In the latest episode of my video podcast commandN, Lara and I talk about SOPA and PIPA, two bills with immense ramifications for people getting their entertainment content online.
Archive for the ‘content’ Category
In the latest episode of my video podcast commandN, Lara and I talk about Walmart entering the streaming video market. In yearly 2010 Walmart purchased digital entertainment provider Vudu and has recently integrated the service into its Walmart brand. Do you think Walmart has what it takes to compete with Netflix?
The latest version of Apple TV is making its way into living rooms across North America. Apple’s second generation set top box is making an impact with the unit flying off store shelves. But is the new Apple TV really worth purchasing (and what are the downsides of the Apple TV in Canada for now)?
At C$119 (US$99), Apple has made the Apple TV the affordable solution for those who want a connected high definition device that streams digital content to the living room. The new Apple TV will act as your lifestyle hub, gathering iTunes content (music, photos and video) from computers within your Home Sharing space.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Apple TV is its size. The new Apple TV is roughly one fourth the size of the original unit. The smaller size makes it easy to add the device to a crowded home theatre unit.
Out of the box, the new Apple TV is extremely easy to set up. Simply connect an HDMI cable (not included) to your device and plug the power cord (no bulky power supply this time around) and you’re almost ready to go. The most complicated part is keying in your home network security password. You’ll be in digital bliss in less than five minutes.
Even though the Apple TV contains a meager 8GB of storage, all the content accessible on the device is either streamed from iTunes (locally or on the internet), Netflix (paid subscription required), or YouTube. At this point it’s unclear what the 8GB of internal storage will be used for, but one can presume Apple may eventually unleash its App library to the masses.
Content wise, the device bolsters support for H.264, MPEG-4, and Motion JPEG (all up to 720p) video files. For audio, Apple TV supports AAC (protected and non-protected), MP3, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV. In other words, if it works on your iPhone/iPad, it will be viewable on the Apple TV. It’s important to note that both iTunes LP and Extras are not supported on the latest Apple TV.
Another nice feature is the ability to access your Flickr library and Mobile Me galleries. Unfortunately, those are the only photo services accessible at the moment. You can always stream your photos directly from a PC on your network if you don’t use one of the supported services.
The standard iTunes store rental rules apply, you have 30 days to watch your content, and once the video is actioned you have 48 hours to complete your viewing. Apple currently charges $5.99 for new HD releases in Canada, which is a dollar more expensive than its American offering. Library content ranges from $1.99 to $4.99 for HD content, while you can rent standard definition movies for as low as $0.99.
Sadly, due to licensing issues, TV rentals are currently not available on the Canadian Apple TV (or in the iTunes Store for that matter). For me, the TV show rental component was the major selling point. I was pretty disappointed when I noticed the TV section was omitted from the rental interface. Hopefully, this is something that will be remedied soon in Canada.
The video rental process requires that you have a high-speed broadband connection in order to stream without issues. It’s unclear what the minimum bandwidth requirements are for rentals, but a speedy connection will definitely facilitate the streaming process.
I’ve encountered some buffering issues while watching the high definition stream of “Millénium 3” (a.k.a. “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest”). The movie went into buffering twice during viewing, and in one instance, it took well over 20 minutes for the movie to resume. The content was streaming wirelessly over a 802.11g network on a 10Mbps connection.
I’ve realized that one way to avoid a similar scenario in the future is to download the rental on a computer and stream it from the PC once it’s completed. I haven’t encountered any buffering issues while using the Netflix movie streaming service.
The Apple TV comes bundled with a simple aluminum Apple Remote. The remote includes three buttons (Menu, Play/Pause and Center Confirmation) and a 4-way directional pad – a simple way for users to navigate through the on-screen menus.
For those who want more control, Apple has updated its free Remote app (available in the iTunes Store). The app allows you to navigate through the Apple TV menus using the touch surface of your favourite iOS device. The new app also lets you type search queries using your device’s on-screen keyboard.
One of the key features of the Apple TV will be AirPlay. AirPlay will enable any iOS 4.2-based iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to stream music, photos, and video from the device to the Apple TV. For example, you will be able to stream an HD video you shot on your iPhone 4 to the Apple TV without using a cable. The Apple TV will become the center of your digital lifestyle.
