An Internet site that promises to revolutionize television distribution is taking contributions from the general public and airing full-length content to anyone with a broadband connection.
Veoh 2.0 beta premiered Wednesday to allow broadband users to become broadcasters over the Web, without Federal Communications Commissions' rules, financial restrictions and geographic limitations that keep the most people from broadcasting and widely distributing viewer content.
Dmitry Shapiro, Veoh Networks Inc. CEO, said during a recent interview that the beta launch of Veoh 1.0 in September 2005 tested the scalable peer video distribution network and proved more popular than expected. More than 250,000 videos were downloaded onto the site.
"With this latest release, we are opening the doors to the general public to access that network for publishing and for finding content that just isn't available via other TV distribution systems," he said in a prepared statement.
Viewers can create libraries by downloading content into queues, which can then be accessed easily from home, at work or anywhere they can log in, Shapiro said. Content can also be fed to televisions and large screens through Apple's Front Row and Microsoft Windows Media Center.
During an interview last week, Shapiro said he is confident the time is right for alternatives to broadcasting outlets catering to the lowest common denominator.
"It creates what I call free speech television," he said. "It's profound. This completely changes the nature of the game."
Shapiro said that he predicts political and social change as a result of peercasting.
"Television is the most powerful mind-control tool ever," he said. "It teaches us what's beautiful and what's ethical."
The service is free, but the company plans to offer broadcasters the choice of charging on a pay-per-view basis or including advertisements. They will share the revenue, Shapiro said.
More than 37,000 videos are now available on the Veoh Network. They include John Wayne westerns, news shows, vlogsand home-made video.
Veoh 2.0 allows unlimited distribution capacity for full-screen, television-quality and high-definition videos. Links and embedded previews can be posted on Web sites, blogs and peer networks.
Users can also create episodic video series to build "channels" with their favorite videos from the network's catalog. Users can subscribe to any series, publisher or tag for automatic feed of the latest content. Viewers and broadcasters can also interact through a social network, video ratings, comments and private messages.
A flagging system is in place to prevent copyright infringement, obscenity and other prohibited content. Adult content is allowed, though Veoh imposes age restrictions.
The company boasts that it is the first Internet television peercasting network. It is privately owned and venture-capital funded.