Although touted as the next generation of television, IPTV is shaping up to be a more advanced version of the same old cable television network -- one-way, expensive, and totally inaccessible for citizens to use. While the professionals build complex video delivery systems to mimic traditional TV cablecast facilities, a number of community-based video sharing projects are leveraging the distributed nature of the internet, giving anyone the ability to publish a "video channel" and making citizen broadcasting accessible to all.
CommonMedia - By the folks at CommonBits, the CommonMedia platform includes two social networking services for sharing freely distributable music and video: CommonTunes and CommonFlix. Both sites give you the ability to search, tag, and share media that you either find online or seed yourself via p2p software like BitTorrent.
OurMedia - Like CommonMedia, OurMedia allows you to share your user created content, but they'll also host it at the Internet Archive for free as long as you're willing to share your work with a global audience. They even plan to release an API in the near future that'll allow programmers to build less text-centric interfaces for accessing the content shared on the OurMedia platform.
Broadcast Machine - If you already have a website and want to distribute video via p2p, check out Broadcast Machine from the folks at Downhill Battle. Broadcast Machine is software that you install on your server that makes it easy to upload your own video and publish your own "channel" for others to browse.
The great thing about all three projects, is that with a digital media player like EyeHome coupled with podcast and videoblog download software like FireANT or iPodderX, and content from any of these open media services on the backend, you can have yourself a citizens' internet television service before many of the commercial IPTV services get off the ground.
Not bad for a bunch of civilians.
Given the rapid increase in bottom-up video even at this early stage of the game, there's a development opportunity for mediating services - video mixers who filter, contextualize, and showcase the best of what's out there.