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Video On Demand Almost Here For San Franciscans

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the tremble-gently-at-the-thought dept.

Television 159

BeatlesForum.com writes: "Looks like San Francisco-area folks could be in for a taste of video when you want it, according to this article from Reuters. The article mentions that we will be able to start and stop the on-demand stream whenever we want. Kinda sounds like TiVo now, except you still have to fit around the broadcast schedule. Interesting statistic quoted from the article, though: it is expected that 5.5 million homes will have VOD by the end of the year. Imagine being able to pull up 2001: A Space Odyssey at 2:38 a.m.."

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frist p0st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750705)

merry xxx-mas

Re:frist p0st (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750734)

Merry Christmas, geeks. [hospicegirls.com]

2:38 (3, Funny)

SkulkCU (137480) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750706)

The way the article makes it sound, you could even pull it up at 2:39!

Re:2:38 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751058)

at least it would make you fall asleep if nothing else

I like the video store better (-1, Offtopic)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750708)

You can't hit on a girl while you're punching up a video on your remote.

I like riding in a convertible over to the video store.

Also, you've got to leave the house to stock up on pop, popcorn, and taco bell.

~~
Salmon, mang!

Yes it's excellent.... (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750711)

And it's all brought to you by AT&.... oh wait... Comcast.

Really cool stuff. I've played with the motorola DCT that does this for 30 days now. and it is really cool.

2001 at 2:38 am? (0)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750714)

Well, I guess that's one way to fall asleep (whatever happened to counting sheep?)

Re:2001 at 2:38 am? (0)

ardiri (245358) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750725)

Imagine being able to pull up 2001: A Space Odyssey at 2:38 a.m..

heck, i have done this... that is what DVD's are for :)

Re:2001 at 2:38 am? (-1)

Al Gore (152558) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751102)

Knowing San Franciscans, the first video to be broadcast will be the Director's cut of Anal Boy Lust 4: Greasy Chilidog Stew.

Re:2001 at 2:38 am? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751116)

Hey, not all San Franciscans are gay! Some of us are bisexual or transgendered!

-- Señor Carlos Hotpants

Time to move to San Fran.. (0)

Thaidog (235587) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750716)

Nice, very nice.

Re:Time to move to San Fran.. (1)

trefoil (153310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751136)

There's also a similiar initiative in Seattle, WA (of course) where apartments are being outfitted with dedicated 100Mbit connections, VOD setups and multiple OC3's to the apartment complex's.

Not the time to try new things in advertising. (2, Troll)

perdida (251676) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750717)

VOD causes ad avoidance, which forces advertisers to find new and untested ways to reach consumers.

As in the Depression days the advertising industry gets bolder and more raucous during times of privation.

We need to keep people's consumer spending up at least at somewhat respectable levels. In fact I believe that the fact we are immersed in advertising media is what makes our consumer confidence more resilient than it would be otherwise.

We should not destabilize vital parts of the economy like airlines or advertising. It's truly a matter of national security.

Re:Not the time to try new things in advertising. (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750735)

WRONG!!!!

These boxes insert ad's at the beginning and end. and there can be a myriad of ways to use it. Hell these things can start the targetted advertising. (already built in guys :-) so you dont have to watch an ad on how amy has a nasty yeast infection. But instead you get assulted with steve pushing dell computers. These things can also operate as DCT's and will probably offer that feature at a "cost" in the future.

Re:Not the time to try new things in advertising. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750745)

replace DCT with TIVO or DVR in above post.... Oops my bad... I'll flog myself later.

Re:Not the time to try new things in advertising. (1)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750786)

steve is cool
dont knock steve

Re:Not the time to try new things in advertising. (0, Offtopic)

drrobin_ (131741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750919)

I rather expect the author of this comment intended it as humor. It's damn funny :)

And by the way, has anyone else noticed that slashdot's lameness filters are lamer than the trollings themselves? It seems that I forgot to put a subject when I had it only as "Score:3, Interesting ?!?".

Admittedly, I can see the lameness filters coming in as usefull when battling trolling scripts. However, I think slashdot should get some sort of human-verification system (like hotmail uses), so those of us who are actually posting legit comments can do so unhindered.

Gah! This is like the third time this comment has been rejected, and subsequently appended to. WTF?

Okay, fourth try, maybe this new subject will work...

I give up. After six tries, it seems that slashdot is completely rejecting any subject containing "Score:3, Interesting". Of course, my comment makes no sense without it. Maybe the filters are a bit excessive, Rob?

Got this on Long Island... (4, Informative)

smart.id (264791) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750719)

On Long Island we have this. It is called I/O (Interactive Optimum), and it is provided by Cablevision.

Re:Got this on Long Island... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750795)

Yep, I got it last week.. very sweet, but don't like that you can't browse whats on other channels at the same time you are viewing one... such as with RCN and time-warner...

JL

Re:Got this on Long Island... (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750828)

Wooo!! Let's here it for Long Island!

More ways for them to charge you (0)

wormyguy1 (266395) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750722)

I don't see how this is such a big deal... I mean, we already have this kind of stuff on the internet, and it's not very good. (streaming on-demand audio and video) Why not just get a DVD? It'll probably look better, (has anybody seen how BAD digital cable is? It's like a poorly-compressed MPEG) and you can play it whenever you want... this is just a new way for them to implement Pay Per View and charge you whenever you watch a show or a movie. Not to mention, as it's digital, they can keep you from physically recording it to media to watch it on whatever tou want.

