Wednesday, October 27, 2004

BeyondTV - An “offline” internet TV project

This is an undercurrents project to create a real alternative to the centralization of media by narrow corporate power. Its not an Indymedia project as quality control is too much of an issues- TV with out quality control is not open to normal people to watch. Most activist media is made for a tiny minority of popule and is un-intelligible/un-whatebal outside this minority.

The project will work in a number of stages the first being a functional full screen activist TV channel, based on MPG1 and MPG4 content from the current archive of ruffcuts and euro/US Indymedia newsreal CD’s (we have over 20 hour of programming encoded and access to at least another 20 hours). Secondly stage we add “automatic functionality” and some user input into viewing choices. Third stage a re-write to create a decentralized user rated P2P universal TV network when we have good experiences of the idea working in a practical way. I feel it is paramount that we start at the beginning using simple, thus reliable, tools and techniques.

What it looks like
The first implementation will be a very simple application which can be downloaded from the undercurrents site which when installed looks like a TV screen with a play button.

User experiences
The user downloads it and installs it, and then the next day they hit the play button and get an half an hour of alternative news – full screen at VHS quality. The format is like a traditional mainstream news experiences with short intros and then longer in-depth reports followed by “sport”, “weather” and “fluffy dog” story. They just have to leave their computer on – connected to a broadband connection – and every day the will be a new half hour of programming which will play back faultlessly in full screen VHS quality.

How it works
Fundamentally to keep it simple it uses existing software and technologies and re-packages them in a new way. As the backend of the application the first version could use an existing implementation of bittorrent such as:

We have a blog page running an RSS feed - we update with new video everyday (manually to start with).
The front end is a simple embedded media player, I am tempted to use Microsoft media player in the first version simply because it will work The more open source player would be VideoLAN as this has some additional useful functionality. That is I am very keen to get the first version working and not being purist and “open sources” about it all this come in on the 3ed version when we define a “open future” for P2P television over IP, if that isn’t a little grandiose (:

A simple play list generator that scans the torrent down load directory and builds up a playlist (in alphabetical order to start). Then feeds this to the media player. That is it for version one. Stupidly simple.

Version 1

* Basic Application with embedded media player
This would have two modules:
* Playlist generator – simple playlist by alphabetical order – when the user presses the play button it scans the download directory to create a “.WPL” playlist, feeds this list to embedded media player.
* azureus RSS plugin – Azureus downloads the media files to a default directory in the background.

Version 2
-clear P2P cash to free up space (default download directory)
-Select interested subject (using media Meta data)
-best download time (bandwidth conservation issues)
House Keeping:
-auto clear cash (clears watched and older files when reserved hard drive space low)
-media download time out (gets rid of “failed” torrents)
-media meta data parsing (to create TV news look and feel)
-media watch list history (to stop media repeating)
-Story (TV news) playlist (template for TV news format play list generation)

Version 2
Transparent install runtime - to package and install media playing app and P2P software in an easy to use package.

TODO list

Modules (alpha)
* embedded media player application
* basic playlist generator
* setup blog sight
* setup torrent tracker

Modules (beta)
* Playlist generator with media management and media metadata parser and playlist templates.
* creating a nice installer
* Simple user database - list online users could possible use webstates package?

Monday, October 25, 2004

how to creat a torrent file

A number of popul have offered to setup tracker for the testing of the project here is a FAQ sight which explanes how.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The importance of locality and openness

Its not a ghetto project it’s a universal TV channel that entwines the alternative and the mainstream. Everywhere you can have a local channel, if people add content good if not it doesn’t matter. Community channel, church channel, school channel. The key thing would be local and nich channels. Its a killer app. Minority interests are key... model airplanes, climbing, surfing, squatting, local sports, university TV, community archive projects, social enterprise grants, youth projects, trainspoters, monster truck rallies, DIY music videos, holiday shows, consumer shows.

As initially all content will be creative commons (copy-left) then the good stuff will be copied from the minority channels onto the more popular "quality control" channels. With many channels we can start to automate the choices of content by upping the quality of any video that is featured on lots of channels.
Its open at the bottom and open at the top, the only differences between the two will be the care and skill of the producers to say weather a channel will be at the “top” or at the “bottom”. I suppose the motto is “stop trying to control everybody and let those who wont to get on and build things”. Anarchism is not some bureaucratic system were every dissension has to go to a meeting. Its OPEN to creativity, and resistant to control.

Friday, October 22, 2004

DRM and distractions

This project is designed to be revolutionary in the senses that it will work rather than in the uherwell revolutionary senses that it is rhetoric or the blind leading the blind into a brick wall. The is no question that video is a very expensive way of communicating, qulerty TV a huredusly expensive and affective way of communications. The money has to come from some were otherwise we are playing in the sand pit with all the other "revolutionaries".

The "stupidly simple" TM concept behind this project that the money will come from every sources possible to the medium, non-will be band, thus the need for the plug-in technology - it is then up to and incureaged, for 3ed party's to build these revenue streams.

  • open free TV for every one who wants it
  • mixed with Hollywood pap if they stomach the ads
  • pay to view for the seriously kinky or non-tec affluent
The one for me that will win out the race is the open and free as with pear-review and thousands of people producing it it will be much more interesting. Why pay for something when you can have it for free, how things are "payed for" in this world I for one don't know and am eager to find out (create!).

Lets stop getting fixated on something that doesn't appear till version 4 and get on with version one (:

iska is doing the grafics
Tom, Mick and cambridge hamish are seting up trackers
Jack is makeing the playing app more robust (java?)
Hamish (ox) is back from the ESF and working on playlist and tital segments

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Mating BeyondTV with DRM?

You get some weird chimaera like this, I think. I wish them the best of luck, but I rilly don't think getting involved in DRM is clever.

You either have to do it properly, like these guys, or you go off half-cocked. If you do a half-baked job, you are effectively admitting responsibility for how your software is used, but are still failing to protect the owners of the IP. Ergo, you can be sued for negligence.

I think it's their responsibility to protect their IP, not the people that operate the infrastructure over whioch they deliver it.


Sunday, October 03, 2004

Meta data for beyondTV

Here is some interesting information about creative commons and meta data

The is a proposal by Mick fuzz to use the SOMA metadata project:

This is interesting will it work, dose it help?

Current Trends in P2P TV

It’s a hot topic at the moment here are some recent links to interesting stuff: