The medium that in itself has probably had the major impact on cultural life in the past 50 years, television, is about to be deeply transformed.
From a medium that has been driven from its inception by mass production and distribution economics, we are witnessing a transformation into something altogether different from what we have been trained to expect.
Not only television as we know it is being decoupled from time and time-based schedules and programming.
It is also being turned upside down and inside out by opening itself to the contribution and influence of programming being produced outside of traditional large production houses.
The broadcasting paradigm is being reversed into a user-centered scenario in which it is the viewer who builds, selects, schedules and redistributes video, film and rich-media contents from an infinitely broader pool of producers that we could have ever imagined. The distribution model of broadcasting, 'one to many', is being slowly but unstoppably converted into one of 'many to many'.
Cybersky-TV is TV as it has always been, just distributed differently.
"Making TV has always been a costly affair, particularly the distribution of it to the viewers."
But this is about to change.
What is Cybersky-TV?
Cybersky-TV is a free software application for sharing live television feeds on the Internet. Cybersky-TV allows users with a broadband connection to share, within due legal boundaries, any television signal they are able to receive or route through their net-connected personal computer. With this software "TV channels can be shared irrespective of the means of reception, be it by cable, terrestrial, satellite, and whether the signal is in analog or digital format.
With Cybersky-TV it is possible to watch any TV channel "made available" by any Cybersky user in near real-time. The actual delay is in the range of about 5 to 10 seconds.
The type of Internet Television that people have experienced the most is generally some more or less evolved form of broadcasting via the Internet.
"Getting the signal to the viewer involves a traditional client/server architecture: the client computer asks for a signal and the server computer sends a data stream containing the signal to the client. The signal provider needs to send every user an individual stream. When broadcasting live over the internet providers are literally sending thousands of times identical streams from their servers to the viewers' computers. This is an obvious waste of bandwidth (and therefore money) for the provider's server in particular, and for the whole internet infrastructure as a whole."
But with peer-to-peer (P2P) technology television feeds can be re-distributed in a far more cost-effective manner.
Cybersky-TV uses such a P2P approach to make this possible.
By using a new distribution protocol called ByteTornado which uses an approach similar to the one utilized by existing P2P file-sharing networks such as eDonkey, BitTorrent, Gnutella and Kazaa, ByteTornado is capable of efficiently distributing heavy data workloads across interconnected individual user computer systems.
By utilizing this approach it is indeed possible to significantly extend the reach and availability of any TV channel across the world while drastically decreasing the operational costs for doing so.
Using Cybersky-Tv requires a broadband Internet connection with a download speed of at least 400kbit/sec.and an upload speed of at least 356kbit/sec. if you want to be a broadcaster yourself.
Cybersky-TV is free (no ads, no spyware, no adware), it requires no TV set and it provides an unlimited number of channels worldwide.
Videotext and close caption are not supported. If you want to watch on your TV, you need to connect it to your PC (this can be done quite easily).
Developer Guido Ciburski has already been harassed by German courts, which under the pressure of a Pay-TV had recently requested the suspension of Cybersky-TV operations and the distribution of its software. But with an added "P*remiere-Pay-TV-Recognizer and Blocking"-Plugin which Mr Ciburski developed and added right after everything would seem to be legally OK. The plugin task is the one to find the string "conditional access system ID" in a delivered TV stream. Any tv-stream with that string inside (VTX,CC [i.e. Videotext/Teletext, Close Captioning; ed.]) will not delivered over the network.
The Cybersky-TV system is composed of:
1. Video-Inserter (screenshots/flash animations)
2. P2P-High speed-network
3. TV-player (screenshots)
"You may also be interested in another free and already available product with a more doubtful legal status: Coolstreaming. Technologically it's similar to Cybersky-TV, though sharing your own channels isn't as easy. Until now it's only offering Chinese and a few Italian channels, including ones with live coverage of all mayor European football leagues and other sporting events."
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Guido Ciburski is presenting Cybersky-TV tomorrow at Televisioni Digitali, a two-day long series of events centered around the future of television, and part of the Broadband Week event taking place in Milan starting today.