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post #331 of 577

Digital media company DivX has acquired AnySource Media, creator of the Internet Video Navigation platform for connected TVs, in a deal worth as much as $15 million.

AnySource's software allows for rapid Internet navigation and VOD playback on HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc players and mobile phones.

Internet TV will transform the landscape for media distribution and advertising as we know it, said DivX CEO Kevin Hell. The AnySource streaming platform combined with our high-quality device certification program and our deep relationships with both consumer electronics companies and Hollywood studios puts us in an enviable position in this rapidly emerging market.


The acquisition is another recent profile-raising move by DivX, which had four studios agree in late August to make their films available to download-to-own and burn on any device that is DivX compatible, via online movie site Film Fresh.

post #332 of 577
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by lakers42 View Post

Is the guy talking about the UK market or US?

He is based in the UK, but I believe he is talking about both.
post #333 of 577
Thread Starter 
Wall St. Journal

YouTube in Talks to Stream Rental Movies


Google Inc.'s YouTube is in discussions with major movie studios about allowing users to stream movies on a rental basis, according to people familiar with the company's plans, marking one of the video giant's first moves towards charging for content instead of making it available for free with advertising.

While some studios already make full-length movies available on YouTube, they tend to be older, lesser-known titles. Now YouTube is talking to Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Sony Corp. and Warner Bros. about integrating newer titles into the existing YouTube site, most of which it would carry a rental charge. In some cases, these titles might be available on the site on the same day that they come out on DVD. It is unclear to what extent older movies or television shows will be part of the new agreements.

In a statement, a YouTube spokesman said the company is always working to expand on "its great relationships with movie studios and on the selection and types of videos we offer our community."

While details vary from studio to studio, generally speaking the agreements would allow consumers to stream movies on a rental basis for a fee. However, in some cases, the movies would be available in way that they have been previously—free, with advertising.

Negotiations are continuing and there are no guarantees a deal will be struck. Many details remain in flux, including whether users will also eventually be able to download movies. People familiar with the matter say that new movie rentals are likely to be around $3.99, the price Apple Inc.'s iTunes charges for new movie rentals. The companies hope to keep pricing on par with what consumers pay for video-on-demand for new titles, these people say.

YouTube generally gives studios about 70% of revenue for ad-supported content they already offer on the site, people familiar with the matter say. They would likely get a similar percentage for new movies. But they would also likely be guaranteed a minimum fee of just under $3 per title viewed. That ensures the studio the dollar amount, even if YouTube decides to run a special where they charge consumers less.

Under current plans, 10,000 Google employees will test the service for a period of three months, these people said. The trial was supposed to start at the beginning of September, but was pushed back as studio negotiations dragged on.

Both YouTube and the movie studios are being forced to become more flexible in their business models. YouTube, which isn't yet profitable, is looking for new ways to draw premium content and ad campaigns from big brands.

Studios, on the other hand, are also eager to bolster any area that might help compensate for declining DVD sales. Adams Media Research says studio revenue from DVD sales should fall by about $850 million this year to $12.9 billion.

If the YouTube deals come to fruition, the site would join Apple, Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. in offering services that allow users to stream or download newer movies online. Sony's Crackle and Hulu LLC allow users to watch full-length movies for free, but don't generally include new releases.
post #334 of 577
Thread Starter 
Blockbuster is bundling a download server into all their kiosks.

Blockbuster Earnings Report Transcript


Third, we are more proactively developing the vending channel through our alliance with NCR. We will have approximately 500 machines in the market by the end of August and NCR is rolling out about 50 machines per week, well on their way to deploying more than 2,500 Blockbuster branded kiosks by year-end and another 7,000 planned by August of 2010.


Vending provided a new level of convenience that could expand the market presence for Blockbuster customers. We selected NCR as the vending partner not only for their expertise as the world's leading manufacturer of self-service devices but also because we intended to future-proof the vending channel by incorporating a server into each device to allow for digital download capabilities.


Analyst for Emily Shanks - Barclays Capital

I understand. That's great color. Appreciate it -- with regard to the kiosks, as far as digital download goes, is that something available currently or what's the timeline on rolling that out for the kiosks?

James W. Keyes

As you know, we are testing digital download capabilities in a few stores today. We are very early. We are way ahead of both the consumer and the studios on this. The good news is that the technology is perfectly available today. It works. You can actually download a movie, a TV show to a thumb drive, to an SD card. And if you have that movie captured in a server on site, you can download that movie in a matter of minutes versus the hour or two hours it could take, depending on the bandwidth, to download that movie at home. So there's a real advantage in digital downloads that we believe is part of the future.

The reason for our selection as I referenced with NCR is that when we deploy kiosks, the good news is we don't have 18,000 kiosks in the market today so we can actually with NCR deploy kiosks with the server capability to house those movies on site and to be able to build in the download capability to load a thumb drive or an SD card. Now the only remaining obstacle, the technology as I referenced, works fine. The remaining obstacle is getting the studios to all agree on the consistent standards necessary for security and protection of their intellectual property. That process is underway. There are a couple of studio groups today. It's very similar, if you will, to the challenge that we had with HD versus Blu-Ray and the studios having to agree on a format, a consistent set of standards in a format. Naturally it's going to take some time for them to do that. We think that could take as much as a year, perhaps two years. But our hope is that the deployment of our vending machines will be built with an eye to that digital download capability so that as we deploy our own infrastructure, they will have their own, as I referenced, almost a future proof capability. They won't just be vending machines for DVDs -- they will also be servers able to download content direct from Blockbuster on demand capabilities.
post #335 of 577

Online video platform Brightcove Inc. has inked a deal with Boxee, maker of a social media center that streams Internet video through the AppleTV and computers.

The deal will bring videos from Brightcove and its video partners, Conde Nast Digital, Quvo and others, to the living room through the Boxee platform.

Brightcove customers can set up their own branded channel within Boxee. Featured content can be integrated into Boxee's content catalog, which already includes films, TV shows and videos from Netflix, CNN and CBS.

post #336 of 577

Netgear has rolled out an Internet-connected set-top box designed to play video from YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, CBS.com, CinemaNow and other services directly on a big-screen TV.

The company's Digital Entertainer Live EVA2000, with a list price of $150, also provides menus to let users access personal movies, music and photos stored on a USB hard drive. The EVA2000 includes HDMI and composite cable interfaces, as well as RCA jacks for connecting to older analog TVs. The box includes an Ethernet port; Negear is selling a wireless USB adapter separately for $39.99.

post #337 of 577

Hulu.com has begun adding links to Amazon VOD for its users that want to buy digital downloads of shows they watch on the site, NewTeeVee reports. Hulu has links under videos saying "Buy this season today" that take users directly to Amazon to buy the same show as a download.

