Archive for the ‘Internet Television’ Category
I’ve gotten several reports from people telling me that Netflix has begun polling their subscribers, asking if they’d be interested in streaming to their iPhone. I’ve not received this poll (or else you’d see a screenshot right now), but thought I should pass it on.
If anyone has a screen grab, post it in the comments.
Jennifer Van Grove writes:
If I Can Dream — Hulu’s first foray into original programming — is set to premiere on March 2 on Hulu and IfICanDream.com.
The made-for-web TV show — which will be made available internationally — is a joint collaboration between the online TV syndicator and Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment.
Web video is expanding right now, and though a lot of attention is paid to episodes of network TV shows like Lost or The Office that you can stream online, there’s an emerging wealth of content made just for the web. There’s going to be even more of it in the future, so this is a great time to get in at the ground level and experience an emerging art form.
Since September we’ve worked with web video analytics company Visible Measures to publish a monthly list of the top 10 most viewed original web series. And with the 2010 Streamy Awards coming up in just a couple of months, we believe this is an ideal time to serve up a quick overview of what web series are and why we’re so interested in covering them.
Read the whole thing over @ Mashable.
When people find out I cut the cable, no two people ask the same first question – but they all eventually ask:
“How do I find what’s on?”
There was never really a satisfactory answer until now: Clicker.com.
Dear Home Box Office.
I’m a big fan, dating back to the late 1970s when my uncle showed me Rocky on his brand new 10′ satellite dish, so I was excited to learn about your new streaming service HBO Go.
Immediately after hearing about it’s existence I rushed to my computer, pulled up the site, and clicked “Sign Up”. That’s when I found out that only Comcast and Verizon cable TV customers who buy HBO through their cable company can watch.
What a missed opportunity. I was ready to open up my wallet and pay for content that I find worth paying for, but found out in addition to paying for HBO I would have to pay for cable TV, too.
Here’s 10 cents worth of free advice: Stop thinking of yourself as a cable channel or as a TV network and think of yourself as an entertainment provider. Stop paying Verizon and Comcast to be your middlemen. Take my money directly, like Netflix.
Be Like Netflix
For $8.99 a month, Netflix lets me stream from their website and they give access to their API so their service can be integrated into my TV, BluRay Player, or Boxee Box. (Almost 50% of their customer base stream content). No, it’s not perfect. It’s got DRM and it’s Silverlight-based so you can’t watch it on your iPhone (yet). Most content is Still SD and the HD content is only 720p. But it’s easy to use and more importantly it’s easy to pay for. It’s flexible in how I use their service and doesn’t try to nickel and dime the hardware vendors that are helping them grow – unlike Hulu.
The Content Providers (ahem TV Networks FOX, NBC, and ABC) that own Hulu want Boxee et al to pay them for the privelege of pointing traffic at them (which is like wanting the phone company to pay you for printing your number in their phone book) and is attempting to block them in an effort to force negotiations, going so far as to falsely characterize their action as “illegally taking” in Congressional hearings. Why? Because they are too busy fretting over lost banner ad revenue and disproportionate per-impression ad rates compared to cable to see that Boxee is pointing a money firehose at them and pressure is just beginning to build.
…which, if you aren’t paying attention, is the same mistake NewsCorp (Owner of FOX and 1/3 owner of Hulu) and the Associated Press are making with Google News, too.
“Thanks for the customers. Now you owe me money for sending them my way. Even though your recommendations keep me afloat and I would probably be bankrupt without them, you made money by recommending me, so I deserve a cut. You must pay to advertise me.”
Hulu is doing more right than wrong, but their mistake of tying their service to a web page instead of allowing it on a TV is harming them more than helping them – much like your need to tie your online service to your cable channel will harm more than help you.
I understand that contractually you are obligated to do (and not to do) certain things, but I would hope that you see my point of view and can see the value in a cable-optional internet streaming site.
Thanks for listening,
P.S. For what it’s worth: I think Hulu should abandon the paywall idea, pack their site with content, license and control use of their API, grow their user base, and then negotiate better “per impression” ad rates for their in-line ads. A model I don’t recommend for you, HBO, nor for Netflix.
And pssst… no geo restrictions. Welcome non-US Streamers. Get it while it lasts. I mean, seriously. Look at the list of shows.
and it keeps going….
Check it out yourself.
Does the name “Altria” make you think of:
Lying To Congress, or
That’s why they aren’t called Philip Morris anymore.
