Viewfinder: Delivery

Our magazine is full of gear. You can see reviews of equipment, read articles on how to use it and browse plenty of ads for products. We even have a department of the magazine named "New Gear." The latest gear always seems to be the best ever: the smallest, lightest, most affordable and easiest to use. And then, a few months later, new equipment is announced which is smaller, lighter, more affordable and even easier to use. This is truly an amazing time for people creating video. However, the delivery of video isn’t changing quite as quickly.

Generally speaking, most of our readers are still delivering their video in packets of molecules. By this, I mean physical media, such as tape (VHS) or disc (DVD). These are tangible, durable items that our audience holds in their hands and inserts into their video players when they want to watch the video. While all of us are appreciative of the ability to deliver our videos in this way, we recognize that the vast majority of video arrives in packets of electrons. Video flows to TV sets in the form of electrons delivered via radio waves to an antenna on a roof, a cable TV system or a satellite dish pointed south. This is mass media.

The cost to deliver one hour of video molecularly is far more costly than electronic delivery. The expense includes the media (the blank disc or videotape), the labor of duplication, the packaging and the postage. The retail price or rental fee for the video recovers these costs. All products sold include a profit for the retailer, which is yet another cost for the viewer, who ends up paying quite a bit of money for the opportunity to see the video. Even if we include the monthly subscription fees for cable TV or satellite, the cost per hour of electronically delivered video are insignificant in comparison. With all of the profound progress made in video production technology, we are still quite constrained by delivery technology. Delivery is the next important area for video creators to watch for developments.

More and more people are using broadband Internet connections (via DSL or cable modem) to receive video content. The delivery of video over a broadband Internet connection is improving at a fast pace. Five years ago, it was impractical, but today you can watch fair-quality video in real time as it streams to your display screen. The quality of the compressed content is typically not as good as television. The display screen for most Internet delivered video is the VGA computer monitor and not the TV.

We are also beginning to see products which connect the broadband Internet to the living room TV. Within the past year, we’ve also seen another new product, the "digital media receiver" which connects the living room TV to the PC.

Packets of electrons require a nearly insignificant cost to deliver video to viewers. In the coming months, you are sure to deliver video over the Internet and reach more people than ever before.

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.