By Davis Freeberg
As if Hollywood hasn’t had enough to deal with over the last five years, it appears that the phone company is going to be a new threat to their closed distribution model. Andy Abramson at VoIP Watch noticed a cool little freeware program called Splitcam that allows you to broadcast video and music through a Skype or Yahoo Messenger connection. Splitcam can split a video file into 64 different channels that internet users could then stream over the net. I don’t really see this replacing the P2P networks because you would have to schedule a time to watch a show instead of having it on demand, but it will present a new challenge to Hollywood as VoIP gains in popularity. People could use this technology to subvert blackout NBA games or delayed live events, but Abramson sees the technology as having a greater impact on the international markets.
“Basically when you add in encryption that Skype already has it becomes impossible to know what’s going through the pipe. That means someone in London could in effect Skypecast English Premiere League Football to an ex-pat in the USA. Vice versa someone here in the USA could Skypecast NBA basketball, which has rights deals in other parts of the world, virtually anywhere.
For Hollywood this is akin to Kazaa or LimeWire in many ways. But much worse. First Skype makes things easy. Like a Mac almost. So with TV shows seen at least one year behind in foreign markets the Skypecasting market could blow holes in that approach very quickly. Given the growth of broadband around the world Skype could become the illegal distribution pipe with a technology like the one described by Stuart, or someone else’s. Now with Video and codecs geared for it already resident in Skype, the issue is no longer if, but when. “
I can’t say that I would be willing to huddle around my computer connection in order to catch the latest cricket match, but the idea of watching Survivor on the East coast feed with 63 other fans is certainly appealing. Depending on how the technology is implemented, this program has the potential to add a social component to video. Unlike P2P, this threat will require a little bit more organization, but the Darknet is amazingly efficient at coming up with ways to manipulate new technology.