Cuban disses--again--on Internet video
Mark Cuban was one of the first to call Google's $1.65 billion buyout of YouTube a boneheaded move--and he's not letting up. Cuban, in his latest blog rant, assures cable and satellite companies there's no need to worry that YouTube-style programming sent over the Internet will be their death knell.
Let's leave Cuban's motive aside (he is, after all, the co-founder of HDNet, a TV network delivered via cable and satellite) and consider his reasoning: As high-definition TVs become more affordable, everyone will want them. "Compressed web video looks bad if you try to expand it to fill your PC monitor," argues Cuban. "It becomes abstract art if you try to put it on your HDTV."
Even before you get to the challenge of delivering high-def video over a home Internet connection, Cuban argues, the first problem for Internet video buffs is that most PCs simply can't deliver high-def signals to high-def TVs. That's because the connection formats are incompatible--and Cuban thinks they're going to stay that way. Ergo, all those HDTVs, cheap or no, now showing up in living rooms will guarantee the survival of HD cable boxes and satellite. If the cable crowd plays this right, says Cuban, "video over the internet replacing cable and satellie would be just an amusing memory."
When Cuban speaks, some pundits listen (and others don't). Robert Scoble takes Cuban on with details of how his own MacGyver-like wireless xBox 360-driven home entertainment system works beautifully:
My Media Center-run PC hooks up to my Ethernet jack, which hooks up to a Wifi router. My Wifi router sprays its packets down (via 802.11a) to a Wifi antenna on my Xbox 360. Those packets get decoded, and sent from my Xbox 360 over its HD component cables to my Sony 60-inch HDTV. Which displays them for me to watch.Well, The Browser figures that if the future of Internet TV depends on Scoble's setup arriving in every American home, then Cuban just might be right. Then again, the snarky Dave Winer has a more relevant response: The connectivity problem, he says, may not dampen demand for Internet video. "I bought a Mac just to be part of my home entertainment system, and...I watch it a lot more than I watch the danged settop box, even though my Mac can’t produce an HD signal, and I love HD."
Therein lies the flaw in Cuban's self-serving argument: He misses the disruptive nature of Web video. People love high-def, for sure, but they're even more fascinated by LonelyGirl15, and her scratchy Web-cam quality videos. Remember, early PCs couldn't do much more than say "Hello World," but that didn't stop their march. The medium, not the signal quality, is the message.
I would posit that today's younger generation (children of the baby boomers, I guess) spend (much) more time in front of the computer screen than the TV. In the not-too-distant future the Computer will absorb the TV, not the other way around. GooTube over HDNet any day.
What appears to be disruptive and world changing today, is usually still waiting to take over the world 2 or 3 years later.
Just look at online downloads of movies.
the list is long.
if lonelygirl is any more disruptive than the thousands of viral videos sent via email over the years, then the disrupters are in trouble :)
And you are right. THe medium is the message and the HDTV in the center of your living room that you just asked for and got for christmas is the medium you want to see the message on.
When HDTVs become ubiquitous, internet video will still have its roll. It will always dominate in office entertainment, but it certainly wont be attracting millions of SIMULTANEOUS users to any program anytime soon.
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