News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

What I Want – Automated Internet TV


There are a great many video weblogs and Internet television series available now that are interesting and better than most of the crap on over-the-air, cable, and satellite television. Unfortunately, you have to download episodes of each show manually (a few weblogs can be automatically downloaded through videocasting which is similar to podcasting), find them in their individual folders, watch, and then click too damn much when one ends and you are ready to watch another.

What I want is an Automated Internet TV platform that automatically downloads and stores episodes of my favorite series and creates a channel that randomizes the shows while keeping the episodes in order. For example, I want a channel with “Star Trek: Hidden Frontiers”, “Rocketboom”, “The Scene”, and independent films, but set on shuffle, with episodes of each show coming in the right order.

There IS Winamp Internet TV, which you can surf through like regular television channels, but the content is generally poor and you cannot mix up shows by individual episodes from different channels into your own playlist. A couple of organizations, Brightcove and Participatory Culture Foundation, are working on improved Internet TV platforms but little is known about their user interfaces and features.

Once this dream platform is created then I want it to become so incredibly popular that television series created for the networks and cable jump ship and become available over the Internet. I’ll even pay a fee. How about US$1.99 for each new episode, US$0.50 for older episodes, or a $19.99 yearly subscription with unlimited reruns of all episodes prior to the latest?

Of course, once that becomes incredibly popular, then prices will start falling and packages of several different shows will become available for less than $19.99 a year. By then, there will be many more shows available than now, a level playing field for independent, public, and corporate-funded programming, and little need for the middlemen networks and cable companies. While we’re at it, throw in the entire movie, television, video, and DVD library since each were invented and make the Internet the ultimate video storage and jukebox.

Oh, believe you me, an exhaustive Automated Internet TV platform IS coming, no matter how hard the middlemen try to fight it. Unfortunately, I wanted it now. Now I have to wait, and that makes me a little angry. Time to watch more “Rocketboom” and decide whether or not I have a crush on host Amanda Congdon.

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