Since AirPlay requires iOS 4.2, you won’t be able to experience its usefulness until Apple releases the firmware in Nov. 2010.
The lack of app support is disappointing. Imagine being able to watch TV shows from the CityTV app, or playing Angry Birds on your high definition television set (using your iPhone or iPad as a controller). Apple is missing out on an important opportunity by not offering application support before its competitors (Google will be launching minimal app support on its Google TV boxes later this month). With over 250,000 third-party apps currently available in the iTunes Store, it would make perfect sense for Apple to offer cross-platform app support.
The biggest limitation to the Apple TV may be download caps used by internet service providers (ISP). Many users will be limited to the monthly usage allowance provided by their ISP, and it could end up being costly when this allotment is exceeded. Data usage monitoring will be a must for users with limited bandwidth consumption.
All in all, the second generation version of the Apple TV is a great addition to any home theater system. However it’s not a game changer and doesn’t threaten the current cable TV infrastructure, at least in its current form. Hopefully, Apple will let the Apple TV mature into more than just a hobby by allowing application support.
At C$119, it will be hard for consumers to find a better and cheaper way to watch streaming content on their TVs. The Apple TV is a device that not only lets your enjoy iTunes and Netflix content, but enables you to share your digital memories from various sources within your home network. If you live in the Apple ecosystem, do yourself a favor and buy the Apple TV – you won’t regret it!
Ed: I don’t have the new Apple TV yet but I’m just waiting for the iOS streaming update, I think . My old, hacked aTV Flash Apple TV will still have a place in my system, though, as it allows me to get at a lot of other content on external drives.
Thanks to decabled.com contributor Andre Barriault for the story! If you’re interested in contributing to decabled.com, please email…
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Apple holds an iPod/iTunes-related event each Fall and this year is no exception. However, in addition to the inevitable stat reporting and iPod/iTunes upgrades, I think there’s finally a real possibility of a significant Apple TV update and some cool streaming advances (as has been reported in many other places).
I have a pretty clear idea of how I’d like the rumors I’ve heard to coalesce. My little hypothetical braid combines three things:
- A new iOS-based Apple TV (iTV?) that gets content by streaming and omits a hard drive altogether;
- A music streaming service that leverages Apple’s purchase of Lala, enabling your iTunes Library to exist in the cloud and be broadly accessible;
- and, outside of the rumor mill, the increasing ubiquity (and usefulness) of iTunes (with an expanded request/streaming system for the iTunes DJ feature, which is quite cool but hasn’t yet gelled) and the iOS devices, ie. iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (as an aside, the last two of these will certainly see FaceTime at some point soon – I’d say iPod Touch at this event and iPad at an update at Macworld 2011 in January).
Here is my vision:
- Apple TV becomes iTV, a substantially smaller and very portable iOS-based unit that answers the call about the lack of video streaming output in the wonderful but limited Airport Express and fully realizes the power of the included audio streaming output capabilities of that device (which do exist in the current Apple TV to some degree);
- An enhanced Remote Control app for anyone that has an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad for iPod/Video functionality that is optimized for the Apple TV and includes an expanded iTunes DJ service (from what now exists in the current iTunes) – note that people also carry a lot of music on these devices themselves;
- An iTunes Library in the cloud for everyone, or at least some subset of one’s Library (and note that this requirement can be fulfilled simply by streaming the libraries on anyone’s iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, as well);
- Now here’s the magic: assuming that streaming (and I’m talking music streaming more than anything here) is fully integrated throughout the iTunes/iOS ecosystem (and assuming that the rights can be managed – this is a far bigger IF than any technical hurdles), you now have…
- a portable device (the iTV and perhaps subsequent third party docks, etc.) that you can take with you anywhere and hook up to speakers…
- through which you can stream music from the cloud or any of your iOS devices…
- with an integrated iTunes DJ request/cueing system (with restrictions to limit musical choices as desired by the system owner, e.g. no explicit, no country, etc.) that allows for anyone on the network to vote music up and down the next played list and contribute musical choices from their own iOS device (or even cloud-based iTunes Libary)…
- enabling a live, local social network of people DJing music through their iOS devices and associated infrastructure (iTV, speakers, etc.) at parties, events, dances, and other gatherings.
