Streaming Heats Up As We Knew It Would

Last week’s news that Amazon intends to bow their own unlimited streaming
video service to go head to head with Netflix and Apple TV both excites and
amuses me.

It excites me because streaming media is where it’s at and when it comes to
consumer choice, content selection, and technological innovation, the more
the merrier.

It amuses me on two fronts. First, because of the way it makes traditional
broadcast and content-delivery channels scramble to justify their existence
and their old businesses. I’m less amused by the way Canadian broadcast
companies have petitioned the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications
Commission to bully Netflix, preventing them from presenting some of their
newest and coolest content to Canadian subscribers. You Americans don’t know
how good you have it, but that’s a rant for another blog post.

Back on track, the other reason it amuses me is that it’s all happening
exactly as I said it would. Streaming media is the new 800lb gorilla. Three
or four years ago every time I wrote a magazine article or blog post
championing streaming media I’d get hate mail and angry comments arguing
that it would “Never happen,” accompanied by a bunch of smart sounding
reasons why it was “impossible.” The usual reasons involved things like “the
last mile” and “bandwidth” as if somehow all of these would never be
improved upon.

What, technology is just going to stop progressing?

As it happens much of my commentary and people’s criticism of it was tied to
the format war of Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD. I argued that the format war was a
pointless diversion: that hardcopy media was dead; it just didn’t know it
yet.

Interestingly, no matter what I said at a variety of media outlets I got
hate mail and angry comments that accused me of being either a paid
pro-Blu-ray shill or a paid pro-HD-DVD shill. Sadly, neither Sony nor
Toshiba ever gave me a bag of loot to champion their causes, but that has
more to do with poor self-marketing on my part (I kid, I kid).

Fast forward to today, HD-DVD is dead, Blu-ray is on life support, and the
real battleground is streaming media.

Bring it on.