It seems that more and more ad-supported TV sites are linking to digital sales sites or DVD sales sites. Warner, in its recent partnering with YouTube, flat out said the goal is to drive sales of its shows on other formats.

post #338 of 577
Thread Starter 
Tesco and Microsoft Bring Next-Generation Movie Experience to U.K. Consumers


New virtual DVD provides ability to download entertainment including movies with rich video quality, interactivity and bonus content previously available only on a disk.

LONDON Sept. 9, 2009 Tesco, one of the world's leading retailers, and Microsoft Corp., worldwide leader in software, today announced a collaboration to launch the next generation of home video viewing. The new service, built on Microsoft Silverlight technology, will deliver a similar level of quality as consumers have come to expect from DVD and Blu-ray, but with advanced Web-based interactivity and a viewing experience that goes beyond other digital playback products in the marketplace.

Starting in the autumn, Tesco will allow customers in the U.K. who purchase certain home video titles from Tesco to download digital copy versions of movies to their Windows-based or Apple Macintosh computers in a virtual DVD experience. The digital copy versions will include a similar level of video quality, interactivity and bonus content available on the physical products. In addition, the digital copy versions will provide consumers with extra network-connected features such as auto-updated trailers, exclusive bonus content, movie viewing parties with online chat, related music offerings such as MP3s and ring tones, and networked games.

Tesco is excited to be the first retailer to partner with a broad range of major movie studios to offer this next-generation movie experience, said Rob Salter, category director for Entertainment at Tesco. For the first time, consumers will be able to enjoy a DVD equivalent experience with digital movies, which paves the way for more advanced viewing experiences enabled through Silverlight.

This is just the beginning. In the future we expect to offer our customers innovative digital solutions that far exceed the DVD experience and deliver exclusive content, Web events and services wherever and whenever they want them, Salter said.

The underlying technology that enables these experiences is the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in, which powers rich, interactive experiences on Windows-based PCs and Apple Macintosh computers across all popular Web browsers. Silverlight provides a powerful engine for premium media experiences and sophisticated network-connected applications. It also enables developers and designers to build and deliver the same application anywhere Silverlight is running.

Microsoft is committed to enhancing digital entertainment to deliver richer quality video and, ultimately, more enjoyable and interactive experiences for the viewer through technologies like Microsoft Silverlight, said Gabriele Di Piazza, senior director for the Media & Entertainment business in the Communications Sector at Microsoft. We believe this alliance will offer consumers in the U.K., and eventually additional markets, the opportunity to download a digital copy that is truly the equivalent of a physical disk with the same package of navigation, bonus features and director commentaries.
post #339 of 577

LG Electronics and Sony Electronics made the first home entertainment splashes at the annual Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) Expo, opening the show Sept. 9, introducing new Blu-ray Disc players and HDTVs.

Sony Electronics introduced its BDP-N460, a networked, wireless Blu-ray Disc player that will retail for $250 in October, and will include both free and premium on-demand content, from services such as Netflix, YouTube, Slacker and more.

Chris Fawcett, VP of home audio and video for Sony Electronics, said that despite the economic downturn, consumers are still spending money on home entertainment.

Holiday 2009 is starting to look very promising, he said.


Meanwhile, LG Electronics announced it is expanding its partnership with high-definition streaming movie service Vudu to its wireless network Blu-ray Disc player, the BD390 ($399). At the end of September, owners of the player will be able to upgrade for access to Vudu for free. LG's NetCast Entertainment Access set of features also includes Netflix, Roxio CinemaNow and YouTube.

Tim Alessi, director of new product development for LG Electronics' home entertainment division, said consumers could expect more LG products to include NetCast features in the future. He specifically highlighted the 2,200-plus high-def movies that Vudu offers.

That's more high-def movies than are currently available on physical disc for Blu-ray, he said. Our intention, as the market continues to grow, is to release more products with connectivity.

Alain Rossmann, CEO of Vudu, added, Following the recent launch of Vudu on LG HDTVs with NetCast Entertainment Access, LG's BD390 Network Blu-ray player provides the perfect opportunity for anyone in the market for a Blu-ray player to enjoy VUDU's extensive HD movie library in superior 1080p video quality and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound.


LG also unveiled a new network attached storage model (N2R1) for consumers to back up their multimedia entertainment files. Available with 1TB ($299) or 2TB ($399) of storage, the wireless N2R1 automatically backs up and restores files in the event of a hardware failure.

Consumers continue to create digital memories, from photos to family videos, and it's important that these irreplaceable moments are saved in a secure place, said Peter Reiner, SVP of marketing for LG Electronics. With LG's network attached storage, consumers now have a virtual library on command that allows them unlimited access to their favorite memories, whether at home or on the road.

post #340 of 577
Thread Starter 
Apple rivals DVD with new iTunes Extras for movies and albums


The new iTunes 9 offers special "iTunes Extras" as free downloads with the purchase of "iTunes LP" albums or movies. The new free bonus content is delivered as a self-contained website of bonus materials, making it easy to author.

Apple's new move into bonus materials helps to enrich its media downloads, making iTunes digital albums more attractive to purchase as a complete set and positioning its movies better against the bonus features available on DVDs. Apple has offered simple PDF digital booklets with certain albums in the past, a step the new Extras builds upon. The DVD Forum has attempted to deliver DVD-A its own specification for value-added music albums, and Blu-Ray has similarly floated an audio version of the format, but along with SA-CD and other attempts to improve upon the CD, these efforts have all fizzled.

Previously referred to under the Cocktail codename, Apple's new initiative delivers a single .ite file along with standard purchased album tracks or the movie file. The iTunes Extra file is actually a bundle, which is directory of files masquerading as a single file. Inside the bundle are navigation pages built using web-standards including HTML pages, Javascript code and CSS presentation, along with content folders containing regular PNG graphics, AAC audio and H.264 video files. The package is essentially a self-contained website, although its FairPlay content requires iTunes 9 to view.

The ease of building this Extras content should help popularize the new bonus materials, and a quick review of the iTunes Store shows a variety of artists' albums and movie titles sporting the new bonus materials. Unlike earlier attempts to create a super CD format, iTunes doesn't require anything more than a software update to the free version 9 in order to play the new Extras content.

The newly unveiled Cocktail initiative may help explain why Apple hasn't thrown much effort behind developing its DVD authoring tools recently, and why it has pointedly ignored the Blu-Ray authoring market. DVD authoring requires participating in a licensing program that includes a book of authoring specifications.

Apple Shuns DVD and Blu-Ray Authoring

Apple entered the DVD authoring business when it bought Astarte in 2000, resulting in DVD Studio Pro and the consumer-oriented iDVD title. It then bought Spruce Technologies and released that company's authoring tools as DVD Studio Pro 2.0. Since the 4.x release in early 2006, Apple has done little to update the program, which still ships as part of Final Cut Studio. The iDVD portion of iLife has similarly only received the barest of attention over the last few years.

