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Internet TV Accelerating

I can see the future of TV and it's internet delivered. The promise of global, on-demand access to video content means that every one of us, and specifically every classroom teacher, will be able to call up and show virtually any video desired and instantly augment whatever is being taught. 

Case in point: as a lay student of physics, I've always been fascinated by physicists focused on the quantum realm and often find myself laboring over passages in their books trying to fully understand concepts being laid out. Finally feeling confident in my understanding of the potential implications of the double slit experiment, I was explaining it to my sophomore son who said, "Dad, I know that since we watched a Dr. Quantum video that explains it."

He then explained the concept and subsequently showed me the animated video on YouTube and I was stunned how, in five minutes, the concept was explained so well that even I, someone who'd thought he fully understood it for many years, reset my own understanding of this concept and subsequent explanations!

It's hard not to take for granted the rapidly increasing innovations in internet TV coming to market, but even I am surprised by how quickly the internet TV space is changing. I'm closely watching internet TV technologies and business models since video delivered on-demand in this way holds major promise for education and the future of learning.

It's been less than a month since I wrote, "The Future of TV is Here Now" talking about the space, the media centers proliferating, and the war for dominance being waged between the incumbents (e.g., cable and TV networks) and the upstarts and new players (e.g., Google's YouTube, AppleTV, Boxee, Roku). This past week saw two meaningful announcements:

1) Boxee announced the "Boxee Box" and that they've signed with a consumer electronics company to build it. No word yet on price, but with the Roku box starting at $79, there is sure to be a rock bottom entry level and I really like the Boxee interface,

2) Sezmi, a startup with a unique approach, is rolling out live trials in Los Angeles. This company offers a media player with a huge, one terabyte hard drive for recording programs, HD antenna to bring in live, over-the-air channels, and a remote, all combined in to one offering that some are calling, "Your cable TV killer."

AppleTV, Amazon video on demand, NetFlix, Best Buy, and many others are all jockeying for position, possible dominance (and hopefully relevance) with the future of TV and the part they will or will not play in it.

No question that there is a lot at stake in consumer television services and this entire arena is going to continue to change dramatically over the next few years. With cable TV companies like Comcast receiving 51% of their $34B (2008) in revenues from cable TV (the remainder from internet service, digital phone and advertising) and in talks to acquire NBC Universal, controlling the distribution system and the content is at the top of their strategic imperatives, and I highly doubt they'll allow upstart disruptive companies to deliver competitive services over the internet channel they own and control without a fight.


As I've written previously, most districts are constrained by internal network bandwidth and having even a fourth of classrooms streaming video simultaneously would likely grind your network to a halt. Add to that the hoops you jump through to justify and qualify for ERate funding, and huge bandwidth availability for video is probably not in your near term future.

That said, there is already an enormous amount of education-centric content available -- much of which is not yet curated or available without advertisements -- and it's likely we'll see the emergence of education TV models so that you'll be able to identify videos that augment your curriculum in advance and possibly cache them on local, in-district or in-school servers (and even possibly local in-classroom computers).

So stay tuned....


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It’s very glad to know that you have shared information related to accelerate TV through internet. If you have an Xbox, you can do a softmod and run the Xbox Media Center program on it. It can stream movies from my computers, audio from internet radio, even check out trailers off of Apple.It's capable of playing any sort of video, with or without subtitles, in Dolby 5.1 audio.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Accelerating Change are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.