While I’m exited about the new technologies, hardware, and software features that will inevitably be announced, I see the above as something bigger in a way. There are few things that hold such a special relationship with the human experience as music does. Yet music still tends to be something dictated by one person (the DJ, the party host, the driver, etc.) to a larger group of people, many of whom are perfectly capable of sharing great music that others would like.
When I build a playlist, I’m always thinking of “music that others will like that I also like” so that the most people can enjoy it without my own enjoyment suffering (hence being able to put restrictions on some choices, as above) – but I’m always getting great new music from friends that I haven’t heard and spend lots of time hunting for new music on my own. Why not combine the two ideas in a wireless DJ iTunes/iOS ecosystem and bring music sharing to a new level for the enjoyment of all.
I’m even fine if a “Buy from iTunes” button needs to appear next to each entry in the DJ playlist, too . (As an aside, some of the above would work spectacularly well for Music Videos as well – and a portable Apple TV would be great for streaming those potential 99 cent TV rentals wherever you’d like, too)
What do you guys think? What would you like to see happen? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Our friends at Apple Movie Junkie have just posted a handy little post called “The More You Know: The iTunes Store Movie Rental Usage Rules”. Take a look there for more details on US rentals but in a nutshell:
- 30 days to watch from download time;
- 24 hours to watch from start of viewing (can watch multiple times);
- Can move between devices but only play on one at a tiime;
- and more.
The rules are actually pretty simple if you can sort out the difference between when you have 30 days (before you start watching) and when you have 24 hours (as soon as you’ve hit “Play”).
Strangely enough, it seems that in Canada, Australia/New Zealand, Germany, and the UK, you actually have 48 hours to watch from the start of viewing, which is great and a much more reasonable timeframe. So there’s one (and only one) way that some of the international iTunes Stores are better than the US one (with the biggest negative for me still being that the US has reams of free content that you just don’t get from other stores – maybe 1/week in Canada vs. 5-10/week in the States).
Well though I know the dangers of attempting to predict what will blossom forth from the ever-changing tech industry, I feel the need to put into record a few of my thoughts around the upcoming Apple Tablet (iPad, iSlate, whatever) and the effect it will have in a couple of different areas. I’ll try to limit my thoughts to two specific things that I haven’t heard much (or any) buzz about so as to not just regurgitate so much of what’s been said elsewhere.
One thing that I haven’t heard much buzz about, but which is fairly obvious to me (especially in light of all the talk about newspapers and magazines to be delivered onto the Tablet, and Apple’s central role in the development of podcasting), is that the embracing of text-based content by the iTunes ecosystem will almost certainly lead to the very creator-advantageous development of text-based podcasts.
Sure, we have RSS feeds now, but these don’t get delivered (at least not very elegantly) to any non-desktop/laptop Apple devices and they aren’t really meant for long form/one-off content like fictional works. Just as with podcasts and video podcasts, Apple would almost certainly welcome the hoards of independent producers who would eagerly bolster any old media text-based content to the iTunes Store. This means…
- Rebirth of the Zine – indy magazines with ancestors that were abandoned last century will now have a home.
- Comics – and not just traditional comics but also works that evolve to include more motion and sound (the roots of which can be seen in the iTunes Store today) – this will be a change to the entire medium that is even more dramatic than what newspapers and magazines will experience.
- Indy Novels & Short Stories – do you know how hard it is to get published nowadays? An iTunes Store with reasonably-priced independent writing would keep longer written works from either enduring the awkward contraints of the blog or languishing in a text document somewhere without ever being read.
Maybe reading won’t be dead after all. Of course, that’s not (for better or for worse) where our hearts really lie…
Apple TV Connection
I think there is a lot of content for the Tablet that will work just great for the Apple TV, too. Games are an obvious addition that can benefit from the big screen (and surround sound – see also iPhone controller note below) but as, for example, those comic books evolve into richer media, there will be the opportunity to open ourselves to experience entirely different kinds of entertainment in the cozy confines of the giant screens in our living rooms.