While Apple updated its DVD authoring tools to support changes required to create HD-DVD discs, it never threw its support being the format, which has since collapsed after a protracted battle against the rival Blu-Ray specification. Similarly, despite being a member of the Blu-Ray Disk Association, Apple hasn't released authoring tools for that format either. Apple recently added raw Blu-Ray disc burning support to Final Cut Studio, but this lacks any capacity to actually author navigation; the resulting Blu-Ray disc just contains plain video. This is commonly used to distribute edited work for review. Third party tools are required to author a fancy user interface for finished Blu-Ray discs targeted at consumers.

The Blu-Ray specification uses navigation and content presentation tools based upon Sun's Java, called BD-J, to both frame the video and any interactive bonus content on the disc. It is also designed to enable accessing the Internet to find additional content published after the disc was shipped. Different Blu-ray players support different minimal versions of the BD-J, and the BD-J runtime results in significant hardware requirements (similar to a low end PC) which have priced Blu-Ray players out of the mainstream of the market.

Apple's Competitive Cocktail

By offering easy to create, standards-based bonus content that does not require complex and convoluted authoring tools, Apple appears to be hoping to convert more users from DVD disc buyers to iTunes download customers. While downloaded videos can't match the quality of Blu-Ray movies, the mass market has still not embraced the Blu-ray format, leaving Apple with a large market to address.

Presenting iTunes Extras on Apple TV, and potentially on mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPod touch, may also follow as Apple builds out its efforts to popularize albums and movies with the bonus materials.

For both movies and albums, iTunes Extras also differentiate Apple's own offerings in iTunes from identical content sold by other content distributors, such as Amazon.
post #341 of 577

The video-on-demand business, which barely registered as a revenue stream three years ago, has almost overnight changed the indie distribution business.

Viewed as a whole, VOD revenues can be underwhelming and deceiving, expected to near $2 billion across digital services such as iTunes, cable and other outlets this year -- that's just a sliver of the $22.5 billion expected from DVD and Blu-ray, projects Adams Media Research.

Yet for a growing number of indie films, VOD has become a crucial revenue source, accounting for as much as 60% of revs for some movies and returning seven-figure checks for the highest-profile indies.

"VOD does make up for some of the DVD sell-through decline for smaller indie movies," says Oscilloscope's David Fenkel, who sent "Wendy and Lucy" out on VOD in May via the company's deal with Warner Bros. Digital. But he's also quick to note that sell-through for some indie titles was never brisk previously.

One of the breakout stars is Magnolia Pictures' "Two Lovers," which debuted in theaters and on VOD simultaneously. The film is on track to gross well into seven figures, says Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles.

Unlike the theatrical and DVD business, where revenue estimates are touted in a matter of hours after a film's release, VOD sales figures are still guarded like state secrets. Often, even the distrib doesn't know the numbers until several months after releases, when the payments start rolling in.

Debuting a film on VOD can potentially put it in more than 50 million living rooms where viewers can watch not just through Comcast and other cable and satellite outlets, but through iPods and Xbox 360 game consoles.

VOD has become a new source of income for virtually no additional cost. There are no theatrical prints to deliver or discs to press. And it comes with free advertising, thanks to the trailers cable operators run to promo available VOD titles.

VOD providers, eager to lure customers with content they can't get in many other places, heavily promote VOD debuts through TV ads and callouts on the main VOD channel.

"The cable operators run a ton of free promotion and actual TV advertising that we would never be able to afford for films of this scale," Bowles says.

IFC, another indie distrib regularly releasing films in the theatrical window and also on VOD, is seeing the same healthy returns.

"I Hate Valentine's Day" is on track to be the company's top VOD performer, having already generated an estimated $1.5 million in overall revenues, just surpassing biopic "Che," says IFC topper Jonathan Sehring.

Those are the standouts, but even for other films, VOD revenues can be just as significant, though smaller. Gravitas Ventures, which distributes 250 indie pics a year on VOD, tells its partners that high-five and low-six figures is a more realistic expectation if they get picked up by the biggest VOD providers, such as cabler Comcast.

Key to broad VOD distribution, and bigger revenues, is timing the VOD rollout with or before the DVD release.

Films released day and date with DVD tend to sell 50% better on VOD than films released afterward, says David Asch, executive VP of VOD distributor In Demand.

They also generate higher profits because companies can charge more -- Magnolia charges $9.99 and up, IFC $7.99 -- both premiums over the typical $3.99 for VOD films released in the DVD window.

"It's a significant source of revenue. Probably more significant are the economics of it," says Sehring.

post #342 of 577
Move Networks Inc. may finally see some traction as an IPTV technology provider, with the news that Cable and Wireless plc (NYSE: CWP) has chosen its adaptive bit-rate technology to power a global rollout of online video services.

CWI, Cable and Wireless's international telecom business, will use Move Networks technology to deliver online video services in 38 countries worldwide. The deal will enable CWI to offer multichannel video services to customers through their existing ADSL broadband connections without the need for building out local IPTV infrastructure.

The new IPTV service will be offered to more than 7 million customers to whom CWI already provides fixed-line, broadband, and mobile services, and will be available through existing broadband connections. The service will include linear programming, a network digital video recorder (DVR) function, as well as the ability to pause and rewind live and on-demand video streams.

Move Networks will handle the middleware, content management, conditional access, and backend systems for the CWI IPTV rollout. But most importantly, it will provide adaptive bit-rate technology that will enable CWI to provide a high-quality video experience regardless of the local network conditions.

Move's technology works by adapting to changing network conditions, seamlessly increasing or decreasing the bit rate of a video stream to ensure the highest quality experience to the end user. Because different markets that CWI serves will have different levels of broadband connectivity, using Move will allow the company to offer an optimized experience in all countries that it rolls the service out in.

The customer announcement comes nearly six months after Move closed on its acquisition of Inuk Networks Ltd., a virtual set-top box provider based in the U.K. That purchase signaled a shift in the company's strategy, from providing high-quality video distribution to media companies such as ABC Inc. and Fox Broadcasting Co. to selling technology to Internet service providers looking to offer their own online video services.

post #343 of 577

Apple's move to slash the price of one its Apple TV models and discontinue another lower capacity model have many scratching their heads. Monday morning the 40GB model of the Apple TV disappeared from U.S. retail locations and online. At the same time, the price of the 160GB version was slashed by one hundred dollars to $229 from $329.........
post #344 of 577
Thread Starter 
Zune Offers HD, Rentals and Purchases Through Zune Marketplace

Microsoft has updated its answer to the iPod, the Zune, with an HD touchscreen media player, an update to the Zune PC software, and the ability to buy or rent movies through the Zune Marketplace online store.