Re:More ways for them to charge you (2)

GiMP (10923) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750901)

It is true that my dad's comcast digital tv isn't great and truely does his HDTV recieving a great injustice.. AND it forces additional ads on you..

But, I have adelphia and the quality is FAR superior to most analog signals. Of course, with high quality cabling the analog may be better.. but to find a place with such cabling is impossible.. considering how far it must run.

My digital-tv reciever connects to my computer via s-video and I have terrific results.

Re:More ways for them to charge you (1)

DonalGraeme (171589) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751048)

Not to mention, as it's digital, they can keep you from physically recording it to media to watch it on whatever tou want.

That statement deserves some clearing up. I have iControl in Austin, and it's possible to tape what I'm viewing from there, as much as it's possible to tape anything else coming through the set top box. The output is all the same.


About the only reason you may not want to tape what you're viewing using iControl is that to really get the benefit of taping the show, you'd have to forgo pausing or rewinding during the show.

Find out more about video on demand here! (-1, Troll)

GODLYDavidRing (543415) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750726)

More info can be found here: http://comp-u-geek.cjb.net/ [cjb.net]

VOD soon to be renamed to POD (3, Funny)

theoddicy (453461) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750729)


Porn on demand.

Re:VOD soon to be renamed to POD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750749)

POD? I thought that was only available in hotels?

I'm so excited!

Open the POD bay doors, gal (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750823)

Just continuing the 2001 theme here folks. Nothing to see, move along...

Mod up parent - this deserves to be seen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751223)

You are funny dude. :)

In NYC we are just bout ready (1)

rrdejay (226914) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750730)

Time Warner in NYC is getting ready to roll this out real soon. The digital cable converters are all set for VOD. The backbone infrastructure is getting there. Not complete yet but looks like it should be ready sometime in mid 2002.

Nothing specatular about it tho. Why would anyone want to pause for bathroom breaks. Isnt the whole point of a movie to sit still for two and a half hours while watching some running water drip down your tv screen. Damn that dude in the matrix. Cant believe he could hold it in. Blonde Brunette Redhead

Can I do this too? (-1, Offtopic)

GODLYDavidRing (543415) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750741)

* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
t `. : t
s` \ s
e \ / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
s / / \/\/ s
e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
t `. : t
s` \ s
e \ / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
s / / \/\/ s
e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
t `. : t
s` \ s
e \ / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
s / / \/\/ s
e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
t `. : t
s` \ s
e \ / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
s / / \/\/ s
e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *

Been here for ages in Hawaii (5, Informative)

gengee (124713) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750746)

I've had digital cable for about 2 years or so here in Hawai'i - And we've had video on demand at least that long. In the beginning the selection was small and quality would sometimes degrade during 'prime time.' But for the last year or so quality has been perfect, and selection has steadily increased (To about 200 movies, usually 5-10 new movies every 2 weeks or so).

Re:Been here for ages in Hawaii (2)

Chasuk (62477) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751068)

About a decade ago, BT tried this in Ipswich, UK. I don't know how successful it was, or how many consumers were actually able to use it, but it was demonstrated at the public library where I played with it for a bit.

The demo wasn't very impressive, as I suppose there were too many technical hurdles which hadn't been properly thought through, let alone surmounted, but the public access portions were working. It actually was designed to function over copper phone lines, with pause and reverse possible in the middle of a movie you selected from a menu, via Teletext.

What is/was Teletext? Well, before the web, it was pretty cool, and I'd still like it if I could access it here in the US. It was a textual overlay, sent during the VBI, that you surfed with your TV's remote control. There was news, horoscopes, puzzles, jokes, competitions, local TV and film schedules, film reviews, and even downloadable games (with the right attachment).

Anyway, BT's VOD system was also surfed via your TV remote.

Does anyone remember the name of this vanished but once promising system, now part of geek-interest history?

Re:Been here for ages in Hawaii (1)

anfloga (139529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751192)

I live in Hawaii, (Honolulu), how do I get this? Is it through Oceanic?

Erik

How will this work? (3, Informative)

scriptkiddie (28961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750747)

Last time they tried this, the major roadblock was that no one could figure out how to build a server fast enough to stream multiple, unique video streams. Even assuming you're using conventional televisions and the stream size is limited to 500kB/s, you've maxed out Fibre Channel bus at 40 users under ideal conditions - and for each such group of 40 users, you need a complete copy of all the video material available, at perhaps a terabyte. There's just no way, using today's technology, to get more data on to the network - so the cable company will be stuck with tens of thousands of VoD servers, all reading information off their hard drives at the maximum rate for 24 hours a day.

I just can't see them making that kind of investment.

Re:How will this work? (1)

rrdejay (226914) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750780)

OK not totally experienced on the VOD end. But if they cache the info into memory it can stream quicker than if they pick it off the harddrives. infovalue quick video does supply streaming software and it appears that thy cache their content for quicker download. http://www.stream-video.com/infovalue.htm rrdejay

Not even close (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750815)

True VoD would allow you to pick and choose what you see and when, so each stream going out will be completely different. Caching = useless. Where will they store this immense library? If they divide the library up among all servers, you'd need switching to connect servers and customers, and I can easily see bandwith problems. Is that an understatement? Good gosh there WILL be bandwidth limitations. Boggles my mind. I can only assume this is a less-than-complete VoD.

