It will happen! TV and the Internet will eventually merge into one giant multi-media “melting pot” that includes everything from live footage and old reruns to garage videos posted by your next door neighbor’s kid. Just like cable TV fractured network TV, the Internet will enable everyone with a voice, a video camera, and something to say to fracture cable TV even more. But the real TV revolution on the Internet will only happen when marketers stop trying to copy TV, with its commercials and outdated modes of revenue generation, and start copying the “pay-per-view” and “infomercial” models.
Television via Internet streaming
One company, Tvexe.com, has started offering television broadcasts from around the world via Internet streaming. The free software (with optional one-time $25 upgrade) allows you to stream TV feeds from around the world to your desktop through a broadband connection. The picture rates a “C+” on the quality side, but, just like Internet telephony six years ago, you can expect the quality to improve quickly. If they can keep costs down long enough to figure out how to make money, this company will likely succeed because they provide programming that’s virtually impossible to get anywhere else.
But, for the rest of us “mortals” who want to stream our images, video and audio across the web, trying to provide “live TV” broadcasts spells the kiss of death in both time and money. For the vast majority of companies doing business online, it will prove virtually impossible to get a meaningful number of people to show up to a website at “8 p.m. Eastern” for tonight’s live “TV” broadcast. But what will work online is adopting the “pay-per-view” model found in hotels where you watch the program you want, when you want. Offering website visitors video content they can download, start, stop, play, pause, and view on their own schedule holds the key to online “TV” success. I hate to make this overly simplistic, but bottom line: an effective online “TV Station” only needs a basic website and the ability to allow “viewers” to download or stream video files.
Two basic options
All of us get two basic options when it comes to creating content to deliver from our “TV Station” website. First, you can do “screen capture” video, which combines video of the action taking place on your computer screen with your voice as narration, to create excellent instructional content. You then allow viewers to download this “TV program” from your website either free or for a free. Two programs enable you to do this quickly and easily: Screen Cam Generator and Camtasia.
Your second option involves using full-motion video, either from a web-cam or a camcorder. The content most easily gets published online either as a WMV file (Windows Media Video) played with Microsoft’s Media Player, or FLV file (Flash Video) played with the free Flash “plug-in” found in most web browsers.
Regardless of which option you choose, remember: unlike traditional TV, successful models of “TV-style” content online will empower the viewer to watch when and where they choose.