John McCann

Negroponte: Anyone can be an unlicensed TV station

In Early Predictions on February 4, 2006 at 12:12 am

In Being Digital, Nicholas Negroponte foresaw the coming explosion in Internet-based video that was being enabled by digital camcorders and broadband connections

“On the Net each person can be an unlicensed TV station. Three and a half million camcorders were sold in the United States during 1993. Every home movie won’t be a prime-time experience (thank God). But we can now think of mass media as a great deal more than high production value, professional TV. Telecommunications executives understand the need for broadband into the home. They cannot fathom the need for a channel of similar capacity in the reverse direction. … In the near future, individuals will be able to run electronic video services in the same way that fifty-seven thousand Americans run computer bulletin boards today. That’s a television landscape of the future that is starting to look like the Internet, populated by small information producers. In a few years yo can learn how to make couscous from Julia Child or a Moroccan housewife. You can discover wines with Robert Parker or a Burgundian vintner.”

It is interesting that a Moraccan housewife and/or a Burgundian vintner may beat the established personalities to the new video world. But isn’t that usually the case: the established players stick with the old while newcomers, with nothing to lose, venture into the new.


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