Re:Not even close (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751028)

Lol I design systems like this every day first things to consider is scaling how many VOD streams need to be avalible at a time. Lets say we need 1000 unique streams (any nonunique streams we can handle with cache midteir) with a average bitrate of say a megabit a sec to provide VHS quality in all the modern formats remember this is VOD so multipass encoding is doable thats what realy gets the picture looking pretty. A single server dual fiber attached (redundancy is a good things dont ya know) can easly deal with 300 megabits a sec (granted there is 6.5 times that bandwith avalible to the SAN but PC hardware cant deal and PC hardware is cheap your not going to install SGI boxes for this) thats 300 user watching VOD streams call it 4 servers for n+1 redundancy (like cable companies would bother to be that redundant they are CHEAP)

Now as for the the san end they have the fiber to make rings to DWDM the fiberchannel to the central storage facility in the MAN. There are plenty of players in this space and the multiple reader FS as well to deal with that and with a TB sitting at 30-50k if you go low bidder. Sat delivered VOD content or a fiber backbone (maybe iSCSI there thats not realy realy mature but would be a good fit with FCAL to ISCSi gateways for long distance)

Re:How will this work? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750811)

If you want some additional information about how the servers actually work, you can check out the wesites for either of the two largest suppliers of these systems at www.schange.com or www.ccur.com

It's about time! (1)

CrystalCut (307381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750750)

I really enjoyed this bit of news when I read it this morning. I hate having to be tied to a device or the TV whenver something cool is going be broadcast. And though Pay-Per-View is an option, I found it interesting that the article said that Pay-Per-View hadn't really "taken off". If VOD can replace Pay-Per-View, we will be further on our way to not only getting content WHEN we want it, but also offering content that is only obtained by buying it on VHS or DVD. And perhaps this will also move corporations to start building those "Want to Know More?" systems like those seen in the movie Starship Troopers.

Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750752)

Imagine being able to pull up 2001: A Space Odyssey at 2:38 a.m..

Erm - imagine being awake enough at 2:38am that you wouldn't not off during 2001!

The REGISTER (UK) domain hacked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750765)

whois -h whois.nic.uk theregister.co.uk

Domain Name: THEREGISTER.CO.UK

Registered For: The Register

Domain Registered By: DETAGGED

Record last updated on 24-Dec-2001 by .

Domain servers listed in order:

WHOIS database last updated at 21:19:01 25-Dec-2001

The NIC.UK Registration Host contains ONLY information for domains
within co.uk, org.uk, net.uk, ltd.uk and plc.uk. Please use the whois
server at rs.internic.net for Internet Information or the whois server
at nic.ddn.mil for MILNET Information.

Error - www.theregister.co.uk doesn't exist

Re:The REGISTER (UK) domain hacked (-1)

Retarded_One (518093) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750969)

Hahahaa...serves those cocky limey muthafuckers right. They LOVE pointing out other people stupid mistakes...

Selection of programming (2, Insightful)

GeorgieBoy (6120) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750766)

This is good and bad. I'd say that many of the things I would want to watch might not be available. This is a glorified pay-per-view, it would seem, with some added convienience.

Even if (as suggested by the article) it is based on a subscription model/flat rate model, what kind of money is worth paying for this? $20/mo? $50/mo? Anything more than that will put it out of reach. It must be cost effective enough to make use of a movie-rental and/or DVR uninteresting. I think part of the question is basically how much I'm willing to pay given the amount of TV I watch.

Re:Selection of programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750793)

VOD is not based on a flat rate model. You pay for each movie that you watch, usually $3-4 and you're able to watch it for a period of anywhere from 24-72 hours, depending on what your operator allows. In its simplest form it's glorified PPV, except that you have MANY times more titles to choose from and you don't have to wait until the next one starts, or missing the first 10-15 minutes of the one playing now.

Typical post sale fluff piece (1)

termite666 (101297) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750776)

I live on the Presidio of Sf and the cable from AT&T is dreadful.This has got to be some sort of post sales FUD.Even if they have the technology in place I doubt they AT&T or who ever bought them could maintain it .

It's already out there, and it really works (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750782)

As someone who works with this type of technology day in and day out, I can tell you it is here, and it's here to stay. Just about all of the cable companies that my company services, have said that there digital box returns after VOD was rolled out went from aroun 50% to less than 10%. It's a good source of revenue for the cable providers. As far as streaming the movies, the way that we do it, is if there are say 5 people that order the same movie within say 60 secs of one another, then they will actually all be receiving the same stream, which of course takes less bandwidth, until one of them decides to pause, rew, ff, etc, and then they break out of that stream and will have a single stream of their own.

One of the really cool offshoots of VOD is SVOD (Subscription VOD) which is currently being deployed through a number of operators. SVOD is where you can watch past episodes of shows on premium networks, such as The Sopranos or Band of Brothers, which means you could finally get to see that episode that you may have missed.

Cheers

We've had this in Austin.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750794)

since the begining of the year and it plays dvd quality video.