The Zune HD, priced at $219.99 for the black 16GB version, $289.99 for the platinum 32GB version, allows for storage and playback in 720p HD video and can connect to an HDTV using the Zune HD AV dock accessory.

The Zune 4.0 software allows users to rent movies for approximately $6 (480 Microsoft Points) for new-release high-definition movies, $4 (320 Microsoft Points) for new-release standard-definition movies, $4.50 (360 Microsoft Points) for library HD movies and $3 (240 Microsoft Points) for library SD movies. Movie downloads cost $19.99 (1,600 Microsoft Points) for new-release HD titles, $14.99 (1,200 Microsoft Points) for new-release SD titles, $17.99 (1,440 Microsoft Points) for library HD titles and $17.99 (1,440 Microsoft Points) for library HD titles.

TV episodes will cost $2.99 (240 Microsoft Points) for HD and $1.99 (160 Microsoft Points) for SD. Meanwhile, a new streaming music service for $14.99 a month allows users to stream songs and albums from Zune.net.

With today's announcement, the Zune business is growing into a comprehensive entertainment service that's no longer tied to any one screen or device, said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate VP of the TV, video and music business at Microsoft. Zune lets consumers connect to their music, TV shows and movie content and enjoy it on the three screens they use every day.

Zune video also will be available to Xbox Live users later this fall.
post #345 of 577
Thread Starter 
Netflix expands digital inventory by about 40%


SEPT. 14 | DIGITAL: Netflix has finally confirmed what industry observers have been saying all alongthat the company has more than 12,000 titles available for video-streaming.

The largest U.S. movie-rental service via mail last week started posting on its Web site that more than 17,000 of its titles can be delivered digitally. Blog HackingNetflix.com reported the update last week.

Netflix, which is set to release third-quarter earnings next month, has been augmenting its DVD-by-mail service by expanding both the number of its digital titles and the number of electronic components that can play them on TVs. About a third of Netflix's new subscribers are previous customers who had canceled their subscriptions but were lured back largely by the expanded digital offering, Netflix chief financial officer Barry McCarthy said at a conference in New York last week.

Although Netflix has long pegged its digital inventory at about 12,000, HackingNetflix.com said as far back as April that the total was closer to 15,000. The company is able to maintain its profit margins while boosting investment in its streaming service because Netflix's widening customer base allows sales growth to keep pace with its increasing digital-content investment, McCarthy said.

Netflix in July forecast third-quarter earnings of about $25 million on sales of about $419 million, both representing a 23% increase from year-earlier results.
post #346 of 577
Thread Starter 
Genesys to mass produce USB 3.0 controllers in 1Q10


Genesys Logic is scheduled to start mass production of controller chips for USB 3.0 card readers, thumb drives and SATA2 bridge devices in the first quarter of 2010, according to company spokesperson Chin-Te Wang. The USB controller designer will be mainly outsourcing its USB 3.0 solutions to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

Genesys' next-generation USB controllers will be mass produced on a 0.13-micron process at TSMC, said Wang. The design house uses a 0.18-micron node to manufacture its USB 2.0 controller chips.

Genesys expects revenues generated from the new chips to become solid in 2010, when the USB 3.0 controller market starts taking off, Wang indicated. As for USB 2.0 solutions, the company estimated shipments for card readers used in PCs to grow significantly on quarter in the third quarter. Gross margins for the third and fourth quarter are likely to remain at 35-38%, Wang added.

Genesys saw a 37.71% gross margin in the second quarter, compared to 37.62% in the prior quarter and 34.27% a year ago.

In other news, a recent research by In-Stat suggests that SuperSpeed USB, known as USB 3.0, will see broad adoption across a range of PC and PC peripherals over the next several years.

The technology will be targeted initially at devices requiring high data transfer rates and large data stores such as external hard disk drives (HDDs) and flash drives, and other likely applications including portable media players (PMPs), LCD PC monitors and digital still cameras (DSCs). In-Stat projects SuperSpeed USB will represent over 25% of the USB market by 2013, with initial adoption to emerge in 2010.

USB 'SuperSpeed' 3.0 logos to appear on certified devices



USB 3.0 is actually designed to handle transfers of up to 5 Gbit/sec, a huge increase in throughput when compared to the 480 Mbit/sec limit seen with USB 2.0. As an example, a 25 GB HD movie would take 13.9 minutes to transport over a USB 2.0 connection, just 70 seconds over a USB 3.0 connection.
post #347 of 577
Thread Starter 
I don't know when this went live, but the The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) has a web site. Nothing on it yet, but I am hoping there will be something of substance sooner rather than later (or never).



There’s an exciting new way to buy, access, and play digital entertainment. Developed by DECE, a consortium of some of the world’s top media companies, this system will provide a revolutionary new way to enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows.

In the coming months on this evolving website, we’ll provide an exclusive look at how this new approach works. Come back soon to learn how this groundbreaking technology will dramatically change how we experience digital entertainment.

DECE founding members include: Alcatel Lucent, Best Buy, Cisco, Comcast Corporation, Deluxe Digital, Fox Entertainment Group, HP, Intel, Lionsgate, Microsoft Corporation, NBC Universal, Panasonic, Paramount Pictures, Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung, Sony Corporation, Toshiba, VeriSign Inc., and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Disney and Apple are noticably absent.
post #348 of 577
Thread Starter 
Remember USB 3.0 from 2 posts back? Looks like USB/Firewire II is breaking out.

Intel's Light Peak: One PC cable to rule them all

SAN FRANCISCO--Intel unveiled technology called Light Peak that it hopes ultimately will replace the profusion of different cables sprouting from today's PCs with a single type of fiber-optic link.

Dadi Perlmutter, the newly promoted co-general manager of Intel's Architecture Group, demonstrated Light Peak at the Intel Developer Forum here and said components for the technology, though not Light Peak-enabled PCs, will be ready in 2010.

"We hope to see one single cable," Perlmutter said, adding that one thing getting in the way of smaller laptops is the profusion of cable ports around the systems' edges.

This prototype PC has the Light Peak controller and optical connector that sends signals down a single white optical cable.

In a demonstration, Perlmutter showed a PC connected to a monitor across the stage showing high-definition video sent over a Light Peak optical cable. The cable can be as long as 100 meters and can carry data at 10 gigabits per second in both directions simultaneously, though Intel expects it will reach 100 gigabits per second in the next decade, said Jason Ziller, Intel's director of optical input-ouput program office, in an interview.

The company envisions Light Peak as a replacement for the cables that currently lead to monitors, external drives, scanners, and just about anything else that plugs in to a computer. A PC could have a number of Light Peak ports for different devices, or a connection could lead to a hub--perhaps an external monitor--with multiple connections of its own, Ziller said.

