Skype Swedes behind broadband television service

A couple of enterprising Swedes are heavily involved in a global broadband television service soon to hit computer screens worldwide.

Swedish businessman Fredrik de Wahl is chief executive of The Venice Project, a venture concocted by Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis.

“We can offer TV-size audiences on the internet,” de Wahl told the Financial Times.

Writing on his blog, co-founder Janus Friis explains the aims of The Venice Project.

“It’s simple, really; we are trying to bring together the best of TV with the best of the Internet.

“We think TV is one of the most powerful, engaging mass medias of all time.

“People love TV, but they also hate TV. They love the (sometimes…) amazing storytelling, the richness, the quality itself.

“But they hate the linearness, the lack of choice, the lack of basic things like being able to search.

“And wholly missing is everything that we are now accustomed to from the Internet: tagging, recommendations, choice, and so on…

“TV is 507 channels and nothing on and we want to help change that!” wrote Friis, a Dane who has already worked with Niklas Zennström ion the highly successful Kazaa and Skype products.

There are still plenty of creases to iron out as the project moves into an intensive beta testing phase.

“The next months will bring successive releases with more robust streaming, a video decoder which stutters a lot less, way, way more content, increased interactivity and a whole range of other features, tweaks and improvements (and a few nice surprises),” said de Wahl, writing on the project website.

The service operates by means of peer-to-peer streaming technology.

“All content on The Venice platform is provided by content owners directly, and it’s all protected with the highest standard of encryption and we are working within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) framework to ensure that it complies with appropriate content protection and ownership regulations,” wrote Henrik Werdelin on the project website.

“We are going to start with TV content such as documentaries, drama and music videos,” Janus Friis told the Financial Times,

the Venice Project is expected to be fully tested and ready to go in 2007.