The Venice Project: Better Title Might Be YAITVP (Yet Another Internet TV Project)

The first thing The Venice Project has going for it is impeccable lineage — impeccable in internet terms, that is. Its older siblings are Kazaa and Skype and, as Om explains in his deep look at the tech behind it, they all share the same p2p DNA. That leads to the second thing — which is both good and bad. Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, the creators of the three services and the technology behind them, have Google or Jobs-like status when it comes to new projects: they could start work on a stealth grocery list and people would clamor to see it, be part of it, do their shopping for them, invest in the grocery store. That’s not to say the Venice Project wouldn’t be worthy of attention otherwise but it’s certainly the reason TVP is already on its way to being one of the most-hyped broadband video/TV efforts in a category where start-ups are multiplying as fast as tribbles.
So what is The Venice Project? A code name for a service that would allow viewers to watch high-quality streaming professional video (movies, TV, etc.) using p2p instead of a central server and meshing TV with web capabilities like tagging and search. The plan calls for working with content providers to distribute legit content — no, this isn’t the first p2p effort to do that — and, as the FAQ says, to make it “as TV-like as we can, with programmes, channels and adverts.” They also want to mesh TV and web in terms of revenue — advertising with rev sharing. Limited beta started last month and the list is already closed to new would-be testers; so far, no live TV. The goal is a consumer launch in 1H07.
WSJ: Mike Homer, chief executive of nonprofit Internet-video service Open Media Network and co-founder of online video company Kontiki Inc., which was purchased by VeriSign Inc. last year, tells the Journal TVP “is incredibly cool” but “not so unique.” Fris says the difference will be in the quality and the full-length offerings. He also promises this service will not accept user uploads until quality and content issues are verified.
InfoWorld: InfoWorld and others are tackling the bandwidth issue, the claim that TVP requires so much bandwidth it could cause users ISP problems. In fact, the beta material warns users to check their ISP plans for caps. But Fredrik de Wahl, the CEO of Joltid, which owns the p2p technology, tells Om that when the Mozilla-based player is idle, it uses minimal bandwidth and argues that “online video is a bandwidth-intensive application, and all net video providers will be consuming a lot of bandwidth.”
Perhaps the biggest question isn’t whether it will work or even how good it will be in relation to other efforts but whether the real profit for its developers once again will be in selling for big bucks while the new owner has to make it pay.

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