It's not clear how much the technology will cost or how many years it will take to become mainstream. And wireless communication technology--Intel itself has promoted Ultra-Wideband (UWB) for years--offers the attraction of getting rid of some cables altogether.

More on Light Peak HERE:

Intel's aspirations and allies

Intel's hope for Light Peak is to create a single connection for video, storage devices, the network, printers, Webcams, and anything else that plugs into a PC. Light Peak uses circuitry that can juggle multiple communication protocols at the same time, and the Light Peak promise is for a universal connector to replace today's incompatible sockets for USB, FireWire, DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI. It's a hot-plug technology, meaning that devices can be linked when they're up and running.

Intel has pre-production chips and said the technology will be ready to ship in 2010. In its current form, Light Peak can transfer data at 10Gbps each direction along the fiber optic line, but Intel said Light Peak will reach much higher speeds--100Gbps in the next decade, according to Jason Ziller, director of Intel's optical input-output program office.

The Sony endorsement is important, because the company sells PCs, music players, cameras, video cameras, and Blu-ray players. But another company at least as significant had a quieter Light Peak appearance at the Intel show: Apple.

More on Light Peak Alliance:

Exclusive: Apple dictated Light Peak creation to Intel, could begin migration from other standards as early as 2010

Remember how Intel showed off its new, advanced optical standard -- Light Peak -- this past week on a Hackintosh? Well it turns out there's more to that story than you probably know, and it all leads back to some revealing facts about the connection... literally and figuratively. Engadget has learned -- thanks to an extremely reliable source -- that not only is Apple complicit in the development of Light Peak, but the company actually brought the concept to Intel and asked them to create it. More to the point, the new standard will play a hugely important role in upcoming products from Cupertino.

So we have a 100% backward compatible but not quite as capable, copper based, USB 3.0 backed by a broad industry base vs. a more capable, 0% backward compatible, optical based solution backed by Apple, Intel, and Sony. Have I got that right?
post #349 of 577

Google Web sites, including YouTube, extended their online video popularity as companies such as Viacom, Microsoft and Fox Interactive saw their Web video market share fall over the past couple months.

About 40% of August's online videos were streamed from Google sites, up from 39% in June, ComScore said in a report today. With YouTube representing all but 1% of its online videos, Google streamed its 10 billionth video last month, while its 25.4 million videos streamed marked a 30% jump from June, according to ComScore.

YouTube has been steadily gaining viewers since April, when the company said it would start offering free full-length movies and TV shows on its site after it reached deals with content providers such as Sony, Lionsgate and Starz.

Meanwhile, Microsoft, Fox Interactive and Hulu, the long-form video site launched last year by News Corp. and NBC Universal, each accounted for about 2% of online videos shown last month, ComScore said. While Hulu's market share remained steady, Viacom's and Fox Interactive's both fell from about 4% in June, according to ComScore.

Overall, U.S. online video sites attracted 161.1 million unique viewers last month, up 2.5% from June, while the duration of the typical online video, at 3.7 minutes, was the same as June.

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Big Ten Network, the cable sports joint venture between Fox Cable Networks and the Big Ten Conference, has selected Comcast subsidiary thePlatform to manage and publish its online video assets.

Seattle-based thePlatform will use its "media publishing system" to provide centralized back-end management support to Big Ten Network for two major Web video initiatives: the "Big Ten Ticket," an international streaming package that will offer live and on-demand game coverage; and regular webcasts aimed at North American audiences.

"We are expanding our online video efforts to serve the fans of the Big Ten Network worldwide," said Michael Calderon, director of new media for Big Ten Network, in a statement. "thePlatform has a proven history of managing large and complex video offerings for many leading content companies, and we believe their system gives us the flexibility, scalability, and ability to monetize video in the way that we need."

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Thread Starter 
SD Association Offers Exclusive Glimpse into Technology Behind SDXC Memory Card Standard at CEATEC 2009


SAN RAMON, Calif. --(Business Wire)-- The SD Association (News - Alert) will lead the first public technical discussion of its next-generation SDXC memory card specification at CEATEC 2009 on Oct. 7. The SDXC memory card specification, released in April to members, dramatically improves consumers' digital lifestyles by providing massive portable storage and incredible speed in the same familiar family of card shapes, sizes and interfaces used by millions of people around the world. SD memory cards are the world's most popular storage card and this presentation offers CEATEC attendees a rare glimpse into SD standards normally only available to members of the SD Association.

Hiroyuki Sakamoto, SD Association Technical Committee co-chairman, will present "Next Generation SD Memory Card" at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Conference Room in Hall 5. The new SDXC specification provides up to 2 terabytes storage capacity and accelerates SD interface read/write speeds up to 104 megabytes per second for the first phase. The SD Association will have a road map for data transfer bus interface speed up to 300 megabytes per second in the coming months.

"The SDXC memory card specification creates innovative content and media opportunities for manufacturers and service providers and transcends removable memory's traditional role in consumer electronics strategies," said James Taylor, president of the Alliance. "At CEATEC, we'll reveal the SDXC memory card specification from the perspectives of memory card and device manufacturers and users. We'll also look at the many benefits and opportunities manufacturers and service providers win by implementing this new technology." To register for CEATEC and attend the "Next Generation SD Memory Card" session, visit http://www.ceatec.com/2009/en/visitor/admission.html.

The SDXC memory card specification provides the portable storage and speed needed to store weeks of high-definition video, years of photo collections and months of music. It can be used in mobile phones, cameras, camcorders and other consumer electronic devices. The SDXC specification will also be used in business-to-business applications such as industrial, automotive, healthcare and more. Conventional SDHC, Embedded SD and SDIO specifications will also benefit from the new SD interface speeds.

SDXC is an interoperable standard available only to SD Association members. Additionally, a members-only Developers Conference on the SDXC memory card specification, including Supplementary Notes for SD 3.00, Mechanical 3.00, SDIO 3.00, and SD Host Controller 3.00, will be held at the SD Association 2009 Fall General Assembly Meeting in Shanghai on Oct. 15-16. Any organizations interested in an insider's look and access to the SDXC specification should join the Association. Visit http://www.sdcard.org/developers/join/ to apply.

SD Association The SD Association is a global ecosystem of more than 1,100 technology companies charged with setting interoperable SD standards. The Association encourages the development of consumer electronic, wireless communication, digital imaging and networking products that utilize market-leading SD technology. The SD standard is the number one choice for consumers and has earned nearly 80 percent of the memory card market with its reliable interoperability and its easy-to-use format. Today, mobile phones, Blu-ray players, HDTVs, audio players, automotive multimedia systems, handheld PCs, cameras and camcorders feature SD interoperability. For more information about the Association or to join, please visit www.sdcard.org.
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Thread Starter 
Nokia, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba team up on mobile HDMI


Top consumer electronics companies have revealed they are teaming up to effectively create a mobile, or mini, version of the HDMI port for portable devices and phones.

