If you've been reading my blog you will have noticed my fascination of trying to stream content via my Xbox 360 for services provided by the BBC iPlayer, SkyAnytime PC and now Channel 4's 4oD service (TV and Film on demand). Basically the BBC, Sky and Channel 4 all provide separate services for which you can download content off the Internet. This could be an episode of Star Gate SG1 you may have missed (Sky), Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (Channel 4) or East Enders (BBC and no I don't like it but my wife does).
What all of these technologies have in common is they all use Microsoft's DRM (Digital Rights Management). What this means is that the content provider (BBC, Sky or Channel 4) can control how long you are able to watch this content until it expires, this also controls who can watch it. All this is taken care of in the background where a licence is downloaded to your machine enabling you to watch the content. While all of these providers may appear to have different innovative interfaces, under the covers they are all really using Windows Media Player which supports DRM. The BBC got a lot of flack for not using an open source platform for doing the same thing. The truth is this method has probably worked out cheaper, as so many other providers are using the same technology its tried and tested (until someone cracks it of course).
One of the let downs I found of these services was there was no way of watching the content you missed on your TV. You had to watch it on your computer. Unless you were a bit computer savvy and knew how to plug your computer into your TV (not all TV's support this) there wasn't really much of an alterative. That was until the Xbox 360 started to be able to stream content from your Windows Media PC. I found the Xbox 360 proved to be a cheaper alternative than having a dedicated PC for watching content from the Internet on your TV. I have also found it also works well with content from Channel 4's service 4oD. The only problem I have found is that 4oD's videos are not as higher quality as those provided by Sky (this may probably change), it gives the impression of a pixilated image on my 1080i LCD screen. I think Microsoft can provide a lot more upgrades for the Xbox 360 to take advantage of this place in the market. Although I suspect they may be keeping a bit quiet about the potential because they may be thinking of a separate content deal they want to put together, so they can charge Xbox Live subscribers for the privilege.
It looks as though no one has really taken advantage of the potential for a TV Over Internet Provider (TOIP) box that could pull all these providers together maybe even including Joost?