The future of search on your PVR

TR: Do you think the US with Hulu is ahead of the UK with making online video accessible to consumers?

SC: It's not necessarily much further ahead. iPlayer compares very favourably to Hulu. It may only get video from one source, but the BBC is a pretty big source.

The funny thing is, if Hulu were to get all four networks on to the platform it could also potentially suffer from the monopoly commission as well [currently the website is owned by NBC, ABC, and Fox. CBS is the other main broadcaster in the US]. The US monopoly commission is just as stringent as the UK's.

TR: So, when will we see Blinkx technology in set-top boxes?

SC: The Miniweb integration will hopefully be done by the end of the year. We would like to have the technology ready for launch then. It's difficult to predict when it will actually be in the living room as that depends on Sky and all the other distribution outlets and their own cycles.

TR: How you going to market your video search concept to people?

SC: That's a great question and there is no answer to that yet. What will probably happen is that we will launch it as a free add-on to any sophisticated user that wants to try out the service.

If you are a person who is already savvy with their PVR, then you might suddenly find that you get an invite to try this brand-new thing out. It may be through a letter or electronically, I don't know. But it will almost be like a closed Beta to begin with.

TR: Will the service be free?

SC: Whatever you want to watch, there will be an option by pressing a button to delve further with searching. Sometimes this will be ad-funded searches on the web, other times it will be pay-for-view.

So you will sign up to a number of pay-for-view libraries and, to go back to the travel show example, you will have an historical archive of content you can access on any given subject for a pound or two.

TR: How do you see online video improving in the future?

SC: The quality will increase and get better. I was visiting Seoul recently and they have a very fast network, where close-to-HD online video was the norm.

That sort of thing will eventually happen over here and it will be pretty mind-blowing when it does.

There's still a perception about online video in the UK to overcome, however. If you speak to the man on the street about internet video they will immediately say YouTube and think of grainy video, where it can be full screen and look pretty much indistinguishable from television.

As for the future, the content will also improve. You will see a lot more exclusive things hitting the internet, lots of first runs. This is happening in the US with shows like Gossip Girl and it is working really well.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.