My suspicion is that the reason the Apple TV has been somewhat languishing is precisely because there is a boatload of synchronicities between the Tablet and Apple TV that will serve as a major catalyst for buyers (and which Apple would be loathe to release without new hardware to capitalize on). And the reason it’s gone on so long? Steve’s liver transplant delayed work on the tablet, so the Apple TV came off as a product with no future vision as it awaited its master’s command.
Obviously the potential of video content subscriptions works just as well (or better) for the Apple TV as it does for the Tablet, and all that other content is totally repurposable as well. The clearest view I have of this is that Apple has been vigorously developing a very robust online market for visual, audio, and textual content, along with millions of customers with credit card accounts already attached, so that they can use…
- the iPhone/iPod Touch as the portable, go everywhere, in-your-pocket personal hardware destination.
- the Tablet as the bulkier but still very portable “reasonable” screen size destination for one or more users.
- the Apple TV as the “big screen” destination in the family room.
Of course, laptops and desktops fit in there as well, but the three devices above are all very media/web-oriented, whereas that’s not necessarily the case with laptops and desktops (that will still perform the heavy lifting in creating content, for example). Furthermore, the development of a variety of great iPhone/iPod Touch apps that allow you to control a computer (including the Apple TV) remotely has effectively removed the weaknesses of Apple’s diminutive remote, as well as entrenching the iPhone/iPod Touch as not just a hardware destination for content, but as a robust and usable controller for other devices (which, I expect, will include Tablets that are mounted for extended viewing, for example).
This is a very exciting time and I can’t wait to see what gets released tomorrow. The nay-sayers don’t want to see the light, and a lot of people are legitimately exhausted by all the speculation, but the fact remains that we are about to be delivered the household-use equivalent of the historic and pocketable iPhone, but with more content than ever and an evolving eco-system that provides even further advantages. So maybe I’ll be wrong in my predictions – but I’ll still be excited at the possibilities.
Let everyone know your thoughts in the comments thread below.
“MacHEADS is an in-depth examination of what makes the Mac, the iPhone, and all Apple products in general a cultural phenomena rather than just consumer electronics, and explores the extraordinary loyalty to Apple products by their followers, as well as their obsession with those products.”
On June 1, 2009, Microsoft announced several entertainment focused add-ons to its Xbox Live Service during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California. Following the keynote, one thing seemed clear, the Redmond Software giant is poised to push its Xbox 360 platform as the media-centric device for your living room.
“Our goal has been to make the Xbox 360 console your one-stop place for all your entertainment needs,” explained Glenn Purkis, Project Manager at Xbox Live Canada, during a recent phone conversation.
“Our focus has been bringing entertainment to the Xbox console. It’s a one-stop entertainment console for all your games, music, and movies. Xbox 360 is all your entertainment in one box.”
One of the most interesting add-ons to Xbox Live will be the introduction of the new 1080p instant on-demand streaming service released under the new Zune Video Marketplace (which will be replacing the current Xbox 360 Video Marketplace).
Many HD enthusiasts have been wondering how a such a service can be possible under today’s current broadband infrastructure. Purkis revealed that this is all possible due to a proprietary adaptive technology developed by the Zune team which scales itself in accordance to the user’s broadband connection.
“You will be able to enjoy content directly from your console. No disk, no download, and no delay.”
So, how will the Zune Video Marketplace actually differ from the current Video Marketplace? Purkis indicated that the main difference will be the way the content will be delivered. He noted that the current offering is more or less download-based, while the Zune Video Marketplace will offer an instant on-demand stream.
Like the current video selection, the content on the Zune Video Marketplace will be made available on a rental basis. Purkis added that they hope to eventually be able to add TV content to the service and that they are constantly working on getting new studios on board.
For the time being, the Zune Video Marketplace will launch as a service on the Xbox 360 and won’t offer interactivity with Zune portable media players.
Last fall, Microsoft launched the Photo Party application which enabled you to share photos with your friends through Xbox Live. Purkis indicated that they will be expanding on that idea with the introduction of the Xbox Movie Party application.
