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Build bridge between Web and TV, says Hollywood

Posted: 01 Feb 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Internet? Web? TV? video? DVD?

The Internet is becoming an important source of video, but neither Hollywood studios nor systems makers know how to bring video from the Web to the TV screen, said a senior Hollywood executive.

"Things are changing very, very fast in the home and what we do now will influence the transition to digital consumer electronics," said Jerry Pierce, senior VP of technology at Universal Studios, in a keynote address at the Storage Visions conference, part of the Consumer Electronics Show last month.

Pierce gave many examples of compellingalbeit low qualityvideo found on Google, YouTube and other Websites. Hollywood wants a part of the Internet video action, but is not yet sure how to get it, he added.

"That opportunity is at the top of our list," he said.

Several problems stand in the way. Consumers need more bandwidth to reduce the time needed to download video, and better systems for shipping Internet video to the TV. For their part, studios need more assurance that their copyrights will be protected, he said.

At this stage, it's not clear whether DVDs, hard disks or the Internet itself will be tomorrow's video medium. "I am confused, and so is the consumer," Pierce said.

What's becoming clear from the rise of downloaded video, however, is that video quality is not always a top concern for consumers. "High definition is important, but not at the expense of getting something different in content," Pierce said.

Pierce lambasted studios and CE companies for starting a format war over high-definition disks. He called the idea announced by Warner Brothers of distributing disks with both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray content "a bad idea" because it is too expensive and difficult to package.

"I'd like to solve the problem in a better way," he said.

He gave some praise to LG Electronics, which said it would announce a player capable of handling both formats. He also praised Apple Computer and the Microsoft Xbox 360 for helping push digital video forward.

"Apple is putting together a good ecosystem, but moving video from the computer to the TV is still too hard," he said.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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