More details about Austin (1)

DonalGraeme (171589) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751039)

Some more details about the product available in austin. First of all, here's Time Warner's webpage to visit about iControl:-

http://www.timewarneraustin.com/services/icontrol/ default.asp [timewarneraustin.com]

Most of the time it's fine. It does suffer from the same quality problems that all digital content on Time Warner here in Austin does, which is in peak periods (or bad weather, eg extreme cold) you can lose the signal, or get a bit of pixellation happening in areas of the screen where there's alot of action happening. However, that doesn't happen too much - maybe 1% of the time? Unfortunately, a few times that happened in key Bab5 episodes, dammit!

Every so often I've had problems where the iControl software wouldn't launch on the settop box. A phone call to Time Warner has usually revealed problems they're having on their servers.

Incidently, time to clear up a previous post (titled "More ways for them to charge you"). The author stated that as iControl like content is digital content, it's not possible to tape. That's an incorrect statement. It's as tapeable as anything coming from the set top box.

Already in Louisville, KY (2, Informative)

NextGen (98789) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750796)

I guess it's easier to roll it out in a smaller big city. Insight Communications is our provider, and the service is pretty good. I've already watched a couple of movies on it. And yes, you CAN get p0rn on it as well. ;-)

My own video on demand system (2, Offtopic)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750801)

Lately I've been recording my favorite shows using my TV tuner card and downloading others from Morpheus. What I would like to do is have some sort of program to select among my different video files with a remote. Ideally I would have a program to provide a unified interface to DVD viewing, TV, and playing video and audio files. What I really need is some sort of conglomeration of Ogle, MPlayer, Zapping, and some sort of file browser with which a snapshot from a video can easily be associated with a file (perhaps some sort of integration with Nautilus). I would like to put this together myself, but I'm not sure I'm up to it.

Some means of scheduling when to record something would be nice too. I think that simply bttvgrab and cron would work, but it would be nice to have the ability to set up the recording from this program.

I'd also need an extra hard drive or two, as my current 45GB one is going to be full before long.

Something like this could offer all of the capabilities of video on demand.

While I'm on the subject, does anyone know of a program I could use to cut the commercials out of my video files? I've got one file with 4 episodes of Samurai Jack, commercials and all, that is rather unwieldly.

Re:My own video on demand system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750890)

http://www.emc.com/pdf/products/clariion/FC4700.pd f

There's a storage solution.

Why don't you try going outside and getting a life?

Re:My own video on demand system (1)

Versa (252878) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751054)

As for cutting commericals out and also able to divide that big file into a couple smaller ones there is a free solution availible. Virtual dub does all that. Fairly easy to use.

Virtual Dub [virtualdub.org]

Its Called Icontrol here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750804)

We've been getting ads for TWC's new Icontrol for a few weeks already.

http://www.twceasy.com/services/icontrol/

Time Warner Communications in Brevard County, FL (4, Informative)

Gangis (310282) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750810)

Time Warner Communications is preparing to roll out their VOD service pretty soon here in Brevard County, Florida. Average price is $3.99 a video, and will be available for multiple viewing for a single customer within 48 hours of purchasing the movie. The digital cable remote controller already has VOD featurs, such as a switch that allows us to control the VCR or VOD. There are buttons like those you'd expect in a VCR, such as Rewind, FF, Pause, etc. Yes, you can pause a VOD!

Mmm... LotR in DVD-quality through VOD...

Re:Time Warner Communications in Brevard County, F (2)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751047)

Mmm... LotR in DVD-quality through VOD...

Even better...LotR in DVD-quality through a DVD... Mmmm

only now??? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750812)

Meanwhile over in Belgium:

The national boradcasting company (VRT [www.vrt.be] ) is working together with the largest telecom operator (Belgacom [belgacom.be] ) on a Video-On-Demand platform.

They are using 2Mbit SDSL connections (yes - that's 2 Mbit UP and 2 Mbit DOWN! ;-) to stream the media into the tester's homes.
And the SDSL connections will also be available for home use too!

According to what I've heard, all tests are going very well, and it should get commercial in january or february.

Re:only now??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750821)

This would be interesting to see, as current MPEG comressed video that's being fed through your local cable company would easily fill up that 2 Mb/s SDSL pipe. 2Mb/s is on the low end of video bit rates with the average being closer to 3 Mb/s and if you're actually running VBR instead of CBR you can see it climb as high as 5-6 Mb/s burst for a single MPEG stream.

Can this actually work for millions? (1)

El Camino SS (264212) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750818)

After all of the bandwidth issues that are there and blow my mind, I have questions about where this would go.

The question I am thinking is, when are we going to see purchase tier services that rival HBO?

Its great that I can watch a $5 movie on demand with my cable access, but when are we going to be able to buy a package that allows us unlimited viewing of a grouping for say, $15 bucks a month?
Now that is what I am looking for. Maybe a month with Sci-Fi classics, then a month with schlock horror.

Hello, custom made HBO!

Personally, I don't think that I would be buying individual movies if there wasn't an economy pricing scheme, otherwise I would blow my month of entertainment in an evening.

Also, this would be a kickin' delivery system for all of you independent film nuts out there.

Orlando... (2, Interesting)

cirby (2599) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750837)

Supposedly, we're getting VOD on Time Warner cable this spring. Some areas had it here about five years back, in the big experiment that Time-Warner ran. Movies on demand, news on demand, restaurant reviews on demand (all through streaming video). I worked in the control room for the local production arm, and it was a pain in the ass (we had a dedicated video compression rig based on a Sun workstation).

