Internet TV And Video On Demand: Changing The TV Landscape Forever

T-Box EPGTelevision is in the middle of a revolution. A revolution brought about by a little thing known as the internet. Where traditionally the broadcast technology that made beaming video programming from one place to many different homes was a passive form of entertainment, the rise of technologies like DVRs and the Internet has allowed us to be more actively engaged in where, when and how we want to watch TV. And thanks to the web, IPTV is going to take that shift to the next level.

Wikipedia tells us that the first IPTV occurance in the world happened back in 1994 when a show called World News Now was broadcast online using videoconferencing software. But it was this decade that it really started to take off, as broadband speeds worldwide increased sufficiently to allow the high volumes of data required for video to be transferred fast enough into homes.

Around the world, both television broadcast companies and ISPs began launching IPTV services. At the same time, there were startups like Joost that tried to enhance the online television watching experience. In Australia, Telstra were one of the first companies to jump on the IPTV train with the launch of BigPond Movies and BigPond TV. In the US, Hulu – which was a joint effort from several major US networks - completely revolutionised how TV was broadcast into the internet for the mass market.

Today, there's a definite focus towards online television services. The ABC is leading the way with its iView service. Foxtels' recently launched Download service - while it has its bugs - is also a huge step forward for the technology. The other free to air networks, through their joint Freeview marketing machine, are definitely working on launching their own online TV portal as well. Both Microsoft and Sony, through their gaming consoles, are making the push to deliver video downloads online, and TiVo are also expanding their internet entertainment portfolio.

And on top of all that, all the TV manufacturers are now building ethernet ports into their television sets, which may not offer anything more than widgets today - but in the future, who knows what kind of TV broadcasts you'll be able to download direct to your TV?

Of course, at the moment in Australia, we're partially hamstrung by our inadequate broadband network. If and when the NBN is complete though, it's pretty safe to say that online television will play a huge part in sucking up the new bandwidth...

History of TV is Giz AU’s month-long look back at the development of the world-changing medium and its influence on our daily lives.

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    Bring on the NBN!!


    I can't believe you're discussing IPTV and yet have completely ignored Canberra's TransACT service.. Pay and Local TV via VDSL (essentially fibre to the node), they used to also resell Foxtel.

    This is a true IPTV implementation and not the 'webapp' version of which you are speaking.

      Also to add..

      There is no 'real' reason that we don't have broadband caps that would allow for VOD via the internet.

      Speed problems are a real issue yes, but broadband caps come courtesy of (primarily) Telstra.. here have a super fast 200meg download service.. oh you want to actually use your connection? Please do use all our wonderful Telstra services that are CAP FREE..

      I love the fact that this kills a chance for others to offer alternative services (abuse of market power), but that everyone thinks the solution is 'uncapped content' bonuses from different isp's.. Over in the states they're having a big issue with 'Net Neutrality' and the idea that an isp limiting access to competing services (via speed limiting, bandwidth caps to non-favoured services etc.) is a very bad thing.. and over here we are begging to have 'more stuff usage free'..

      Wrong Attitude - we need to remove the bandwidth caps or make them realistic - not build up walled gardens that the isp's control and divert traffic to services that give them a financial kickback.. We keep saying the world should function in a free market.. this is definately the opposite.


    The current "web" based trend is interesting, but until I can use what ever software solution I like, I'm not entirely sure we are going to see a major revolution.

    An open standard for delivery and the use of technologies such as bittorrent for wide distribution (without the in-built capping) would really move the whole idea in the right direction, then I get to choice the hardware and software I want to use.

    While freedom in this area is a little thing for most people, the ability to choice is what's important, then we can gain access to a wide variety of options (channels and provides) through the use of single standard!!

    Honestly, I wouldn't mind lining a list of shows/movies I'd like to see and have them download during off peek periods to watch at my leisure (on what ever device I want, my pc, laptop, tv in the lounge, tv in the studio) and have episodes automatically added as the are released!!

    Movies on demand via the net? That will be the day when I have unlimited downloads without cappings! Will that day arrive? Who knows.

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