The Week in Geek: the NCTA snorefest

There’s been a lot of recent online video news. Joost has launched, though it’s having some growing pains (but $45 million from investors like CBS should sooth any aches). There’s a new offering from Tubearoo’s And there’s a new set-top box IPTV box from Amino and Orb. The days of online video being limited to YouTube and a bunch of also-rans are coming to an end. This new generation of online video sites and services will solve the problem of delivering quality video via the Web. They work. They can replicate TV-quality video. Whatever the limits you thought existed for online video are gone. We could easily be looking at a time when leagues strike deals for online video distribution with some of these sites, because they’re becoming a legitimate pipeline. Of course, there will be some lag time before consumers catch up, but the day is coming.

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association Show wrapped up in Las Vegas, and there wasn’t a lot of news coming out of it. Not only is it a shadow of its former self, but it’s interesting to see how stubbornly anchored in the past the cable industry is. There were some new announcements about foul language filtering. And there was some data about the rise of non-cable multi-channel services, like satellite and direct-to-PC video. The most interesting part of this for the sports world is how rooted in the past the cable channel lineups are. Discovery Channel and ESPN and WWE broadcasts still dominate the landscape. One has to wonder, with the increased power of Web video, is the cable industry doing enough to respond?

The Supreme Court recently backed off the rights of patent holders. And it’s probably a smart idea for sports producers to double check with their lawyers to see what that decision does to the quality of intellectual property. Lots of sports broadcasts are produced on proprietary software that’s built around protected intellectual property. So it would be a wise idea to see what this does to your business. Lots of people in the tech sector are decrying the Supreme Court’s decision. But our argument is that patent warfare is a must-lose situation for all players. It’s expensive, and the outcome is almost never positive for either side. What tech companies sell is service. And they’re better off focused on keeping their clients happy than fighting to suppress competitors.

In other tech news, out-of-home advertising surges …Portable audio sales decline … New satellites from Hughes.

And finally … bounce the ball.

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