Web Not Good Enough for TV?


There tends to be a lot of confusion around the term IPTV. It doesn’t mean video streamed over the free-and-clear Internet like YouTube. It means television that is streamed over a regulated IP network. In other words, IPTV requires some service provider manage the quality and security of the television experience.

Yesterday Google warned publicly that the Web cannot support broadcast-quality Internet TV over the long term. The system won’t scale. So what does Google plan to do about it? Apparently the company wants to work with cable operators to “combine its technology for searching for video and TV footage and its tailored advertising with the cable networks’ high-quality delivery of shows.”

This is a very interesting proposition. My opinion has always been that Internet and television companies will have to find ways to work together because neither can support everything in the television 2.0 world. However, will the ultimate solution turn out to be a few marriages of convenience between Goliath-sized companies? Or are we seeing a window of opportunity for smaller companies that can bring competitive advantage to one or the other side? For example, there are some very good video search companies doing very innovative things right now. How much does the cable industry need Google? (This is a serious question. I don’t have the answer to it.)

On the back end of things, Google is admitting it doesn’t have the infrastructure to support television delivery. Does this mean that operators have the upper hand because of their existing distributed networks? Or does Google have an ace up its sleeve with their huge amount of storage and processing power? How attractive are Google’s resources when paired with the company’s ability to charm consumers and make Wall Street happy?

Honestly, this has all the makings of a geeky choose-your-own-adventure book.

Update: Mark Cuban blogged last night on the Google news and pointed back to a detailed post of his from last year discussing this very issue. Worth a look.

3 thoughts on “Web Not Good Enough for TV?”

  1. Oh, no; the sky just fell again.

    So Google paid all that money for YouTube and can’t make use of it? Were they a) wrong when they bought it, b) wrong now, or c) right because there are other options? c.

    Think about buying hardend umbrellas at Cisco. ;)

  2. Hey Dave interesting article!

    I dont think TV companies or emerging web video companies do need Google

    while the infrastructure is not here now, it is on its way. While IPTV/Internet TV won’t make it mainstream this year, or probably the year after, it will make it mainstream when the standard technology can cope with it, which will be within the next decade. at this time it will be scalable – especially if P2P is used.

    People are already happily sharing video on bitorrent networks in the millions, and that is very scalable.

    What Google is really saying is we aren’t going to compete with you on TV so please license our advertising system.

    I wrote about it here:

  3. Google buying a web video company for a lot of money doesn’t all of the sudden make them experts on web video. In fact, they are going to look pretty goofy when the media big boys take the gloves off. A spanking of the new kid is on the way.

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