The Akamai showcase site for HD online videos from several customers including the BBC, MTV, the NBA and others has just gone live. 

The images that load to the home page are in very high quality Flash.  To see the HD videos, you need to select either 1280 X 720 or 1920 X 1080.  The files, which are under 120 MB, download locally and are played in Quicktime or Windows Media.

On my Verizon Fios connection, the videos downloaded quickly.  If you have a slower connection or a computer with little video processing power, be patient.  My colleague Liz Gannes, editor at NewTeeVee noted the low bandwidth message displayed on her Mac, but that the files downloaded and they looked "stunning."

Earlier this week, I met with Brad Rinklin, head of marketing at Akamai.  Brad is excited about the new service but acknowledges that the prices for streaming in HD will considerably more, given the sizes of the files that are as much as 20 times bigger than conventional ones.

He believes that content owners will profit in presenting HD content when there is  an adequate advertising-supported CPM, or subscription model.

He told me that P2P distribution will part of the HD video ecosystem in the future and RedSwoosh, a recent Akamai acquisition will loom large in this.

We shall see how this plays out.

— Andy Plesser