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Killer application for broadband Internet?

By enterfornone in Internet
Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 12:28:17 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

This Excite Article talks about the growth of broadband Internet access, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. One of the reasons for the slow uptake of broadband is the lack of a "killer app" that will make broadband Internet a "must have" the way email has made dialup Internet access essential for so many.

While broadband is considerably faster than dial-up, for most people the extra speed is a "nice to have" and as such, broadband access is only appealling to those with money to burn or niche markets such as hard core gamers.

So what is the killer app that can make broadband essential for every day users?

The article suggests Napster. My experience with Napster on dial-up is that it is almost impossible to use. But with plenty of free mainstream music available on the radio, the ability to share music via the Internet is hardly a must have.

Streaming video is another benifit broadband providers market at potential users. But the quality of broadband content, from movie trailers to news reports, is hardly exciting.

Most other broadband applications, such as video chat, low ping gaming and porn only have limited appeal. Other uses such as warez trading or running servers are usually not allowed, or only allowed with expensive business plans.

Is there any reason why the average net consumer who checks their mail and surfs the web would need the sort of speeds that broadband can offer?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


I want high speed net access for
o mp3s 10%
o streaming video 7%
o gaming 14%
o video chat 1%
o porn 21%
o running servers 24%
o warez 2%
o apt-get 18%

Votes: 97
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o This Excite Article
o Also by enterfornone

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Killer application for broadband Internet? | 25 comments (24 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Am I stating the obvious ? (3.33 / 3) (#1)
by Phage on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 01:37:52 AM EST

When I just say content ?
Your emails can have larger attachments, your websites can carry more, be more interactive, without sacrificing "stickiness".
With bandwidth to burn, we start to see seamless computing that allows items like the inteligent fridge, pay-per-view and the smart home concepts.
I don't believe that we should be looking for a killer app. Rather, how telecomms can free up the network by removing the PC from the equation.
IMHO it is the PC that represents the greatest hurdle for seamless computing. It costs too much, is hard to use (by comparison) and looks ugly. (Nod to Apple for their good work in this area). Remove the PC, and suddenly the killer app is your video/PC/DVD/fridge/aircon/etc etc.

I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Video on Demand? (4.50 / 2) (#2)
by cezarg on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 01:38:55 AM EST

Well my employer believes that interactive tv of different kinds is the killer app that will boost sales of broadband. However, we may be entering a catch 22 situation here where telcos don't want to invest in broadband because there's no killer app and at the same time the killer app doesn't get written because telcos won't invest!

To me the distinguishing feature may be Video on Demand (VOD). The technolgy is pretty much here (check out the latest Windows Media codec v.8, they can pump near dvd quality picture on a 750kbps stream!) but there is a lot of reluctance by content providers to allow their content to go online largely due to the precedent set out by Napster. However, the new WMF will have a digital rights management built in to prevent unauthorised saving (which also makes that new ATA specification pretty redundant IMO).

I think this is it. Video on Demand would be great. The ability to select specific shows and films when I want them would let me watch more television for obvious reasons. There is an incentive for telcos to get into this stuff as they now face some serious competition from cable companies who usually offer broadband packages and TV bundles whilst telcos can only do broadband (unless they deploy DTVM that is :)). I think it will grow simply because telcos must compete with agressive cable companies.

Transact Comms (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by Phage on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 01:46:46 AM EST

This company also believes that video on demand, when combined with other services is the way of the future.
Just wish I lived in Canberra...

I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
[ Parent ]
High quality should mean high quality (none / 0) (#3)
by skeller on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 01:46:02 AM EST

This is something that's been bugging me for some time -- the quality of video (streaming or otherwise) online. While I'm a gamer, I'm also a big movie buff, and streaming video (particularly of hard to find indy stuff) would be a killer app for me. Unfortunately, most places that offer video simply don't offer it in a decent enough quality for me. Even things like my experiences with the DivX ;-) codec haven't been all that fruitful.

Maybe I'm just spoiled by DVD, but I really can't tolerate the poor quality of most video clips on the net. While there are some decent things I'd watch at places like iFilm.com, even the highest quality streams don't cut it for me. I can't stand to watch anything longer than a trailer at horrible resolutions. I've got both bandwidth and time, so why does nobody offer better quality (albeit larger) video files?

If it's wrong to eat puppies, why did God make them so tasty?

They will (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by Phage on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 01:49:57 AM EST

See my comment below or try this company who are inviting businesses to offer exactly that service.

