Have you ever wondered why there is such a large variation in the quality and access to video on the Internet?
Consumer Movies on Demand
As of 2008, the largest impediment to adoption of wide scale B2B SD and HD video is inter-carrier support for traffic tagging. Traffic tagging has to be honored across carriers to ensure end to end delivery of the data regardless of the interconnection and peering points.
Presently, between carriers there is only best effort. Plainly stated, there is no SLA across carriers. You can do CPA hops through meet-me rooms but that’s just not something that breeds mass adoption.
IP transport providers must follow the mobile industry carriers to work together for an “any network any time” model.
IPTV vs. Webcasting
Webcasting is typically associated with unicast delivery of on demand content to users with typical broadband Internet with standard browsers, media players, on a personal computer. This could be YouTube, Seesmic, or any of a number of startup companies attempting to give the user generated content revolution eyes and ears.
IPTV is typically associated with unicast delivery of on demand movies, multicast delivery of “cable TV”, and special programming such as games and information services to users with very high speed Internet connections such as fiber, ADSL2+, and metro Ethernet that mate to a set top box (STB) that connects to a standard or hidef television set. The STB has a (complex) remote control like that of a satellite or digital cable service but might also include a full size keyboard with a trackball and buttons.
Webcasting experiences involve buffering, waiting, and the joy of being able to share content by sending links via email so that others can share in the experience of what one has seen and enjoyed.
IPTV is an immediate gratification private experience geared to personal preferences.
Webcasting represents a delivery model not currently restrained by access to broadband access control. A company need not provide the Internet to the user to gain the user loyalty. A discussion of so-called Net Neutrality usually comes up at this point in any discussion.
IPTV represents significant re-investment by established players that offer control to broadband access. Traditional cable companies must perform a right angle turn to move to IPTV whereas telcos have to increase their control over discreet service levels based on content – i.e. 25Mbps worth of Internet DSL vs. 24Mbps of highdef IPTV content and 1Mbps of Internet
For unicast video conference between two parties, most people and companies are limited to a best effort service provider such as DSL, cable, or wireless. Metro Ethernet services have lowered prices for bandwidth and have given a new lease on life for the lower end approach to video conference.
The best bet for “slick” continues to be two matched iMac’s with a built in iSight cameras or opt for matching Mini’s and iSights with nice LCD panels. Applications that work for a homogenous approach include iChat and SightSpeed.
Other alternatives that are cross platform include iVisit, SiteSpeed, and various Flash based services. H.323 and SIP variants on video conference are still plagued by NAT traversal and tend to be designed with a hefty technical support in mind.
Related to this, Linux for the desktop has come a long way in terms of support for cross platform connections. There are caveats with Linux are a supported camera and kernel driver as well as a lowest common denominator selection for muxing video and audio between parties.
Some consumers will just want to buy a “box” and have things just work. DLink has a solution that does not require a PC. This solution is the DLink DVC-1000 Broadband Videophone.
Is the Internet a series of tubes?
It may sound funny or amusing but the new high speed networks may be tied together in ways we haven’t considered in mainstream discussions. There is precedent for the use of sewer egress for placement of high capacity optical transport.