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post #91 of 577 Old 08-13-2008, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Blockbuster's New Download (Beta) Service Explained



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It appears that Blockbuster has rolled out their new Download Rent/Buy movie service to all subscribers now (based on Movielink's IP). In fact, one can download movies without having a recurring rental package subscription in place - you just need to create a Blockbuster account. Basically you pay for what you want to watch. New movies on average cost $3.99 for rentals and $17.99 to own/buy. The official Blockbuster Download price range for Rent Downloads is $0-$3.00+ and Buy Downloads is $9.99-$20.00+. Unfortunately, for Mac and Linux users, the service only works with Windows 2003/XP/Vista computers with Windows Media Player 10 installed. On the bright side, if you do have a compatible Windows PC, the movies you rent or purchase can be viewed through Windows Media Center, the Xbox 360, or select Netgear and D-Link media adapters (most likely the ones who currently support Movielink). What's more, it appears that Blockbuster has maintained its partnership with AT&T HomeZone to allow users to download movies directly to their set-top.

RENTAL TERMS
Storage Period: Up to 30 Days
You're allowed to store a rental for up to 30 days after checkout. Once you start playback, you can watch it as many times as you want during a 24-hour viewing period.

Viewing Period: 24 HOURS
Your 24-hour viewing period begins when you click Ready to Play. Watch the movie as many times as you want within this period. You must use the 24-hour viewing period within the movie's storage period.

PURCHASE TERMS
Storage Period: Unlimited

Viewing Period: Unlimited

Multi-PC Playback: 1 PC
Some content providers allow you to play your purchased movie on up to three PCs. However, Blockbuster does not currently support multi-PC playback (may be added at a later date).

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post #92 of 577 Old 08-15-2008, 06:30 AM
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Movies Offered Online For 99 Cents

14 August 2008 10:24 AM, PDT | From Studio Briefing | See recent Studio Briefing news

In another sign that the online video business is struggling to remain viable, the rental service Vudu announced Wednesday that it is temporarily slashing the price of many of its popular movies to 99 cents, half its regular price. During a promotional period, Vudu said it will introduce 25 new titles each week. The announcement comes just one day after two competitors, Vongo and ClickStar, announced that they were shutting down. Vudu, however, gave no hint that it had cut prices out of desperation. In a statement, Vudu marketing chief Patrick Cosson called the company's decision "groundbreaking," and added, "In this age of $4 a gallon gas and 'staycations,' we felt that Vudu viewers deserved a break and should be able to watch great films for just 99 cents." However, a settop box costing $295 is required to watch those films. NetFlix's similar video streaming service requires a box, the Roku NetFlix Player, costing $99. A NetFlix subscription is also required.

http://us.imdb.com/news/ni0550986/
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post #93 of 577 Old 08-15-2008, 09:40 AM
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What megabits per second are they using? Do these download services offer equivalent viewing quality as SD-DVD, 720x480 anamorphic? Or is the typical bandwidth (1.5 megabits/second) insufficient?
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post #94 of 577 Old 08-15-2008, 10:56 AM
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post #95 of 577 Old 08-24-2008, 09:56 AM
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With apologies to Shakespeare, something is brewing at VUDU. With CEDIA just around the corner, the company has laid off some of its staff, most notably some of its marketing higher-ups. Additionally, rumors are swirling regarding just about every aspect of the upstart company's future. CEPro got some talk-time with the VUDU's national dealer channel manager, and a theme of decreased emphasis on the retail channel seems to run throughout the conversation, punctuated by a end-of-life status on the VUDU X100. Meanwhile, the company is making some CEDIA promises for its custom-install-targeted VUDU XL: more HD content (1,000 titles), more connectivity (HD over component) and lifetime warranties on purchased titles. It's all rumor, but we wouldn't be surprised to see VUDU move exclusively into the custom-install market where it seems to have a toe-hold. So what say ye -- is something rotten in VUDU, or should we hang up the codpiece and get back to work?

http://www.engadgethd.com/2008/08/24...-bubbles-over/

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post #96 of 577 Old 09-06-2008, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Amazon Bows VOD, TV Link

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Amazon.com Sept. 3 expanded the periphery of its Unbox download service by launching Amazon Video on Demand.

The updated service allows users to watch ad-supported movies and television programs beyond the PC and to the television.

