The IPTV landscape


SmartInternet CRC, which was one of our partners for our Web 2.0 in Australia event, has recently released a very interesting report titled IPTV: Order, Chaos and Anarchy, examining the state of IPTV. The author is Mark Pesce, noted for being the co-inventor of VRML (Virtual Reality Markup Language) (which I was a big fan of when it came out – I wrote about it in my first book which came out in 2000) and his immoderate thoughts on the future of media – in other words an extremely credible commentator on an often muddied field.

Mark defines IPTV as “delivery of audio-visual programming via packet-switched networks,” which as he points out, doesn’t in itself help us understand what forms this will take as it matures. Mark picks out three key forces:

* Centralization, driven by commercial issues and incumbents

* “Hyperdistribution” allowing anyone to create and distribute content

* Social activists and entrepreneurs reinventing broadcasting as a peer-to-peer medium

In the report Mark covers issues including Internet bandwidth requirements for the evolution of IPTV, government policies, the role of BitTorrent, IPTV on the Microsoft Xbox 360, Joost, and the role of democracy. Well worth a read.