After months in Beta, Hulu opened to the public today. If you like online video you are going to love it. If you don’t like or haven’t used online video, Hulu is likely to make you a fan. Earlier this week the New York Times noted the rapid increase in online viewing of television shows. Millions of Americans are watching their favorite television shows on their laptops, and in some instances their PDAs, iPhones or iPods.
Hulu, today, sets the bar for what the online long form video experience should be. In many ways it is reminiscent of the introduction of the iPod. Hulu is easy to use, has an extensive library of popular programs and provides very good picture quality on a laptop or desktop. Having tried virtually all of the online video services, Hulu is, by far, my favorite. It still is unclear whether Hulu or any of the online video providers have a viable business model. But it is clear to me that as television viewers, particularly young and affluent television viewers migrate to watching television online, advertisers and the networks eventually will figure out business models reflective of that migration.
Video sports programming on the Web will be less expensive and more widely available thanks to new and emerging technologies. USA Today reports on a new truck, nicknamed “Big Papi”, that dramatically reduces the cost of netcasting sports events and that promises to increase coverage of sports programming that might not otherwise be broadcast or covered by cable networks.
Akamai recently created a website to demonstrate the potential of high definition programming on the Web. The site, www.Thehdweb.com, won’t be up long (two weeks or so I have been told), so check it out soon. Right now they are running programming from CBS (CSI), the BBC (the BBC Motion Gallery) and Apple. If you have a high resolution laptop or desktop screen, it is an amazing experience and gives you a glimpse of what the Net of the future will offer. Be warned, however, that if you are not running 7.5 mps or better, the experience can be a bit frustrating. Still, for as long as it is up and running, TheHDweb.com has a spot on “Larry’s List”...
I was totally unaware that there was a World Internet Day until I read Seana Mulcahy’s Blog a few minutes ago.
One of the great things about the Web is that it now truly is a world wide phenomenon. But maybe the best thing is that the online experience for all of us gets better every day. And, when we have truly ubiquitous broadband and two or three billion people worldwide using the Web, today’s online experience will seem almost primitive. Check out Seana’s blog and, particularly, check out the favorite sites she lists in her blog. Several of the sites are candidates for inclusion on my next “Larry’s List.”
Now that more than 50 percent of American Households have broadband internet connections, newer, smarter, more interesting consumer oriented video applications are being developed and disseminated. I know that I am constantly on the lookout for the newest, hottest, most innovative sites so that I can enjoy them, and, more importantly, so that I can share them with my friends, family and colleagues. With that idea of sharing the newest, most interesting broadband sites, I am introducing “Larry’s List”. Yeah, I know I am biting on Craig’s List, but I figure he won’t mind, plus, I always have liked alliteration.
The rules for inclusion on Larry’s List are simple. The site has to be a site that only could exist in a broadband world, so video, audio or high density graphics are essential components. The site has to be interesting, entertaining or informative. And, the site has to be innovative (after all, this blog is on the Internet Innovation Alliance’s website.) My goal is not just to list what’s hot, but rather to help showcase what’s next. My hope is that this list will, to some small extent, approximate for the readers of this blog what Wired magazine was able to do back in the mid 90s, give needed and warranted exposure and applause to new players and new products.
Now, in order to get the more compulsive of you off my case, let’s consider MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, iTunes and Skype to be emeritus members of the List. Their ubiquity and mindshare make it unnecessary for me to introduce anyone to the merits of the sites. So spare me the emails about why didn’t they make the cut. They made it.
In the last few months, I have, however, found or been introduced to several new sites that I find compelling, interesting and worth sharing with friends. The sites selected for this inaugural list are eclectic. Some are derivative, or even imitative of, the YouTube, MySpace or Facebook models. Some take existing models and attempt to expand on them or create a new paradigm from an existing model. Some of the sites are small, independent companies with no corporate connections or venture funding. Others are funded or founded by some of the biggest media and internet companies in the world. I found all of the sites interesting, however, either because of the concept, the content or both. That’s the ultimate test for me: is the site worth five minutes of my (or your time.) If I could answer yes, the site made the cut. So here, in no particular order, is the List:
www.wwitv.com www.Ning.com www.joost.com www.veoh.com www.godtube.com www.teachertube.com www.cruxy.com www.jazzfusion.tv www.pandora.com www.localpointtv.com
Now we all know that many, some, or all of the above sites may not be here six months from now. Conversely, one or more may be the next phenomenon. There is simply no way for any of us to know with certainty. I am certain, however, that all of the above sites are worth a minute or two or five of your time. Check them out. More importantly, send me the urls of other broadband sites you think are fun, or interesting or innovative and not yet mainstream. If they are any of the above, but particularly if they are all of the above, they will make it on the List and we will share your find with the rest of our readers, maybe as soon as tomorrow.
So, holler back at me. What do you love? What do you hate? What new sites should be included? What do I need to know about? Are there some interesting international sites? The list will keep growing as long as there is interest in it and as long as there are interesting sites to add. I look forward to hearing from you…