Internet TV: Everybody wants to play

wii

Last week we commented on the move of Adobe into Internet TV – beyond the pure technology role they already play in YouTube. After testing Adobe Media Player, I like it specially for the control it gives you to decide what to watch every night, compared to regular TV. Technically, in slow broadband connections the streamed programmes do not play optimally, with too much re-buffering. I would have preferred a progressive downloadapproach, such as the one YouTube uses: i.e. you can start watching the show before it is downloaded, but once downloaded, you can watch it as many times as you want without any buffering, as the file is in a temporary folder in the local drive.

There were more Internet TV news last week, which ReadWriteWeb compiles and comments:

  • Blockbuster moving online after recent acquisition of Movielink, with plans to launch an Internet TV set-top box, a la AppleTV, Netflix, Tivo or Vudu.
  • BBC iPlayer will be made available in Nintendo Wii console, what would make Wii a stronger player in a field where it is lagging behind PS3 and Xbox360. The iPlayer will use the Web browser with flash support in Wii. More than 42 million programmes have been accessed through iPlayer since Christmas 2007 launch until March.
  • Babelgum, Joost competitor, is moving from purely content distribution to content creation by setting up a $10m production fund.

Everybody wants to play in Internet TV. This is becoming a threat to telcos that have deployed IPTV. While IPTV is still superior in terms of user experience and it is able to appeal to a wider audience (not necessarily techie or PC savvy), Internet TV just make use of the increasing bandwidth available to offer Internet TV with a global reach, not tied to a broadband access provider.

Exclusive content (like football, NBA or F1), ease of use, and user experience will keep IPTV differentiated for a while. As Internet TV catches up, IPTV providers will need to add more applications to still win the race.

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