TV via CU-SeeMe

Ian Carr-de Avelon (
Tue, 25 Apr 1995 10:41:28

A debate seems to have begun on the merits of sending
broadcast TV with CU-SeeMe. My 2p is that having
stations available hour after hour in the hope that
large numbers of users would watch is of course ludi-
crous. However, I do see some very interesting possi-
bilities for short connections. Perhaps this is a
European perspective.
As a Brit learning Dutch in the UK I would have
loved to have access to a nightly news broadcast and
one program a week in Dutch. I could not receive
Dutch TV from the ether (OK I played with sporadic E,
but I got 5 minutes at best and never picture and
sound together). There were few cable companies and
none with Dutch TV, not enough demand. Satellite TV
companies will not sell you the decoder. (Why not?
Well, many of the films programs are from the US and
UK, which they have only bought the Dutch rights on.
Lots of British viewers would happily watch those
programs with Dutch subtitles, but UK consumers have
no value to the Dutch advertisers who pay for it
Here in the Netherlands I get: English, French,
German, Italian, Arabic but no Polish TV. Guess which
Language I've decided I need to learn.
It would be very easy for European Universities
to ignore copyright and plug TV signals into a PC on
Internet. If the CU-SeeMe progressed down a chain of
reflectors rather than 16 connectors to the 'broad-
caster', the bandwidth would not be too great and
this would be in the (our) evening when there are
less problems anyway. In this way tens of thousands
of students could have their courses enriched with
the news and current affairs of the land who's lan-
guage and culture they are studying.
Of course there are other systems, but broadband
full video channels cheap enough for this are not on
the horizon yet. CU-SeeMe has a major advantage over,
say, MPEG encoding and FTP in that neither the sender
or the receiver needs enough memory for the whole


* Ian Carr-de Avelon *
* *
* *
* dept. of Physics Education *
* University of Amsterdam *
* Netherlands *