The Future Of Televison

Im very interested in the future of television because it is so closely tied to the future of porn.

I am an avid reader of industry trade rags like Videomaker and Streaming Media Magazines. I also stay abreast of the technology. Several years ago I spoke at an Xbiz Conference in Miami on emerging technologies, I told them about the future of video on the internet and a standard called MPEG DASH. Back in the 90s the guys doing porn were tech guys and they would have been all over this even before I presented it but in 2013 you could have counted the people who understood it or even the impact it would have on one hand. Despite the fact that everyone doing large scale streaming right now, like NetFlix, is using it. One co-presenter was tooting his own horn about how Their browser pop-unders were a technological breakthrough, the company was LiveJasmine, I simply couldn’t help myself and said thats not a technological breakthrough, thats fucking annoying..I got a round of applause, but I also didnt get invited to speak again, he did.

But this post is only loosely about the technology, it’s a lot more about content delivery in the near future.

Now you have probably all heard about “set top boxes” and if not you certainly have heard of brand names of set top boxes like FireTV, Roku and Apple TV. Basically they stream content to your TV. Some TVs are “smart” and can do it themselves. Its a way to watch Netflix or Hulu or others on your nice big HDTV without having to go through your computer.

We all know what tubesites are as well, but theres an emerging convergence that makes tubesites look archaic.

Its called an HTPC, home theater personal computer. Sounds expensive doesn’t it? It isn’t. I recently bought one called a QBox for less than 100 dollars. its an 8 core android PC with advanced hardware graphics, 2 USB 3 ports, an SDHC card slot, Bluetooth, an IR Remote, built in AC Band WiFi, 2 Gigabytes internal memory and 16 Gigabytes of storage memory. Its the size of a small alarm clock. Pretty net little box…you can hook an external drive to it and play 4K video (or even higher) with no problems. But the real interesting thing is it is Android, so it runs android apps, like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime…so it has all the good stuff that Roku 3 has plus Candy Crush.

Pretty neat right?

Thats just the beginning it comes bundled with something called Kodi. Kodi was formerly known as XBMC. It was a way to really cut the cable from subscription TV. XBMC was an Android app that would pull files off of torrent sites and play them real time. so if it was on a torrent site (or usenet or a tubesite) you could play it on demand on your HDTV. Problem was there was a lot of latency, buffering and what not so it was generally only for very technically inclined people. It was also difficult to set up and not very reliable.

Not so much anymore when I tried it i was amazed…full DVD and HD quality video on demand, and it was very very reliable and easy to set up. As a content provider I understand the need to pay for content and I have a subscription to Netflix so I decided to compare “House of Cards” and one of the TV shows I normally watch an NBC show called “Allegiance”

As I stated before Netflix uses MPEG DASH for delivery, its a dynamic adaptive delivery method meaning that it delivers the video in very short pieces a couple of seconds at a time, if it senses that your connection is slowing down it will downshift the quality of the next piece of video, conversely if your connection speeds up it will get a higher quality piece. This has some advantages…one is that you will always get the highest quality that your connection can support with little or no buffering and for content producers it facilitates protecting your content, because it isnt sending you the entire video file at once, its sending you pieces that vary in quality.

Kodi is using plain old streaming, its sending you the whole file and playing it as it is sent so if your connection slows down your video may freeze while it buffers

Neither Netflix nor Kodi suffered from buffering issues playing the latest season of House of Cards. the biggest difference and it was a very small difference was in quality. the netflix quality was better but the difference was barely noticeable ( I have a 35 Mbit/sec connection) and my wireless router is an AC router so I have a fast wireless connection to my QBox You should note that both the Netflix app and the Kodi app were both running on the qbox so the only difference is in the apps themselves and in the delivery from the internet.

I expected the biggest difference to be in “Allegiance” I expected to have to wait a day or two after it aired to be able to watch the latest episode. I was wrong, it was available less than an hour after it aired. The quality on Kodi was not as good as the over the air NBC broadcast but it was very close.

Now I hate the Cable TV monopolies but I’m not advocating piracy and thats what Kodi is, no question about it, but the fact that this is being done and technically its working flawlessly should be a wake up call to cable content providers….Indeed HBO has taken notice as has CBS both have recently started offering streaming versions WITHOUT having to have a cable or satellite TV subscription. Thats a huge step and its one that I expect other content providers to follow.

I can also see college students all over the world paying for a high speed internet connection but NOT paying for Cable TV, instead using Kodi or one of the similar apps like popcorntime or videomix to get their TV shows. (It should be noted that pretty much everything that has ever been on TV in any country is available using Kodi, I was pretty impressed with that…..)

I should also point out that while popcortime and videomix are apps Kodi is more of a platform, its more than an app and sort of replaces Android with this audio and video entertainment operating system.