Mega corporations don’t flush decades of name recognition when their customers like them. ValuJet had a crash so bad that they had to become AirTran just to survive.
A corporate name change is like a get-out-of-anything card. No matter how terrible you treated your customers, your countrymen, or your planet – a name change makes everyone forget it all. It’s as if you never did it in the first place.
Who, him? He’s not me. I’m not him. I’m NewCorp!
Now Comcast is changing their name. I’m sure it has nothing to do with their stance on traffic shaping, bandwidth capping, throttling, and net neutrality. I’m sure it also has nothing to do with their reputation for high bills, expensive bundles, high-pressure customer retention, poor service, poor customer service, and closed-network ways. I’m sure, as John Gruber suggests, they’re doing it just for kicks.
If you want to watch him repeatedly refer to pulling up a web site in a web browser as “illegal” check out the video in the C-Span Archives, (Sorry I can’t embed it here) but it can be summed up in this excerpt:
Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA): What about Boxee? Mr. Zucker you probably are in a better position to answer that. Did Hulu block the Boxee users from access to the Hulu programs?
Zucker (NBC): This was a decision made by the Hulu management to, uh, what Boxee was doing was illegally taking the content that was on Hulu without any business deal. And, you know, all, all the, we have several distributors, actually many distributors of the Hulu content that we have legal distribution deals with so we don’t preclude distribution deals. What we preclude are those who illegally take that content.
Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA): “Well would you have negotiations with Boxee upon request?”
Zucker (NBC): “We have always said that we’re open to negotiations.”
Of course, Boxee’s Avner Ronen had this (among other things) to say:
I’d like to set the record straight regarding Boxee’s access to Hulu. Boxee uses a web browser to access Hulu’s content – just like Firefox or Internet Explorer. Boxee users click on a link to Hulu’s website and the video within that page plays. We don’t “take” the video. We don’t copy it. We don’t put ads on top of it. The video and the ads play like they do on other browsers or on Hulu Desktop. And it certainly is legal to do so.
He also mentiones that Boxee has almost a million users. Not too shabby for a piece of software that just left alpha stage a few weeks ago and has just begun its beta period.
They’re laying it all out. The most even-handed look at the strengths and weaknesses of three different media center apps. Check it out.
According to the White House blog, 1.3 million people watched U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech live on the White House’s website — or at least on sites that embedded the official video. The White House also said that 50,000 people participated in a Q&A with officials on Facebook after the speech.
Including titles from The Criterion Collection, Gravitas Ventures, Kino Lorber, Music Box Films, Oscilloscope Laboratories and Regent Releasing.
Get The Most From Cutting Cable with Online TV (Early 2010 Edition, Part 1 of 5)
Online TV*. The landscape changes fast. The barren wasteland of 2004 became a desert oasis in 2007 and is blossoming into a viable alternative in 2010. While you still can’t (legally) see everything that’s available on cable, there is a lot to watch and the price tag of free is terribly tempting.
There’s lots of ways to dip your toe into online TV. Online TV services are built-in to many new TVs, Blu-Ray Players, Video Game consoles, set-top boxes, and even cell phones. (Not to mention it’s all over the web.) You can get into Online TV right now by clicking any links in the sidebar. Getting it isn’t the problem – getting the most from it is the trick.
Getting the most out of it means the best picture/sound and making it easy to use. You can do this with four basic hardware pieces, many of which you may already own: A computer, a TV/Monitor, a Blu-Ray Player, and an A/V Receiver. After that there are things you can add like video game consoles, DVRs, remotes, smartphones, projectors, and more… but for right now, let’s stick with the basics. If you choose the basic four pieces wisely and wire it together correctly, it becomes a system so easy even company can use it.
You don’t NEED all 4 pieces to get online TV. To get a majority of it, all you need is a computer built in the last few years. But an easy-to-use, internet-based, large screen home theatre with multi-channel sound is cheaper and easier to obtain than you think.
*Note: “Online TV” refers to streaming and downloading movies and television shows, online content for Blu-Ray movies, and Internet Original video content. Other internet content such as music, music videos, social networking, and online gaming is beyond the scope of this article.
Piece 1 of 4: A Screen
Whether it’s a 13″ laptop, a 65″ OLED HDTV, or a 10 foot projection, to fully enjoy Online TV you need a screen to see it on.
My guess is that you will be watching this on your living room television. If this is the case, you can just skip the rest of Part 1 of this article. Part 5 will deal with wiring it all together, and I’ll discuss using your existing stuff.
