Why The Internet is Not Yet Ready to Replace Television


As of this writing, I have been trying for six hours to access the premiere of Joss Whedon’s web musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. (If you click the link and it works the first time, congratulations on always picking just the right time to try everything. I bet you always pick the fastest-moving checkout line too.) I would have all kinds of stuff to say about it, if I could see it. But I cannot, and neither can a lot of people. The servers just can’t handle the kind of traffic they’re getting.

This is the internet equivalent of the old urban legend that after a much-viewed series finale, a massive water crisis ensues when everybody in the world goes to flush the toilet at the same time. Think of the internet as a toilet and bandwidth as toilet water. I could try to come up with an analogy that isn’t toilet-related, but why?

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Why The Internet is Not Yet Ready to Replace Television

  1. I almost thought I could gloat that your link worked for me the first time … until I realized you’d linked to I’m F***ing Ben Affleck instead. Tease.

    It’s suprisingly not well-reported that the Internet as it currently exists isn’t ready for primetime, literally. As a G&M article put it, “If just 1 per cent of the DVDs that NetFlicks sends to customers every day were downloaded, we would need a tenfold increase in the current core capacity of the Internet.”

    As Eli Noam put it, “If 1% of European households ordered a program, say “Desperate Housewives,” it would use up all the backbone capacity that was installed in the heyday of broadband backbone builds in the 1990s.”

  2. Oops. I actually didn’t intend to link to “I’m [one of George Carlin’s 7 words]ing Ben Affleck,” but I’m almost tempted to leave it like that as sort of my equivalent of RickRolling. But I won’t. Link fixed, and still not working for me.

  3. Sorry, I got through on the first try and it was awesome in its cheesiness. Vintage Whedon. It kind of reminded me of “Once More With Feeling”, but much more light-hearted.

  4. And it’s for sale on iTunes. Not giving something away for free has a way of keeping internet traffic reasonable.

  5. The page seems less busy in the early mornings. It’s worth trying again, for 14 minutes of lemony goodness.

  6. Dr. Horrible is absolutely awesome. Not just that we get Doogie and Captain Mal together, but everything else. The music was great. Even though it’s just a 15 minute musical, but there were three pretty good numbers. And as for the cheesiness factor…I don’t know. Middleman is fun, and it obviously apes the old Batman, with an overly campy feel. While Dr. Horrible, outlandish as it is, feels very genuine.

    I can’t wait until Act II.

    Jamie, if it isn’t streaming properly, just go on over to your friendly neighborhood Mininova.

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