Friday, January 12, 2007


With so many options for watching time-shifted video, we're slowly losing the ability to watch things at the same time as friends and loved ones who live afar.

We've all done this sometime in the past. We talked to somebody on the phone while we watched the same TV show at the same time. We made fun of it like "MST3000" or shared a touching moment. Laughed. Cried. Sat in communal silence. Didn't matter. It was a way to be home alone while still sharing the experience with somebody else.

I'm waiting for a video site that provides a venue to capture these moments. Maybe it already exists — I have to admit that I didn't look very hard. Maybe it doesn't. But it should be simple. Imagine an uber-site that allows you to:
  • Open a private chatroom that also plays a video. Any type of video. TV show. Commercial. Home movie.
  • Identify the lowest bandwith and use that rate as the limiting factor for video to determine how much should be buffered before the video starts to play. That way everybody can watch it simultaneously.
  • Each viewer has buttons that control the playback on everybody's screen.
  • Allow people to speak while the video plays and capture that voiceover on another track.
  • Allow people to type while the video plays and capture all keystrokes for each viewer.
  • Allow people to play mp3 files for background music or sound effects.
  • Time-stamp every action (pause, rewind, frame-by-frame) during the entire video.
  • Allow people in that group access to simple editing tools, including control of the original soundtrack on the video.
  • Allow the moderator for that group the option to make the resulting video public or private.
You can definitely imagine younger sites only providing a fraction of these features — maybe only voiceovers and no playback control — and quickly expanding the menu of features.

You provide people a sense of community with that group while they watched the video. You provide a permanent record of that experience and give them a way to share it with others.

Plus it's a great way to look for voice-over talent, the next host/writer for "The Soup" or an 'expert' for TV Land's next 100 Greatest list.

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