Akimbo

I just read the NY Times article on the future of Television and I’m not so impressed. The article focuses mostly on the Akimbo hardware unit/service and doesn’t sound too impressive. Amanda Congdon of RocketBoom has mentioned Akimbo on her vlog and I’m curious to see what a hands-on video review would uncover. My gut feeling, however, is caveat emptor.

The usual VOD culprits are well-represented – CNN, [adult swim], BBC, National Geographic – but all charge a fee for content that expires after 30 days. Would you pay .99 for Yoga Channel videos that you can only watch for a limited time? I’m sure there’s a podcast, blog or vlog that delivers similar content, potentially even in video form. And if there isn’t maybe I should start one. ;-)

Seriously though, the BitTorrent Genie is out of the bottle and people just love free. They’ll take legal and cheap, but some will always opt for rogue freebies. Plus, the content you download or TiVo is yours until you choose to delete it – no DRM.

I’ve mentioned alternatives in the past, but the future really does favor smaller, long-tail content from independent voices like Amanda and her new project Apollo Pony. Or me and my podcast. Or you.

Big media needs to embrace this new distribution/promotion method and plan accordingly. Suing music filesharers hurt the music industry and made independent artists stars. TV, especially in small, bit-sized video chunks, is a sure winner in the future. The question remains, is anyone brave enough to play that game?

UPDATE: Engadget has the goods, with an in-depth Akimbo review. I remain unsold, at least until more and better content is available. Plus, why not open up the API, a la TiVo TOGO, and let let users download the wider range of content available currently online?

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