Imagine owning your own broadcast network. Sure, Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner own them, but for the most part broadcasting information to a mass audience has been left up to rich men with deep pockets. That is about to change, thanks to video streaming. Now anybody with a couple thousand dollars can get their live broadcast out to the whole Internet, a mass medium for the masses.
This will be a big step for media advocate groups that feel the corporately owned television networks do not provide fair or adequate reporting of the news. Soon there will be thousands of six o clock newscasts to choose from, not five or six, each with its own unique point of view on the news.
The new technology will also provide a medium for anybody who has an idea to share. Soon there will be Webcasts of shows for every possible interest. Anything from home cooking shows, to fly tying, to video editing will have its own dedicated aficionados sharing their knowledge through video.
Obvious ideas like emulating television are just scratching the surface of what you can do with a little video. Businesses can add video to their websites, or they can use the technology to use video over a WAN. Imagine the appeal for a tropical resort owner to show a live video feed of his sunny beach. A brewery could show you their brewhouse, with a Java script giving you a listing of exactly what was happening as the brewer pressed buttons on his control panel.
Live video isnt the only thing to use streaming. Any industry could use video on demand to showcase their products, events, and news conferences. A video clip could be incorporated as a click through into a banner add on another Web page.
Independent movie makers could use the technology to showcase their films; providing previews, or perhaps even allowing potential investors for a film to watch the dailies, as a bonus, in hopes of attracting many smaller investors.
The future of video on demand is limitless. There is, however, a limit on its capabilities now. The lack of adequate bandwidth limits the quality of the video that can be transmitted. Nowhere is that bandwidth more limited than in the phone line the average computer uses to access the Internet. In the near future, when there are better methods than a 33.6 modem for home users to connect to the Internet, the quality of video available will rise to that of VHS and beyond. In the meantime, most people viewing video that is being streamed live, will have to accept small windows, and low frame rates.