Alright, maybe my last suggestion on podcasting went down like a lead balloon with Dave Winer, but I’m going to give another idea a shot. I’ve been ruminating about buying a Tivo, if only to stem the amount of time I spend in front of TV. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that a lot of the most interesting stuff isn’t on TV. It’s on the net.
I know I’m not alone in thinking the combination of RSS and Tivo (or a Windows Media Center equipped PC for that matter) would be a desirable thing to have. With the proliferation of cheap and easy-to-use digital video cameras, video production software, 3D animation tools, and Flash animation tools, I’d wager that the majority of content in the world is currently produced by independent artists. And they just keep getting better, partially because the artists are unencumbered by the traditional economics of distribution; the artists can rev fast, get good fast, and build audiences fast – all the things traditional broadcast video media can’t do. All that’s required now is a simply medium to enable Jill and Joe Couch Potato to access it easily.
I don’t know about you, but there are numerous online flash cartoons that I’d love to follow regularly (StrongBad and Red vs. Blue, to name two). They’re not only free, they’re high quality (nevermind what Craig Palmer might say). But it’s a pain to check back regularly for new releases, and I’d like to watch them on a TV, not a laptop. On the other side of the equation, the bandwidth demands of supplying video is likely a disincentive that is preventing artists from sharing a lot of content – adding BitTorrent capabilities into the mix would enable the audience for an artist’s work to contribute value by partially shouldering the bandwidth load.
All the elements are there. All it needs is a little software to kick start the revolution. The same explosion in personal websites that resulted when blogging software and syndication came on the scene could kick start another revolution in the visual arts.
Of course, once you’ve got this in place, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from there to a future where people are using the same technology to scarf down the same content and sync it between their home media center and their portable video players. It’s inevitable that video will follow the same path as audio: from a broadcast medium to websites to syndication feeds to personal media devices. Is Video On Demand via Podcasting (vodcasting) an appropriate way to describe this phenomenon?