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Saturday, April 23, 2005

Video/Audio/Image Content Distribution Channels on the PSP

Here is my unedited rant about streaming video content to the PSP. Take it for what it's worth...


Is it just me or are the big corporation missing out on a huge opportunity here? There are hundreds of these little gadget devices out there that have screen and speakers, and all of the new ones are coming out with Wireless Internet built in.

It only makes sense that the content creators figure out a way to get their content directly to the viewers and be able to charge them a fair price cutting out all of the middlemen.

I used to run one of the largest South Park Sites on the internet back in 1996 (yes I've been making webpages for quite a while now). Back then downloading video on the internet was not very exciting. It could take several nights of downloading on my 28.8 modem to get a full episode. And that was assuming you didn't get booted off the server half way through the download.

I bring this up because here we are in 2005. The internet has changed greatly. With all of the bit-torrent type protocols it is so easy to distribute content worldwide without breaking the bank on server fees. By just seeding all of your video content on a dedicated server, it is possible to have thousands of people viewing it within a few hours. The startup costs are minimal, and it does not take a genius to set up some .torrent files. Considering the average episode of anything is about 22 minutes long, and with advanced compression techniques such as Nullsoft's NSV or Microsoft's WMV codecs, it only takes a few hundred megs to deliver high resolution video across the net.

Back to South Park... Trey and Matt are smart guys. They have a good relationship with Comedy Central, and i'm sure they cash some nice check from them every week. But here they are broadcasting their episodes on Comedy Central, who chops up their episodes, and censors their content, and takes all of the advertising and merchandising revenues. Wouldn't it make sense for them to take their show to the internet and distribute it themselves on SouthParkStudios.com with some sort of distributed torrent mechanism? They would be cutting out the middlemen. They can get their own advertisers and they can broadcast their own content, keeping 100% of the profits.

Now before you say this is impossible, let me tell you that this is already being done. TVTorrents.com lets you download whatever episodes you want from their other members. Cartoon-Fridge.com also hosts episodes, but from what I can tell they are streaming everything from their own servers. And if you want to download South Park Episodes for free, they have them minutes after they air on southparkx.net and on IRC.

**UPDATE** Cartoon-Fridge has been shut down. (I am not suprised). However the owners of the site have a different site called http://craftytv.com/ where they have moved all of the cartoon content (if you are a member)

I'm not looking for the ultimate pirating site where I can download free version of all of the movies and music that I want, but I'd be willing to pay a reasonable subscription fee to be able to watch any of my favorite shows whenever and wherever I want. And, no 99 cents per show is not going to cut it. I want to pay a flat rate and have access to everything.

There could even be different pricing models.. For example if you are downloading a torrent on your PSP, you don't want it to be uploading all day, the batteries would be dead in an hour. So PSP users can pay a little more and only download while people with a hard connection have to upload and pay a little less to watch their content. The companies out there better get off their asses and figure out how to do this, otherwise someone else will beat them to it.

Yeah I'm talking about the cable companies: Cablevision.. Comcast.. etc..
and the networks... Comedy Central.. Cartoon Netowork.. Fox... etc..

And to the people that actually do all the work and make the content: Stop whoring your talents out to the advertisers and deliver your unedited art right to your viewers and fans.

This post will definitely piss off anyone who relies on these large companies for their well being, but honestly I don't care. I'm an American and I'm using my freedom of speech to say what I feel.
I don't pay over $100 a month for cable so I can watch crap and get bombarded with commercials that are broadcasted louder than the actual show. It's causing me to have to pull out my PSP every 10 minutes and adjust the volume on my TV with my PSP Home Automation Program.

I want an unlimited stream of content coming to me to entertain me wherever I go. And the PSP is the first device I have seen where this is technically possible. Now it's just a matter of getting the companies to agree on some rules and some fair pricing strategy to make this a reality.

Think this is a dumb idea? That's fine, but I will bet you that within the next 6 months when someone hacks the video player, and we will be able to start streaming video to the PSP and all of Sony's hopes and dreams of cashing in on this will be shattered, because they took their sweet ass time, and wasted months of development time with their MagicGate shit. Now I've been getting everything for free for months and it will be that much harder for you to convince me to pay for it.

for the record: I pay a lot of money to be entertained. (every month it's: $100 for cable, ~$20 for MP3s, $12 for Sirius satellite Radio, $20 for cell phone multimedia pack, $10-$15 for various MMORPGs, $10 for xbox live, $15 for blockbuster online, $12 for TIVO..., $?? on demand and PPV movies, ) the list goes on. So the greedy companies are already getting a lot of my money, yet I'm still not satisfied with the content they are delivering to my eyes and ears. Oh and lets not forget the initial costs to get these services started ($450 ipod, $1500 HDTV, $400 satellite hookup for my car, $50 for games, a $200 cell phone, $450 for PSP preorder, $200 TIVO). My point is it is not cheap and it's still garbage and I STILL have to watch these annoying commercials where they have the NERVE to want to charge me a few bucks more a month for RINGTONES@!!!! (yeah, I'm talking about you jamster..)


Step #1 unlock the video player and allow it to 'buffer' video content on the memory stick.
Step #2 build a web portal which shows all of the content available and requires a login to access
Step #3 construct a special browser link which launches the video player and starts buffering the video content.

If you have comments on this or ideas on how to make this video subscription service a reality leave me a comment, and I will contact you.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, all those links to torrent downloads you mention aren't coming up for me. :(

Good article though!

Jake
www.smackmybooty.com

9:15 AM  
Blogger Bud Wiser said...

Great page! Excellent points! Hope I can get away from my jamster ringtone long enough to come back again! Keep up the great work!
jamster ringtone

2:13 AM  

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