Nokia, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba have all announced they are working with Silicon Image to form the Mobile High-Definition Interface Working Group.

The group will go on to create an industry standard for an audio/video interface to connect mobile phones or other portable devices directly to high-definition televisions and displays.

The new standard will be based on Silicon Image's "Mobile High-Definition Link" tech and will be offered as an industry standard open to all companies. The aim is for the standard to be easy and cost effective for manufacturers and simple and reliable for consumers.

Silicon Image says "a single-cable with a low pin count interface will be able to support up to 1080p high-definition digital video and HD audio in addition to delivering power to a portable device".

You can be sure it will be a while before anything is finalised, but we will keep you posted.
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Thread Starter 
DIGITAL: Star Trek, Half-Blood Prince in holiday SD card tests


OCT. 2 | DIGITAL: Digital movie kiosk company MOD Systems will begin rolling out kiosks with films from Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures and Anchor Bay through a national retailer in the next month as part of a pilot test, CEO Anthony Bay told Video Business.

Bay said test kiosks should be in stores by Nov. 15, though he wouldn't give many other details. Consumers will be able to visit the kiosks, search and download films to an SD card, the same cards used to store digital photos on digital cameras. The cards can be placed in SD card slots found on some TVs, PCs, DVD players, mobile phones and other devices for movie playback.

Consumers will be able to download some of the biggest fourth-quarter releases, including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Star Trek, on the same day those films are available for download on iTunes. Major films typically are available as a download-to-own purchase on the same day as their DVD release, though digital rentals are available during a film's video-on-demand window, which usually falls after DVD.

Shoppers will be able to select films on the touch-screen kiosks on their own, but a store employee will be nearby to answer any questions, Bay said.

MOD Systems has tested kiosks in stores before, offering music downloads through pilot locations in Best Buy and Circuit City stores.

MOD, Polar Frog and other companies have been trying to launch digital movie kiosks for the last few years, mostly unsuccessfully. Until last year, most companies were focused on kiosks that would offer downloads burned to DVD. But no studios signed up.

Last year, MOD partnered with Toshiba and NCR, both of which invested $35 million in MOD, and reconfigured its kiosks to download to SD cards rather than DVD. SD card slots are already found in a number of devices, and Toshiba has said it plans to include SD card slots in TVs, DVD players and other devices.

Bay said MOD expects to offer movies from additional studios and indies by the end of the year.
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Thread Starter 
Studios adjust to digital distribution


A movie used to enjoy a second life on DVD. Now that has exploded into third, fourth, fifth and more lives on digital platforms as studios adjust to the new ways people watch movies outside of theaters.

In addition to slotting discs into traditional DVD players, average Joes and Janes are now downloading or streaming entertainment to PCs, gaming consoles, iPods and other portable devices. To capture that emerging business, studios must distribute movies to dozens of new digital retailers that were virtually unheard of just a few years back, including Xbox Live, PlayStation Store and Amazon Video on Demand.

A single movie can be offered in as many as 250 digital formats worldwide to accommodate the various video resolutions and encoding guidelines of these digital retailers.

Faced with such new responsibilities, studios are changing business models to better cater to digital. Today, many titles launch on cable/satellite video-on-demand, Web-based download sell-through/rental services and physical DVD simultaneously. Historically, studios would give DVD a head start on store shelves, thinking that's where consumers go most.

"We know that consumers are changing their patterns from one platform to another. And we don't want to lose that consumer," says Steve Nickerson, president of Summit Home Entertainment. "If you don't offer it at the same time, you risk losing the sale."

Since its launch two years ago, Summit has rolled out its titles to nearly all available digital services day-and-date with their DVD bow.

Many other studios do continue to impose about a weeks-long window between DVD street and cable/satellite VOD, in the hopes of promoting the more valuable sale over rental transaction. But even that is disappearing as studios are chasing the increasingly digital consumer.

In fact, Warner Home Video decided to street "Observe and Report" and "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" to certain cable/satellite providers several days before their September DVD releases.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment began launching select titles day-and-date with VOD this year, starting with August release "Obsessed."

"It's much more beneficial if the consumer buys content (instead of) renting content," says Sean Carey, SPHE exec VP digital distribution. "That being said, we do feel that, for some titles, moving the VOD date to the same day as sell-through can grow (the business)."

Download sales are also rising in prominence at Sony, where more than 3% of home entertainment revenues for "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist" came from iTunes transactions.

"This is still a small portion of the home entertainment pie, but digital is becoming an increasingly significant portion," Carey adds.

With the help of the Entertainment Technology Center, studios are engineering an interoperable digital master format (IMF) to further boost their digital businesses. Studios would seriously simplify -- and save money on -- the distribution process with one movie file, instead of 250, that could be delivered to fit most digital retailers.

Based at the U. of Southern California, the ETC has been overseeing regular studio meetings toward this IMF goal. The ETC expects to create a master specification by early 2010, having already completed more than half the work by September.

"We have an outline for all the necessary components required to make the IMF work," says David Wertheimer, ETC executive director. "We are all pleased with the progress. Everyone wants more efficiency in the system. This will definitely take what is now a highly people-intensive, manual process into something that is automatic, predictable and reliable. Studios want to make it easier to get content out as broadly as possible to as many companies that provide digital entertainment."

250 different digital formats?

Nice planning.
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Thread Starter 
Mobile digital TV nears


Mobile digital television is a step closer to reality, boosting the hopes of TV stations that they'll soon be able to generate new revenue by beaming their signals directly to cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices.

On Friday, mobile TV cleared a key technical hurdle when the Advanced Television Systems Committee approved a single mobile telecasting standard that stations can use. The ATSC's decision eliminates the possibility of a format war breaking out a la Betamax vs. VHS or HD DVD vs. Blu-ray.

Obstacles still remain, however, before a business can emerge. Broadcasters have yet to persuade content providers, handset makers and mobile carriers to make products and services available for the new technology.

National Assn. of Broadcasters exec veep Dennis Wharton said public demand will make this happen. "Say you're a sports fan at a college football game, and another game that's really important to you is on at same time," he said. "While I'm watching my team live in the stadium, I'll want to be watching the other team on a handheld portable device."

With the technical issues largely settled, broadcasters said they're now focused on figuring out how to make a business out of mobile TV.

"It's good to have this milestone behind us so we can now turn our attention to working with the content community and put the technology to work from a business-model perspective," said Brandon Burgess, CEO of station group Ion Media Networks, who's also prexy of the Open Mobile Video Coalition, the 800-station group advocating mobile DTV.

According to Burgess, two key manufacturers of mobile devices -- LG and Samsung -- are already onboard to produce mobile TV-ready equipment. The next big challenge for stations is to work with mobile service providers.