The server farm was a large room full of SGI hardware. They said it was the biggest data storage center in the southeast (lots of terabytes involved when you start serving movies). At least, until they gave up on the test and sold it all at auction...

HBO on demand in Austin already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750845)

In Austin, TX, we've got HBO on demand now as well as video on demand.
www.hboondemand.com [hboondemand.com] , $6.95 per month, a selection of movies, HBO series, etc. Seems a bit sluggish to pull up menus, select a movie, etc. and I think the menu system could use better feedback (the selection blinks but that's it, then it sits there making you wonder if it's working, it should hilight or something, IMO). It seems to work well though, fast forward, rewind, pause, etc.
The VOD stuff is priced about like pay-per-view, I believe. This is only for movies, etc, you can't pause just anything you're watching.

The best form of video-on-demand is (1)

glastonbur (447067) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750851)

Morpheus [musiccity.com] . What else could you mean?

Re:The best form of video-on-demand is (1)

PepsiProgrammer (545828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750941)

Maybe if you have a fast connection, otherwise its just video on demand

IF you demand it 2 days before you want to watch it that is

3 Mb/s required (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750854)

For this to work, the network must deliver a unique Mb/s data stream from the headend to each consumer. How many cable plants can do that today?

Clearly this is possible, but what are the costs like?

Back of the Envelope (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751162)

For this to work, the network must deliver a unique Mb/s data stream from the headend to each consumer. How many cable plants can do that today?

Each 6Mhz analog TV band (in the upper ranges) can carry between 27 and 32 Mbps. That's 9 or 10 streams per band, assuming MPEG-II at 3 Mbps (although eventually a better codec could reduce the bandwidth requirements.)

Obviously, the bands in the lower end of the TV range can't carry as much information. Traditional cable networks also budget a very large number of them for analog programs, but sooner or later that'll have to go away.

For now, let's assume 50 bands allocated to digital programming, including traditional broadcast and VOD. That's between 450 and 500 independent programs per local cable loop. If you assume that each loop can be reduced to 300-400 homes, you can provide between 1 and 2 unique programs to each home on the loop-- assuming 100% take and 100% use. This is absolutely the worst usage scenario.

Of course, some of those programs will be traditional "live" broadcast channels (MTV, NBC, etc.) But there's no reason those channels can't be "multicast" on demand, which keeps them from tying up bandwidth when they're not being watched, and also saves bandwidth when multiple people are watching the same channel.

A major constraint is that the number of homes per local loop be kept low, and that there be an adequate quantity of fiber bandwidth connecting the head-end to the local loops. The obvious advantage is that you can provide serious VOD service without running fiber to the home, or leaving expensive, fault-prone digital switches/servers out in the field.

To be honest, this is just casual diddling. Does anybody have any idea how far off this estimate is, or how much total bandwidth can really be squeezed out of the full cable TV spectrum?

Happening in Australia too (4, Informative)

purplemonkeydan (214160) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750874)

Pretty rare that Australia is actually somewhat close to leading edge ;)

Optus [optusinteractive.com.au] are trialling a digital VOD system in Sydney. You can subscribe to the commerical trial, and pay to be their guinea pig ... err ... early adopter. They are using Liberate as the platform, and Pace STU's.

The movies are about 6 months old, which is 12 months better than standard pay TV.

VOD (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750888)

Ok, I work for a major cable company on VOD, and I'd like to clear up some issues you guys are talking about...
1. Price. VOD is simalar to PPV. expect to see movies costing about $3.00 (more for porn) you have the movie for 24 hours, and can stop rewind, fast forward, and watch it as many times as you'de like in 24 hours.
2. Quality. Digital cable picture quality is really really good. bit rates run about 3.5-4.5 Mb/s. this is just about where the average bit rate of a DVD falls (although DVDs peak higher) Now, if you operator's plant is fucked, your picture quality will suffer... I've seen AT&T systems that macroblock constantly.
3. Advertizing. its like PPV. content providers get a cut everytime a movie is watched. (same with the operator) avertizing never even enters the picture.
4. Content. currently the plan is to roll out servers near the customer with commonly viewed content, and less requested content will sit in a main library. whjen obscure stuff is requested it streems to the systems near the consumers, and then played out. ive seen systems right now with 500 titles. HBO is about to provide their content soon. Sapranos any time you want.
5. Porn. porn far and away is the biggest money maker.

Re:VOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751144)

5. Porn. porn far and away is the biggest money maker Gonna be a coward about this one... Why is it Charter (in St Louis) charges $9 for porn and $3 for movies? For $20 I can buy the damn thing on DVD!

Re:VOD (2)

Jordy (440) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751201)

Quality. Digital cable picture quality is really really good. bit rates run about 3.5-4.5 Mb/s. this is just about where the average bit rate of a DVD falls (although DVDs peak higher)

Boy I wish that was true all the time. The problem is that any DVD that had real production money thrown at it has bitrates of ~6 Mbps and up. For instance, Gladiator is up at 6.6 Mbps, Cast Away is way up at 7.24 Mbps, Crouching Tiger (Superbit) is up at 7.58 Mbps and that doesn't even count the ~754 Kbps DTS/DD audio tracks.

