Saturday, March 24, 2007

Virtual DVR, Virtual Everything.

I didn't know there was a virtual DVR. I didn't know a Long Island cable provider, Cablevision, was being sued because they offered a virtual DVR service. I didn't know billionaires like Mark Cuban had time to blog. He does, fortunately, and he's the source for my new-found knowledge

I'm only slightly ashamed that this story is nearly a year old. That was before I began blogging, and at the time I was running an IT shop in an extremely rapidly growing company. Like all IT guys everywhere, I read Slashdot with my morning coffee then got on with the business of the day, firefighting an overtaxed IT infrastructure.

But that's an aside, because I'm really interested in the concept of the virtual DVR. Basically, it's a service that allows you to record any show to a server hosted by a third-party provider and watch it at your leisure. Somebody else stores my favorite TV shows and I can watch those shows from wherever I want. Sweet. Now, in the Cablevision situation, you had to have a Cablevision box, so you had to watch the shows from home, not just anywhere. But imagine if you could just access that show recorded for you from your Ipodlike device via a wireless broadband connection, anywhere, anytime. That's cool.

That's where everything is going: storing massive data collections online and accessing that data on-the-fly via an extremely fast wireless device.

At some point people will realize they don't need to collect copies of their favorite media, but rather access them whenever they want via a streaming service. This is already happening with music thanks to Pandora and That's going to be a seismic shift in the media landscape, I'd be interested to see what someone as thoughtful as Mark Cuban thinks about that.

Google is the likely contender to host the world's media, it is, after all, their mission. It's probably why they purchased YouTube. I'm surprised they don't do the same with music. Perhaps, we'll see Pandora or acquired soon.

It may be a personal fantasy, but I'm hoping for the day that I can access any book, song, or TV show anytime I want, from anywhere, for free, provided I can put up with ads. Hell, I'd probably opt for the $5 a month subscription.