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Live TV on the Internet


Along the topic of yesterday’s mention of what to do with unlimited bandwidth, online video company Joost has announced it will start test-broadcasting live TV over the Internet in 2008. The company has great industry and financial connections, so it’s possible Joost will succeed. But I can’t help but wonder how.

If Joost successfully lands top-notch content deals like live sports events, then it has the potential to have wide consumer appeal. And if it has wide consumer appeal, lots of folks will turn to their Internet connections to view the action. Lots of folks. All at the same time. Over the free-and-clear Internet. Even using a content delivery network (CDN), how can that possibly not create a problem?

We’re moving in the direction of more and more bandwidth, but we’re not going to have 100 Mbps residential speeds in most of North America in 2008. Or 2009. Or probably 2010. So it seems to me that Joost cannot deliver a high-quality, live service any time in the next few years. Unless very few people want to watch it. And that presents other problems for the company.