The Inquirer-Home

Blip.TV to become an open YouTube alternative

Promises Theora codec, Java support
Wed May 31 2006, 12:09
VIDEO SHARING site Blip.TV is nice. It's done by people who care. I say this now because they answered one of my "rocket-propelled ranting e-mails from hell" not only with style, but also doing something about it. It turns out they're INQ readers, to boot - or so they say, probably they're just trying to win us over. No really.

If you think YouTube is a great idea but its proprietary Flash implementation sucks, and if you think that the "alternatives" using Windows Media or Quicktime always leave out one platform - your favourite platform - just hear what the Blip.TV guys have in store.

Blip.TV promises to offer an open alternative using the Theora open video codec

I will reproduce here my original e-mail to them, followed by their response.

My e-mail to Blip.TV, two days ago:

Hi there,
You said in your web page here "We're five friends in New York City who believe in open media and all those nice buzzwords".

Open Media is not "open" at all when you encode your videos in proprietary, closed formats like Windows Media, Quicktime, or Flash.

How about using TRULY OPEN MEDIA technology that doesn´t force users to use Windows, MacOS-X, or any other given "blessed" operating system by the codec developer, but which instead grants the viewer the freedom to use whatever OS he chooses?. Are you guys aware of Ogg Theora, a free -as in free beer-, open source -as in freedom-, and afaik patent-free codec?.

The University of California at Santa Cruz is using it for its "Metavid" project, over here<

Theora Codec

Thoughts? Comments? Insults? ;-)

Their response, 24 hrs later:

Hi Fernando,

You've called us out, and we have responded. While most of our friends and neighbors were enjoying the sunny extended weekend, we spent it indoors making sure we live up to our credo. We will be releasing Ogg Theora support on tomorrow, using the Cortado Java Applet player. In the future I hope that we can make improvements on the Cortado player and contribute our own code to the community. In addition, we plan to offer automatic transcoding services to Theora in about a month.

We don't have any insults for you. We're all linux users (Gentoo mostly, a smattering of Ubuntu) and most of us read the Inquirer. We QA all of our software on Ubuntu loaded with VLC, mplayer and Flash and can watch almost all the video on blip.

We always make our videos available unaltered in their original format. We also transcode our videos into Flash for maximum compatibility amongst browsers and operating systems. Theora and Cortado now give us a nice alternative to the Flash video format and we are very excited about its prospects. That said, both Theora and Cortado are considered to be alpha software, and as such we will continue to support the Flash format as our primary compatibility format.

I want to thank you for bringing this oversight to our attention, and I hope that our response has exceeded your expectations.

Justin Day

Wow!. µ

More on Freedom -or lack thereof- and Internet video:
Why OGG Theora matters for Internet TV
Ten video sharing sites compared
AOL releases YouTube clone
DRM is a complete lie a role model for digital music purchases
Bad: Linspire's Robertson embraces Windows Media
Ten things I hate about Flash
Real Networks promises GNU move
RealNetworks goes open source
More people who hate Flash
Quicktime is even worse

Sun-Approved Apache Open Source java making progress
Geek Entertainment TV


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