HDTV vs Internet video redux

Clay Shirky responds to Mark Cuban’s post that “HDTV is the Internet video killer.” It’s rare that I disagree with Clay, but here I think both positions are right.

Nothing is really going to “kill” anything else, as both of them are well aware. There is a future for both “HDTV” (which will become increasingly Internet-enabled) and “Internet video” (which will be delivered at increasingly high resolution). Users won’t abandon the benefits of HDTV because they can create and watch their own short videos on YouTube (Mark’s point), but neither will they abandon YouTube because the picture quality of HDTV trumps all (Clay’s point). And the future of either form as a business still depends on monetization, which largely means advertising. The good news is that, for the moment, there’s more than enough money to go around. The bad news is that the well is finite, and it won’t be long before we hit the point of conflict. By that time, most companies in the video space will have operations in both the “HDTV” and “Internet video” worlds.

Clay does, however, manage to get off a wonderful line about the future of TV: “Cuban doesn’t understand that television has been cut in half. The idea that there should be a formal link between the tele- part and the vision part has ended.”