Youtube is Hot, But Watch Out for Over the Top


Sure, you think the TV is dead. But it’s not. The act of lazing about in front of a big screen TV watching, laughing and enjoying video content is going to be even bigger than ever. But here’s the rub. It’ll be less about cable and broadcast, and much more about internet video.

It boils down to this: if you’re not creating video with the big screen in mind, you’re going to miss one of the biggest developments in 2010.

We’ve already seen great success with Revision3‘s content on Roku the tiny box that streams Netflix, baseball, Amazon and now us, Twit, Pandora, Flickr and more to big screens. We were up nearly 15% in the first two weeks that our channel launched – and that was during the traditional down weeks of Thanksgiving.

Next year the TV will get smart. Vizio (the biggest TV vendor in the US) will bring real connectivity to most every TV it sells bigger than 45 inches. Other TVs will do the same. Boxee’s box will ship. Cable set top boxes will connect to web video. It’s a brand new outlet, and you can’t ignore it.

Youtube, unfortunately, seems to be asleep at the wheel. I asked them recently if they were going to play in over the top, and they said that they prefer that it be browser-based, rather than some separate interface. Sure, having multiple separate interfaces can be tough – but they are wrong. Look at mobile – websites are terrible on that screen. The same goes for the big screen at 10 feet away.

Perhaps, as I speculated with my YouTube contact, they are being coy – and Android or Chrome will power TVs in 2011. We’ll see.

But for 2010, you can do a few things to ensure you don’t miss this boat. First, produce and distribute in HD. If and when YouTube is available on the big screen, the better looking videos will win. Quality will be more and more important in this world.
Second, think about an alternate channel for over the top. Maybe hook up with Xbox, glom onto Roku with Mediafly or Blip.TV. Or find another way to get your stuff into that world.

Oh, and keep an eye on Revision3 in early January. We’ll be covering the heck out of the annual Consumer Electronics Show, posting on our site, and on our popular YouTube Channel.  We’ll bring you the latest over the top devices, and provide commentary on how this brave new world of internet video is evolving.


Simon Applebaum December 21, 2009

Nice column, Jim. One puzzlement on my end: why isn’t YouTube already involved as a TV player through video-on-demand? Several cable operators are experimenting with user-generated local VOD services, and YouTube could be a huge player in tapping that interest as a national VOD service. Moreover, YouTube has a variety of classic TV film and video clips that would make a great VOD venture unto itself.

All the very best!

Simon Applebaum
Producer/Host, Tomorrow Will Be Televised
(Mondays/two Fridays a month at 3 p.m. ET/noon, PT on, and on podcast)
(718) 832-5198

Pam Kulik December 21, 2009

I couldn’t agree with you more. Over the top is where the action is – especially for Web series.

Here’s my take in a Tubefilter News article –


jason l baptiste December 21, 2009

Well said Jim. What do you think the right device will be to shifting internet content from being viewed on our laptop/desktop to the big screen? Is it something as powerful as a computer or something more limited like a boxeebox/roku? What will do to the 50 inch screen what the iPhone did to the 3 inch screen?

rekzkarz January 3, 2010

Jim (& other blogosphere CEO’s + misc internet lurkers/leechers),

Cool article! Smart TV? Kind of a conundrum/oxymoron there, but it’s true & it’s coming. I have a PS3 and I’m psyched at all the crap that can get shot down that digital box! IMPRESSIVE! Not integrated yet per se, but you can get your Netflix, PS3 videos, and Youtube in HD (sorta).

And they say content is king… or some kind of royalty, perhaps Lord Dictator?

That said, I’d like to be a court jester, and I’d like to be at your channel? What do you say?

Please hire me to work at Revision3? I’m a bad-ass freelance video producer and I have a bunch of hilarious stuff online waiting to be launched into the mainstream via your station.
(see or

Last reason (and possibly most important) that I’d be good on TV at revision3 <– my name is Ari and I have a 3 tattoo’d on my right arm.
How random is that?


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