Blog Post

Google’s Net Neutrality Flap: Think HD

Om’s been following this whole is-Google-being-evil-over-net-neutrality-or-not fiasco, but we wanted to take his analysis and go one further. Don’t just think YouTube; think premium full-length content from YouTube in HD and Google’s (s goog) moves make two tons of sense.

In a nutshell, Google’s OpenEdge initiative will put the company’s caching servers within a broadband provider’s facilities. By shacking up, users of those broadband providers will get faster access to Google and YouTube. Om writes:

By getting carriers to connect directly to via OpenEdge, consumers are able to better experience Google’s products, such as YouTube, because videos have to traverse fewer networks.

You may not think people need faster access to cat videos and Fred, but consider two things. First, YouTube has gotten itself on a bunch of Net-connected set-top boxes that plug directly into your TV: Apple TV (s aapl), TiVo (s tivo), Verismo, Panasonic televisions, etc. But who wants to watch cruddy-looking video on their 52-inch plasmas? No one.

So with the oldteevee delivery mechanisms in place, YouTube has also been snatching up all kinds of full-length premium content from MGM, Lionsgate, CBS (s cbs) and others. Not only that, but it went widescreen and switched on HD streams to make all those shows more watchable. And as we saw first-hand last week, YouTube in HD looks frickin’ sweet on a big TV (video demo embedded below).

But if you’re going to switch on YouTube to watch premium content, it better look good, it better arrive quickly, and it better be reliable. Google’s edge-caching moves help solidify that.

4 Responses to “Google’s Net Neutrality Flap: Think HD”

  1. this all makes sense in a world where we are stifled by internet speeds when it comes to watching our youtube videos in HD.

    in actuality, even for premium HD content i don’t have to wait for buffering or anything, because internet technology is such that even with the overly complex wiring of the net i am still getting more speed than i can use.

    a rewiring isn’t needed, and simply opens the web up to exploitation from large companies.

  2. I miss the connection to net neutrality, but what Chris brings out is a key point. The infrastructure required to deliver tons of video, and particlarly HD, is essential for successful delivery of content to make the net a viable, reliable distribution channel for high-qualaity video that people will watch. YouTube has the experience of high volumes of crappy UGC, and this requiers a lot of uumph under the hood. Now add solid a killer network infrastructure, better encoding to get HD to 2Mb, and arrays of automated transcoding capabilities the game changes. Drop in professional content and connections to TVs, and you have a full-on broadcast network infrastructure completly bypassing traditional b-cast networks. Chris is paying attention to an overlooked but critical component of the next-gen internet, and that is the infrastructure required for quality streaming. We discuss these and other related topics at

  3. Neno Brown

    Googles cache move solodify’s a monopoloy on VOD,

    If this service was open to all players in the VOD game then good but it is’nt; so we have a world dominated by the usual traditional broadcast parasitic behaviour of owning content creators copyrights and restrictions to boot.

    Google has their dominance in the VOD field because they forged that path, the same path anyone can take, only if they cut deals with ISP’s for google edge cache servers, then they effectivly control web tv.

    Not everyone can laydown the financial weight to achieve this, effectivly google hands power to the ISP to monetize the start-ups in the VOD field further creating barriers to entry.

    These barriers should not effect mankind who need to advance through knowledge and creativity.

    If google does this, they become a hybrid-Microsoft.