Users can now instantly stream content on a PC or Mac computer, portable media player via a Web browser or on a Sony Bravia HDTV equipped with a Bravia Internet link device.

Amazon VOD offers rentals from $3 to $4 and electronic sellthrough of movies from $10 to $15. TV episodes cost $1.99 each, with season passes also available.

Bravia customers can visit amazon.com/videoondemand/bravia and link their HDTV to their Amazon account. After a purchase is made, the title can be watched immediately. A backup version is automatically sent to the user’s online account and accessible from the Internet video link user interface or on Amazon.

Amazon VOD is currently offering key episodes from select NBC prime time TV shows last season, including “Secrets and Lies” from “30 Rock,” “Four Months Later …” from “Heroes,” and the pilot of “Lipstick Jungle.”

Roy Price, director of Amazon VOD, said the ability to watch content instantly without downloading first was among the most requested features by Unbox users.

"We're continuing to create new, convenient ways for our customers to watch digital movies and TV shows,” Price said.

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post #97 of 577 Old 09-07-2008, 10:11 PM
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Quote:

The rumors of Vudu's death has been actively discussed by their senior marketing team in/on many forums and even on follow-up Engadget comment/posts. Here is just one of the many articles:

http://www.cepro.com/article/vudu_de..._of_demise/D1/

Of course those familiar with technology startups know the difficulties involved and know how rumors go around and around. Some of the rumors eventually prove to be true, but sometimes not. So far with Vudu, it appears to be "not".

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post #98 of 577 Old 09-09-2008, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LazyTom View Post

The rumors of Vudu's death has been actively discussed by their senior marketing team in/on many forums and even on follow-up Engadget comment/posts. Here is just one of the many articles:



Of course those familiar with technology startups know the difficulties involved and know how rumors go around and around. Some of the rumors eventually prove to be true, but sometimes not. So far with Vudu, it appears to be "not".

Tom,

I can confirm that the rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, we just got back from a very successful CEDIA and our retail presence for the VBX100 box is growing rapidly. I'm happy to answer questions or squash inaccurate rumors.

Patrick Ellis
Sr Product Manager, VUDU

Patrick
Sr Product Manager, VUDU
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post #99 of 577 Old 09-10-2008, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Microsoft's Silverlight to support streaming HD Flash video

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Silverlight 3 will be able to play high-definition Flash video and music in iTunes' AAC format

September 9, 2008 (Computerworld) Microsoft Corp. said today that the next version of its Silverlight media player, due early next year, will be able to play live high-definition video encoded for rival Adobe Systems Inc.'s Flash player.

Users of Silverlight 3 will also be able to listen to streaming music encoded in the same format used by Apple Inc.'s iTunes player.

Adding support for the H.264 video compression formats based on the increasingly popular MPEG-4 standard won't necessarily make Silverlight-viewed video look better.

Nor will supporting the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) codec allow Silverlight to play music stored locally by iTunes, partly because of Apple Inc.'s restrictions, said Steven Sklepowich, group product manager for Silverlight Media.

But it will prepare Silverlight 3, which will ship in the first quarter of next year, to play a much wider variety of the streamed HD video and high-fidelity music that broadcasters are expected to bring online.

"We are becoming more of an open runtime environment," Sklepowich said.

Silverlight is a Web browser plug-in that allows users to watch or listen to streaming multimedia. It differs from Microsoft's Windows Media Player, which is mostly used to play back media already downloaded off the Internet.

When Microsoft first released Silverlight last fall, to compete with Flash, it required broadcasters to encode video in the VC-1 codec, a now-open standard for HD DVDs and Blu-ray Discs based on Windows Media formats.

VC-1 enabled true DVD-quality streaming video that is much higher quality than the Flash video on sites such as YouTube, where most of the videos are still encoded in the H.263 codec. Such files are streamed to Web browsers, which cache them as .flv files.

Adobe has since updated its Flash 9 player to play HD H.264 video files, which are stored temporarily as .f4v files. Both .f4v and .flv are different than .swf files, which can be downloaded and played by Flash offline. (Silverlight today plays streamed video in the .asf file container format.)

Silverlight 3 won't be able to play .flv or .swf content, said Sklepowich. But it will be able to play H.264-based .f4v content.

Related StoryNBC scored Olympic gold with Silverlight but online ads failed to placeMicrosoft had long resisted calls to make its Silverlight player more compatible with Adobe's. Adobe says that last year 70% of Web video was streamed via Flash's .flv format.

