Friday, June 6, 2008

Internet TV - the future of home entertainment

So, everybody knows about YouTube. It’s a great timewaster… you can find everything on there from HR PuffnStuff to tours of the Large Hadron Collider. That’s the ultimate video-on-demand. If you have your PC hooked up to your HDTV like me, YouTube is a great alternative to the boob-tube – especially nowadays when there is nothing but crap on cable.

Now what I really want is the best of both worlds: the wide immediate selection of YouTube at the length & quality of HD television. That won’t be possible until the next generation of broadband evolves. In the meantime, media content from the big networks and creative individuals are all flocking to the web. There are some great sites & resources in addition to YouTube that are here for your enjoyment today:

Miro – This is a great front-end to the wide world of podcast & torrent content out there. Because you subscribe to ‘channels’ which automatically download new content for you to watch at your convenience, you can have higher quality (and sometimes even HD).

Hulu – This site was started by NBC & NewsCorp, so it has a solid collection of ‘legal’ high-quality content. They insert ads in the middle of full-length shows & movies… just like the ol’ days before you had a DVR!

Vimeo – This is a user-generated video site, but allows longer length & plays higher quality than YouTube. It seems to have a more artsy-fartsy userbase… which leads to some very cool entertainment.

Others – There’s Blinx, which claims to be the best video search (although Google & YouTube suit me just fine). Other’s I haven’t checked out much are Soapbox, Break.com, Jumpcut, Blip.tv, Metacafe, Revver, iFlim.

I look forward to a future where I believe all entertainment will eventually be ‘on-demand’ and internet based (along with everything else in our lives). It will be interesting to see how the advertising adapts to the new form - whether it be plugged into streaming content I can't skip, played along-side where I try to ignore it, or integrated into content (like in the movie 'The Truman Show').

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