"Over The Top" Television
In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2009-329, the Commission set out the
results of its review of broadcasting in new media. This was followed by
Broadcasting Order 2009-660, which amended, clarified and affirmed the
continued appropriateness of the New Media Exemption Order applied to
new media broadcasting undertakings. Since then, there has been an
acceleration of technological, market and consumer behaviour trends that
may influence the Canadian broadcasting system's ability to achieve
the policy objectives of the Broadcasting Act. Increasingly, programming
is being provided by entities on multiple platforms and separate from
the physical infrastructure over which it is delivered. These
"over-the-top" entities are both foreign and domestic.
1. My name is Michael Richardson. I am chief scientist of Sandelman Software
Works. I am writing today about your consultation about "Over-The-Top"
television, such as "netflix" and others like this. I am a pioneer of the
Internet, my use of it dates back to 1987. I am active participant in the
Internet Engineering Task Force, and I've authored a number of RFCs in the
2. I find the entire question about "over-the-top" to itself be indicative
of a bias to begin with. My question was, over top of what? I get as much
television "over" Canada Post as I do "over-the-air".
3. The Internet does not run on top of other things, more and more, other
things run on top of the Internet. Neither incumbent cable or telephone
companies have been competent enough to supply my home office for internet.
My family that has tried them for Internet has found their service to be
lacking, and have gone to reliable Internet suppliers, ones that are not
vertically integrated and therefore do not have a bias against other things.
4. Since 1995, I have not subscribed to "cable" TV. I tried microwave
(LOOK), but when I moved it was not available, and then I went to satellite
(Star Choice, now Shaw). Since it became Shaw, my level of service has
steadily declined, while my rates have gone up. My family uses the satellite
TV less and less (we are now on the lowest tier subscription, primary for US
Network channels) and relies on DVD delivery from ZIP and netflix over my
bridged-DSL connection with Storm Internet.
5. Netflix has reported "problems" with Canadian residential internet
connections. I have none. I do not use an incumbent telco with a competing
service as my supplier. Please connect the dots.
6. I do not use "HD" services at this time, as I have no TVs like that.
I consider current HD TV systems to be too inflexible and yet too complicated
for my use. When the time comes, I will replace the "screens" in my home
with dumb computer-grade displays, connected to media boxes running open
7. The available content on Netflix leaves a lot to be desired. The amount
in Canada, I'm told is much less than in the US due to licensing problems.
This upsets me greatly: I would like to see a mandatory licensing regime
that seperated who I choose to deliver the content I want, from what content
8. Netflix offers a service that apparently permits some Apple and some
Microsoft users to watch television their computers. This system uses a
proprietary copyright infringing system to display the content. I say that
it infringes the copyright laws because it appears that this "Digital Rights
Management" system in fact denies me rights that I would have on other
systems. This system is incompatible with non-Microsoft systems (tied
selling) such as Ubuntu Linux that runs at my house.
9. We happen to have a Nintendo WII game console that has a netflix system
for it, and I'm told that the Netflix application for it may also contain
DRM. However, the output of my WII is a DRM-free analogue signal, and
therefore my rights are identical with this system as they would be with
10. I am preparing myself for ATSC. I intend to put an antenna on my roof to
receive US Network Channels from Rochester NY, and along with an ATSC tuner
on each of my three TVs, I should be able to get Ottawa broadcast channels
from Camp Fortune. At that point I will stop subscribing to satellite
service: they have provided me with essentially no value.
11. At this point, what I would like is the ability to pay for the content
that I want. I would like to be able to vote with my wallet, rather than
have the CRTC tell me. I expect some service (such as Netflix, or a
competitor) to offer to intermediate my transactions, reducing the cost of
the transaction, and dealing the production studios directly.
12. I would like to:
a) provide a tip of approximately 0.25 for a show that I like. This
would be voluntary by me. I would do this because I want them to
produce more like it. I want to do this even for shows that might
have been out of "print" for a long time, for instance Threes Company,
or old episodes of Sesame Street, which continue to have significant
value. Right now, at most, I can provide a "star" rating.
b) provide a bond (a promise) that I would tip for more episodes of
a series that I like. This removes the role of the executives of
i) the incument cable/satellite companies, ii) the specialty channels.
who it seems continue to be reluctant to take risks, and have
significantly disrupted shows with significant fan bases with very
good writing. If this scares these companies, tough.
The CRTC has no mandate to protect companies with out-dated business
c) provide a tip to a "network" such as CBCKids who might provide me with
a playlist of shows to watch and timely interactive ways to engage
kids. Note I would be tipping for the playlist (a list of
recommendations) not for the shows themselves.
13. This is particularly important to me for children's shows, as I will
only let me child watch the TV stations that do not feature advertising.
End of Document
Syndicated 2011-07-03 18:16:00 (Updated 2011-07-19 01:05:15) from Michael's musings