Microsoft was motivated to support H.264 because it is becoming "the next-generation standard," said Sklepowich, with HD digital broadcasters such as DirecTV and Dish Network using H.264.

Adding H.264 support will cut work for broadcasters who previously would have had to do the time-consuming work of re-encoding their video in VC-1 to support Silverlight, he said.

And that should encourage more of them to stream video using Silverlight, as well as build special Silverlight-based players such as the ones specially created for NBCOlympics.com and the Democratic National Convention. The players, in addition to showing HD video, also offer features such as picture-in-picture, multiple views, and ticking data, Sklepowich said.

Microsoft plans to show off an early preview of Silverlight 3 at the International Broadcasting Conference (IBC) 2008 in Amsterdam later this week, according to Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division.

A beta of Silverlight 3 is expected soon after Silverlight 2 ships this fall, Sklepowich said.

The other caveat on video is that Silverlight will only be able to view .f4v streamed video if it is delivered from Web servers using the standard HTTP protocol, Sklepowich said. Video delivered from Adobe's Flash Media Server software using its proprietary RTMP protocol won't play, he said.

...

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post #100 of 577 Old 09-11-2008, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Speaking of VUDU,

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According to an Engadget report, the popular Internet-based movie and TV show rental store VUDU may begin offering HD downloads "equal in quality to Blu-ray movies" soon and is already currently in private beta testing for the new content format, which is dubbed HDX.

If the report is true, the downloads will be over 6GB large and the company would need to address the added lead-in time that is necessary for such a long download. The downloads would take over 2 hours in most cable cases, and over 4 for most DSL users.

The company currently offers SD as well as HD downloads but it appears it is aiming for the high-end home theater owner with this new HDX codec. The custom Vudu XL product offers one terabyte of capacity so this new move does not seem so far fetched.

There was no word from VUDU about the report so there is no details on when HDX will be publicly available, if it becomes available at all. There was no word on pricing however it will certainly be more expensive than the current $5.99 USD VUDU charges for HD rentals.

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post #101 of 577 Old 09-11-2008, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Sony Brings On-Demand Movies and TV Content to BRAVIA Internet Video Link With Amazon Video On Demand

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Service Also Now Offers Free High-Definition Content From Dailymotion And Others SAN DIEGO, Sept. 11

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony today announced that Amazon Video On Demand is now available live through the Sony(R) BRAVIA(R) Internet Video Link, offering tens of thousands of premium movies and TV shows.

Amazon Video On Demand offers immediate access to premium, commercial-free movies and television shows purchased or rented by users who stream them directly to compatible Sony BRAVIA televisions equipped with the optional BRAVIA Internet Video Link through an in-home broadband service.

Sony also announced that streaming high-definition content is now available on the service from Dailymotion and other providers at no additional cost.

"Consumers want immediate access to premium on-demand movies and top TV shows in their living room and the BRAVIA Internet Video Link service now offers one of the largest on-demand streaming libraries available," said Randy Waynick, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Home Products Division in the U.S. "From high-quality, full HD movies on Blu-ray Disc(TM) players, to the immediate satisfaction of streaming feature-length videos directly to BRAVIA TVs over the Internet, we are in a position to deliver entertainment
for any consumer taste."

Amazon Video On Demand and Dailymotion channels add to existing BRAVIA Internet Video Link lineup, which already includes YouTube; CBS, Yahoo!; Sports Illustrated; blip.tv; CondeNet's Style.com, Men.Style.com, Epicurious, Wired.com and Concierge.com channels; Sony Pictures' Crackle, The Minisode Network, Timeless TV and Inside Sony Pictures channels; FEARnet; Ford Models; SingingFool; and VideoDetective.

Once a BRAVIA Internet Video Link is registered with an Amazon.com account, customers can purchase or rent programming directly from their TV or online at Amazon's web site and begin watching the streaming content immediately on their BRAVIA television.

When a title is ordered, it is automatically added to consumers' Amazon Video On Demand "Your Video Library," providing easy access to purchased and rented content. A backup version can also be found in the library, which is accessible from the Sony BRAVIA Internet Video Link device user interface or
on Amazon.com.

New to the BRAVIA Internet Link lineup, Dailymotion offers HD and standard definition content including videos from across Dailymotion's most popular channels and categories such as comedy, extreme sports, news, music and independent film.