MPEG-2's bitrates can be tweaked quite a bit if you don't mind choppy video on fast forward/rewind or if you a chroma bit or two, but there is a significant difference between 3.5 Mbps and 7.5 Mbps in terms of quality, especially if that 3.5 Mbps includes audio.

Of course, I don't even want to think about really high bitrate movies for HDTV which unfortunately don't exist as far as I know on DVD due to bitrate requirements exceeding 15 Mbps, but boy would it be nice to watch Star Wars a little closer to the resolution it was shot at.

VOD sounds nice and all, but with ~1 day turnarounds here in San Francisco... Netflix seems to work ok. Not to mention I don't have to deal with advertisements on every menu screen like my damn cable box has (damn you RCN.)

Did you read the article? (2)

mlinksva (1755) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750914)

Where does it say anything about VOD in San Francisco? The article's byline says San Francisco, that's all. Also, you don't have to fit around the broadcast schedule. That's Pay Per View. The article makes the difference between PPV and VOD pretty clear.

already got it (1)

neilsly (106751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750925)

I've had digital cable for about six months and the video on demand for about 3 months. It's quite nice besides movies (and porn of course) there's local weather, news, daily trivia and I can even play solitaire on my set top box (no I'm not kidding.) Many many movies are availble (new and old alike) and specials from networks like discovery, the learning channel, and the travel channel are also available.

Re:already got it (1)

neilsly (106751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750933)

woops... forgot to mention that I've got cable service from Insight in Bloomington, IN - home of IU

The real time is... (1)

HohlerMann (410170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750937)

Imagine being able to pull up 2001: A Space Odyssey at 2:38 a.m...
Shouldn't it be 4:20?

Lewis Black - The Daily Show - Year in Review [akamai.com] (2001)
...so, to wrap it up, my review of 2001 the year is the same as my review of 2001: A Space Odyssey; it went on too long, it was hard to follow, and you could only enjoy it if you were really, really, really really stoned.

Porno (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750938)

I predict gay porn will be massively successful in this market.

Already happening. (1)

Hackysack (21649) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750949)

In Calgary, Shaw Cablesystems is currently testing True VOD on the employee cable map.

In terms of the challenges left to launch, the server infastrucute is easy to set up. We wrote all our own software for 90% of the session and playback control. (It's a wacky combination of Perl ASP(ick) and Java).

All that's left now is figuring out how much we need to build up the cable plant before rolling it out publicly.

Right now, we can serve 2,000 streams off a given server. Problem is that in the traditional Cable network setup, that would mean about 2000 channels of video available to a given city. Which isn't near close enough. We're trying some tricks now with our gear (hence the employee rollout), and hope to be able to launch with 50,000 VoD channels to a city with about 500,000 cable customers.

Fun fun :) Though I should point out that while most of us here are pondering the uses for watchign good Films at any time, 45% of the revenue off Nvod (near video on demand, pay per view) comes from Porn. I doubt that's going to change for VoD.

Why does it have to be in real time? (2, Interesting)

netringer (319831) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750959)

There's one thing I've alway though about: If the program is going from source to storage and not being viewed why does the video feed have too be in real time? Why can't you say double the bandwidth going to your TiVo and halve the transmission time? Send a two hour movie in one hour. Or send it 4x in 1/4 of the time.

I've always thought it was waste to have all those fringe shopping and infomercial feeds and TV preachers tying up a whole satellite channel for so long.

How about it?

test (-1)

Klerck (213193) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750970)

* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
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e / e
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* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
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x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
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e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
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e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
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e \ / / \\\ -- \\ : e
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
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* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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o / \ \ / \ o
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
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t / / \ t
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e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
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x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
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e / e
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* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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o / \ \ / \ o
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x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
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e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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o / \ \ / \ o
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x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
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e / e
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* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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o / \ \ / \ o
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
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* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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o / \ \ / \ o
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
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* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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o / \ \ / \ o
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
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* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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g g
o / \ \ / \ o
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
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t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
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* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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o / \ \ / \ o
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
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x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *

The possibility of ReplayTV (1)

SirNarfsALot (536889) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750971)

Am I crazy, or does the ReplayTV 4000 series seem perfect for video on demand? If licensing and legal issues were dealt with (and that is perhaps a very big if) it would be nearly ideal. It would require a software update, but the Replays are already planned to have the capability of downloading content directly to the box and playing it back with digital audio and 480p output, if so equipped. SonicBlue could be sitting on a goldmine if the new boxes take off.
With file trading exploding as it is, those who stand to gain from VOD should get hopping now, and making use of the Replay would be a good start. Just my two cents.

Merry Xmas and a Happy Troll Tuesday! (-1)

Klerck (213193) | more than 12 years ago | (#2750978)

* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
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e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
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x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
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e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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o / \ \ / \ o
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
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e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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o / \ \ / \ o
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* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
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g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
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o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
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g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
s / / \/\/ s
e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
t `. : t
s` \ s
e \ / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
s / / \/\/ s
e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
t `. : t
s` \ s
e \ / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
s / / \/\/ s
e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
t `. : t
s` \ s
e \ / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
s / / \/\/ s
e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
t `. : t
s` \ s
e \ / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
s / / \/\/ s
e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
t `. : t
s` \ s
e \ / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/Merry\ (> / t
s / /\ C) Xmas! (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
s / / \/\/ s
e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *

Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2750984)

If they're doin' it in San Francisco, it must be good!