“You will now be able to view a movie with up to eight of your Xbox Live friends. Your avatar will be displayed on screen giving you the opportunity to interact with your friends as if they were in the same room with you.”
Purkis added that Microsoft will be the first to bring the world’s top two social media networks, Twitter and Facebook, to your TV through the Xbox.
“We’re adding the two biggest social networks to Xbox Live, which is the world’s biggest television social network. We’re bringing it all in one place so that you can stay connected with all of your friends,” explained Purkis.
Purkis also revealed that developers will be able to add Facebook Connect to their titles, giving gamers the opportunity to upload screenshots or movies from their gameplay sessions.
Canadian Xbox Live subscribers will also be treated to the Last.fm music streaming service at no extra charge. According to Purkis, Xbox Live Gold members will be able to stream all of the music they want without any limitations, while Silver account holders will have timed playback sessions on a monthly basis. It is not currently known how long these timed sessions will be.
Another interesting addition to the Xbox Live Marketplace will be the ability for console owners to purchase Xbox 360 titles directly from their unit.
“In August, gamers will be able to purchase titles such as Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed and Bioshock directly from the Marketplace,” explained Purkis. “The nice thing about the way the marketplace works is that all transactions are tied in with your gamertag. If, for some reason, you need to delete a game you’ve purchased, you will be able to download it again later on.”
All Xbox 360 titles available for purchase through the marketplace will have a monetary value (instead of using the Microsoft Points system), and users will be able to purchase these games using a credit card. Purkis indicated that the games will be comparatively priced to their retail counterparts.
Purkis added that there are currently no plans to forgo the Microsoft Points system as consumers will still be required to use the said currency for Zune Marketplace transactions.
Ed: Readers, is this something that would make you consider buying an Xbox or is this just great news for those who already have one?
Thanks again to decabled.com contributor, Andre Barriault from GamingCult.com, for the story! If you’re interested in contributing to decabled.com, please email…
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In a move to unify their Xbox and Zune platforms, Microsoft announced on June 1, 2009, at E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, in Los Angeles, CA, that the Xbox 360 video marketplace will be renamed the Zune Marketplace. According to the press release issued by Microsoft, the marketplace would be the first in the world to offer instant on demand 1080p movies and TV high definition direct to Xbox 360 consoles (Ed: although how they will manage this in limited bandwidth situations remains an open question).
As noted in the Microsoft press release: “Starting this fall, a broad selection of movies and TV shows from Zune video on Xbox 360 will be available to start and stream instantly, in the highest video quality and at the push of a button. No discs, no waiting for downloads, and no delays. Get the selection of a video mega store, the best video clarity available, and the convenience of on-demand, only on Xbox 360”.
The current Canadian Xbox Live Marketplace lets Silver and Gold Xbox Live subscribers download older titles, also known as Library titles, in SD (standard definition) and HD (high definition) formats for 300 (~$4.80 ) and 440 (~$7.04 ) MS Points, respectively. Current SD releases (recent movies) go for 440 MS Points (~$7.04), while HD movies will set subscribers back 580 MS Points (~$9.27).
After the initial download, consumers have 14 days to view their content before it expires, and they have 24 hours to complete their viewing after they’ve started playing the media (Ed: note that the expiry is less than half of what Apple TV debuted with and the 24 hours after you’ve started viewing was doubled by Apple after lots of user complaints, so hopefully these numbers will change for Microsoft as well).
The Zune Marketplace is scheduled to launch this Fall in North America. No word yet on how many movies will be available at launch and what will be the cost for the content.
Ed: So what do people think – is this going to be a major competitor in the space or just an also-ran?
Thanks to decabled.com contributor, Andre Barriault from GamingCult.com, for the story! If you’re interested in contributing to decabled.com, please email…
jeff INSERT_THE_AT_SIGN_HERE commandn.tv
Well it looks like our trusty Hotspot Shield solution for getting onto Hulu from outside of the United States is no more. You see, Hulu – the number two video site on the web, carrying a huge range of legal TV/Movie content only for those in the United States – has now started to block anonymous proxies (which is how HotSpot Shield got around their defences previously) according to TechCrunch. If you’re in the US, you’ll need to disable your anonymizer to get to Hulu – the rest of us can just let go of the dream for now.
