PBS' NerdTV steers clear of Microsoft's media juggernaut

PBS' NerdTV steers clear of Microsoft's media juggernaut

Summary: Yesterday's e-mail included an announcement from the folks at Creative Commons who were bragging about PBS's assignment of a Creative Commons deed to its NerdTV downloadable series of videos. NerdTV will feature interviews of industry luminaries by Robert X.

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TOPICS: CXO
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Yesterday's e-mail included an announcement from the folks at Creative Commons who were bragging about PBS's assignment of a Creative Commons deed to its NerdTV downloadable series of videos. NerdTV will feature interviews of industry luminaries by Robert X. Cringley.  Said Cringley in the announcement,

NerdTV will have an uninterrupted hour with the smartest, funniest and sometimes nerdiest people in high tech. These are people who have changed our lives whether we know it or not. Through NerdTV a broad audience of enthusiasts and students will gain a much greater understanding of these techies and the context of their lives and work.

However, buried further down in the announcement was an interesting detail about NerdTV's digital video format selection:

Viewers will be able to choose which content or format they download to their computer: MP4 video of the whole program, MP4 video of the "juicy" excerpt (for a more general audience wanting just a nugget) and MP4 video of the "nerdy" excerpt (for a more technical audience wanting just a nugget). In addition, a variety of audio-only formats will be available, including AAC, MP3 and ogg vorbis. 

MP4, also known as MPEG-4, is a vendor-neutral, non-proprietary encoding format for  encoding digital video.  PBS's selection of MPEG-4 for Internet delivered video is probably one of the first times in recent months that I've seen a major publisher of video go with a format that isn't in some way shape or form connected with Microsoft's media juggernaut.   One reason PBS could go with the format is because of how its selection of a Creative Commons deed means that PBS won't need a Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology to manage how end-users can view or copy it.   Although I wouldn't count on it any time soon, a sea-change towards Creative Commons-like licensing amongst content providers (text, audio, video, etc.) would wipe out the need for DRM technologies like those built-into the media technologies of Apple and Microsoft which in turn could undermine the evolution of what could be the next technology monoculture.

Topic: CXO

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8 comments
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  • Ogg and not wmv.

    Yes, that's a political statement.

    Reminds me of the observation by Mr. Kristof of the Times when he was touring Africa with Bill Gates that Gates should retire to devote himself to philanthropy and no longer be associated with (mean old) Microsoft.

    You'd know better than I, but do you think that being anti-Microsoft is considered hep among media types? (implication of "hep" intended)
    Anton Philidor
    • PBS and DRM

      As long as there is a breathing American Taxpayer, there will be a PBS....

      So like, why would they need DRM? Betcha it has more to do with their charter. After all, heavens forbid - get the smelling salts Nellie - if PBS were ever ever ever to be in a situation to - horrors!!! turn a profit.....
      quietLee
      • Hobson's choice.

        When PBS is paid by the taxpayer, no one monitors the programming decisions. When not paid by the taxpayer, more pledge breaks...
        Anton Philidor
    • Meant wma, of course. (NT)

      .
      Anton Philidor
  • Also...

    [i]PBS's selection of MPEG-4 for Internet delivered video is probably one of the first times in recent months that I've seen a major publisher of video go with a format that isn't in some way shape or form connected with Microsoft's media juggernaut.[/i]

    The BBC is working on its own codec, Dirac, and I believe I read somewhere that they will be opening up their huge vault of productions for free download in the near future (but I don't know if it will initally be Dirac-encoded and what wrapper will be used). Haven't played with Dirac yet, but apparently it's in hot development:

    http://dirac.sourceforge.net/faq.html#a1
    Yen_z
    • Just what we need

      ANOTHER video codec. When will it all end?
      Roger Ramjet
  • It's Called Public TV

    As machine code becomes more synonymous with
    communication, it becomes clear to some of us, that the choice
    for the community codec is the right choice. mpeg 4 Provides
    this flexibility. We are choosing today whether the alphabet will
    exist within a corporate license. Editorialists are quick to draw
    broad and sweeping generalizations. They point to mega trends,
    deal making, and market share as a inevitability. It's not a
    wonder that zombie movies are the current rage. It's the perfect
    metaphore for consumer culture. This journalistic ambulance
    chasing pushes the bar lower. It declares we are powerless in the
    face of mega trends. Perhaps not powerless, we simply are the
    mega-trend. The polling has been done so get in line.

    More power to PBS and Nerd TV. I like their style already. It's
    possible we'll see some original thinking. I'll join the founding
    fathers and the rest of the communists in the understanding
    that some of the most valuable things in life exist outside a
    payroll. Literacy, as it turns out, just starts with the alphabet.

    regards
    Harry Bardal
  • All depends on yiour goal doesn't it?

    I mean if the goal is to get as many people to watch it as is possible and you are giving it away, then it makes sense to use this format.
    No_Ax_to_Grind