Let me get this straight... (2, Insightful)

TheAJofOZ (215260) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751010)

Okay, so without meaning to sound like a troll, let me get this straight....
The Slashdot "generalised mentality of contributers" wants to see:
  1. Software be sold outright.
  2. Music listening rights sold outright - buy the CD, listen to any of the tracks on it in any form, anywhere, anytime and without extra fees.
  3. Pay per view for television and movies.
I think I missed something here. Yes being able to call up your favorite movie at any time is a good thing, but why is it that this doesn't scream out as moving to a suscription based service instead of an ownership based service?

Two possibilities are that 1) in America most people pay a subscription to television anyway (in Australia free to air TV has the stronghold atm) and 2) we already pay each time we go to the movies. The second reason is not entirely valid as when you go to the movies you go for the whole experience (wide screen, surround sound, comfy seats and a dark place to take your significant other).

What I would think would be more exciting is seeing the cost of DVDs drop to a price which makes it feasible to have a massive collection of DVDs which you can then play on demand.

Are movies and television that different to music?

Re:Let me get this straight... (2)

killthiskid (197397) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751040)

I had mod-points on this thread, but I feel compelled to responed:

I think what people what (in both music and video/audio) is to be able to play, on demand, any movie or audio.

I know I would happily pay for that, esp. since within a SHORT time someone would figure out how to hack the stream and record it for later replay.

Once something is released into the wild, it's gone, be it DeCSS, MP3 or any other codec/hack you can think of.

Let the MPAA/RIAA go wild with a subscription service.

We'll figure it out.

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751044)

I think I missed something here. Yes being able to call up your favorite movie at any time is a good thing, but why is it that this doesn't scream out as moving to a suscription based service instead of an ownership based service?

Because the ownership-based service will be around? PPV TV hasn't destroyed the ad-funded one, not even close.

But I can think of one good reason: just imagine how much good hardware will be needed, and how many good sysadmins they will need to hire! :-)

If I don't do the work who will? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751024)

I work on two major project at once (~$70M each), but some people seem to think vacations are more important than finishing the work. So, I have to finish some of the stuff sitting on the back burner that is also needed for month end. Those people may enjoy the holidays, but comes salary review time "I" will be enjoying myself. :)

I was just informed that HR gave me two weeks vacation on top of what my contract says. well atleast I'm getting something back.

2001 at 2:38 AM? (0, Flamebait)

Hillman (137883) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751026)

Hrrmm, that poster is an acidhead ;)

Broadband 101 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751033)

VOD is possible because of broadband. Analog cable tv channels are about 6MHz wide (including audio) across the available spectrum (currently 25MHz to 1GHz). They have been standardized (FCC) at certain frequencies, i.e. channel 2 is always 55.25MHz and certain frequencies are not used such as the FM frequencies (88-108MHz). Digital Cable modulates that same 6MHz to get a data rate of 28MB/s to 38MB/s depending on the modulation type (QAM64 and QAM256 respectively) that gives you about 10 to 15 digital video channels (respectively). Cable Modems typically use 1 or 2 6MHz blocks (channels) over the entire plant.

That's roughly a total of 54GB/s of bandwidth available on FLAT a 1GHz plant.

VOD is sometimes done in a distributed fashion. With QAM Modulators and Content servers located at a hub site, each serving a small number of nodes (a node typically has 100-1500 boxes in it). A group of channels will be reserved for distributed use only.

Lets say that were're in a city with 150,000 VOD capable boxes. Lets say that this plant has 15 hubs and 10 nodes per hub If you had 4 Channels per node allocated to do VOD at each hub, you would have the capability to serve 144MB/s per 1000 boxes in addition to the normal video lineup. That's an additional 21GB/s on the plant overall using up only 4 channels on the spectrum!!! Of course it is assumed that not all boxes will be ordering VOD at the same time. The revenue for the cable companies is potentially enourmous (you can do the math for $5 per buy).

I work in cable tv and I have seen many headends installing the necessary equipment to pull this off.

Blockbuster beware...

Jake

Re:Broadband 101 (2)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751107)

If there really is that much space available out there, why havn't we seen 50GBps Ethernet over RG-6 or RG-8. I know I sure could use it for some projects at work where 1GB ethernet is pretty substandard (SAN type stuff).

Re:Broadband 101 (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751134)

s/GB/Gbit... it's late.

Re:Broadband 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751215)

The boxes (clients) only tune to one channel at at time, I was trying to show how much video you can stream in a CATV plant. If you were to build a device that modulated and demodulated 136 or so channels, you would need 136 (but why stop there) modulators and demodulators on both ends. You would also need a device that combined all the ethernet (atm, etc) traffic RX and split up the TX traffic.

It's not impossible, but I would imagine very expensive. I would guess that such a device would cost over $1M easy. I think there are more practical ways...

Jake

Time Warner in Austin... its here its GOOD (0)

jest6r (156293) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751060)

We have had VOD for pay per view for a while, and are in the process of getting the HBO et all channels moved over to on demand as well. Its great except when networks fail you can get multiple bills for movies. http://timewarneraustin.com/services/pay_per_view/ in_demand_movies.asp http://timewarneraustin.com/services/hboondemand/l aunchmap.asp Its good to live in a techie town

your mom is a ho ho ho (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751061)

merry goatsex-mas to you too

More lame California-centric crap. (3, Insightful)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751064)



"Imagine being able to pull up 2001: A Space Odyssey at 2:38 a.m.."



