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Viodi View Newsletter - May 9th, 2007

Click here to learn more about this unique conference

Click here to Learn more about the Best Practices & Beyond Workshop

By Ken Pyle, ken.pyle at, Managing Editor, Viodi View

“New money; that’s what the studios want,” Paul McKellips told me before the turn of the century. He was commenting that VOD had to mean more than stealing from Peter (Home Video) to pay Paul (the VOD provider). Monetizing existing assets in new ways is an important element to growing a business. The Parks Associates Connections conference reminded me of Paul’s comments, as the array of new services discussed at this conference offer the potential for service providers to generate new revenue over their broadband networks.

New Revenue Potential for Broadband Providers

Home security monitoring (many independent telcos already provide) appears to be a viable revenue stream. Companies like uControl and ARM are providing private label, home-monitoring services that go beyond security and include home energy management features. Combined with new devices from companies, such as Carematix, and web-based health monitoring becomes viable. Energy Management, security and health-care are just a few multi-billion dollar applications that promise independent telcos new revenue from their broadband infrastructure.

It Really Is About Connections – The Rest of an Extreme Makeover Story

People are the most important reason to attend a conference. I was very fortunate to meet up with Brent Groome of HTC, a gracious past host of Viodi's Local Content Workshop, at the Connections Conference. He discussed how HTC is providing value-added services, like home theater installations, to generate new revenue.

In the course of our conversation, it came out that HTC made history as probably the first independent telco involved in ABC's hit series, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. HTC provided free wireless access for the media and spectators, wireless internet access for the builders, as well as voice, video and data for the ABC production crew on site. For the Wilson ’s home, HTC provided Home Integration products and services. Click here to read the details of part of the story behind this extreme makeover story.

Once a Century Upgrade

Verizon, with their emphasis on building a fiber-based last mile access network, understands that they need to generate new revenue in order to avoid being just another cable provider. Shawn Strickland talked about Verizon’s, “Once a Century Upgrade,” at the Connections conference. Click here to find a summary of his excellent presentation.

Roger Makes It to the Small Screen

Strickland spoke of the convergence between Verizon’s wired and wireless networks and the importance of embracing new forms of content. Roger Bindl is feeling Verizon’s love (and, hopefully, some revenue soon as well), as the Mother’s day video he produced with Art Paul made it on the playlist for Verizon’s Vcast service.
Click here to read Roger's overview of Verizon's VCAST service.

Watch This Review from a Multi-Award Winning Producer.....

Click here to read Roger's review of the VASST plug-ins
Congratulations to Roger Bindl for his winning submission for animation at the recent Madison WI 48 Hour Film Project. He has developed some low-cost, simple ways to do animation. In this video review, he shows the results of rotoscope-style animation (think of the 80's music video Take Me On from the Norwegian group, Aha) using plug-ins from VASST.

Compressing 8 Hours Into 6 Minutes

This video attempts to compress the day long Video Production Crash Course into 6 minutes. While it is not the same as being there, it does provide a flavor for the advice and good ideas provided by the subject matter experts that gathered for this event. I cannot express enough appreciation for all of the speakers who contributed to this event and for Tony, Roger and Lightbulb Communications’ help in bringing this together.
Click to watch the overview video of the Video Production Crash Course

Local Content & More In Minnesota – May 22 and 23 (advertisement)

Building on the Video Production Crash Course, local content in the context of independent telcos will be the theme of my presentation at MTA’s Video Symposium on May 22. On May 23, Viodi will be producing a Local Content Workshop at Melrose Telephone in Minnesota, which will be a concentrated look at how to create local content. Stay tuned independent telcos for exciting updates to the agenda.

Click here to see Local Content Examples

This is a must-attend Workshop, as it is a rare chance to hear from the Content Producers at Melrose Telephone and as to their techniques for creating excellent and entertaining community-relevant content. Click here to see examples of their Content Pavilion Award-winning content. Click here to register for this event.

Technology, Content and Politics – Will Sparks Fly?

When Silicon Valley, Hollywood and Washington D.C. converge, expect some interesting results. Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., E.D.T in Washington D.C, the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will conduct a hearing, Digital Future of the United States : Part V: The Future of Video.” Speakers will include Chad Hurley (YouTube), Blake Krikorian (Sling Media), Tom Rogers (TiVo) and Benjamin Pyne (Disney). Interesting, that no service providers are at this hearing. Click here for latest information regarding the webcast.

Could MPEG-4 Transcoding Be Outlawed?

