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IPTV for the masses: a model for the future?

Kevin C. Tofel

Although it doesn't seem to support high-def video content, GBStv shows promise as an independent business model for IPTV. The model they're using today is primitive, but effective and allows anyone to receive or provide video content via Internet protocol.

The GBStv premise is this: registered users submit video files to the GBStv servers for other registered users to watch. Videos are constantly streamed; this isn't video-on-demand; there's a program lineup that is always changing based on content submissions. Some of the videos are a few minutes and could be somebody's home videos, but lets get past that for a second.

What if consumers used this model similar to how they use BitTorrented television episodes? The BitTorrent approach appeals to the tech-crowd for it's timeshifting ability as well as it's efficient download method. What about the non-techies? Folks who want to turn on a display device at a certain time and watch a program?

How about different GBStv "channels" that replay popular programs or themes of content in high-def? Perhaps the most viewed programs could appear higher in the playlist so that the consumer (not the network or advertisers) exercises some control over what is "good" vs. "bad" content.

Bandwidth is surely an obstacle to providing HD content in a model like this, but I'd love to see some higher res MPEG-4 programs available. Bandwidth continues to increase in speed while it decreases in cost, so whether we go with an independant type of IPTV model or a corporate one, bandwidth will take care of itself.  What do you think: am I making too much of the model or could it be expanded? How would you improve the model?

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