Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Moving Images, Moving

I was at the launch of Wellcome Film the other night, the hard work of Angela Saward, Curator of the Moving Images and Sound Collection at the Wellcome Library. They're putting hundreds of hours of, frankly, amazing video online for free here.

The day before I was at another museum looking at streaming multiple HD streams over their network and pondering the viability of delivering HD to a ship.

At the weekend I was talking to a friend at the BBC who mentioned that researchers use an iPlayer-like platform to view the mountains of digitally archived BBC output. Waaaay more than we ever get to see on iPlayer.

My how we've grown up. I probably watch more web-based TV than broadcast nowadays. My especial favourite is iPlayer on the new iPhone with a built in speaker. Wandering the house watching back episodes of Top Gear...

A few years ago I had dinner with a friend who worked at Gartner and we were discussing the likelihood of IPTV taking off. This was probably just prior to YouTube going mainstream. He confidently asserted that the internet would "break" if something like that happened. I guessed two things would happen: network capacity and bandwidth would grow and compression algorithms would improve. A bigger pipe and a smaller file. I'm not sure I was entirely right, but the internet hasn't "broken" just yet.

So what's the next frontier?

Undoubtedly video on mobile - streaming video both to and from your phone. 15 million people viewed mobile video content in the second quarter in the US - only 7% of all mobile users, but up 70% on the previous year (Nielsen Mobile Video Report 2009).

Ustream allows anyone to broadcast their mobile video.

A lot of what we're doing at Armadillo is starting to take into account this demographic. They're young and influential, but this is moving mainstream as users want to consume all their media and continue all their conversations wherever they are.

A big game-changer could be the long-rumoured Apple Tablet - a ten inch screen iPod Touch/iPhone. Put me down for one.

And get ready to fix them internet pipes. Just in case...

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