BRAVIA Internet Video Link users now also have access to select high-definition content from various existing channels including FEARnet, VideoDetective, Blip.tv and Sony Pictures Entertainment. High-definition content found on these channels, as well as Dailymotion, is free of additional
charge.

Sony's BRAVIA Internet Video Link module is currently available for about $300. It can be purchased online at sonystyle.com and Amazon.com, as well as at Sony Style stores and authorized retailers across the country. The module, used with a consumer's existing broadband Internet connection, is compatible with the majority of Sony's line of 2007 and 2008 BRAVIA televisions.

Note: Broadband Internet connection speed of at least 2.5 Mbps recommended.

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post #102 of 577 Old 09-11-2008, 10:07 AM
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Will Amazon Video On Demand also be offered for the PS3?
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post #103 of 577 Old 09-12-2008, 09:29 AM
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Does anyone know the resolution of the Blockbuster Video service??

I've tried the Amazon unbox on my Tivo and found that the quality level was below DVD quality to the degree where I wouldn't use them.

Samsung 64F8500, Panasonic 65VT50, Oppo 95, Tivo Roamio for OTA, Dish VIP722, Marantz AV8801 preamp, Rotel Amps, Atlantic Tech 8200 speakers, Seaton Submersive HP, Calman 5, Chromapure, Accupel DVG-5000, i1Display3pro, i1pro2, eecolor colorbox.
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post #104 of 577 Old 09-12-2008, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Media group to create new digital video "ecosystem"

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A group of media industry companies said it is planning to build a digital world where video devices and content websites play together in perfect harmony, and consumers can safely store their digital content and access it anywhere in the world.

The consortium of Hollywood studios, retailers, service providers, and consumer electronics and information technology companies, called the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, or DECE, is working on a "uniform digital media experience" but won't announce details until the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

The consortium said it will call for interoperability of devices and websites, and usage rules that allow consumers to copy content onto household playback devices and to burn their content to physical media, DECE President Mitch Singer said.

The plan also would provide customers a "rights locker" or virtual library where consumers' digital video purchases would be stored for retrieval in a manner similar to accessing an email account, Singer said.

The consortium plans to design a logo that will be placed on products and websites to let consumers know that those products and services are compatible with DECE standards.

"We will be developing a ... specification that services and device makers can license. They can use the logo to associate their device, knowing that when the consumer goes to buy the content, they know it will play," Singer said.

The new digital framework would turn Apple Inc's "closed" iTunes model on its head, Singer said.

"This is very different from the Apple ecosystem," he said. "We encourage Apple to join the consortium. We don't ever anticipate Apple going away or this consortium replacing it."

The consortium aims to recapture in the digital universe the sense of comfort and simplicity of use that consumers found with DVDs, said Mark Coblitz, senior vice president of strategic planning for Comcast Corp.

"They knew that when they brought (a DVD) home, they could play it on the device of their choice," Coblitz said. "We see this vision of 'buy once, play anywhere.'"

The consortium includes Alcatel-Lucent, Best Buy Co Inc, Cisco Systems Inc, Comcast, News Corp's Fox Entertainment Group, Hewlett-Packard Co, Intel, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, Microsoft Corp, General Electric Co's NBC Universal, Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures, Philips, Sony Corp, Toshiba, VeriSign, and Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros Entertainment.

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post #105 of 577 Old 09-22-2008, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
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NBC Sets Multiplatform Fall Premiere

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Full episodes in HD of new, returning fall 2008-09 series to be available prior to air dates via VOD, online, mobile platforms.

NBC will preview its new and returning fall 2008-09 series via a variety of platforms, including full episodes in HD.

The video-on-demand services of Comcast, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Dish Network and Verizon Communications' FiOS TV will present full episodes of the series' season premieres or debut episodes, in HD, for one week prior to their network airings.

Along with NBC.com, Hulu, the online-video joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp., will provide on-demand streaming of several fall shows, and Hulu distribution partners including Yahoo, MSN, AOL, MySpace and Fancast.com will offer access to full episodes.

The shows will also be made available for instant viewing and download via Amazon.com's online retail store.

Xbox Live Marketplace on Xbox 360 and Zune Marketplace will also offer the NBC series.

The NBC Primetime Preview Show, hosted by Chuck star Zach Levi, will be available on the platforms listed above, as well as mobile platforms MediaFLO USA's FLO TV service, AT&T and MobiTV.

