Well, I'm back from vacation and in Tucson, after a few weeks in Austin and Ft Myers to see the folks. My mom in Austin saw the baby for the first time, and so did her dad in Florida. Her dad in fact, got to relive an experience he last had many years ago: changing a diaper. Florida was nice and warm. We even got to spend a day at the beach, which started out with a few people but was completely packed by the time we left. We also drove down to Marco Island to visit my old friend Tom and see their new baby Grace (and their new house).
In any case, back to the topic...
I recently got my first glimpse of practical IPTV in action in the form of Russian TV channels that you can watch over the Internet. Both were streamed down from other countries: Russia and Canada. Considering that I have a very common cable modem set up here, the quality of the picture was amazing. On my big screen TV, one of the streamed video came down at 640x480 size (I'm guessing) as a media player in the web browser. Completely clear, no jitters, no lost data or any kind of performance issues. The other IPTV service was from a site in Canada I believe and that was an even larger picture, 4:3 proportion but taking the full height of my 46" TV. The wonder was that this looked even better than some of my local (non-digital, non-HD) cable channels.
I'd have to see it again during busy net times like Monday morning to see if there are lags, dropped packets, etc., but I think I'm pretty sold on IPTV. YouTube is complete rubbish compared to this. If the two were cities, YouTube would be like Dhaka (overpopulated and a complete mess), compared to the Singapore quality of these IPTV stations. Now if they only had more stuff worth watching than Russian news and TV shows. I'm sure I'll have to hunt around.
The Consumer Electronics Show is also underway in Las Vegas this week and according to CNet, IPTV is one of the lead topics, with speakers like Bill Gates, Bob Iger (Disney), and Leslie Moonves (CBS) all on it. I wonder how much longer it will be before IPTV streaming through a media device like the SlingBox--letting me combine not just my own AV sources at home, but also those from the net--becomes a reality?