I spent a lot of time in b-school examining the the mobile video and IPTV space. Mobile video has its place, but the existing players don’t get it. People don’t want to watch TV on their phones. (I wrote a column on this for the upcoming issue of DV Magazine and I’ll link to it once it’s published.) There is a future for mobile video, but it’s not entertainment. Americans use mobile phones as communications tools. Give them mobile video that helps them make a decision in a retail environment or get location based entertainment suggestions. That will work. Snippets of the Daily Show that look like crap and take forever to load are not worth $15 a month.
IPTV on the other hand shows promise. But most of what’s out there requires and inelegant set top box and/or access to a Windows Media Center PC. Yuck. I’ve got enough stuff hooked up to my TV already, and do I really want to spend a Saturday afternoon configuring the beast?
This is where the iPod comes in. Sitting in a dock by my TV, it won’t add significantly to the clutter of boxes and devices. In fact it will look pretty cool. It’s dirt simple to use. Now I haven’t seen the image from a video iPod on a TV yet, but if it’s reasonable it might just be the device to bring niche content into the livingroom. I can view content on the iPod, on a PC, or a TV — all managed by iTunes. Not a great day to be Brightcove. One analyst was quoted in the Boston Globe last week likening Brightcove to Google. I would liken it to Pets.com without the cute sock puppet mascot. Brightcove had a clever idea, but it hitched its wagon to the wrong technology.
I’ve ordered my video iPod. I’ll report back after I’ve had a chance to test it. (It ships in 2-3 weeks.)