I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
[ Parent ]
Very cool (none / 0) (#6)
by skeller on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:02:40 AM EST

Heh. When I posted my comment, I didn't even think about Video on Demand (which would be a MAJOR killer app for me; I was thinking it was quite a ways off though). Does have any more information on this TransACT service? The page is sort of vague. Exactly what programs/movies do they offer? And does anyone know of any companies planning on doing something like this in the states?

I don't watch a ton of TV, but there are a ton of older shows that I'd like to have instant access to. While buying DVD collections is cool, I would much prefer an on-demand service.

If it's wrong to eat puppies, why did God make them so tasty?
[ Parent ]

Plenty... (none / 0) (#9)
by Phage on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:14:53 AM EST

But I gotta get home.
If you need more info email me or check out their web site.
For some strange reason I find telecoms.networking strangely compelling. It would be the new high growth area, if it wasn't for all the govt. interference !

I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
[ Parent ]
How about just cheap Long distance (none / 0) (#7)
by tetsuo on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:03:07 AM EST

Internet Telephony is one area that hasn't taken off and I'm starting to wonder why. Imagine if that nagging E-mail from mom was instead a drone from the internal speaker in your case. Oh wait, it's becoming clear now...

Seriously though, I'm not clear to say if todays modern Instant Messaging services can/do offer something like that; I don't know the last time I *used* ICQ. Can anyone out there fill me in?

To me, this would be the "killer app",er, scratch that, the killer "add-on": I'm sure the folks at Mirabilis/AOL should be able to fit something like this in an upgrade. Then instead of phone numbers we could all call eachother via ICQ #'s. Or AIM #'s. Or Whatever. I'm pretty sure they could implement it with no problem. I mean, hell, last months (or is it this months) Perl Journal had a VOIP goodie. I haven't sat down to try it out, but it looks very sweet.

I guess I'll go snark the latest version of ICQ and see if it does. And if it does, I want to ask the question, Why Aren't More People Using It?

uh (none / 0) (#8)
by tetsuo on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:05:29 AM EST

Perhaps I should clarify (perhaps I should sleep):
I didn't mean for that to come out as the simple person-to-person type chat; I meant the conference call esque thing. Helluva lot cheaper to do it online than using 3-way on the phone, but it would make anything less than ISDN cringe.

[ Parent ]
why this won't take off (none / 0) (#11)
by enterfornone on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:55:17 AM EST

Yahoo pager has the facility, but I don't really have any experience with it.

The problem with vioce over IP is that both ends need a net connection. And when both ends have a net connection it's usually easier to use email or instant messaging.

Now if PSTN infrastructures were completely replaces with TCP/IP networks then it would be a different story. But that's a long way off.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#12)
by Greyjack on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 04:35:12 AM EST

...there's always the services like DialPad, which only require a 'net connection on one end, and connect to any phone in the US at no charge. Quality isn't near as good as a regular long-distance call (it reminds me of transatlantic phone calls I made in the mid-80's--half a second or so propogation delay; dunno how much they've tightened it up since then, as I haven't called outside North America in over a decade), but you can't argue with the price (free).

Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett

[ Parent ]
Media convergence... (3.50 / 2) (#10)
by DrEvil on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:48:38 AM EST

In my opinion converging all media over the internet will be the big "kill app". Just think of a day when you can sit down and turn on your TV and you can watch any TV show ever aired from anywhere in the world. TV not your fancy? Maybe you want to make a phone call, well the internet can also provide a good medium for telephone calls and it can add other features like video phones. Sick of travelling in your car and having to change the radio station every time you leave the broadcast area of a certain radio station? Well this will be a problem no more with wireless broadband.

This is what I believe will be what will be the turning point for broadband. When everything in your home has an IP address people will start to see the internet is about more then just fancy web pages that give you useless info (I'm not refering to K5 here) and that it's about sharing information between anything and everything.

Of course matter transportation would even be a better application for the internet, but I don't think we are quite there yet. Everything else mentioned above is pretty much technically possible now.

I want high speed access for... (4.50 / 2) (#13)
by Tim C on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 04:50:46 AM EST

...working form home.

I am (at the moment at least) frequently required to work (unpaid) overtime, sometimes at the weekend. I'm not *that* fussed about it (I'm pretty well paid), but I live with my girlfriend, and we have a 1 year old daughter, who I don't get to see very much of.

If I had high-speed, fixed-IP net access, I could leave work on time, get home, cook, eat and spend some time with my family, *then* do an hour or two extra work. (Yeah, I could do that anyway, but without high-speed access to my company's network, the logistics of database access and source control become a little more complicated, not to mention ftp access to staging and live web servers, etc)

The other things are all very nice, but this could make a difference to the lives of three people, not just one. I'm kind of surprised that it wasn't a poll option :-)



I got a sloow cable connection and it works for me (none / 0) (#14)
by exa on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 05:55:00 AM EST

My cable connection is 64kbps downstream and I can do all work from home including CVS.

