TV Everywhere is like oil companies saying “Oh you can have all the electric cars you want, as long as you still spend $250/month on gas.”
Last week, Vuze was asked to participate in an FCC workshop focused on Internet TV and its implications for national broadband policy. The workshop was organized by Jon Peha, the FCC’s Chief Technologist, and aimed to inform the FCC as it charts the course on the National Broadband Plan. It was great to be back at the FCC again, after our very productive conversation last year surrounding the Comcast throttling issue.
A few themes emerged from the workshop that I found particularly compelling.
First, within the broadband video ecosystem, we discussed how troubling it is that both the delivery system and the content are dominated by very large incumbents that prefer to operate without meaningful competition. If you think about it, the “TV Everywhere” concept under development by the cable operators is an attempt to ensure that consumers will still pay their TV cable bill, even if they don’t need it anymore. It’s like oil companies saying “Oh you can have all the electric cars you want, as long as you still spend $250/month on gas.”
Second, and very related, online video content should be separate from the network pipes it rides on. There is an inherent conflict of interest in network providers (cable companies / ISPs) providing content services, especially when they’re also arguing that they should be allowed to prioritize some content types over others.
And third, we continued to be your advocate in arguing for the ability to move your content around and watch it anywhere, anytime you want (PC, Mac, Mobile, TV), unencumbered by format incompatibilities and DRM handcuffs. Let’s face it, you already have this benefit through DVDs and MP3s. Why should the broadband video experience be any different?
At the end of the day, as an entrepreneur, I find it really bothering that cable companies are using their two-pronged monopoly (on TV content access and internet access) to arm-twist their way into broadband video, and trying to prevent innovative, more consumer-friendly concepts to emerge. Think about what e-commerce would be today if it had been left to WalMart to invent, instead of Amazon or Ebay…