NBC series involved and their network premieres are: Knight Rider (Sept. 24), Kath & Kim (Oct. 9), Lipstick Jungle (Sept. 24), Chuck (Sept. 29), Life (Oct. 30) and 30 Rock (Oct. 30).

"This campaign represents our most comprehensive plan ever to gain widespread attention on multiple platforms for our new and returning fall series," NBC Universal Television Group chief marketing officer and president of The NBC Agency John Miller said in a statement. "In addition to providing sampling of our shows, each partner is providing promotional exposure that will help these series to succeed on both new and traditional platforms."

NBC Universal Digital Entertainment president Vivi Zigler added, NBC.com continues to be the premiere destination for fans of our shows, and to provide our viewers with a sneak preview of the new fall season is a great opportunity to showcase the entire online experience around both our new and returning programs. We are also excited to for the first time take advantage of the enormous reach of Hulu and its partners' sites as both a distribution and promotional network.

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post #106 of 577 Old 09-23-2008, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Wall St. Journal:

Netflix Signs Deals With CBS and Disney

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Netflix Inc. has cut deals with CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co. that will give a boost to the library of television shows available to Netflix subscribers for viewing over the Internet.

The agreements, covering television shows ranging from the crime series "CSI" to "Hannah Montana," will let Netflix subscribers watch the shows over the Internet a day after their original air dates on television.

The pacts are part of a wave of deal-making by Netflix that is intended to ease the Los Gatos, Calif., company's transition to an era where online delivery of movies and television shows eclipses its current main business of mailing DVD rentals to customers.

The transition could eventually reshape the television landscape and has already created a race by Internet companies like Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. to become gatekeepers for digital movies and other video. Netflix appears to be effectively fending off rival attacks on its primary business while establishing itself as a credible participant in the still unprofitable online video market.

Since last year, the company has allowed subscribers on monthly DVD rental plans of $8.99 and above to "stream" television shows and movies at no additional fee to their personal computers, a method that doesn't leave permanent copies of the videos on users' computers. Netflix has also reached deals with hardware makers to let users play Netflix Internet videos on their screens, such as through a $99 set-top device from Roku Inc. Later this fall, users of Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 will be able to play videos over the Internet from Netflix.

Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities, estimates that between 10% and 20% of Netflix's subscribers are using the service regularly.

For now though, a thicket of licensing restrictions from television and movie producers designed to protect cash-cow businesses like DVD sales and pay television are limiting the amount of content Netflix can offer online.

Netflix currently offers only about 12,000 videos for watching online, compared with a library of more than 100,000 DVDs. Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, says the company expects to have dozens of major new television shows available over the next couple of months with existing and new partners.

"With deals like CBS and Disney, we're giving subscribers additional reasons to try it," says Mr. Sarandos.

The shows CBS and the Disney Channel will be making available through Netflix were previously available free with advertising through the CBS and Disney Web sites and for $1.99 an episode through sites like Apple's iTunes Store. The shows -- which also include "Numb3rs" and "NCIS" from CBS and "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" and "Wizards of Waverly Place" from Disney -- will be commercial-free on Netflix. The deal with Netflix will eventually add about 500 older television episodes from the Disney Channel and 350 episodes from CBS.

Analysts predict television watchers will begin gravitating to online video from traditional television watching as technologies improve for getting Web video to the television set.

...

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post #107 of 577 Old 09-23-2008, 10:25 AM
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post #108 of 577 Old 09-23-2008, 01:26 PM
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Looks like Sony and others are finally paying attention to the fact that "winning" the battle does not mean winning the war.

Sony has been insistent on not lowering prices on Blu-ray. New reports on Slashdot show that marketing of Blu-ray is not going as well as thought and consideration of a $200 or less players is on the horizon sooner than most thought.

Details:

http://hardware.slashdot.org/hardwar.../0051212.shtml

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post #109 of 577 Old 09-25-2008, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Roku Opening Up to Non-Netflix Video

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Roku Inc. founder and CEO Anthony Wood told audience members in his keynote today that the company's advanced set-top box will soon become more than just a way to stream Netflix Inc. movies to your TV.

The Netflix Player by Roku was launched in May as the first Internet-connected device that to get the video-rental company's streaming videos off the PC and into the living room. Since then, Netflix has announced deals to offer streaming through Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Xbox gaming console and an Internet-connected Blu-ray player by LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) .

