Broadcasters say they will enter the digital age by offering multiple, customizable channels — a sort of MyCBS.

In tandem with these shifts in services will come shifts in the systems that deliver them.

For years, the industry has struggled to define the converged TV/Web box. The Gateway Destination was an early PC-centric concept that quietly died. WebTV Networks, founded by former Apple engineers, was a more consumer-friendly attempt that also failed.

Nevertheless, the underlying trends driving TV/Web convergence march forward.

Media is clearly going digital as the iPod's success has shown. As consumers see their PC libraries of digital photos and MP3 files grow, they will demand their home TVs and stereos link to the Web. And as cell phones with mobile TV services emerge, consumers are likely to expect even more digital video capabilities from their living room systems.

At the back end of the network, the rise of broadband Web access continues across several fronts, as all networks continue to move to Internet Protocol. The acquisition of set-top giant Scientific Atlanta by IP-network king Cisco Systems shows business leaders are preparing for the TV/Web convergence.

These changes come as the set-top box itself rises in prominence. Market watcher In-Stat estimates that 87 million digital set-tops shipped worldwide in 2005, a market that will hit 142 million in 2009. About three-quarters of last year's set tops are linked to satellite services, though terrestrial cable services dominate the U.S. market. Essentially all of today's new boxes are digital, though as many as 40 million U.S. homes still receive analog cable TV services, In-Stat estimates. Telephone companies getting into the video business with IPTV services are helping drive the digital media trend.

A number of regulatory hurdles stand in the way of a converged TV/Web network.

Protracted debates apparently have bogged down over how to enable the two-way Cable Card that would let third parties build interactive set-tops that could link to any network. Discussions of a downloadable security mechanism for cable networks appear to favor letting current cable TV suppliers keep a tight handle on their nets, Barton said.

Regulators are nudging the industry by considering mandates to turn off analog terrestrial services by early 2009. But the regulators have been less clear on "net neutrality," which would force closed cable-TV systems to open up to carrying any Internet-based services from third parties.

A handful of significant technology and business hurdles also stand in the way of TV/Web convergence.

Panel title: Television 2.0
Innovators' challenge:
How can we enable an open network, based on published protocols and interfaces, that carries both broadcast TV and Web content?

Panelists:
Jim Barton, co-founder and CTO, Tivo

Giel Rutten, senior vice president and general manager, Home Business Unit, Philips Semiconductors

Neal Goldberg, general counsel, National Cable and Telecommunications Association

Moderator:
Rick Merritt, editor at-large, EE Times
 

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Justin, you may be interested to know that TiVo's new VP of Content Services is talking today:

NATPE 2006
Insight Arena: Technology & Distribution: Advanced Opportunity
4:30-5:20 PM
Mandalay Bay Resort
Las Vegas, NV
Tuesday January 24, 2006
Speaker: Tara Maitra, Vice President, General Manager, Content Services, TiVo Inc.

I doubt TiVo will provide a webcast of this talk, but I'd be interested to know what she says. Tara came to TiVo via Comcast and Primedia. I think she's going to be our long tail advocate, and it will be interesting to see what she comes up with.
 

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Yes, that was my take on Maitra when she came on what- last fall sometime.

I could see her group cherry picking off of YouTube and Google the "best of", persuading them to go for big time exposure via Tivo servers in higher res using Mpeg2... Who knows maybe they rope TiVoShanan into hosting it kind of in a home videos type format. Maybe aggregate them into 30 minute shows... Or maybe keep them fragmented for easier referencing on a handheld or even a tivo. You really want thumbs up down to get an idea of viewer preferences so yeah- probably this content needs to remain fragmented. OK. So they can play it as an aggregated show complete with witty commentary and segways by making a new mode where you play all videos in a folder so user doesn't have to click around every 2 minutes. Then you have the granularity you need for user preferences metering, and referencing content metadata, but still have the playability.

Ultra shorts- that is 1.5 to 3 minutes seems the norm for the often viewed content. That may be a reflection of desk oriented viewing vs couch oriented. I dunno- It would be interesting to know details on how the market is segmented. Probably a little early though seeing as how Google video is only in its what- second week. (Only this morning they went to a format with huge network content in mini icons at the top- before they only had a few pay ones at the top.)

YouTube of course has been around a lot longer. I personally like it because it gives the user ratings and number of views.

Peter Sellers' line in "Being There" keeps coming up in my head... "I like to watch". And there is a LOT more to watch now. The variety is pretty astounding. Of course the pubescent Anime stuff has been around a long time but I am talking about stuff people are doing with beer cans on various parts of their body, or boys with dangerous toys, or extremely odd but fascinating skills people have picked up.
 
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