"It will take some time to get agreements with the Verizons and AT&Ts of this world," Wharton agreed, "but we'll be moving aggressively."

The cost of setting up mobile services is not an obstacle -- it ranges in the low six figures per station -- because broadcasters can use existing tower and transmission infrastructure. Most believe that the content will be largely local and ad-supported, contributing much-needed coin to the beleaguered TV station community.
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Thread Starter 
Disney Touts a Way to Ditch the DVD


Walt Disney Co. is close to unveiling technology that it says will enable entertainment companies to adapt their business models to a new reality in which consumers increasingly rely on computers and cell phones in place of DVD players and TVs.

The technology, code-named Keychest, could contribute to a shift in what it means for a consumer to own a movie or a TV show, by redefining ownership as access rights, not physical possession.

The technology would allow consumers to pay a single price for permanent access to a movie or TV show across multiple digital platforms and devicesfrom the Web, to mobile gadgets like iPhones and cable services that allow on-demand viewing. It could also facilitate other services such as online movie subscriptions.

The company has been quietly demonstrating Keychest for other movie studios and technology companies in a bid to get them to sign on. It plans to unveil the technology next month.

Keychest aims to address two of the biggest hurdles blocking widespread consumer adoption of movie downloads: the difficulty of playing a movie back on devices other than a PC or laptop, and limited storage space on those computers' hard drives.

As such, Keychest could put Disney on a collision course with an initiative, known as the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, or DECE, that has similar goals.

Keychest uses the same "cloud computing" logic that underlies Web-based applications, such as Google Docs, permitting users to store files and photographs on remote Internet servers and access them from anywhere, rather than keeping them on their own computers.

With Keychest, when a consumer buys a movie from a participating store, his accounts with other participating servicessuch as a mobile-phone provider or a video-on-demand cable servicewould be updated to show the title as available for viewing. The movies wouldn't be downloaded; rather, they would reside with each particular delivery company, such as the Internet service provider, cable company or phone company.

The rollout of the new technology comes at a critical juncture for the movie industry. DVD sales, once a financial mainstay for Hollywood, have fallen as much as 25% at some studios. Blu-ray discs and digital downloads from sites like Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store, haven't grown quickly enough to offset the losses. Blu-ray and downloads combined currently make up just 11% of home-video sales, according to industry estimates, with DVDs representing the other 89%. That proportion could grow to 20% next year.

The decline in DVD revenue has undermined the business model Hollywood has relied on for more than a decade. In Disney's most recent quarterly earnings report, its movie studio recorded an operating loss for the first time since 2005.

Bob Chapek, president of home entertainment at Disney Studios, says the company doesn't expect Keychest to deliver tangible financial results for five years. But he predicts that in combination with Blu-ray, digital distribution "should bring our category back up to a healthy state where we can expect growth in the future."

The company declined to name other companies that may have agreed to participate. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is Disney's largest shareholder, and people in the entertainment industry say it would be reasonable to infer that Apple would cooperate with such an initiative.

To be sure, other movie studios may be hesitant to put a competitor in charge of access to their content. And Keychest would allow movie studios to dictate how many devices, connected to which distribution networks, a given title can be played on. That could limit consumer choice and make the system confusing.

The competing DECE effort is being assembled by a consortium headed by Mitch Singer, the chief technology officer of Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Entertainment. DECE, announced just over a year ago, includes five major Hollywood studios, plus tech companies like Comcast Corp. and Intel Corp.

Disney and Apple have been notably absent from that group.

Disney executives concede that the Keychest and DECE have similar goals. But they argue their effort represents a more streamlined approach. Instead of designing a new set of standards and formats, as DECE is trying to do, and having participants sign on, Keychest works using a combination of digital file formats that are already common, and recognized by a wide range of existing devices.

Disney executives insist that movie studios, cable companies and Internet service providers who participate in DECE could also use the new Keychest platform. Neither DECE nor Keychest has set a date for when the service would be available.

With Keychest, when a consumer buys a movie from a participating digital-download store, his accounts with other participating services - such as a mobile-phone provider and a video-on-demand cable servicewould be instantly updated to show the title as available for viewing.

The Keychest process is enabled by a system that generates a unique "key" when the movie is purchased, then stores that key in a repository. Other distribution services that are Keychest participants automatically query that repository and learn what movies the consumer has paid for.

Movies bought on discs, whether DVD or Blu-ray, could also generate an access key. In the case of a DVD, the user would need to manually type in a code; Blu-ray players are designed to connect to the Internet, and could send codes automatically.

The idea is that if numerous content and hardware companies sign on to Keychest, users could have easy access to a library of movies without toting around discs or data files.

In theory, even if an online entertainment company went out of business, taking down a user's entire movie library in the process, that user would still have access to the same titles via other services.

"Our vision for the future is that consumers won't have to think about where they bought [a movie], how they bought it, or when they bought it," says Mr. Chapek.
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Thread Starter 
NCR Launches Most Secure, Highest Capacity Outdoor DVD-Rental Kiosk in Industry


The SelfServ Entertainment 2381 features the latest self-service technology from NCR, including a 19 touchscreen display that is specially designed for viewing in sunlight. An optional 26 LCD screen at the top of the unit can be used as digital signage for inventory promotion or brand advertising, and all units are fitted with ATM-grade anti-skimming magnetic stripe reader (MSR) to help prevent fraud. Beyond these standard features, the SelfServ Entertainment 2381 is built with the future in mind, as its flexible architecture enables NCR to easily upgrade units with new technologies when they are ready to be deployed - such as the digital download of video files and a barcode scanner for age verification using drivers licenses.

Each day, consumers around the world conduct more than 60 million transactions on NCR devices, making us the global leader in self-service technology. We've used our knowledge of consumer self-service technology to make the SelfServ Entertainment 2381 the most secure and the highest-capacity outdoor kiosk on the market, said Alex Camara, vice president and general manager, NCR Entertainment. This new technology will enable us to work with even more partners as we roll out our BLOCKBUSTER Express-branded DVD-rental kiosks to new locations, including convenience stores and gas stations. Consumers will benefit from easier access to their favorite new release and classic DVDs in accessible, 24-hour locations.

NCR expects to invest as much as $60 million in 2009 to build out its DVD-rental kiosk operations. The company expects to deploy more than 2,500 kiosks in 2009 for a total of 10,000 kiosks by mid-year 2010.
post #358 of 577
Thread Starter 
Microsoft wows Windows 7 crowd with Internet TV


While most of the Windows 7 features demo'd at today's New York City launch were already known about far and wide, Microsoft surprised a lot of the crowd with Internet TV, a streaming media capability that just might some day spur consumers to ditch pricey cable TV services like Time Warner and Cablevision.

