08 January 2007

IPTV ... The Future Is Now, And It Sucks

so, i just got my beta login to the venice project today.
for those that don't know, it's an iptv product that's been getting some decent word of mouth amongst the community of folks that care about such things.

i must admit, i was pretty psyched. until i "turned it on".

iptv is cool, but it's got a serious drawback, which i think can best be summed up as "phenomenal cosmic powers ... itty bitty living space".

the problem isn't the client. it's remarkably well designed in my opinion. there's some things that it doesn't seem to do which (to me) are a 'natural' way to use something like internet based television (for example, the ability to bookmark a particular show would be nice...), but hey, it's a beta, not all the bugs are worked out, and i've only had it for a day.

i presume therefore that it's entirely likely the functions i'm looking for are there somewhere and i'm just missing them (which of course, could mean that the UI needs a bit of tweaking...)

nor was the problem a lack of bandwidth (for me anyway) .
i'm using roadrunner (via time warner cable) for an ISP, and while they are currently touting their download speed as 10Mbps (i wish!), my connection is doing just fine at a respectable 3.7Mbps. there were a couple of times where the video halted for a second or two, but overall, i was quite impressed with the quality.

no, the problem with iptv, is exactly the same problem as any other kind of tv. there's simply nothing good on.

i flipped through all the channels with nothing catching my eye. so, i began randomly starting videos hoping to find something that sparked an interest. i even managed to find out how to pull up a list of channels i wasn't currently seeing and add them to my available channels so that i could check out the shows on them.

no luck.

there's about 30 or so channels (i didn't take an exact count) ... each channel has at least 2 - 3 shows, some have many more (one nice thing about iptv is that pretty much everything is 'on demand' ... i must admit i've already become quite fond of that).

so, let's say that there's roughly 120 'shows' currently available.
out of those, there was exactly one show that interested me.

most of the available shows were sports/fashion/"spin off of mtv spring break" type drivel, and i recognize that there is a large demographic for those types of shows.

however, i have some serious doubt as to whether the demographic for "likes these types of shows" is the same as the one for "folks likely to be beta testing an iptv product"... i do know that i don't prefer to watch shows in those categories, but admittedly, i'm not your typical 'consumer'.

of course, like i said, this is all new, and beta, and as such, it's very likely that the content will change quite a bit over the next 'X-amount-of-time' as the venture capital starts burning and the pr/marketing folks start spreading the love.

but for now, i'm left wondering if i've seen the future of television, and there's still nothing to watch?

2 comments:

  1. I suppose the first beta-testers of Napster and Kazaa also complained that there was no good music available on these sites...

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  2. francois: could be. however, there is a difference here in that the content for iptv is not (currently) provided by the users, so there's nothing i (or any other user of the service) can do to improve the choices.

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