Re: [Videolib] Digital Distribution

Meghann Matwichuk (mtwchk@udel.edu)
Mon, 29 Aug 2005 15:56:32 -0400

Gary Daniels wrote:

> Cleaning out my junk mail folder and found an interesting ad for a
> service called Akimbo which other video producers might find
> interesting. It's basically broadband delivery of video content to
> your home television set via DSL/Cable Modem (it plays on your TV not
> your computer). You can download individual shows from CNN, A&E, HGTV,
> History Channel, National Geographic, etc. to watch on your TV.
> Basically all the big networks are providing their tv
> shows/documentaries, etc for individual download.
>
> But what I found really exciting was that basically any producer can
> provide content to this service. In other words, if you're a small
> documentary producer, your documentary would be as readily available
> for download as a History Channel documentary!!!! (They even have
> video blogs!) Basically, this is the tv version of the internet! And
> just as the internet leveled the playing field for e-commerce sites (a
> mom&pop store can compete with corporate giants), this appears to have
> the potential to do something similar for us video producers. (It uses
> Microsoft's Digital Rights Management technology to prevent
> copying....so piracy shouldn't be a problem.)
>
> It requires a settop box that hooks up to the tv and a (small)
> subscription fee. I went ahead and bought one just to check out the
> service before I submit any of my videos. (The coupon code AK008
> reduced the price of the settop box to $99). I think download time
> will be what makes or breaks this service. So once I get my box and
> try it out I'll give an update. (Oh yeah, you can offer your video for
> free viewing or charge a viewing fee.)
>
> Librarians should find this interesting as well because it provides a
> very intriguing look into the future of video distribution. Basically
> one box will provide you with the entire universe of video content and
> you don't have to store it on your own servers. Just download it when
> you need it. (Of course there are still rights issues but for those
> falling under the "face-to-face teaching" exemption, this should
> provide access to all those History Channel docs/etc. your teachers
> have ever wanted to utilize.)
> You can learn more at:
>
> http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=33165&U=140838&M=7449

Sounds like a product that has lots of potential for the indie producer,
home users, and some educational settings -- but the box will never
provide us with "the entire universe of video content" for many of the
legal / rights issues that have been discussed on this list.
Unfortunately the face-to-face exemption doesn't cover all scenarios --
including distance ed., which would be the main beneficiary of such a
service. This sounds to me like it could potentially raise some of the
same issues that are creating so many problems in the scholarly
publishing / database world. No guarantee of long-term access, no
protection against cost-increases and changing subscription models,
etc. And let's not forget that long-term access is the hallmark of a
research / instructional collection. It will take a long, long while
for the rights issues (which are nothing to be shrugged off) to catch up
with the technology. Until then we'll be operating on the good old
media / playback platform -- I'm far from pitching my VHS tapes and DVDs
(and 16mm films, for that matter).

******************************
Meghann R. Matwichuk, M.S.
Assistant Librarian
Instructional Media Department
Morris Library, University of Delaware
181 S. College Ave.
Newark, DE 19717
(302) 831-1475
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