With all the hubbub around Google Inc.'s purchase of YouTube Inc., it's easy to think that three-minute, streaming clips mark the culmination of the online video revolution. But what Google paid $1.65 billion for is more like the king of what works now. And a crowd of startups is hard at work developing Web technologies that will radically change how TV, movies, and other video are distributed, packaged, and experienced in the future. "We're just at the beginning stages of what will be a long evolution," says Joe Laszlo, an analyst at JupiterResearch.

The next few months will see the unveiling of a slew of innovative approaches to dishing up video. They range from the much anticipated launch of something called the Venice Project, by the founders of Skype Ltd., the Internet phone service, to the rebirth of BitTorrent, the video piracy software of choice as a legitimate business. Unlike Napster or even YouTube, both of which rose to popularity on the back of illegally posted content, these would-be video giants are teaming up with established media companies, in part to aid them in their battle against piracy. Indeed, one of the most startling developments over the past year is how Hollywood has loosened up, taking a more experimental approach toward online video distribution.

There's plenty of work still to be done before video blossoms into its full potential. "What's the advertising model? How does search work? What's the syndication model? It's the same questions asked with the Web in 1995 that startups helped answer," says Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research.

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