Parsing hi-def IPTV

Parsing hi-def IPTV
I'm considering the implications of hi-def online video here at my ThinkPad T42 with a 14-inch screen refreshing at 60 hertz, which to my eye resembles a dying fluorescent tube. The NEC MultiSync 1550V beside it isn't much better at 75 hertz, but it does give me space to do a dozen things simultaneously. Video signal quality monitoring is not among them, or else I'd have to install measurement software, which is akin to buying a Doppler radar system to determine what's happening outside the window.

I don't suppose I'm alone in the world of computer display capacity, and quite frankly, a hi-def media player on either of these screens would be a waste of technological effort. The only reason I even watch the occasional video on them is because I am the apparent expert, and rarely to clear my mind after deciphering an eye-bleeding press release. The impetus is content, not media player assessment. That's a task better left for the HD monitor wall at home, where I will force myself now and then to fire up Joost with it's decidedly pedestrian content that no amount of resolution could salvage.

I believe my own experience to reasonably illustrate the path to high-definition adoption. A lot of pieces have to be in place to get the real deal--from content acquisition, editing, formatting and distribution to reception and display technology. There are any number of transitions along the way that knock bits out of whack and diminish image quality. Anyone who watches Joost channels at this point on an HD screen knows it's qualitatively unbearable. Anyone who watches one of the hi-def beta players on a crank-start laptop knows likewise. Then there's the phenomena of newsgathering with cell phones, something a lot of traditional news outlets are gaga about because they can fire a few more seasoned videographers. This is not the kind of stuff that lends itself well to the HD adoption, but it is indeed a component of the overall multimedia tech evolution that won't disappear anytime soon.

Like most media form migrations, HD is not likely to displace all previous formats, but rather disrupt a market grappling to find the right balance of techology, content and revenue. The emergence of online hi-def media players is interesting indeed, but the long-term implications are as certain as tomorrow's weather. Let me know your thoughts, at [email protected], or preferably, at IPTV Evolution Sept. 10 in Los Angeles at the Internet Telephony Conference and Expo. Sign up now. I look forward to your feedback. - D.

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