I went over Mike's last night for a casual geek-out evening and eventually we pulled out my new iPod and the video cable (which, unlike with the iPod Photo, I had to pay $30 extra for) to see how it looked on his TV. We tried it a couple nights earlier on Diego's 52" HDTV, and it looked okay, but I wanted to see it on a regular television, and hadn't seen it on my own TV yet.
It looks perfect. Most of the videos which were available for the 320x240 iPod screen looked great on a regular 32" television screen. Yeah, if you pegged your nose against the screen you could see some pixelation, but anyone who uses a TiVo regularly won't be able to see any difference at all. Well, that's not saying much since TiVo on low-resolution can be really bad. Let me restate that: iPod video looked just as good as broadcast television.
So what did we watch? Well that's the most amazing part. I showed some of the free Video Podcasts I grabbed, including DiggNation. This is a basic video of two morons knuckleheads on a couch with their laptops, chatting and joking about the most popular links of the week on digg.com. And we watched the whole thing, it was great. Why? Well, they were geeks and we're geeks and it was *on TV*. It was probably one the best shows I've seen "on TV" in a long time.
I want to restate that also. Because the show was *on TV*, we were watching the podcast *together*. It wasn't a solo-activity any more like I think most audio podcasts are used. If a video is on your PC, you're probably the only person watching it, in a place that's sort of uncomfortable, with lots of distractions like IM and email and all that. Getting the video out of there changes so much. If you're like me and the other 99% of the people out there, your living room has probably got a bunch of big chairs and a couch all focused towards a screen in the corner. That space for years has been the place where you viewed video, and normally with several others. Yes, there's lots of room for individual and/or portable video as well - as the 10 million PSP UMD sales have shown us - but the thing that most excites me is the idea of putting that content in the place where you've always had video. Suddenly, a hum-drum "video podcast" ("what the hell is that?" most people will ask...) becomes a "TV Show" you can enjoy with others. That's huge! And that's what really excites me.
We can all feel in our gut when a new service or product is compelling or not, and I can tell you right now that Video Podcasts are awesome. AWESOME. Mike and I were talking last night about starting our own. We could talk about mobility or our lives or god knows what. Not that I'm particularly photogenic, but it's just such a cool new medium. It's all about context, there's finally a mass-market, consumer friendly way of viewing these videos somewhere besides your PC, and that's going to change *everything*.
I wonder the best way to do that? Include it in our normal blogs? Start a new video-specific blog? How about just a new sub-url like "podcasts.russellbeattie.com" or something like that... Not sure. It's going to happen though. Definitely.