As for the QBox I highly recommend it over Roku, AppleTV and FireTv. It will do the same things plus it has better playback of your own video files on your LAN or hard drive. plus the ability to run Pandora, Iheartradio, or even Skype (if you add a usb camera)

Is there a door here for an enterprising porn company to make money? You bet your ass there is. The potential for long term revenue is FAR greater than you would have with a Roku channel and MPEG DASH is ready and waiting to be used. You will see MPEG DASH getting very big very soon, JWPlayer has announced that the next version of the cross platform player due out early 2015 will support Mpeg DASH. What that means to non technical people…you can encode your video ONE time and play it on ANY device from a cell phone to a tablet to a phablet to a PC to a 4K smart TV to an HTPC.

Remember where ya read it first!

118270cookie-checkThe Future Of Televison

The Future Of Televison

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7 Responses

  1. It’s funny, the last few weeks I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m finally going to cut the cord to cable TV. I’ve seen the quality of channels drop dramatically the last 3 years. Science channel used to be one of my mainstays, now it’s got NOTHING watchable except repeats from 2 or 3 years ago. History is me. Fox tried to branch out with their business channel, they show repeats of War Stories with Oliver North from 15 years SD of course. Havent’ watched A&E in forever, Bio channel requires an upgrade, don’t miss it anyway. What was that channel Mobsters was on?, I don’t get that either. I have HBO and I do admit they are doing a lot to keep their channel exclusive: The Jinx, Going Clear, Vice, Bill Maher, Real Sports, Last Week Tonight but they’re the only one’s trying. I guess HBO knows what the hell they’re doing and the other ones just do the bait and switch. Trying to make me pay extra for Science Channel and Bio and MLB Network and others really was the last straw.

    Bye Cable TV, I’ll be streaming from now on!

    I’m a guessin’ it’s soon going to cost a fortune to just have a high speed Internet connection.

  2. See, that’s the problem with hooking stuff up. Your very good summary, which is easy to understood, really took a few paragraphs to get through. Most people are like, No F that. Plug and play is where it is at. I got a set top box too, but what porn should do is make their own set top box. Like for example (Evil Angel, ect) could make their own set top box, plug it into the back of your TV, and you get preloaded content, porn browser, porn games, and subscription services. It can be the size of a thumb drive. You got Kodi, I got Sling. Porn companies can make a porn-sling-tv app, and charge a monthly bill on top of that. Like you were saying with DVD’s…its too old school to stay in the market.

  3. The set top box idea has been around for a while, we are honestly only starting to reach the point where the average consumer has enough bandwidth at their disposal to make it a worthwhile idea. Say a big thanks to Netflix in particular for pushing the issue and making people comfortable with the idea of ordering online.

    However, you have to remember that they got much of their boost by tagging onto other people’s equipment. PCs, other set top boxes, smart TV sets, and the like. They have not spent a whole lot of time making their own boxes, they know that hardware is basically for losers. Some porn companies have tried it, and they seem to have all died off. Hardware is a commodity business with almost no margin, and the volume required to get a good enough install base to make anything else work is insane.

    So the good plan would be for porn companies to do the same as Netflix, and tag onto other people’s hardware. The problem here is that many of these companies don’t want porn as a selling feature on their products, they don’t want the association. So it’s very hard to get prime positioning and exposure to the public. In the case of Apple, adult is against the rules. In the case of Android, you cannot easily offer adult in Android play, which means you need to have people permit outside apps (which opens them up for attacks), and which most people are not comfortable doing.

    Porn isn’t going to have an easy time of it, that is for sure. Moreover, the legal distribution of porn in this manner is very likely to attract the attention of state AGs who will try to enforce local obscenity standards. So if your porn shop happens to have bondage or watersports or anything like that, they could order a video online from you, have it “delivered” electronically, and then charge your company with obscenity in their local community.

    We end up back where the DVD and VHS business was, having to deal with a level of local regulation and such that is just not so simple.

    Oh, for those who wonder why they don’t do it with regular porn sites, it’s not as easy to make the distribution angle stick. When you talk about a subscription set top box, you are suppose to know who your consumer is, and act accordingly. The difference would not be lost on the courts.

  4. rawalex I totally agree the smart move is not to develop hardware but to leverage android because ultimately thats where its going. admitted not being in google playstore can be harmful BUT most of the apps I mentioned have been delisted from playstore but googling them makes it easy to find them temporarily allow outside apps, install them then turn it back off…it isnt hard to find out if an app is legit or not but it does require some searching on your own….but if all you can deal with is plu n play then an HTPC isnt for you anyway

  5. In the rush to celebrate that monopolies and bundling finally are going to cost the Cable Companies everything, another driving aspect is that in the digital world, it is so hard to find which service has which content. This 10x more true for legacy content. These torrent funneling softwares are the only way to really find things conveniently for consumers unless the property is newer and hot.

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