Up until now, Roku's set-top box has only streamed Netflix content. But the box will soon by opened up to other content owners that want to use IP video to get to the television, according to Wood.

"We're going to open up the Netflix player for anyone who wants to put video on our platform," Wood says.

While there's no timeline yet, Wood says the company will release a software development kit "for any person that wants to publish, and allow any piece of video on the Web to stream on your TV."

Outside his keynote, Wood said that initial reaction from content owners to using the Roku set-top box as an online delivery platform to send IP video to the TV was positive. But there are some things that will need to be worked out.

For instance, for now Roku's box delivers content in standard-definition (SD) formats, but content owners are increasingly asking for HD capabilities, with bit rates in the range of 3 Mbit/s to 4 Mbit/s. There are also questions from content owners about the business models surrounding IP video.

"Everyone's looking to get this on the TV," Wood says. "But they want to know, what's the interactive ad model look like?"

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post #110 of 577 Old 09-25-2008, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LazyTom View Post

Looks like Sony and others are finally paying attention to the fact that "winning" the battle does not mean winning the war.

Sony has been insistent on not lowering prices on Blu-ray. New reports on Slashdot show that marketing of Blu-ray is not going as well as thought and consideration of a $200 or less players is on the horizon sooner than most thought.

Details:

http://hardware.slashdot.org/hardwar.../0051212.shtml

I believe you posted this in the wrong forum, lazytom.
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post #111 of 577 Old 09-25-2008, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Big news...

Toshiba and partners plan movie downloads to SD cards

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SEPT. 25| In a move that could give brick-and-mortar retailers a major role in digital downloads, Toshiba Corp. is partnering with DVD kiosk companies NCR Corp. and MOD Systems on a new delivery method that could make it easier for consumers to download and watch digital movies. .

The three companies will announce today plans to make SD flash memory cards, the same used in digital cameras to store photos, the standard format for storing digital movie and TV show downloads.

Toshiba is expected to roll out a line of set-top boxes early next year with SD card slots for playing back digital video downloads saved to the memory cards. ATM maker NCR, which swiftly moved into the DVD kiosk business this summer, will pact with digital kiosk company MOD Systems to offer movie and TV show downloads onto SD cards at digital kiosks it plans to roll out to stores in the first quarter of 2009.

If all goes as planned, consumers will be able to go into a stores participating in a pilot launch next year, download a movie from a kiosk to their SD card, and play it back on their mobile phone, portable video player, TV or other SD-compatible device.

MOD also announced today it has raised $35 million in a first round of venture funding led by Toshiba and NCR, which will take minority stakes in the start-up.

The premise of this is really simple, said MOD Systems executive chair and co-founder Anthony Bay. Right now we have incompatible devices and no standard storage formats (for downloads). SD is the logical standard. It's an open standard, tens of millions of products are already made with SD card slots. The premise of all of this is there needs to be a standard. We can't afford another proprietary thing.

SD (secure digital) cards are already widely used in digital cameras, PDAs, laptops, mobile phones, videogame consoles and other digital devices. Earlier this week, SanDisk and the major music labels announced a plan to make microSD the new standard format for music, replacing the CD.

SD cards can support Windows Media digital rights management, which is already used on video downloads from Amazon, CinemaNow, Movielink and other download companies, with the exception of Apple iTunes, which uses Apple's proprietary DRM. The cards will also support whatever open standard comes out of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) LLC, a consortium of studios, retailers and consumer electronics companies formed earlier this month to ensure universal playback of digital downloads, Bay said. Toshiba is a member of the group.

Key to the SD kiosk rollout will be securing major studio content, which digital kiosk companies have so far been unable to do.

MOD and NCR wouldn't say whether they yet have any studio licensing deals, but they said they expect to offer 4,000 films from studios at launch. Downloads will initially be in standard definition.

In a statement on the partnership, Toshiba corporate VP and president/CEO of Digital Media Network Company Yoshihide Fujii said SD cards will offer consumers more flexibility and portability.

MOD Systems holds a level of technical expertise unmatched in this space, and its highly innovative digital content distribution platform is a key component of our new media strategy for migrating consumers to digital, he said.

