Google said something very right the other day. â€œThe web infrastructure – and even Googleâ€™s – doesnâ€™t scale, Itâ€™s not going to offer the quality of service that consumers expect.â€ In short. TV is going to ruin the Internet. They are right. We don’t have the fat pipes we need for everyone to get their TV off the public Internet. That is why Microsoft’s IPTV uses a Walled Garden approach.
Think of the Internet as well the Internet, and your ISP as a corporate Intranet. Between you and your office mate there is a lot of bandwidth. That Fat Gigabit connection is yours to do what you please. Share Files, Collaborate on Documents, what ever your heart desire… Only trouble is he is sitting write next to you which makes this less than exciting, Unless your office mate has 1000’s of hours of video that you are anxious to watch.
It is unlikely that your office mate has 1000’s of hours of anything, but if you take the analogy and think about what ATT has on their servers on their Intranet you start to see that this can be interesting.
Richard Alden, chief executive of Spanish cable company ONO states, â€œMost of the Internet traffic is peer-to-peer, and most of that is video. Every year we have to invest substantially just to maintain the user experience. In fact it has actually decreased.â€
Comcast has recently started to tell users they have to use less Internet or face being banned. ISP’s can’t afford to sell you bandwidth at $30 a month if you actually use all of it. But if you only connect to servers they own the bandwidth approaches free.
Not only is this good for them it is good for you. The “Real” Internet is not actually a good way of moving content in a timely manner. Latency, packet loss, and bandwidth limitations all limit how good of an experience you can have when streaming video. Unless you have large buffers which means slower channel changes, and more delay when coming from fast forward or rewind, you will have stutters and dropped frames when packets arrive late.
To this end Google is correct. TV shouldn’t be delivered over the Public Internet. It should be delivered over closed sections of Intranet where the ISP has control over the Quality of Server (QoS) and can ensure that your experience is consistent.
Robert Cringely states the obvious “It is becoming very obvious what will happen over the next two to three years. More and more of us will be downloading movies and television shows over the net and with that our usage patterns will change.” As Xbox Live Market Place delivers TV Shows to your TV via the public Internet, and Amazon now offers Unboxed as a service providing TV to your PC. Fox, ABC, NBC, and others offer Shows for your iPod which are delivered over the public Internet. And we all want our content in HD. Internet video has moved from being 300-500k just a year and a half ago to it routinely being 3-6 megabits depending on if it is Amazon, or Xbox Live Market Place.
Google controls more network fiber than any other organization. It strikes me that this could be Google’s play to be “The Internet”. While Akamai, Lime Light, and other in the Content Delivery Network business have made a tidy living promising QoS that exceeds what a typical ISP could offer, they are quite small when stacked against Google. Google has the peering relationships, the Points of Presence, the Name Recognition, everything except the prowess in the video space. They failed with Google Video, and they are floundering with YouTube. In fact the Lawsuits brought against them by all of the content providers they would want to woo if they were to offer a “Real” IPTV service are making YouTube such a liability to Google that if I were Google, I’d pay another Billion and be rid of it, seeing as I see it as the biggest obstacle to a project that is where the real money is. Delivering real content in mass to Televisions in a manner that meets my definition of IPTV. TV that once the set top box is hooked up my Grandma doesn’t notice it is any different than the TV she has used the last 50 years.
As to “the Who” not thinking that the Internet is good for music… Well they are Old. And we never did get the Internet Radio to work the way I said IPTV needs to. Radio delivered over IP that works just like my Grandma remembers Radio working for the last 50 years.