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It’s TV Jim, But Not As We Know It

What’s encouraging though, is that legal means of downloading TV are coming online and the BBC and Sky are to be congratulated for doing it. Lots of work still needs to be done though. The applications need to be made more robust, and more flexibility needs to be added in or people will be turned off. Integration with Microsoft’s Media Center operating system would be a great idea, especially on an Intel ViiV PC. One of the big pulls of downloading episodes of Lost or 24 via Bit Torrent, is that you don’t have to wait months before Sky or Channel 4 get round to showing it. Once the infrastructure is in place then the TV stations will have to work hard on reducing that time lag, otherwise the people will just jump back on board those illegal sites, espcailly as there’s no imposing time limits and quality is usually excellent.

What's also promising is that the fast Internet connections needed to make video downloading a reality are here. After years of being in the broadband doldrums the UK is one of the leaders. 2Mb connections are now common and 8MB widely available. I recently jumped from 2Mb cable to 10MB, at the click of a button. As well as the speed, the monthly cost also leapt from £25 a month to £38 a month, which is a bit excessive, but I just couldn’t resist that ‘just clicky button then huge speed leapy’ thing. I’m weak like that. Fortunately, UK Online is now offering 8Mb for just £25 in my area, or a staggering 22Mb connection for £30 – leaving NTL dead in the water for value, so I’ll be switching very soon. Also, the ISP Be, is promising that my exchange will be 24Mb enabled this April. Spoilt for choice, I think is the phrase. It’s worth noting that UKOnline is part of Easynet, the ISP that has been bought by a certain Rupert Murdoch. Suddenly Sky’s Broadband delivery strategy makes more sense.

The point is that a year from now, 8Mb Internet connections will be widely available and affordable while the download TV services will be mature, Intel’s Viiv PCs will standard, and PC graphics hardware will be even more capable of speeding up the process of getting video onto your favourite device. Naysayers may cry that the video download market it still fragmented and immature but any way you look at it, 2006 looks like it will mark the real start of the video download revolution. And yes, it will be televised.

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