The V in VON doesnt just stand for voice, said Jeff Pulver, president and CEO of pulvermedia, and founder of the leading VoIP conference as he kicked off VON Spring, taking place this week in San Jose, Calif. The V also stands for video, he emphasized.
Pulver highlighted new IP video services operating in ways different from what many service providers are planning for IPTV. For example, Sling Media retransmits over the Internet programming that comes into a typical cable or satellite set-top. It enables users to watch that programming on their PCs wherever they can get access to broadband. Because the service essentially makes traditional TV programming sources available over the Internet, Pulver termed it TV over IP, rather than IPTV.
Another video offering comes from Brightcove, an Internet video distribution service aimed at small and medium TV programming producers, as well as consumers. Brightcove, launched a year ago, also plans to work with advertisers to develop video content and has added experienced advertising executives to its board.
I think video offers an amazing opportunity, said Pulver. Although some video has been seen at the VON shows in the past, in the last 18 months a lot of companies have been playing with IMS and video. Pulvermedia is building its own video studio, something that now can be done at relatively reasonable cost. A few years ago it would have been a multimillion-dollar project but not now, said Pulver, and the possibilities are endless.
The Brightcove video offerings can be accessed by a wide range of customer devices, from mobile phones to PCs. Jeremy Allaire, chairman and CEO of Brightcove, said whether customers move bits off a high-performance network or if they are sent peer-to-peer is a technicality. Whats important is, what is the best way to get to the user and what is a reasonable cost. A service, such as Brightcoves, will have a library of content, some for streaming, some for download, some pulled from the network, some recorded, Allaire said. Content can be sent to TVs or handsets. It is designed to be device-independent, he added.
The Sling Media box can work with many different set-tops and video receivers. It converts the video to a format that can be streamed over the Internet, plus it has an infrared interface that allows users to control set-tops and TVs remotely over the Internet just like using a remote control.
Neither company at this point has designed its platform to stream content necessarily to mobile devices.
In the U.S. market the quality of the networks and the distribution of advanced mobile devices very thin compared to the broadband PC, which is massive in scale, said Allaire. So we serialized our priorities on the right level of consumer reach.
When we started we had nothing on mobile. Now the biggest portable media device is the laptop, said Jason Krikorian, vice president of business development and cofounder, Sling Media. But it will happen, and we will be there.