TV: Peers, Search, Store & Forward

I’ve got video on the brain today, starting with Veoh, a San Diego startup that is offering a beta of a peer-to-peer webcasting tool, and blinkx, a San Francisco firm that is trying to popularize a video (and audio) search tool by creating some sort of content repository.

Thanks to Informitv for pointing me to the Veoh news, which was easy for me to grasp because I have previously blogged about the startup, and thus have some grasp of both the technology and the founder’s pedigree. On this latest development, Informitiv says:

“The Veoh software, available to download in beta form for the PC or Mac, provides a virtual video network that is able to distribute full-screen, television quality video to a global audience of users with broadband internet connections. There will be no charge for publishing material, and no charge for downloading, although the ability to charge for video will be a “key feature” of the final release … The Veoh network uses an advanced peer-to-peer transfer network to share video amongst the Veoh users. This allows the network to –spread the load’ between a massive number of client computers. The peercasting system is server-free. Publishers no longer have to host any portion of their content, including seeds or other references.”

Informitv also notes that “other initiatives are also aiming to use peer-to-peer approaches to video distribution,” including the BBC and UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB, which are using technology from Kontiki. The startup Brightcove is also planning to provide an internet video publishing platform, it says.

Search me: The blinkx story is harder for me to grasp, as it is my first exposure to this startup, other than driving by billboards on the highway between Silicon Valley and San Francisco. When I visited their site today and read the FAQ, I gathered that blinkx has created a contextual search engine. Here is the company’s blurb:

“blinkx’s conceptual toolbar means users are no longer limited to keyword search; instead, blinkx assesses all the information that the user is actively viewing, and automatically recommends and retrieves relevant content, from local, Web and TV searches, based on context.”

I became interested in blinkx after reading a MediaPost story that says the company will release a service called “” which is supposed to have characteristics of IPTV. MediaPost says “the project relies on consumers, non-professional filmmakers, and video bloggers to voluntarily fill blinkx’s library,” and suggests that the purpose of this project is to prove to big media firms that blinkx “can deliver a high-quality experience and measure viewership accurately.” MediaPost says “all the content uploaded to its (blinkx’s) system is –normalized,’ or converted into Flash, indexed with blinkx’s voice recognition software, and tracked closely for use.”

Store: I recently blogged about a TV Archiving conference that was held Friday in Berkeley, and I went back today to look for a summary (I played outside that day, shame on me!), but didn’t find it. If video archiving interesta you, noodle around the site and see what turns up. Let me also point you to a research paper by conference co-organizer Jeff Ubois on the topic of finding and storing video.

And Forward: Video consumption habits are changing, as programs become divorced from their initial distribution mode and get passed around via the Web. Here’s an example from Paid Content, which notes that MTV “MTV “has delivered 13 million unique streams since the original broadcast of the “2005 Video Music Awards”, about a month ago. Online, had 45 million page views the day after the VMAs, its best, and almost 19 million page views the day of the event, marking a 56 percent increase vs. 2004.”

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media