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OpenTech 2008 "Impossibox" presentation

On Saturday I gave a talk outlining some slightly bonkers 'future of TV' ideas (aka The Impossibox) to the wondrously clueful crowd gathered at OpenTech 2008.

The Impossibox is an idea for a network of PVRs acting as a giant, ever-growing Storage Area Network with enough capacity to store - and then seed via BitTorrent to each and every PVR-cum-node- all the decent TV programmes broadcast in the UK. The launch of FreeSat makes the maths even more compelling, as (bit-level) identical copies of programmes can be captured off-air by any FreeSat PVR, be it in Aberdeen or Plymouth. Hence the cloud is better seeded than for Freeview transmissions, whose time signals will differ slightly depending on the transmitter.

My slides are below, or (downloadable here).

Update: I should have made it clear - as I did at OpenTech - that I gave this talk in a personal capacity, not wearing my Ofcom hat. (In fact I first gave this talk at O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference in 2007, when I still worked at the BBC).

Comments (4)

"This slideshow has either been removed or made private by its owner." what gives? ;)

Hi Tom,

Thanks for this presentation, it gave me a lot of food for thought. I wrote up my after thoughts here: http://blog.iclutton.com/2008/07/day-at-opentech.html


Hi Tom

I had a very similar idea a couple of years back, tho it never came to anything.


I was on the end of a cable system ala Virgin, but in New Zealand. The idea was that traffic inside the cable network was basicly free, so why not have the cable provider cache the content at the head end, but also have the PVR's cache the content, so I could pull something from a local PVR, one on the same head end as me, rather than going upstream, where the traffic gets increasingly more and more expensive.

I came here from here (http://www.publicaddress.net/default,5138.sm#post5138) BTW.


Have you thought about approaching Higher Education with this idea? We've mostly bought into ERA licensing which makes this mostly legal for us and there's usually someone in-house who can record programmes for you *if* you notify them in advance.

And after a quick google it appears that someone already offers an old-skool centralised version of this:


They also have TRILT (Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching) http://demo.trilt.ac.uk/

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