YouTube is Hot, But Watch Out for Over the Top

Welcome WVFF Guest Blogger
Jim Louderback

dead-tvSure, you think the TV is dead. But it’s not. The act of lazing about in front of a big screen TV watching, laughing and enjoying video content is going to be even bigger than ever. But here’s the rub. It’ll be less about cable and broadcast, and much more about internet video.

It boils down to this: If you’re not creating video with the big screen in mind, you’re going to miss one of the biggest developments in 2010.

We’ve already seen great success with Revision3‘s content on Roku; the tiny box that streams Netflix, baseball, Amazon, and now us. Along with Twitter, Pandora, Flickr and more all on the big screen.

We at Revision3 were up nearly 15% in the first two weeks that our channel launched – and that was during the traditional down weeks of Thanksgiving.

Next year TV will get smart.

Vizio, the biggest TV vendor in the US, will bring real connectivity to every TV it sells that’s larger than 45 inches. Many other TVs will do the same.

Boxee’s box will ship.

Cable set top boxes will connect to web video.

It’s a brand new outlet and it can’t be ignored.

youtube-tvUnfortunately, YouTube seems to be asleep at the wheel. I asked them recently if they were going to play in over the top, they said they prefer to be browser-based rather than having separate interfaces. Sure, having multiple and separate interfaces can be tough, but their approach is wrong. Consider mobile – websites are terrible on that screen. The same goes for the big screen at 10 feet away.

But, let’s imagine I was led to speculation with my YouTube contacts, perhaps they were being… coy. We could very well find Android or Chrome jumping in and powering TVs by 2011.

We’ll see…

In the mean time, you can do a few things to ensure you don’t miss the boat in 2010.

First, produce and distribute in HD. If and when YouTube is available on the big screen, the better looking videos will win. Quality will always be more important in this world.

Second, think about an alternate channel for over the top. Try hooking up with Xbox, glom onto Roku with Mediafly or Blip.TV.

Most importantly, find ways to get your stuff into that world.

Oh, and keep an eye on Revision3 in early January. We’ll be covering the heck out of the annual Consumer Electronic Show, posting on our site, and on our popular YouTube Channel. We’ll be bringing you the latest over the top devices and provide commentary on how this brave new world of internet video is evolving.

Jim Louderback
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9 thoughts on “YouTube is Hot, But Watch Out for Over the Top”

  1. Over the Top basically means non-traditional internet services being transmitted “over the top” of cable. So, like, when Vonage does phone over cable it’s sitting on top of the broadband line using your broadband for it’s service. Except now, companies like Netflix are doing video over the top, which presents possible problems for bandwidth, and also big problems for cable’s business model.

  2. My general thoughts re: the thesis statement “if you aren’t making content for the big screen…” is that it underplays the difference between the television experience and the computer experience.

    Internet on the television will always be fundamentally the same experience (at least while watching) as television is now. There will be more options, hopefully resulting in a better experience for the user, but to say that everyone who isn’t producing content specifically for television (ported to a set-top box in 1080p) is going to miss out shows a misunderstanding of the way we experience video now.

    There are two different experiences (three if you include mobile.) But the big ones are television (where you sit on a couch ten feet away from the video) and computer (where you sit a foot and a half away and have multiple and complex social options at your finger tips.)

    No one is going to ever prefer hour-long programming in a computer-based setting, that’s obvious. But there’s also a whole new realm of content being created specifically for the computer-based setting. Short, punchy, interesting content that can be easily and quickly digested and then participated with and shared.

    It’s entertainment, but it doesn’t ever really seem to catch on unless there’s a social element. It’s a whole different thing, and it isn’t going to port onto television at all. Just like longer-form, passive entertainment doesn’t port well to the computer.

    The question is…do you think that hours spent watching video on the couch will increase more dramatically, or hours spent watching video at computers.

    Frankly, I think the safer bet is to say that computer hours are going to grow faster, if only because there’s a lot more room to grow there.

    That’s not to say that I think Rev3 isn’t smart to get into set-top boxes. Quite the opposite. Your content, I think, bridges the gap between the two environments. I’d be just as happy watching Film Riot (my favorite of your shows) on the computer or the TV.

    But that certainly isn’t true for most programming. Anything longer than 10 minutes is a drag when I’m sitting at my desk, and anything shorter than 30 minutes is ridiculous when put onto a television.

    Just my 2 cents.

  3. @Hank – Yes. Just yes. I was about to write that, not necessarily verbatim, but pretty close. I was going to be at very least equally long-winded.

    Bottom line: TV =/= Internet – even if the Internet is on the TV.

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