OnLive is a streaming gaming service that allows users to play games via their Mac, PC, home TV (with the use of the OnLive Microconsole) and, if all goes as planned, even their iPad by the end of the year. The games themselves are hosted at huge data centers and the users merely log in from their device of choice and stream the games they want to play (basically like Netflix but for video games). Game data is stored online as well so you can move around to multiple devices and always pickup exactly where you left off. In my limited playtime the experience has generally been positive. The GFX do take a hit and if your connection isn’t great there is a bit of lag (but that’s true of any online gaming experience). The coolest part by far is that you aren’t tied to a particular machine or device to play from.
Is OnLive pioneering technology that could be used for professional quality editing in the Cloud? Cutting edge video games and editing both can be taxing to the CPU and GPU and require very low latency between the user’s input and the software responding. At NAB in 2010 Avid gave a demo called “Edit Anywhere on Anything” about how a Cloud-based solution from Avid might work. It was a working demo with the full rez HD footage stored on servers off-site and the editing being done on stage in Las Vegas via a web-based app on a laptop. The app wasn’t as full featured as Avid MC, but it looked robust enough for basic editing (much like comparing Google Docs to MS Office). Sharing projects and working remotely would become easy as pie instead of being a process that requires sharp attention to asset and version management.
A solution from Avid would probably be geared towards much larger, higher end users because I can’t imagine this being inexpensive to implement and run. It has been rumored that Apple might be working on a Cloud-based editing solution as well to take advantage of that massive data center in NC, but the first big question is how do you get your footage onto their servers? Short videos from your iDevice is one thing but uploading gigs of material just isn’t viable currently (and may become less viable as ISPs impose data caps and possibly start going to a tiered pay system).
Right now it’s all just theory but hopefully it becomes reality sooner rather than later.