The expanded partnership between MOD and Toshiba comes as MOD faces a lawsuit from Warren Lieberfarb over consultancy fees he claims he is owed for introducing the two. (See Related Story link)

NCR's stake in MOD follows its move into the DVD kiosk space this summer. The company acquired minority stakes in kiosk maker E-Play and in No. 2 DVD kiosk company The New Release/Moviecube, for which it plans to make as many as 1,400 new kiosks by 2010. NCR also has a deal with Blockbuster to make as many as 10,000 Blockbuster-branded kiosks that will rent DVDs and likely offer downloads.

NCR will use MOD System's Retail Enterprise System to manage content for its digital download kiosks as part of a non-exclusive deal. The self-service digital kiosks will offer download to SD cards and portable devices.

Our initiative with MOD Systems is designed to offer consumers one of the fastest, most convenient ways to access high-quality digital entertainment, NCR chair and CEO Bill Nuti said in a statement announcing the deal.

NCR will be MOD's primary method of deployment, getting the company's system into more retailers and locations than it has been able to get access to thus far. MOD has offered music downloads in a handful of Best Buy and Circuit City stores on a trial basis.

The company has been working for studio licensing deals to burn movie downloads to DVDs through its kiosks. MOD still wants to offer DVD burning, Bay said, but he believes it may be easier to get deals for downloads that can be transferred to SD cards. He said he believes studios will license the same content that is available online for download to MOD and NCR for download to SD card.

All three companies said they plan to offer more details on their digital plans over the next few months and at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

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post #112 of 577 Old 09-25-2008, 12:31 PM
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http://www.reuters.com/article/techn...48O42020080925

Gartner defines IPTV as a managed broadband network which delivers high picture-quality television and video content to a user's TV set via a set-top box. Content delivered over the Internet or only to a computer is not included
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post #113 of 577 Old 09-29-2008, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Hole in Adobe software allows free movie downloads

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A security hole in Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) software, used to distribute movies and TV shows over the Internet, is giving users free access to record and copy from Amazon.com Inc's (AMZN.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) video streaming service.

The problem exposes online video content to the rampant piracy that plagued the music industry during the Napster era and is undermining efforts by retailers, movie studios and television networks to cash in on a huge Web audience.

"It's a fundamental flaw in the Adobe design. This was designed stupidly," said Bruce Schneier, a security expert who is also the chief security technology officer at British Telecom.

The flaw rests in Adobe's Flash video servers that are connected to the company's players installed in nearly all of the world's Web-connected computers.

The software doesn't encrypt online content, but only orders sent to a video player such as start and stop play. To boost download speeds, Adobe dropped a stringent security feature that protects the connection between the Adobe software and its players.

"Adobe is committed to the security of all of our products, from our players to our server software. Adobe invests a considerable amount of ongoing effort to help protect users from potential vulnerabilities," it said in a statement.

Adobe said it issued a security bulletin earlier this month about how best to protect online content and called on its customers to couple its software security with a feature that verifies the validity of its video player.

An Amazon spokesman said content on the company's Video On Demand service, which offers as many as 40,000 movies and TV shows on its Web site, cannot be pirated using video stream catching software.

However, in tests by Reuters, at least one program to record online video, the Replay Media Catcher from Applian Technologies, recorded movies from Amazon and other sites that use Adobe's encryption technology together with its video player verification.

"Adobe's (stream) is not really encrypted," said Applian CEO Bill Dettering. "One of the downfalls with how they have architected the software is that people can capture the streams. I fully expect them to do something more robust in the near future."

...

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post #114 of 577 Old 10-01-2008, 03:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Netflix adds 2,500 streaming movies from Starz

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A major complaint with Netflix's current selection of streaming movies and shows available through its "Watch Now" service is that it doesn't contain enough recent titles. Now, according to several reports online, it looks as though Netflix is looking to change that.

On Wednesday, the company plans to announce a new partnership with Starz to offer subscribers 2,500 additional movies from Starz Play. Starz Play's selection includes current hits such as No Country for Old Men, Superbad, and Ratatouille, as well as indie films, concerts, and classic movies. The first 1,000 of those movies, added to Netflix's current offering of 12,000, should, supposedly, be available immediately, but they are not available on Netflix's site yet. Expect the update to come sometime on Wednesday.

This is big news for Netflix, which has been struggling to sign studios up to make their new releases available for instant watching. In terms of new releases, this deal gets Netflix one step closer to being on the same level as the on-demand offerings from Comcast and Verizon. Netflix's overall library, however, goes deeper than Comcast's or Verizon's because it offers many classics on top of these newly added new releases. Additionally, this deal allows subscribers to stream the Starz TV network on their PCs.

