Web TV Wire 2008 Review | A Year In Online Video

2 min read

2008 has now seamlessly morphed into 2009 and we’re all a year older, and maybe even a year wiser. But what happened in the world of Internet television over the past 12 months?

Here are my highlights of 2008 in the world of Web TV, with the two or three most fascinating or biggest stories from each month of the year. I wonder if 2009 will hold equal delights?


The year began with speculation as to whether Joost would survive the year. And despite a dodgy economy and bumps along the way, it has managed it. Meanwhile, there was an intriguing story concerning how BitTorrent wasn’t being used just by pirates to swap illegal wares.


Blu-ray finally won the battle of the high-definition formats but would it really matter in the end when digital downloads were surely the future? Quarterlife made its NBC TV debut and unfortunately didn’t do very well, proving Web video still has a way to go before mainstream acceptance is guaranteed.


Hulu launched in beta, and we had a full and frank look at what it offered.

YouTube founder Steve Chen argued that vetting videos uploaded to the site would ruin the immediacy. While a Web-based Joost was first rumored, a rumor which came true later in the year.


The month began with YouTube delivering the ultimate RickRoll. Then the popular torrent tracker Demonoid came back online after six months. The photo-sharing site Flickr launched video, which didn’t really cut the mustard and even lead to a user revolt.


The Roku player launched, with a budget price of just $99. It has since moved on from its initial use as a Netflix-only service provider. There were also predictions about the future of online video, with one billion users guesstimated in five years time.


Should Google kill YouTube? was the question that screamed from the page in June. But a look at the successful phenomenon that is Fred shows why YouTube is important to the health of the Web. Meanwhile, the BBC launched iPlayer 2.0, a vast improvement on the original.


This month saw the release of The Dark Knight, the new Batman movie. Keeping it pirate-free for 38 hours was regarded as a huge success but once it hit the Web, The Pirate Bay used it to taunt Hollywood. Meanwhile, Google described monetizing YouTube as “the Holy Grail”.


August was all about the Beijing Olympics. A delayed opening ceremony on NBC forced many people to the Web. Torrents proved massively popular, while in the end, the online coverage failed to make any serious money. Back to the drawing board for London 2012 then.


Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend became the first video to break the 100 million views mark on YouTube. A video streaming site launched using The Pirate Bay’s popularity to gain traffic. While it looked as though the MPAA secretly killed off Peekvid when no-one was looking.


October saw my second attempt to explain my frustrations at having most premium video services denied me due to territorial rights licensing. While Steve Jobs describing Apple TV as a hobby lead to questions regarding whether set-top boxes will ever become essential?


It emerged that Hulu was set to match YouTube for profits despite enjoying a lot less traffic. Meanwhile, a man committed suicide live on Justin.tv, turning lifecasting into deathcasting.


December finally saw YouTube go HD after months of almost getting there but never quite managing it. This correlated with a feeling that the Google-owned site was growing up. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight was announced as the most pirated movie of the year.