A Washington D.C.-based friend recently said that the FCC is more active than he has ever seen and that it is simply not possible to keep up with their flurry of activity. Politics and personal agendas seem to be fueling this uptake in activity, particularly as it relates to cable television. From ala carte programming to separable security to multicast, there is simply too much regulatory activity to cover in these virtual pages of the Viodi View.

Having said that, one serious implication that has not been widely reported is a throwaway sentence (let’s hope) in a FCC request for comments from a few weeks ago. The document was about ensuring all television viewers have the ability to view must-carry television stations. A couple of sentences of concern:

“The FCC also sought comment on whether the Commission should move from a subjective to an objective measure of what constitutes material degradation. One way to do this would be to require that all “content bits” transmitted by the broadcaster be carried by the cable operator.”

A potential interpretation of this is that operators of cable/IPTV systems could not transcode MPEG-2 broadcast signals to MPEG-4, since an argument could be made that bits are thrown away in the process. This is serious business as it could seriously affect IPTV deployments that depend upon the compression advantages of MPEG-4.

Coalition for Network Neutrality Formed – Follow Up to “P in Public”

Viodi has been following this story for a number of months about call blocking and service disruption/degradation for conference calling services of independent telcos in Iowa. Over a dozen conference providers and rural telcos, including Arvig Communications Systems, Interstate 35 Telephone Company and Superior Telephone Cooperative and have formed a coalition – The Coalition for Network Neutrality – to combat what they describe as bullying tactics (non-payments, call-blocking) by larger carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Qwest and Embarq. This is battle is getting more heated and the divide between small and large telco operator seems to be widening with every issue of the Viodi View.

IMS and Push To Talk Over Cellular – by Alan J. Weissberger

At the IEEE ComSoc- SCV chapter’s April 11th, 2007 meeting, Sonim Technologies CTO Joakim Wiklund presented an enlightening and pragmatic view of IMS (IP Multimedia System). Included were the origins, current status and future directions for this much hyped panacea technology for service convergence over IP networks. Click here to read more.

Recent Club Viodi Posts

These articles and content are exclusive to independent telcos.

Corrections to Last Issue

Stephen Streater’s last name was misspelled. Dave Erickson’s name was misspelled his company mis-identified (Should have been Sorry Dave and Stephen!

People on the Move

Catching Up With Tony

I recently caught up with IPTV visionary and pioneer Tony Atwater. As many Viodi View readers may know, Tony is the founder of SourceNet Corporation, later renamed as Myrio Corporation, and subsequently acquired by Siemens.  Tony has been more recently involved in the startup, operation and sale of SSC, a broadband wireless ISP based in northern Nevada . H e is now actively looking forward to being involved once again in the increasingly converged world of broadband, iTV, IPTV, interactive advertising, media and entertainment over wired and wireless networks.  You can contact Tony at txa at snholdings dot .net.  

Kudos to Stella

Kudos to Stella Alvo for the recent recognition and honor given for her work as the founder of the Global Challenge, which is part of the NYSSA ( New York Society of Securities Analysts). I had the pleasure of working with Stella on a start-up VOD cable network a few years back.

A Brief Tribute to YP Chen

I just heard the bad news that YP Chen is no longer with us. I had the pleasure of working with YP at both DemandVideo and at the start-up referenced above. I really came to appreciate his sense of decency and his integrity as I worked with him in the start-up situation. All of those he touched will miss him. Services are this Saturday in Mountain View . Click here for details.

The Korner - NAB2007 - Fun Videos - Baseball, Donuts and Mother’s Day

The big news in the baseball world this week was Roger Clemens’ un-retirement in order to help the New York Yankees win yet another World Series. Major League Baseball has excelled at finding new ways to monetize their assets and there is no doubt that the Yankees will find a way to pay for this expensive pitcher.

As reported in the Viodi View a few issues ago, Joe “the Cup” Dunkin is the real secret weapon of the Mets and, as this video reveals, the Yankees. This fun video, produced and directed by Video Production Crash Course speakers Bridget McGrath and Vaughn Juares, details an interesting approach to branding.

Click here to watch this entertainng commercial


This upcoming Sunday is Mother’s Day. This video from Art Paul and Roger Bindl is a gentle reminder to, Call Your Mother. Happy Mother's Day to all the Viodi View readers who are also Moms.

Click here to view this Mother's Day video.

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Viodi’s report, Video Business Case provides results to a survey of independent telcos and their business case for video. Most of the telcos that responded to the survey have figured out a way to deploy video services. This survey provides insight from the independent telcos as well as several of their Engineering firms.

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