The best part of this news, for Netflix subscribers, is that all of this extra content isn't going to cost them a dime. All Netflix subscribers with unlimited subscriptions (those $8.99 and up) will have access to the Starz Play selections. When you pair this news with this summer's release of Roku's killer set-top box for Netflix and this fall's Xbox 360 dashboard update, which will enable Netflix streaming, Netflix's service is looking more attractive every day.

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post #115 of 577 Old 10-02-2008, 03:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Vudu offers new high-def option for online films

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OCT. 1 | Vudu is launching its online films in a new format, HDX, which the company touts as the best high-definition technology yet for content delivered by Web, TV and cable/satellite on-demand.

Starting today, Vudu will roll out 50 films in the HDX format, which plays back content in 1080p resolution. Featured films include such recent releases as The Spiderwick Chronicles, In Bruges, Speed Racer and such classics as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Chinatown and Saturday Night Fever.

Vudu users watch content via a set-top box that beams programming to TV sets without the need of a computer.

Although Blu-ray Disc will offer a superior high-def picture, Vudu promises that HDX will trump all current digital high-def services, spanning iTunes, Xbox Live and PlayStation Store. In general, online and broadcast high-def is delivered in 780p resolution.

Because of its relatively large file size, HDX delivery time is a relatively long three to four hours per film. However, Vudu will charge the same $3.99 to $5.99 movie pricing whether users choose HDX or straight high-def, which can be watched immediately upon purchase.

Vudu's standard-definition films are priced between $2.99 and $4.99.

We don't make the claim that this is as good as Blu-ray, but consumers will not think the quality is lacking, said Prasanna Ganesan, Vudu chief technology officer. This is better than any other on-demand high-def experience out there.

Going forward, all new Vudu releases that are available in straight high-def also will be offered in the HDX format.

HDX promises to enhance details within dark images, preserve film grain and tune the picture for optimal display on current LCD and plasma TVs.

Coinciding with the HDX bow, Best Buy has agreed to carry Vudu in its stores nationwide, according to Vudu management. By July, Vudu boxes were being sold in about 75 Best Buy outlets.

Additionally, Best Buy is handing out a $200 Vudu film credit for those who purchase boxes at the chain.

Vudu HDX truly raises the bar on picture quality for [high-def] movies delivered on demand, over the air, satellite or Internet and across the entire video landscape, added Mark Jung, Vudu CEO. Accelerating consumer adoption of large-screen HDTVs has fueled strong demand for the kind of viewing experience and picture quality that only HDX can deliver.

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post #116 of 577 Old 10-02-2008, 07:00 AM
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I wonder how many 1080p Vudu movies I could safely watch per month without going over Comcast's 250 gigabite per month download limit? Maybe 4 or 5?
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post #117 of 577 Old 10-02-2008, 08:57 AM
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Roughly 40 HDX or 100 instant HD in a titles in a month would put you near the 250GB cap.

Patrick
Sr Product Manager, VUDU

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post #118 of 577 Old 10-02-2008, 09:59 AM
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Patrick,

Are there any plans or talks of offering some kindof buffet pricing service? i.e. so many movies a month for a flat fee?

I currently get about 15 movies/month from Netflix from $17 (slightly over $1/movie). For me to get that number of movies from Vudu would cost me around $75 (figuring $5/movie for 15 movies).

I'd gladly pay a set amount per month for the convenience of Vudu, but $75 a month is just way too much. I'd gladly pay something like $40 a month for up-to-15 movies, which would be more than twice as much as Netflix, but I'd be willing to pay more for the convenience that Vudu would offer.

Has something like that been tossed around, or would the studios prevent this from being offered?
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post #119 of 577 Old 10-02-2008, 10:56 AM
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Thanks, Patrick. There is no way we would watch as many as 40 movies per month! That suggests to me that it is practical to use Vudu with the Comcast 250 gigabyte limit.
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post #120 of 577 Old 10-02-2008, 10:56 AM
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Some sort of subscription plan has been suggested by various people at various times. Unfortunately, it's not something we're in a position to offer right now. When and if we can and do, you'll be sure to hear about it. Sorry I can be more forthcoming on the topic than that, but our policy is not discuss features, real or imagined, before they are ready to go.

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