Watching Videos @ CES

2006 is going to be the year of IP video: from amaetur content on video sharing sites like vSocial to big sweeping efforts of BrightCove and the Regional Bell Operating Companies. What that means is that a whole slew of vendors are going to be aggressively hawking their goodies, hoping that they get traction.

Associated Press says and The New York Times agrees that at the CES there is going to be a lot of talk about video, and many companies will show off their wares, all in preparation for the good times that might (repeat) might be ahead. Broadcasting & Cable notes, “Programmers thrive when new distribution pipes open, but some TV executives cutting the deals say they are making it up as they go along.”

Still, the competition is fierce. The content owners might be able to make it up as they roll, but things are downright scary in the hardware world. There is so many television over IP companies out in the wild, as noted earlier, no one knows who is going to win. And each one has its own twist.

Take for example, Matrix Stream Technologies, a six-year-old San Mateo-based company that is about to introduce a H.264 AVC (advance video codec) Video on Demand and IPTV Set Top Box (STB) and PC Player capable of the highest of high definition (HD) signal formats in the 1920 X 1080 pixel resolution.

You can plug-in your broadband connection, and hook it to your HD TV and you are good to go. The set-top box, of course will be tied in to the backend system supplied by who else but, MatrixStream. This is clearly not a solution for those who want to offer plain old television system over their networks using the IP protocol.

Their new set-top box caught my attention, because of its Mac Mini like look and feel. But apart from the shiny good looks, it is hard to get a good read on the company. Matrix Stream makes a lot of claims but doesn’t reveal who its backers are, and who if anyone, is currently trailing their products.

The information from their media kit is generic enough to hint that they will be competing with everyone from Akimbo to Microsoft and anything in between. Anyway since they will be showing off the technology at CES, those of you who are out there might want to stop by at their booth, and give me your first hand assessment of the technology.

The company has just released MatrixStream PC Player which is available on Movie 99.TV It shows a lot of free television channels, mostly in languages I don’t understand. Try it out for yourself: I was a tad underwhelmed.