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Summary:

Ars Technica is covering the quiet release of Apple’s support for Video Podcasting. The field of People’s Media is about to get more interesting. A similar effort was actually pioneered by ParticipatoryCulture.org and their DTV platform. Nick had also written a piece on finding audio and […]

Ars Technica is covering the quiet release of Apple’s support for Video Podcasting.

The field of People’s Media is about to get more interesting. A similar effort was actually pioneered by ParticipatoryCulture.org and their DTV platform.

Nick had also written a piece on finding audio and video content by subscribing to a custom RSS feed in iTunes.

I’m looking forward to geeks everywhere putting-up web servers in their homes, serving podcasts and making the most of their broadband connectivity.

Many of us aren’t at home during business hours, yet this bandwidth could, and ought to be put to use. While typically slow on the upstream, home bandwidth isn’t metered the way it is capped or metered at web hosting shops. Most notably in the U.S. we need to drive-up demand for broadband.

128K upstreams are NOT broadband. The Internet allows us, in principle, to do far more than surfing the web and checking e-mail. Audio and Video podcasts, SIP-based audio and video communications ought to help drive this point home. (For the Geek-Minded: read David Beckemeyer’s perspective on how we broke the Internet)

Cable and Telephone companies always have, and, thanks to recent FCC regulation, will continue to retain a certain choke-hold on U.S. consumer broadband pipes, with very little motivation to increase it beyond what’s required from market pressure. And there currently isn’t any. While consumers in Japan and South Korea are used to multi-megabit connectivity up and down, we in the U.S. continue to wallow in the digital lifestyle stone-age.

Here’s to insurrection.

Update: David Moore, from ParticipatoryCulture.org, was kind enough to address a few questions I had for him related to this post, comparing Internet TV and Video podcasts:

BitTorrent is a pillar of our internet TV platform, precisely because it makes it affordable to broadcast really amazing video. With bittorrent, you don’t need to be a huge broadcaster anymore to be able to reach millions of people… that’s what makes internet TV such an exciting medium and such a level playing field.

Our Broadcast Machine bittorrent publishing software offers that kind of scalability, so that whether you’re publishing video just to your family or to hundreds of thousands of viewers, you don’t have to worry about high bandwidth costs. In that way, even though we sometimes use the analogy that internet TV is like “podcasting for video,” there’s a fundamental difference between self-publishing audio and video. Creators could probably afford to publish a high-quality podcast via HTTP download on their website. But they couldn’t necessarily afford to do the same for a long, high-resolution video — which is why bittorrent is such an important part of the equation. If you’re a documentary filmmaker and you want to put high-resolution video out there, bittorrent is by far the most affordable way of doing it. Or if you simply want to broadcast a video blog from your living room, bittorrent is a way to do it with peace of mind that it’s virtually free.

Internet TV is still an emerging medium, so there will be a lot more publishing and viewing options to come. What we’re working on with Broadcast Machine and DTV is to ensure that there’s a free and open-source platform available to users, that’s built on open-standards like BitTorrent, RSS, and VLC. As we’ve seen with Mozilla’s products, often times the open-source applications are able to take the lead, and we think that’s the best-case scenario for internet TV.

By Chris Holland

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  1. A-men brother.

    regularly downloaded video podcasts should sufficiently crash a few providers. I just hope they’ll upgrade appropriately instead of telling us, “Cease and Desist!”

    here’s to bandwidth out the rear orifice.

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  2. being an avid uploader, i too am sick of the ‘choke-hold’ held by cable companies, especially the company in my area. hopefully enough people will get into video up- and downloading to cause broadband providers to increase bandwidth.

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  3. What we need is more companies like Covad. In areas where you can get your DSL through Covad, you’re likely to get at least twice the speed that you get from telcos. Not much, but it’s a start. Thing is Covad isn’t yet ready/able to lower its prices dramatically as they’ve just spent a ton of money deploying their own hardware in phone central offices across the United States. Covad only resells broadband, wholesale, to independent ISPs. So we need more independent ISPs such as Speakeasy (who almost exclusively deals with Covad), or EarthLink (who started out with telcos, and migrated some areas to dealing with Covad, but not all), to really do a lot of business with Covad. Phone companies don’t much like being wholesalers. They just want to sell you, the user, crappy broadband at the highest price they’ll get away with in a market with little to no competition.

    Phone companies suck. They’re evil. All of them. I’m mulling over a post outlining steps i’ve just taken to ensure no phone company gets a red cent from me. they involve speakeasy and lingo.com

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  4. You may be interested to know that Yahoo! BB is currently offering fibre connectivity with 100Mbit up and down, and labelling that a “home” product. Having looked at the technical details:

    60Gbit backbone
    1Gbit pipes into homes
    …the above to better guarantee the 100Mbit up/down speeds

    Then it starts to get really galling – £10/$18 as a set-up fee, then £35/$70 (roughly) per month. I’ve used fibre in Japan, and fuck me if it isn’t quick. I remember leaving a BitTorrent going for a day or so once and coming back to find that it had uploaded over 70Gb! Seventy gigabytes! That’s insane!

    But – and this is a significant but – remember that this is all fibre, and bear in mind that at the moment large parts of Japan are not fibred-up, so to speak. The ADSL packages are not unimpressive, but are a little more down to earth, with download speeds ranging from 8 to 50Mbit and upload from 900Kbit to 8Mbit. Sychronous upstream/downstream speeds may not be possible without fancy (i.e. expensive) kit on the customer’s end, and so is not practical. Also, don’t forget the all-crucial factor in ADSL – distance-to-exchange. Given Japan’s higher densities, this is far more possible, but simply isn’t in some areas of the USA.

    I’m pleased to say that the UK is finally starting to get its act together. Local loop unbundling (as extensively covered by The Register), being the process by which BT (the former state-owned monoply) loses control over the “last mile” of copper down to your house, is making good progress, and we are starting to see packages offering speeds in excess of 20Mbit downstream. I myself am on an 8Mbit connexion at the moment, and I think we get 1Mbit upstream. But again, do consider the UK’s greater densities, and the fact that, ironically, our own government is more committed to unfettered business competition than your own Land of the Supposedly Free.

    Certainly in telecommuncations, anyway. :P

    Gareth

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  5. Gareth: nice perspectives!

    A few friends had been telling me about the fiber speeds they get in Japan. Simply amazing. Fiber has started rolling out in my area, through Verizon.

    Without going all fiber, there’s plenty of potential for ADSL and ADLS2 to give us greater bang for the buck. But that’s not in the telco’s interest. Sadly. Even in France, my parents have been getting amazing speeds for dirt cheap over DSL. Check out the packages free.fr is offering. Check out the FreeBox … tripleplay. My Mom’s had hers for a couple of years. Latest versions are sleeker.

    I agree that in the U.S., our territory is far more spread out. There is however no shortage of homes who can get the most out of ADSL. Including mine.

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