Tag Archives: Hulu

Redbox floating fine down the video stream future

A ubiquitous streaming TV and movie world is no longer in question only whether it will be advertising supported or also include viewer subscriptions. While at various commitments, just about everyone is planning online distribution of professionally produced video. NBC, FOX, ABC and CBS have Hulu, while many of the top multiservice operators (Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable) are each planning the rollout of their own “TV Everywhere” platforms. Comcast’s version, OnDemand Online, is expected to go national by the end of the year.

“TV Everywhere” initiatives are online authentication WebTV portals that provide access to content similar to Hulu. The catch is that a user must prove that they are a TV subscriber to gain access to the online content. The rising tide has increased expectation that we will also see a Hulu subscription service in the near future. This is just yet another proof point in the fallacy of the free internet economy future. Content does not want to be free and I anticipate soon that most professionally developed articles and video to require an access fee, whether through subscriptions or micropayments.

Sports WebTV streaming has continued to advance with the 2009 football season. All Sunday Night Football games will be streamed on NBCSports.com and NFL.com using Microsoft’s Silverlight. Similar to last year the offering will have four different camera angles, and it will also feature a HD option, DVR type features and slow-motion replay. CBS, arguably the leader in real time online sports streaming, announced that it will provide all SEC college football broadcasts on its network for free at CBSSports.com. Interestingly, CBS will be using Adobe Flash instead of Silverlight, which is a move away from what was used for March Madness earlier in the year.

As Amazon, the Roku and Netflix push forward the streaming of movies over the Internet, Blockbuster is unfortunately highlighting the transition with the announcement that it will close nearly 1,000 locations by the end of 2010. Beyond increasing emphasis toward mail and streaming services that directly compete with Netflix, Blockbuster  also plans to expand from 497 to 2,500 kiosks by the end of this year and to 10,000 by 2010. Why would Blockbuster bolster its kiosk business so dramatically? Redbox. Despite fighting a few frivolous lawsuits by movie studios in court, Redbox is one of the few non streaming video options that is thriving. DreamWorks has even stated that the conversion rate from rental to purchase of DVDs with Redbox is markedly higher than what is seen from Blockbuster and Netflix. The business model timeline for Redbox may be short, but for now the company proves you can be successful in the video market without a streaming service. Prediction: expect Redbox to rollout a streaming offering before the end of 2010.

Despite Econalypse – Internet Still Innovating

Approaching the midpoint of 2009, the worldwide econalypse is in full effect. The close of April ushered in an 8.9 percent jobless rate in the U.S., which is believed to be at a 25 year high and now articles highlighting the worst hit cities are beginning to appear. This post is not about what is failing, but instead the new ideas, innovations and interesting developments rising out of the econalypse. It is not exhaustive, but it hopefully will unearth exciting and different ideas that could lead to a thriving 2010.

 The genesis of this topic came from Po Bronson’s What Should I Do with My Life, Now? article and the Editor’s Letter in the February 2009 Fast Company. The final motivational push came from the 2009 Fast Cities special section that focuses on cities with an eye to a better more efficient and socially beneficial future.

Infamously, “The Video” from October ’08 is now considered the marker for the end of Web 2.0. A staple of the era was the RSS Reader, however this past week Slate discussed how the advancements in browsers have surpassed the once celebrated efficiency of RSS Readers that perhaps have now arrived at their extinction. The ability to load multiple sites in their native design through tabbed browsing is subtly groundbreaking. Browsers are rendering sites faster and it eliminates the “other inbox” that could grow unwieldy in only a few hours depending on the number of subscribed feeds. The browser is quickly graduating from a tool to access the Internet to the program that runs every computing activity. Pundits have suggested it is the new Operating System, while this shows a misunderstanding of the functions of an OS it does highlight the direction we are heading.

