Content remains king

Content remains king
A couple of reports are generating a raft of electronic headlines about video overwhelming the 'Net. "Video surge worries some Web watchers." "Will Internet TV Crash the Internet?" "Bandwith crisis fears!" Aside from violating the rules of basic headline writing, these statements imply the sudden discovery of impending doom. They imply an abundance of bandwidth 10 years ago, when we all had those whistling, chirping gurgling external modems. Remember trying explain to that doofus friend who sent the 1.4 megabyte image of the puppies that "you need shrink it in Photoshop first," because we all had 14.4 kbps connections. (And we could all afford Photoshop, but that's a yarn for another day.)

The point is, anything beyond a text email clogged up the Innertubes. The proliferation of still images, graphics and .pdf files created demand for more bandwidth. Anyone using a PC at the time remembers the wonder of hearing about T-1 lines for the first time--more than 1 Mbps. So we knew what was possible. So did phone companies. Cell phones were about the size of shoe boxes, and people were carrying them around. Phone industry veterans could see the writing on the wall. One way to keep people tethered to phone lines was to create dedicated Internet connections, aka digital subscriber lines.

Cable wasn't far behind, having invested ravines of cash to build out infrastructures and fend off satellite TV. Cable operators couldn't possibly make all that money back by charging more for TV because Arizona Sen. John McCain was watching them. He was watching very, very closely. So the cable industry closed ranks and developed modems.

The cycle continues. Online innovations create more demand for bandwidth, which drives network technology developments, which delivers more bandwidth, which creates an environment for more online innovation. This is what is considered a good thing in many circles.

The idea that video will choke the Internet is a half-empty glass perspective. The half-full view is that video will drive a strand of fiber through my wall. I'm good with that. How about you? Let me know, at [email protected] 

And while you're at it, check out the agenda for IPTV Evolution.  It's coming up Sept. 10 in Los Angeles at the Internet Telephony Conference and Expo. It's sooner than you think. Space is limited. Sign up now and join me for a day of IPTV brain-storming. I look forward to your feedback. -D.