If, on the other hand, you are planning to build a new internet-based home theatre from scratch, then read on.
When buying a screen, size matters less than resolution and refresh rate.
Whether it’s a TV or a computer monitor, your screen should have a native resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Pitfall #1: Buying a TV
Not all “1080p” TVs are 1920 x 1080. Some TVs “support 1080p” but have a 1366 x 768 screen. These TVs “support 1080p” signals, but scale the 1080p picture down to 720p then back up to 768p – resulting in a soft, muddy picture. Check the native resolution, because that’s what you’ll actually be looking at.
Pitfall #2: Buying a Monitor
Not all “1080p” monitors are 1920 x 1080. Some are 1920 x 1200. Like TVs, these monitors support 1080p signals but stretch the image 10% too tall when connected to DVD Players, Blu-Ray-Players, Netflix Boxes, and video game consoles – making everyone look sickly thin with elongated heads. These are 16:10 monitors, and you want 16:9.
Some 16:9 aspect ratio monitors have resolutions higher than 1920 x 1080, but as long as it’s 16:9, your picture will be the correct shape. Resolutions higher than 1920 x 1080 are great for computers but wasted on TV/Movies because nothing is distributed at higher resolutions than that.
While showing 1080p, it should have a refresh rate of at least one of these: 60Hz, 120Hz, 240Hz, 480Hz, etc. (Movie buffs like 24p and 48p modes, but the screens that output them are as uncommon as the commercial content encoded at that framerate.) Beware TVs that claim 240Hz on the box but reveal in the fine print that it only does 240Hz in 480p mode and does 1080p at 30Hz. Check the 1080p refresh rate, because that’s what you’ll actually be looking at.
After resolution and refresh rate, the next important thing is ports.
An increasing amount of copy-protected content requires an HDCP-compliant port, such as HDMI and DisplayPort, or else it degrades the picture. Neither DVI nor Component connectors are HDCP-compliant, so if you’re connecting anything to your TV with DVI or component, you aren’t looking at full 1080p as often as you think.
To get the most from Online Television, your screen should have at least one (1) HDMI 1.3b or higher port, or one (1) DisplayPort/MiniDisplayPort.
More ports can be better but if you’re getting all four basic pieces you’ll only need one on the screen.
A Word on Built-In Online TV Services:
If you’re going to do at least 2 of the 4 pieces, and one of them is a screen, chances are the other piece will do Netflix Streaming so it’s (next to) pointless to have it built-in to your screen. It needlessly complicates the menus and prevents us from tossing the remote in a drawer and forgetting about it.
A Word on Dynamic Contrast Ratio:
Anything that passes all the other tests is going to be good enough. Don’t go broke chasing a bigger number spread.
Your screen doesn’t need anything else. It doesn’t need a tuner or speakers or Picture-In-Picture or a fancy remote. It just needs to be able to show you the best visual representation of what 1080p content can offer.
Next up, Blu-Ray.
Update: Before reading this post, pull up http://www.realnetneutrality.org/ in another tab. I’ll wait.
Kenneth Corbin Writes:
With the deadline for filing comments on a federal effort to enact network neutrality rules fast approaching, businesses and advocacy groups are making their pitches in an effort to shape what could be a landmark overhaul of the nation’s Internet policy.
The Federal Communications Commission is accepting comments on its Net neutrality rulemaking through Thursday, and advocates of the policy took the occasion to release a pair of academic analyses today making a case linking the open Internet with economic growth.
You have until March 5, 2010 to file a comment.
Net Neutrality is Proceeding #09-191. While you’re there, you may also consider commenting on #07-52 Inquiry Into Broadband Market Practices #09-51 The National Broadband Plan and on #04-186 TV White Spaces.
Vudu, the HD-service that wouldn’t die has started expanding past it’s own hardware and is looking to pull a Netflix and get in set-top boxes, Blu-Ray Players, TVs, and… Wal-Mart? That’s what AllThingsD‘s Peter Kafka thinks.
Sources tell me Web video start-up Vudu is in “meaningful” acquisition discussions, and industry executives believe Wal-Mart is the likely buyer.
Read the whole thing over @ AllThingsD
At freedocumentaries.org we strongly believe that in order to have a true democracy, there has to be a free flow of easily accessible information. Unfortunately, many important perspectives, opinions, and facts never make it to our televisions or cinemas (you can watch movies in our media category if you want to know why).
