The CRID may yet have its day

December 12, 2006

In 2001/2002 I was involved in standardising “next generation” on-demand digital television and interactive media content with the TV-Anytime Forum. Very similar technology powers the UK’s Sky+ box, and parts of it have been chosen by various broadcasters around the world. The forum had a lofty public goal, to create an open horizontal market, for content producers, service providers and consumers. In reality, the outcome was somewhat less ambitious, but the final analysis is still years away. One thing we did achieve, after traveling the globe to attend some thirty five meetings, was to have an Internet RFC for the TV-Anytime CRID. The CRID is a Content Reference ID, a means of referring to an item of content independent of its location in time and space. In addition we standardised a mechanism for resolving the CRID to a locator, a concrete locatable instance of that content. As well as having a RFC that describes the CRID syntax, the CRID is to become an IETF-registered URL prefix, so that a device can know that any URL that begins “crid://” is a TV-Anytime CRID. The TV-Anytime system is an ETSI standard. Yet the world envisaged by the forum is happening: digital music, downloadable movies, forward looking television broadcasters like Channel 4 launching their VOD service (powered by Cape Clear), the Internet of course – still, and hopefully always, an open horizontal (market-) place. It will be interesting to watch this continue to evolve. The CRID may yet have its day.

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