Image courtesy of Zatz Not Funny
Not long ago it was a novelty just watching TV on the PC, and yet we’ve quickly moved from grainy, standard-def YouTube videos to high-def, premium content online. The latest example? CBSSports.com is debuting online HD coverage of March Madness this year with a new Silverlight player. You don’t have to watch March Madness on Demand (MMOD) in HD if you don’t have the bandwidth or computing power to carry it, but it will be available for those that do.
The HD NCAA basketball coverage comes on the heels of the presidential inauguration last month, which also got the HD treatment on CBS local affiliate sites. In fact, CBS Television Stations had seven HD feeds streaming for the inauguration, and the result was stunning. (I watched online. It really was beautiful.)
The move to HD online has a lot of interesting implications. Naturally there’s the impact on downstream bandwidth, but I’m betting there’s an indirect effect on upstream bandwidth as well. The more people see HD video online, the more people want to create their own HD videos for online sharing. Consumer-friendly HD camcorders abound, and if you can handle the massive files sizes (not an insignificant consideration), there’s little barrier to entry in the online HD video free-for-all.
The other interesting issue that online HD video raises is competition with traditional broadcast television. Current business models and consumer behaviors mean that online video doesn’t remotely threaten traditional TV today. But it’s interesting to watch as the two mediums converge.