I was getting ready to type up my views on the Netflix’s announcement when I ran across an article @ TechCrunch called “Netflix Stabs Us In The Heart So Hollywood Can Drink Our Blood”
The problem here is that the assumption is that Hollywood will be ready and willing to favorably deal with Netflix in the future for streaming. Mark my words, that will only happen if and when piracy becomes a problem. Do we really believe that Hollywood wants to give Netflix (or anyone else) movies to stream early rather than having people buy them first? No, it’s the exact same problem. It’s a problem of greed.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Grab your copy over @ Boxee.TV – if you can. Their server seems to be getting slammed at the moment.
Why let Hulu rot your brain when you can actually use the internet to educate yourself?
Academic Earth joins Google’s YouTube EDU and Apples’ iTunes U in bringing higher education to the masses. All three services offer free video lectures from top universities and the greatest minds alive. Expand yours today.
In addition to the Made-to-Order DVD service I told you about a few days ago, Warner has opened it’s own video store.
Rent, Buy, Download, Stream, or have your movie mailed on a plastic disc.
[UPDATE: Windows & IE only for streaming. Vista only for Downloads.]
2001: A Space Odyssey costs $2.95 to rent and $9.95 to buy.
Internet news needs investigative journalists with credibility and integrity to create compelling original content.
There is nothing inherent to ink-on-paper that makes it better suited for telling news.
The internet frees video news from the shackles of network censors and the time constraints of a formula news show.
I would buy any product that buys in-line ad time for Ted Koppel: Uncensored, and would watch it every night if they made their API available for Boxee, App Store Apps, and the like.
I have been silent til now. Call it apathy. I’m always advocating, sometimes I take a back seat to it, thinking others would notice and take the issues headon. But I don’t see anyone standing up to CNN and telling them off for not subtitling their “video” articles.
I love CNN and it’s the one of four things I first check in the mornings and before I hit the sack. (if you must know, I check facebook.com, cnn.com. gmail.com and sinfully read perezhilton.com). I see awesome, horrible, weird, urgent or boring news titles on CNN.COM. Some of them are done in text. Some done in videos.
And I get disappointed if the article turns out to be video. I don’t understand a damn thing these lips are yapping about.
Today, I saw this title: Facebook Users Hit with Worm.
Uh oh. I must read! I’m a facebook user. So I check this link –
and it leads me to cnn’s video site. Aw come onnnnnnn! I wanna read what they’re saying! I’m a facebook junkie, I need to check it 8287465128 times a day (like the rest of you). So I want to know if my baby is OK?
I’m curious. What is the FCC doing about this? Has internet laws been passed? I have no idea what’s going on with technology these days. I’m tech-illiterate. But I know that this captioned-for-net broadcasts from news MUST HAPPEN. And now.
Someone over there in the USA, the land of the free, SPEAK UP AND WHOOP CNN’S A$$! Its your fundamental right!
Ok, feeling good after speaking up my mind. Looking forward to the day I read subtitles/captions on CNN and beyond.
My wife doesn’t hear as well as she used to. Captions and subtitle make her (and our neighbors) happier than just cranking up the sound.
I agree that CNN needs to caption their video news, but I’m not so sure legislation is necessary.
The evolution of television is really just the continued evolution of our greatest interpersonal communications system. It was born out of language, matured with writing, and continues to evolve today through interfaces such as the web.
Media Analyst Don Cole traveled 200,000 miles per year annually for decades visited with local TV stations, cable interconnects, magazines, clients, client prospects, and all sorts of new media sales teams.
He believes that Nothing Can Replace Television and It Almost Has!
He gives wonderful write-up on the progression that the cancer that network tv is suffering from.
He begins with where the symptoms are worst and (ironically) least visible: Local Affiliates.
What I see and hear stuns me. The broadcast media, as a group, are in almost complete denial about what is going on in our world of media. When the relentless march of broadcast fragmentation is brought up, local station people respond with “have you seen our local news. It is extraordinary.” I have and it is not.
Ask industry people about how DVR’s are changing the effectiveness of TV as an advertising medium and the more mature (in age only) say something to the effect that they hope they will be retired before the effects are truly felt in the marketplace. What kind of answer is that?.
He touches on our POV a bit.
Today’s consumers are now in control and they are not going back to being passive viewers again. Life “on-demand’ appeals to people. DVR’s, blogs, You tube, Hulu.com, The Slingbox, streaming video, new cable platforms, and many other possibilities have permanently upset the TV landscape. Watch how a young adult uses media–are you positioning your campaigns to reach young people well or at all for that matter?
