Monday, January 15, 2007

The Venice Project: Industry Observations

The building buzz around The Venice Project continues.

The Wall Street Journal
: (subscription required)

"Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom roiled the music industry with their first venture and the telecom world with their next. Now, the Scandinavian entrepreneurs behind the KaZaA file-sharing software and Skype Internet calling are backing an online video start-up that could shake up the television and cable industries as well."


"And while the glam duo might hog the headlines, the task of making the Venice Project a reality falls on the shoulders of Fredrik de Wahl, a lanky Swede with a quiet demeanor who has been a cohort of Messrs. Zennstrom and Friis for more than half a decade.

He explains that just like a “Skylib” enables voice and chat services on the Joltid’s p2p layer, The Venice Project runs on a media streaming library the company has nick named Anthill. The company uses a H.264 codec licensed from CoreCodec, a US-based company, much in the manner Global IP Sound provided the voice codecs for Skype. “CoreCodec is the best of breed H.264 video codec and is efficient and has the high quality we need,” de Wahl says.

Running on top of these core technologies is a highly modified version of Mozilla browser, which makes it easy for the company to port its client to any operating system – Mac, Linux or even mobile operating systems. The user interface is built using Adobe’s SVG technology. In other words, it’s a Web-enabled hybrid application, much like the brilliant Songbird meta-music client.

“I think very soon people can start writing plug-ins for the Venice Project,” he says."


"So what is The Venice Project? A code name for a service that would allow viewers to watch high-quality streaming professional video (movies, TV, etc.) using p2p instead of a central server and meshing TV with web capabilities like tagging and search. The plan calls for working with content providers to distribute legit content—no, this isn’t the first p2p effort to do that—and, as the FAQ says, to make it “as TV-like as we can, with programmes, channels and adverts.” They also want to mesh TV and web in terms of revenue—advertising with rev sharing."


"The Venice Project is almost certain to worry numerous network operators in the U.S. already concerned about their broadband pipes becoming plugged with a range of new video download services. A proliferation of these services could add fuel to the nation's already overheated debate on network neutrality."

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