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Real's Rob Glaser on the Future of Streaming

Boot Camp feature for Monday, March 12, 2001

Can streaming video on the Internet really compete with TV? I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. It started out with small and choppy pictures... that looked like they were being transmitted from Mars. Today, video on the Internet has improved... .but still has a long way to go before it is anywhere near the quality we're used to on television sets. But Rob Glaser... the man behind Internet audio and video pioneer Real Networks... is a true believer... .

"I think if you compare the progress we've made over the last three or four years with Internet video to say the progress that TV made when it took so long to go from black and white to color or even how long it took to go from radio to television, we're making remarkable progress. But obviously, there's still more to do." How far down the road before it really looks like TV? "Well today if you have a cable modem or if you have DSL and the programming is coming from a place that's been designed for you to experience broadband, you can get near TV quality today. So part of it is building out the infrastructure, making sure that the programming that's available meets your needs. So really it's a combination of the broadband getting more available and the infrastructure behind it filling out."

The time will come, he says, when we'll watch movies and programs on demand over the Net. Competition for cable?

"Whether it plays out as competition or whether it plays out as a set of additional services they offer to consumers remains to be seen. Certainly we're working closely with the cable operators because in the case of cable modems, it's actually their infrastructure that's being used."

Real Networks Chairman and CEO Rob Glaser. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg Radio.