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The Video Bay to Push Open Video (Someday)

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One of The Pirate Bay’s long-discussed side projects, video streaming site The Video Bay, finally has posted a couple of public test clips and revealed a bit of a game plan. But for now it’s in “extreme beta” and may not go live for potentially one to five years, according to the TPB spokesperson quoted by TorrentFreak.

The most notable planned feature for The Video Bay is that it will use open video. For an extended primer on what that means, please see my feature story from last week. On the user side, The Video Bay won’t require Flash (or other plug-ins); you can just view video right in the browser. But you will have to download a new browser that supports HTML 5. Today, such browsers are Firefox 3.5 beta 4, Opera 9.52 preview, Google Chrome 3, Safari 3.4 or Safari 4. If you’re in an older (though in many cases the most current release version) browser, no dice (hence the screenshot above for those who’d rather not upgrade just yet).

While The Video Bay won’t use peer-to-peer technology, the attraction is clearly creating a YouTube (s GOOG) alternative that’s not plagued by takedowns. Without buying into proprietary codecs and plug-ins, TPB may be able to stay out of the fray to some extent. But video will still have to be hosted and streamed from somewhere, meaning the folks behind TPB could potentially be much more at risk for being liable for copyright infringement (something they’ve already been found guilty for, even though TPB simply indexes torrents today). Another problem is that Ogg Theora open video encoding isn’t really up to par with today’s standard (see the clip pictured above, though the format probably isn’t the only factor at fault for the pixelation).

The fact is, many a site has tried to defeat YouTube by using comparatively lax standards, and none of them have knocked off the king. By the time The Video Bay actually makes its debut, YouTube itself may well have already started using open video as well, since Google is one of the key advocates of HTML 5. The Pirate Bay does have its 25 million users as a potential audience, though.