The important thing is not speed but being up all the time. The provider uses DHCP to give dynamic addresses but that's not a problem. I use dyndns.org services so that I can access my machine from anywhere on the net.


exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

[ Parent ]
I pay per minute... (none / 0) (#19)
by Tim C on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 09:36:39 AM EST

...for a 33.6kbps connection, with a dynamic IP. The two biggest problems are the cost (although I might be able to get my company to reimburse me for that, if I caught the right person in the right mood), and the dynamic IP.

The IP address isn't a problem for connecting to my machine, it's a problem for connecting to our company's network. There's no way in Hell the Systems guys would open up the firewall to the entire class A/B that my ISP owns :-) They'd also be extremely unhappy, I would have thought, about me connecting, letting them know my IP address, then telling them when I disconnect so they can disallow access to it again. (Too much scope for someone to forget to close the hole, yet another out-of-hours task for someone to have to do, etc)

The speed is an issue, though - if I'm going to be working at 10pm at night, the last thing I want is for db or CVS access to take an age; believe me, late at night and/or at the weekend, and/or with The Deadline looming large, just the minute or two it takes from starting the server (I do jsp and servlet development) to getting a response and being able to see if it works can be irritating and frustrating enough....
(But please, don't blame it all on Java - our PCs here aren't exactly cutting-edge :-) )



[ Parent ]
for me, no reason (yet) (2.00 / 1) (#15)
by gregholmes on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 06:31:34 AM EST

I won't even pay for cable TV; it just isn't worth it.

When the price comes down, I'll get fast access.

TV and Internet (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by Joshua on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:46:44 PM EST

I won't pay for cable TV, and don't. Hell, I don't really watch TV. A high speed window to the world, however, is another matter. My DSL is down right now, and I feel very disconnected and isolated. Broadband is definitely worth it for me.


[ Parent ]

justify (none / 0) (#24)
by gregholmes on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 06:36:02 PM EST

Oh, I'd love to have it; I just can't justify the expense (to myself or my wife ;)

Mostly, I web browse and use cvs. Modem does just fine most of the time. That's just my personal priorities right now.

[ Parent ]
the killer app (3.50 / 2) (#16)
by boxed on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 06:43:43 AM EST

For me the killer app of broadband is that I can have my computer always online. (The swedish phone companies pay you by the minute for modem internet connections :/).

VHS had the killer app porn, internet had email but broadband has no real new uses as I see it as of yet. Most people still just use internet for email, so broadband isn't for the masses.

I have it already (1.00 / 1) (#18)
by B'voYpenburg on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 09:35:51 AM EST

these nice university's are giving me 500kbyte/s already. But they are upgrading to glassfiber soon :-) Yes, I'm a happy man.

Gaming (none / 0) (#20)
by darthaya on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 10:15:56 AM EST

Look at all the number of people who play computer games online, it is getting bigger and bigger everyday. Everyone wants the fastest internet access so they dont get the annoying lag.

My girlfriend is just recently addicted to Diablo 2, she plays it on b.net almost 24/7... ugh. :)

Content (none / 0) (#21)
by Apeman on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:41:04 PM EST

Linuxtv.org has the right idea in my opinion, they want to creat the software for internet enabled TV's with some set-top box like qualities

Linux TV (none / 0) (#22)
by Apeman on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:41:17 PM EST

Linuxtv.org has the right idea in my opinion, they want to creat the software for internet enabled TV's with some set-top box like qualities

Convenience (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by adamsc on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 10:47:55 PM EST

  • A broadband connection is always on. This sounds minor, but trying going back after you haven't used dialup in awhile. There's an amazing psychological difference between hitting a key to check for new mail and doing the old start-connect-wait-wait-retrieve. That's for a service which works fairly well with dialup; other things like leaving your IM client running are impossible. One of the many reasons why Iomega's floundering is that it's now much easier to leave your computer running with an FTP server than it is to shuffle zip-disks around.
  • stating the obvious, things load faster - being able to retrieve your email instantly is a small but amazingly addictive thing. Being able to install software is much easier, which means people will actually do things like install security patches because the cost has dropped to ~30 seconds of time.
  • It doesn't tie up your phone line. This means you don't have to buy a second line or worry about incoming calls.
The underlying connection between all of these is convenience. It means you spend less time waiting on the computer and more doing what you want.

Killer application for broadband Internet? | 25 comments (24 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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