SAN FRANCISCO (04/19/2000) - Ready to take a broadband tour of the Web? Finding quality content designed for your high-speed connection isn't easy, but I can point you in the right direction.
You might be tempted to start with your Internet service provider's home page--after all, aren't broadband service providers the ones who should offer the most broadband content? Perhaps, but usually they don't. With the possible exceptions of Excite@Home's new @Home 2000 site or America Online's new AOL Plus service, most ISP fare is fairly limited.
Most Bell Atlantic and GTE digital subscriber line users are greeted with NBCi.com, where most of the streaming content is saved at 128 kilobits per second or less, not 300 kbps. Bell Atlantic also offers its own DSL Gateway, which, like @Home 2000 and most other broadband ISP portals, is available only to subscribers.
With broadband ISPs offering little to test out your high-speed connection, you'll want to move on. But you won't necessarily find the best broadband content at the sites you'd expect.
Take music videos, for example. You'd expect MTV.com to be leading the way, but I didn't find anything over 56 kbps at the site, and most of it was at 33 kbps.
A better bet is Launch.com, which requires registration, but offers a broad selection of 300-kbps clips.
If you're interested in film trailers, don't head straight to an online video store like Reel.com. General directory sites such as WindowsMedia.com, Scour, and Real.com offer better selections of trailers. Microsoft and RealNetworks offer some of the best clips, as their main interest is in showing off the visual quality of their media players.
Short movies of all qualities have found a new venue on the Internet.
AtomFilms, the most well known short-movie site, offers a lively collection of shorts. But film purists may favor the less hectic environment of IFilm, and if you prefer downloading to streaming, check out Undergroundfilm.com.
If you're determined to stick with your broadband ISP for broadband content, here's one of the biggest surprises of all: AOL Plus has one of the best shows in broadband.