Online Search is an emphasis of Connected and like a slow rising tide, the landscape, expectations and definition of Search is gradually and most assuredly changing. For several years Google has dominated search through its superior keyword search algorithm. Semantic search is the holy grail of search, and similarly to the cup of life, we have yet to uncover and unleash its power. In the place of semantic search we have seen an explosion in social search. Mahalo had been the leader with its human-powered search engine that displayed results based on user input, but Web 2.0 social search was a clear second to Google. What if people could ask questions and search for information in real time with a global network? This is precisely where microblogging technologies like Twitter excel, however Aardvark may prove to be the technology that takes social search beyond the limitations of keyword search. Unable to improve upon what former colleague Fernando Rizo has already written on the topic, check out this analysis on what Aardvark and similar technologies will do to the world of search.

WebTV and online distribution of video has been a primary recent focus of Connected. Through excellent journalism and activism, Time Warner Cable abandoned its test of broadband data caps. Continued reporting that unearthed the economic fallacy that ISPs have attempted to use to rationalize data caps and metered billing will hopefully maintain net neutrality. This is a necessity for WebTV as big name players such as Amazon and Hulu continue to make legal, high quality content available to consumers. Original Webseries also continue to find a place in the growing WebTV space. A few recent top examples include:

Finally, the process of creating video is now a full fledged passion and recently I learned about tilt-shifting photography and video. This is an amazing example of Creative innovation:

IPTV vs Internet TV – Clarifying the Obvious

If you read a fair amount about new media and specifically web video distribution, you will come across two terms that seem nearly synonymous – IPTV and Internet TV. I believe there is little confusion about what is Internet or Web TV. It is one of my passions and a common topic on Connected. Examples of Internet TV include Hulu, Sling, Revision3 and TheWb. What is IPTV though?

Internet Protocol Television or IPTV is the telecomm industry’s answer to cable companies encroachment on home phone service. IPTV is a closed system for providing content similar to cable or satellite. In the U.S., examples of IPTV include AT&Ts U-verse and Verizon’s FiOS networks. It has the potential to provide a more efficient content distribution than cable and allows for a more engaging user experience with widgets and other interactive features. I had the opportunity to subscribe to U-verse and can say without question it is a higher quality product than anything Comcast or Time Warner offers up.

One of the best explanations I found defining the difference between IPTV and Internet TV was in a presentationby Jeremy Allaire, founder and president of Brightcove. Surprisingly, it was given on March 10, 2005. What amazed me  is how accurately he predicts and works through the challenges facing Internet TV including cable contracts, bandwidth throttling, content ownership, profit cannibalization and bandwidth costs. It is arguable to suggest Allaire is a visionary for this emerging market and at worst a pioneer who has lead Brightcove to become a dominant player in Internet TV.

The Winding Road of Web TV Success

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While the Comcast Cap aftershock still lingers on the internets, enthusiasm for Web TV continues to grow. Hulu announced today its Fall Premiere lineup guide. The intriguing aspect of this news is that several series debuts and season premieres will appear on the site a week prior to their network broadcast air date and many of the other shows will appear the day after. This is not the first time a show has debuted online, however this is a first for any of the big four broadcast networks and is unprecedented when considering the increased buzz and ratings boost it could provide shows like Knight Rider and Lipstick Jungle.

Hulu is not the only one making Web TV waves. as Warner Brothers announced last week the launch of TheWB.com. At its inception the main content will feature programs that appeared on the former WB network, but will also include non-WB shows like Friends and The OC. Want something new, yet slightly familiar? September 8 is the debut of Sorority Fever, the first of several new shows exclusive to the site, and stars Web series veteran Jessica Rose, better known as lonelygirl15. TheWB.com also includes an impressive video search and social features that allow users to legally modify and embed clips as well as share through Facebook.

There is great hope and expectations for Web TV as more and more high quality content and corporate investment head online, but both Fast Company and the New York Times have recently come out with cautionary tales of the struggles facing new Web series. This Fall and the early part of 2009 could be the tipping point for Web TV and Web series. There is a lot riding on the success of the Web series from TheWB.com and NBC’s Gemini Division.

In questionably related online tech TV news, CNet has officially rolled out its new site design that includes CNet TV, which is an impressive example of a traditional web based news entity integrating video to enhance its overall offering. Buzz Out Loud even included my commentary on the new design in episode 796.