The Venice Project, the internet TV project from Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, has gone into public beta testing.
Like Skype and Kazaa, The Venice Project also makes use of P2P technology, in this case for streaming videos to users. The videos available are intended to be high quality from mainstream providers, rather than homemade a la YouTube.
There are plans to include user-generated videos in future, though with an emphasis on quality. That said, The Venice Project will be focused on the community, so expect to see a surfeit of user reviews, as well as tagging and ratings.
According to the Venice Project's blog, features will be updated in the next few months, with improved streaming technology and the adition of more content.
The site will have an ad-based revenue model, similar to TV, though they aim to keep the advertising as unobtrusive as possible. Revenues will be shared with participating content providers.
What's interesting here is that by looking user-defined metadata (tags) and behavioural history ads may be better targeted. We're expecting IPTV to be the saviour of the TV advertising industry, and this looks like a first step in that direction.
The trouble is that this is a highly immature market, and the old chestnut of people wanting to watch TV from the comfort of their couches in laid-back mode is not going to go away. So we're all waiting for devices (ie TVs / set-top boxes) to catch up and achieve widespread consumer adoption before this sort of thing really takes off.
Still, it all sounds pretty good, and from the screenshots, it looks good too. We'll give you more information once we get our invitations...