What do you think it’ll take to get around these crazy media “borders” and why are they there in the first place? You’d think we’d be beyond that, given that the internet is essentially borderless.
One of the questions I get all the time from people interested in decabling is whether they’ll be giving up HD content after having invested in their nice new big-screen TV. The answer is maybe to some degree but less and less as time goes on (e.g. iTunes Store has HD content, along with some other content providers – with the caveat that all streaming HD is not created equal).
- TiVo HD/Series 3 DVRs
- Roku Digital Video Player
- Sony’s Bravia Internet Video Link
- Panasonic’s VieraCast TVs
…will be first in line for the new content, which will also be available to Windows and Mac users through Amazon’s website. For more details, including pricing and content details, see the full “Amazon Video on Demand goes high-def” story.
Big thanks to Bumpershine for posting this story in the decabled comments. And let us know what do you think of the Amazon video content, too.
With iTunes Store video content available in more than 20 countries now, it can be confusing to figure out of what types of content are available where. Thankfully a nice chart has been assembled that outlines just this…
Thanks to the great Apple TV Junkie site for showing where the (potentially updated) iTunes Store Content by Country chart can be found.
The Silicon Alley Insider has posted that Disney will be taking a 30% stake in Hulu, giving it equal footing with both NBC Universal and News Corp, and beating out YouTube’s shot at long-form content.
As far as I’m concerned, Hulu provides one of the best viewing experiences for network content online (get some outside-the-US viewing, though, please!). If the deal pans out, Disney’s arrival should mean that their ABC Television programming, including Lost and Desperate Housewives, comes along with it, which only makes things better.
With some networks doing a pretty mediocre job of handling their own online video, it’s promising to see Hulu getting to critical mass with the addition of Disney/ABC. The Disney-Apple connection holds some intrigue here for me as well – how does the partial stake in Hulu play against Disney’s close relationship with Apple’s iTunes Store and products?
One can only hope that there might be some possibility of streaming (without modding your equipment) Hulu through the Apple TV, iPhone, etc. – because while YouTube is a nice addition to have integrated on these and other platforms, it just doesn’t compare with the superior interface and popular offerings that Hulu can provide (although it seems that Google is considering a Hulu-like redesign for YouTube, which would be very welcome).
At the very least, we’ll probably get more of those strange and cool Hulu ads…
…and the new one…
Sorry for the lack of posts in the past couple of weeks but we’re just finishing up the decabled.com site (re)design that will launch in early April. Thankfully, there are people like Mike Kelly generously sharing their decabled tips …
From Plex website… “Plex bridges the gap between your Mac and your home theater … can play a wide range of video, audio and photo formats as well as online streaming audio and video. Organize your media into versatile libraries, automatically retrieve metadata from the Internet, and display your libraries using one of the visually stunning skins.”
If you’re interested in contributing to decabled.com, please email…
i.e. jeff from commandn.tv – sorry, quick post and don’t want to get my email harvested
ZillionTV just launched this week and, in doing so, is adding another interesting service/device to the growing list of set-top boxes that deliver video content to your TV through the internet. Content providers include some major movie studios and networks, although service will only begin in the fourth quarter of 2009 (looks USA-only for now).
CNET has lots of details in their “Start-up offers alternative to subscription TV” article (and the ZillionTV.tv site is decent – not sure about the naming, though), but I think it’s great just to see companies building themselves up around this concept. It gives it that sense of the inevitable, that change will actually come.
And ZillionTV not requiring a subscription is another great indicator of the adaptability that I think is required to navigate this complex space in the coming years (especially given that nobody has critical mass). Further to this, Zillion TV will offer purchasable content, as well as ad-supported and fee-based rental options.
So while it’s a drag that this won’t be outside the US in the near future, at least there’s another model of how (if it’s well-implemented) TV, movies, and other video content can be brought into the internet-dominated 21st century in a relatively seamless and flexible way – because that’s what viewers want (and we have more power than ever now to change this).
