Saturday, April 26, 2008

FLV (Flash Video) is the New MP3

OK, let's pretend that the YouTube and Google Video terms of service allowed you to download their flash video. That it was OK to use a program like DownloadHelper to quickly download videos that you wanted to watch away from your computer. And that you could quickly and easily put them on a player like the Archos 650+ and take them with you to watch on the train or plane or automobile. Or at the gym while on the treadmill. Or while waiting at the DMV.

You could watch Barak Obama's speech on race. You could watch Frontline's Growing Up Online. You could watch Professor Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture." YouTube and Google video suddenly become serious educational places. I can watch a 3 - 5 minute funny video sitting at my desk looking at my computer, but for a one- or two-hour video, I want to take it with me somewhere comfortable. Or plug it into my television.

Think of the incredible repository of video that exists but is as-of-yet unavailable, which will suddenly be freed for personal viewing. Just look at Hulu and the old video they are digging up--that's just scratching the surface.

Won't it be amazing when we can (legally) download this video content and take it with us, like we do MP3 files? The day will soon come. I don't know how the licensing will work out, but the personal educational benefit is so compelling that we'll figure it out. We really need to.


  1. I'd never browsed Google Video before and was amazed to find the National Archives videos collection with newsreels, dept. of the interior films and more. Imagining all this material untethered from the internet makes my head spin.
    I wonder, when you say "This day will soon come" do you know something we don't? Is a change in permissions on the horizon?

  2. rpbl: No, I don't know anything special. It's just such a compelling use that I have to believe we will figure it out.

    People who have the iPhone will have a real advantage in this area--since the cell Internet connection of the iPhone lets you play from these flash video sites real time. But not when you are not connected, obviously, and those are some of the times you'd really want to be able to view them--like on a plane trip.

  3. I suspect that before long, all media will be available via wireless stream to your cell phone or other media device. Rather than download the file, you'll be harnessing the feed and sharing the link. The requirement for having the file itself will soon disappear as the global machine becomes the repository for all of our files.... Maybe...

  4. Rodd:

    The only option for that right now is the iPhone (or iTouch for local wireless), and that's a proprietary device. Also, doesn't work on a plane or a low-cellular connection area. I used an iPhone for a few months, and the connection speed wasn't good enough for the video a lot of the time.

    I agree that in a world of ubiquitous wireless, that might be feasible, but I don't think it's reasonable for most folks--at least not now. :)

  5. I don't think it will be FLV, but will be H.264. YouTube has already started converting their catalog. What will be killer will be a "youtube" in a box, that will allow schools to convert all their owned educational videos into a digital storage medium for local streaming - I've started work on just such a project - hope to make real progress on it this summer.

  6. Why wait? I have no problems streaming and capturing youtube at all. I also know of several educational sites who will be "boxing" youtube videos into something educational. Sorry, I can't name but just wait a little....

    I think you are bang on Steve. When content is instantly sharable, reproducable and viewable, ain't nothing gonna stop this from happening unless the hardware side doesn't cooperate. And they have no reason not to.



  7. Anonymous1:11 AM

    Didn't realize this would be this hard....been researching this for days!



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