I try to avoid posting about TechMeme pile ups but this one was just too irritating to let pass. Mark Cuban has a blog post entitled The Internet is Dead and Boring which contains the following excerpts 

Some of you may not want to admit it, but that's exactly what the net has become. A utility. It has stopped evolving. Your Internet experience today is not much different than it was 5 years ago.
...
Some people have tried to make the point that Web 2.0 is proof that the Internet is evolving. Actually it is the exact opposite. Web 2.0 is proof that the Internet has stopped evolving and stabilized as a platform. Its very very difficult to develop applications on a platform that is ever changing. Things stop working in that environment. Internet 1.0 wasn't the most stable development environment. To days Internet is stable specifically because its now boring.(easy to avoid browser and script differences excluded)

Applications like Myspace, Facebook, Youtube, etc were able to explode in popularity because they worked. No one had to worry about their ISP making a change and things not working. The days of walled gardens like AOL, Prodigy and others were gone.
...
The days of the Internet creating explosively exciting ideas are dead. They are dead until bandwidth throughput to the home reaches far higher numbers than the vast majority of broadband users get today.
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So, let me repeat, The days of the Internet creating explosively exciting ideas are dead for the foreseeable future..

I agree with Mark Cuban that the fundamental technologies that underly the Internet (DNS and TCP/IP) and the Web in particular (HTTP and HTML) are quite stable and are unlikely to undergo any radical changes anytime soon. If you are a fan of Internet infrastructure then the current world is quite boring because we aren't likely to ever see an Internet based on IPv8 or a Web based on HTTP 3.0. In addition, it is clear that the relative stability in the Web development environment and increase in the number of people with high bandwidth connections is what has led a number of the trends that are collectively grouped as "Web 2.0".

However Mark Cuban goes off the rails when he confuses his vision of the future of media as the only explosive exciting ideas that can be enabled by a global network like the Internet. Mark Cuban is an investor in HDNet which is a company that creates and distributes professionally produced content in high definition video formats. Mark would love nothing more than to distribute his content over the Internet especially since lack of interest in HDNet in the cable TV universe (I couldn't find any cable company on the Where to Watch HDNet page that actually carried the channel).

Unfortunately, Mark Cuban's vision of distributing high definition video over the Internet has two problems. The first is the fact that distributing high quality video of the Web is too expensive and the bandwidth of the average Web user is insufficient to make the user experience pleasant. The second is that people on the Web have already spoken and content trumps media quality any day of the week. Remember when pundits used to claim that consumers wouldn't choose lossy, compressed audio on the Web over lossless music formats? I guess no one brings that up anymore given the success of the MP3 format and the iPod. Mark Cuban is repeating the same mistake with his HDNet misadventure.  User generated, poor quality video on sites like YouTube and larger library of content on sites like Netflix: Instant Viewing is going to trump the limited line up on services like HDNet regardless of how much higher definition the video quality gets.

Mark Cuban has bet on a losing horse and he doesn't realize it yet. The world has changed on him and he's still trying to work within an expired paradigm. It's like a newspaper magnate blaming printer manufacturers for not making it easy to print a newspaper off of the Web instead of coming to grips with the fact that the Internet with its blogging/social media/user generated content/craig's list and all that other malarky has turned his industry on its head.

This is what it looks like when a billionairre has made a bad investment and doesn't know how to recognize the smell of failure blasting his nostrils with its pungent aroma.


 

Monday, August 27, 2007 7:37:36 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
HDNET and the HDNET Movies channels are a couple of my favorite channels. I love the old movies on HDNET Movies. Both channels are carried by the providers in my area (Charter Communications and Verizon FIOS).

Regarding bandwidth, I have a fiber connection running into my house capable of almost gig speeds. 30+MB download speeds are common in the competitive northeast markets fo FIOS customers which is plenty of speed for HD downloads. Of course, 100MB download speeds would be better.
Monday, August 27, 2007 9:05:25 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
On the spot, as always!
General LFO
Monday, August 27, 2007 12:10:31 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
If you ask me i'll say the post was an attempt to gain some kind of popularity and promote hd.net nothing more than that imho.
Monday, August 27, 2007 12:37:13 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Hi All,

Is this not the same Cuban who said YouTube was worth nothing, and that no one would love to buy it because astronomical lawsuits will follow?

Lanre
Monday, August 27, 2007 2:16:58 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Im not sure what planet you live on, but HDNet and HDNet Movies are in nearly 7mm homes. We are in front of more than 60mm homes via our existing affiliates.

We have zero intention of distributing our content on the internet.

You might want to look to see where consumers are spending more money, on entertainment extensions to their internet connectivty or on HDTVs and accessories.

If you want to analogize, look at AM and FM. AM had a far greater listening audience then FM until radios with FM became the same price as AM radios and consumers recognized the greater fidelity.

thanks for the commentary
Monday, August 27, 2007 2:38:30 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Dare, I believe Mark's comment above serves to underline your point. Though there might be room for HDNet to play in this space, but it's doubtful that they'll be near the top. New means of distribution, new user habits and better technology are all conspiring against the normal TV play.

Monday, August 27, 2007 3:40:10 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
mark,
I think a more relevant metric is where people are spending their media viewing time than whether they are spending more money on HDTVs than on media accessories for their PC.

At the end of the day, lots of people are moving to watching video on their terms on the Internet or via TiVo. Since you've been interested in video for a long time, you are clearly aware of the trend towards Internet video. Your constant railing against YouTube and now the Internet itself, points to the fact that you realize this trend and are attacking it since it is counter to the trend of moving towards High Definition broadcast video.

My take is that you should embrace this trend instead of fighting. Rupert Murdoch didn't wait for Craig's List to finish off newspapers completely before deciding to jump onto the Web and purchase MySpace, etc. You should do the same and hedge your bets.
Monday, August 27, 2007 5:01:48 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Nice post Dare, if I was lucky enough to earn a Billion dollars I wouldn't be so obsessed with earning another billion.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007 5:03:50 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
The trend probably speaks more to the fast food, bite sized, attention deficit kids that are growing up in this day and age. Gone are the days of the well thought out thriller in favour of the YouTube video clip of the moment. Even the better shows get chopped up into a highlight real. Kids change their music and interests like their t-shirts. One day you are hot, the next day you are brought down on some scandal and the next person is there to replace you.

In that light quantity seems to be ruling over quality. The 128kbps MP3 still stunts most music executives as they try and struggle to battle unauthorized music distribution. They can't understand why such a sub-standard means is out-pacing higher quality alternatives. In the case of music I doubt we'll see another case of CD taking over cassette tape, or as Mark put it, FM taking over AM. It's a different generation, and they are prepared to rebuild their profile every time a new social network comes around. It gives them a chance to reinvent themselves and make new (virtual) friends. To me it's somewhat counter productive to a longer term thinking of building credibility through identity, but then again I don't think the kids of today are thinking about the longer term in that light.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007 11:51:37 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
SNAP INTO A SLIMJIM!
Macho Man
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