Not sure of the “legitimacy” of this site but commandN fan Glen Matthews just submitted an interesting webPICK: ATDHE.Net – Watch Free Live Sports TV. As the title implies, the site actually has streaming live sports, a major concern amongst certain potential decabled folks.
In fact, ATDHE.Net streams live TV as well. The links lead to a lot of different third party sites with varying degrees of video quality (most seemed to have fullscreen controls, which is nice), but I certainly found some that were very watchable (e.g. the current episode of Lost on tonight). Anyway, might be an answer for some of the sports fans out there, along with anyone who’s just looking for another TV site (of questionable legality, I expect – NOTE: I am not a lawyer ).
Lifehacker just published a very open and heavily resource-linked article entitled “Get Hulu Content on Your TV without Hulu’s Help” that the decabled should check out.
It’s an interesting and pretty no-holds-barred example of why the video industry needs to get comfortable online or continue to suffer the (BitTorrent-assisted) consequences. Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Sorry for the lack of posts for the past couple of weeks – between some horrible bug I got (probably as sick as I’ve ever been in the developed world), my in-laws visiting (thanks for the baby help but a lot of people to have in one house), and my sister giving birth (congrats Amber), I had to take any additional time off for the sake of sanity. But that’s all over now …
Just read an interesting story on TechCrunch this morning about MTV pulling the plug on embeddable videos. While it turns out that this isn’t quite the case, MTVN representative Mark Jafar noted that:
The only thing we’re pulling back is fully open access to our music video API, and it’s purely an issue of economics. Every music video we stream through the API costs us money due to our deals with the record labels, regardless of whether an ad is attached or not. So, allowing developers to use the open music video API can be a money-losing proposition for us. However, we’re absolutely open to extending the music video API to third-party publishers who are willing to work with us to monetize.
One promising thing I see from that response is a recognition that it’s not about protecting the content per se, it’s about being able to monetize it in a way that provides real value to the parties involved (although I would note that there seems to be a lot of parties involved in some of these things – still too many middle-men, see digital music industry struggles). So fair enough – people have to get paid.
However, it would seem to me, given the enormous number of ways that content can be linked to/from online, that there’s got to be some more creative ways to deal with situations like this than just attaching ads. Just one example, given the music context here, would be to link out to purchase sites for the music involved (kind of an Amazon affiliate thing)? You’d want to make sure this could be done in an elegant way, and maybe this is being done somewhere else (let us know if you have any examples), but it is surprising that an industry with such an easily electronically-sellable product (i.e. music) can’t figure out a little larger monetization pool than direct advertising.
In any case, it is nice to see that they aren’t shutting the whole thing down (although it seems the are redirecting viewing to their site), they’re just trying to find a way to pay for it. Again, fair enough. Any readers have some ideas about how companies can monetize video content online outside of the traditional direct ad model? As always, let us know in the comments.
This week’s commandN has a little price comparison and other analysis of the costs of purchasing TV online (using iTunes and Amazon.com as the base prices). You can download the show notes from the commandN Ep. 165 page (upper right).
Looks like you don’t need an Apple TV anymore to get your YouTube fix in a nice interface on your TV. Courtesy of CNET…
“By visiting www.youtube.com/tv in your Opera or PS3 browser [ED: doesn't work in PC browsers], you get a new layout that lets you browse and search through videos…”
I’ll be trying this out on both my PS3 and my Wii this weekend and will let you know my thoughts – and let us know how it works for you in the Comments!
The second decabled commandN segment – see the Show Notes on the commandN.tv site for links.
So here I was, starting my research to put together a great online video guide for decabled.com and what do I come across? The Online Video Guide at OVGuide.com.
“OVGuide.com categorizes and organizes more than 3,290 online destinations, offering both short- and long-form videos integrated into an editorialized directory and search engine. The site receives more than 35 million visitors, 150 million pageviews, and 36 million searches per month. A team of experienced editors review all content prior to publishing it to OVGuide.com, ensuring all sites are valuable and categorized appropriately.”
Well that sounds pretty good to me. Having just poked around there for a bit, I think this might be a very promising new weapon in the decabled arsenal. Let us know what you think of it (and any of your favorite sites) in the Comments!