Wow, you Californians are high-tech!!!

Ever heard of Kazaa, Lopster, or freakin' BLOCKBUSTER?

Re:More lame California-centric crap. (2)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751158)

Blockbuster closes at midnight. But to be honest, at 2:38 you really watch "Virtual Jenna Jameson" [legendsofporn.com]

consumer video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751071)

Imagine being able to pull up 2001: A Space Odyssey at 2:38 a.m.
Personally, I can't wait until there is a format for consumers to own a compact, reliable physical copy of a movie, that we can play on a consumer device with a reasonable price. Imagine a world where anyone can pop a shiny physical representation of a movie into their home movie appliance and watch it at any time!

oh wait....

I'd rather have an IP-based TiVo-like device (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751100)

Carry all your programming via multicasted MPEG2 streams (or the codec of your choice, whatever) so that my TiVo-like product can capture multiple streams at once, and I can watch them at my leisure. It's an interesting question how to handle advertising on a system like this, but you could do it like a DVD, and simply force people to watch them, I guess. I don't like that idea very much, but it all has to get paid for somehow. Of course, if you could buy individual channels, or better yet individual shows, you wouldn't need so many ads. Or if shows had more internal ad-placement, I suppose. If you were subtle enough about it, it wouldn't be that bad.

Re:I'd rather have an IP-based TiVo-like device (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751137)

Internal ad placement?!?!?!? You are asking for the corruption of the content itself to make money for unrelated corporations??

What if great films had ad placement in them... They wouldn't be so great now would they. I challenge you to find one film on the top 100 movies of all time list (any of the top 100 lists at any credible site really) that has any blatent ad placements in it.

Man, go watch some N'sync or something, and have a coke and smile.

I'm not drunk really. And this probably sounds more like flamebait than a mean it to, but seriously man.

On Demand TV: Been there, seen that (2)

hyrdra (260687) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751105)

Our digital provider in Columbus, Ohio offers on demand digital cable which includes over 300 movies (usually newer ones), and they are getting good about adding them as they come out.

But what I really like is the ability to stream individual shows. I can watch whatever episode of Dragon Ball Z or Star Trek I want for a fee, that is.

What I would really like would be an unlimited package. I would easily pay $100 a month for unlimited on demand of a large database of movies/TV shows.

However, as others have pointed out this service is not new. It started when cable companies switched over to MPEG2 using UBR switches a few years ago. With 1000 slots each with a DVD-quality MPEG2 channel and three or four NTSC quality channels each, it just made sense to offer it on demand. I do notice that in busier sections of the city with more users of the on-demand service frames are actually dropped and MPEG artifacting can happen every 15 minutes or so. I've only seen it freeze once, with a "Service Busy" screen popping up. This is pretty amazing considering all the decoding is being done on the set-top or sometimes in the local UBR (which in some setups can do several streams per second). In fact, the digital set-top CPE even have an integrated webTV for browsing web sites, although I'm not sure if they use the same up/down frequencies as a regular cable modem, nor am I sure if on demand TV shares the cable modem spectrum (probably not). The main point is when's the last time you could actually watch a realtime video stream on your PC over the Internet at NTSC+ resolution? What these companies have done is build a fast, private network from the ground up free from abuse and the bandwidth waste the Internet see's today. It's the same as streaming DVD over your gigabit ethernet, only it's city-wide.

As for a revolution in TV viewing -- I don't think so. I still often prefer to watch scheduled programming because, well, I just like knowing other people are watching what I'm seeing at the same time and it creates a sort of audience or community feeling. Sure, I do use the TV on demand feature sometimes but because of the cost (around $3.50 a pop) I sometimes find myself waiting until the show is actually aired. Don't know how the TV distributor is paid per-the-view, that would be interesting also.

What about HDTV? (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751110)

This is a whole new infrastructure to support sub-NTSC quality video. Will this slow the transition to HDTV? Or will you be able to order movies as a 1080p 24fps 16:9 stream? If you could do that, getting a HDTV monitor would be worth it.

Great, so now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751133)

...while watching Pud Huffers IV on pay-per-view, the queers can pause it while they run to grab the lube from the med cabinet.

Don't get you hopes up (yet)... (3, Interesting)

jschmerge (228731) | more than 12 years ago | (#2751147)

I work in the ITV industry and I have to say that this will not happen overnight. Most digital cable plants out there broadcast over a 27 Mbit pipe. This pipe is not wide enough to accomodate more than a couple of channels of really low quality VOD (they lower the quality of the mpeg compression to accomodate the bandwidth).

In order for most cable plants to offer true high quality video on demand with more selections than this, they have to upgrade everything from the equipment in the cable plant to the wire running into your home. Given the speed at which Cable Companies change the technology that they use, I give this five to ten years before we actually see it.

Sorry to burst everyone's bubble.

woo hoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2751148)

Now I never need to get my lazy ass out of the chair! I can have a standard order for a pizza delivered every four hours and a constant stream of Chevy Chase movies without ever having to go to the video store!

My plan to become a huge sweaty pile of mindless, odiferous, docile, goo is about to be realized.

Man! It's a full-time IV drip of superficial banalities!

Well, at least it makes the "video gaming is a sport" crowd look a little less pathetic.
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