Internet TV lets you stream video and audio programming directly into Windows 7 Media Center, without the hassles of going to myriad Web sites and downloading multiple players, said Microsoft rep Brian Yee, in an interview with Betanews at the Microsoft bash.

Actually, Internet TV has been under development at Microsoft since way back in September of 2007. Netflix started showing up as a Media Center partner in January of this year, and was soon streaming some of movies into the Vista version. In May, Internet TV for Media Center officially entered beta 2. With today's release of Windows 7, though, the feature finally leaves beta testing behind.

In demos today after company CEO Steve Ballmer's keynote, Microsoft showed Internet TV working together with Play To, a new function in Windows 7 that uses the DLNA 1.5 protocol to send streaming content from a PC to other home-networked devices.

Microsoft representative Brian Yee demonstrates Internet TV for Windows Media Center in Windows 7, during the big rollout event in New York City, October 22, 2009. [Photo credit: Jacqueline Emigh, Betanews]

Sitting on a couch set up in a mock "living room," Yee clicked on icons in a Windows 7-enabled Acer laptop to beam videos from services like Netflix, MSN, and sundry CBS Audience Network properties to an HDTV from LG and two D-Link digital photo frames. He also sent tunes streamed in from Microsoft's Full Zune Podcast Library to a remote audio system a few feet further away.

As for Netflix, Internet TV only works with those movies marked as streaming-enabled.

The CBS Audience Network videos -- consisting of current TV shows, CBS Classics, short clips, and "Web originals" -- are available in the US only, whereas Sky Network content is available in the UK only, said Yee.

"But we're also really interested in Internet TV partnerships with other entertainment content providers," noted the Microsoft rep.
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Thread Starter 
Comcast prepares to launch online video player


Comcast Corp. says it has developed an online video player that gives viewers a TV experience on the Internet, and the cable giant intends to put shows and movies from 24 cable networks online by the end of 2009.

But it won't be free, which is what most people have come to expect of content on the Internet.

Comcast cable customers - about 24 million in the United States - will have sole access to the cable TV fare through an online password and authentification process that references Comcast customers' billing records.

About 5,000 Comcast cable customers tested On Demand Online this summer. Comcast says it will expand the service, which customers will use through the Fancast.com and Comcast.net Web sites, to all its subscribers by Jan. 1. The company will e-mail customers to tell them when the service goes live.

Comcast chief executive officer Brian L. Roberts yesterday updated the media and industry officials on the new service at the Web Summit 2.0 gathering of technology executives in San Francisco.

In Philadelphia, Comcast executives discussed the project, which was initially announced in June with Time Warner Inc. and was called at that time TV Everywhere. "All the metrics are good, and we are just getting started," said Madison Bond, Comcast's executive vice president of content acquisition.

Comcast has negotiated deals with content providers to make the entertainment available on the Internet. Those participating include Time Warner, Starz, CBS, and the Discovery Channel. Bond said that Comcast was still securing programming rights for additional cable TV and movie content for the Internet.

Comcast views On Demand Online as an extension of a cable package for customers and allows entertainment companies new sources of online advertising. Bond declined to discuss programming deals.

Alix Cottrell, vice president at Fancast.com, said Comcast developed the online video player with an outside firm.

Through a special bit-streaming technology, the player smooths out the jerky movements of other online players by slightly altering the brightness of the TV picture when there are problems with Internet speeds.

Executives in the cable industry fear that if they do not move quickly to put more entertainment and news online, hackers could begin posting pirated entertainment and news on the Internet and undercut the cable TV business model - which is what happened to the music industry.

Comcast executives also are vehement about not putting entertainment and news online for free.

With On Demand Online, Comcast customers view only those cable TV networks in their individual cable TV packages. Thus, customers who purchase HBO or Cinemax on their cable TV can view HBO and Cinemax on their computer. But if they do not purchase HBO or Cinemax in their Comcast cable package, they cannot get it online.

Comcast's project to exploit the Internet comes as Wall Street analysts are speculating how cable companies will deal with Internet video. The big threat is that customers will cancel their cable TV service, although cable executives and others say they believe online video can be complementary to cable TV services and boost revenue through new advertising.

Industry experts have said that online video may be one reason that Comcast is negotiating to purchase NBC Universal Inc., one of the nation's largest movie and TV studios.

Comcast is in advanced talks with General Electric Co. to acquire a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal. The deal includes provisions for Comcast's eventually buying all of NBC Universal.

By owning the Hollywood entertainment, Comcast can control the flow of entertainment to the Internet, some contend.

Comcast says TV-over-the-Net getting high marks in testing


Comcast Corp. has increased to 7,000 from 5,000 the number of customers testing the TV-over-the-Net service it plans to roll out by the start of next year.

The company's head honcho, Brian Roberts, showed off the service, which Comcast calls On Demand Online, at the Web 2.0 technology conference in San Francisco earlier this week.

The service allows customers to use computers to view on-demand programming from channels to which they subscribe.

That means Comcast customers who get HBO can use it to watch all the movies, shows and other programs available on demand from HBO on their computers as well as their TV sets.

Comcast said 90 percent of the people testing the service say they really like it and that the average time they spend viewing a video available through the service is 21 minutes.

Channels available through the service include HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Encore, CBS, TNT, TBS, E!, the Style Network, G4 and Fearnet.
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Thread Starter 
Sony PS3 Will Get Netflix Streaming Next Month


Netflix's movie and TV streaming service will become available for Sony's PS3
videogame console, the companies announced. The PS3 is now the only videogame console that plays Blu-ray discs and Netflix streams.

But there's a twist: PS3 users will initially need to run a (free) Blu-ray disc to play online movies. From Netflix:

Initially, watching movies instantly streamed from Netflix via the PS3 system will be enabled by a free, instant streaming Blu-ray disc that is being made available to all Netflix members. The free instant streaming disc leverages Blu-ray's BD-Live technology to access the Internet and activate the Netflix user interface on the PS3 system, which must be online via Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

Netflix members simply slide the disc into their PS3 systems to reveal movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly. ... Netflix members and PS3 system owners can now reserve a free instant streaming disc for PS3 systems by going to www.netflix.com/ps3. Upon availability, the instant streaming disc will be delivered for free by first-class mail, generally one business day after members request it.

Great news for both companies: The PS3 is finally selling, and could provide new subscribers (and lower churn) for Netflix. (Sony has sold about 9 million PS3s; Netflix has about 11 million subs.) In September, the PS3 outsold the Xbox and Wii in the U.S., according to NPD Group. And now it gets another great feature.

This ends Microsoft's exclusive with Netflix: While Netflix's streaming service is now available for a handful of devices, the Xbox 360 had previously been the exclusive videogame gadget.

And unlike the Xbox-Netflix tie-up, which requires an Xbox Live subscription, the Netflix add-on will be free for PS3 owners.
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