…but then goes into Protectionist Mode.
There is also a terrible danger with the presence of legacy mentalities out there. People sit in meetings and nod vigorously when I say that TV is losing its luster as a sales medium. But, moments later they say something to the effect that the solution to TV’s slow death is simply adding more weight. Add more weight? They will still miss the people that they are missing now! All additional weight will do is add significant frequency to the same folks they reach now who are heavy TV viewers and not always the most desirable prospects.
He does touch on TV’s tool as a currently-ubiquitous communication medium and laments the loss of roadblocks and vertical strikes, but fails to understand that the underlying goal that those tools provided – to get information out to a majority percentage of the population – will not die with it.
Just as the death of newspapers doesn’t mark the end of journalism, the death of TV isn’t killing mass-media.
The middlemen will shift. Those that adapt will survive. Those who would apply radio rules to magazines and billboard rules to TV will try to get TV rules to apply to the internet.
Open-source media center Boxee debuted a new Alpha release tonight, adding support for Pandora music streaming, PBS video feeds, and changes that open it up to more multimedia goodness (oh, and fix Hulu streaming, too).
Here’s a look at what’s new in the latest build, as well as the newest plug-in from some Boxee-loving code tweakers:
Continue reading @ Lifehacker
The event, held in NYC, drew a large and diverse crowd
Vincent Polidoro, a 25-year-old filmmaker in New York who persuaded Mr. Clemons to attend the gathering, said he had recently joined the ranks of those who adore the service, which many people use to pipe video from a computer to a TV screen.
“It’s nice to have an alternative way to get content,” he said. “I’m sick of being married to Comcast or some other service provider.” Attending the Boxee event, he said, reinforced the idea that “the Internet is our medium and finally, here is a service that gets how we want to use it.”
Looking around the room and seeing his peers, he said, made him like the service even more.
Tom Conrad, chief technology officer at Pandora, the streaming music service, said he was amazed at the turnout and by the makeup of the audience, which he said seemed fairly mainstream. This could indicate a larger shift in the way audiences are consuming entertainment: “Just the fact alone that 80 percent of Boxee users have it connected to their television, that stat alone amazes me,” he said.
Could it be possible that, after all this time, NBC still thinks that it’s a good business decision to try to squeeze the few internet viewers that actually pay for content for extra payments?
Thomas Fitzgerald writes:
So the season Finale of Battlestar Galactica aired on friday night on the SciFi (sorry, SyFy) channel in the US and I think it would be fair to say that the two hour episode was one of the most eagerly awaited events on television in years. The show has a huge fan base and the much publicized finale was something everyone was gearing up for. Of course a lot of people get their shows off iTunes and this was probably one of the most eagerly awaited downloads since iTunes began selling TV shows. So you can only imagine how pissed off a lot of people were when they decided to split the finale into two parts on iTunes so they could charge twice as much for it.
People want to pay for content. I know the execs at NBC and every other major studio don’t believe that, but a lot of people are willing to pay for good high quality access to their favorite TV shows. But they don’t like being taken advantage of either. As many commenters on iTunes have pointed out, it’s crap like this that pushes people back to bit-torrent.
Read the whole rant @ It’s crap like this that makes people pirate
Speaking of Boxee, if you live in New York (or will happen to be there on March 24), then you should check out the boxee meetup.
They will be releasing a new alpha version during the event and will “share some concrete plans for the beta”.
If you DO attend, send me some pictures.
In the words of Gizmodo’s Matt Buchanan, this is a steaming pile of suck.
Engadget’s Ben Drawbaugh give a glimmer of hope by suggesting that this may signal great things to come.
A few days ago, after bending to tremendous end-user pressure, the folks over at Boxee asked what a Boxee Box should look like, if they should decide to make one. Then all hell broke loose.
Many people are under the impression that if Boxee makes their own hardware, it would signal a shift away from getting their software on 3rd Party hardware. In other words, you either follow the Netflix model or you follow the AppleTV model… there is no middle ground.
So that brings me to ask? Can Boxee “pull a Netflix” and commission it’s own box while also getting it’s SaaS on other maker’s hardware, or does it not have the name recognition to play both sides?
Boxee, makers of fine open-source media center software, apparently couldn’t go anywhere at CES without someone asking them to build a set-top-box. Now they’re asking you if they should go through with the plan.
They’ve posted a survey on their blog to test the waters.