NYTimes.com Article: Pact Lifts an Obstacle to HDTV Transition

James Rogers jamesr@best.com
03 Jan 2003 11:54:15 -0800

On Fri, 2003-01-03 at 04:52, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> I just don't see HDTV landing.  Fixed standards and broadcast model are so
> dead; they just know it yet. CPU is so cheap now and codecs are
> sufficiently advanced that you can have a flexible multimedia format which
> is cast across the network, whether aether, fiber or wire. I think you can
> cobble together a very effective software-only solution to netcast
> multimedia using quantitative penetration of user base. Instead, they seem
> to discourage using P2P services, the fools. A custom version of a P2P
> suite like Overnet which limits network traffic to the local loop and
> tries to keep network within traffic will actually save them money and
> offer a distribution architecture for content virtually for free, as the
> hardware is already paid for and installed.

I'm mostly in agreement here.  By the time they get around to actually
implementing HDTV in any meaningful sense, the infrastructure will be in
place to deliver the same content to as big an audience via fat IP
transit, with all the additional benefits fast IP transit availability
offers over the traditional broadcast model.  I think that the broadcast
companies are at least aware of this possibility and are hedged for it.

What I think the broadcast companies aren't counting on is the
substantial flattening of IP transit architecture from the perspective
of the end user.  This will substantially impact the content market as
well, in addition to the distribution market.  I think most of the
entrenched media companies are assuming that they may lose control of
the distribution but are hoping to take advantage of a distribution
architecture that helps them maintain a content monopoly.  Good for us
and bad for them, I believe this architecture assumption will be a
quaint relic by the end of the decade.  A substantial flattening of the
IP transit architecture creates a huge reduction in the barrier to being
a content producer such that the content monopolies may find themselves
in the position of being just another slightly more visible face in a
sea of faces.

-James Rogers