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Latest Video Download Services & Hardware News - Page 14

post #391 of 577
Thread Starter 
CinemaNow 2.0: 3D, 1080p, Android & WinMo get a taste of online movie distribution

Thought digital delivery would get left behind in the jump to 3D? Roxio's CinemaNow 2.0 platform is ready to build on the success of its predecessor -- already embedded in many devices and powering the online stores for Blockbuster, Best Buy and Zip.ca -- and flip the switch bringing streamed or downloaded 1080p or 3D, plus the ability to add additional background info on each movie or previously disc-exclusive extras like multiple audio tracks, subtitles and more. Also new for 2.0 are plans for access on Android and Windows Mobile devices. We're still thinking a combo of lower prices, all you can eat subscriptions or a disc tie-in is the logical next step, but we'll wait for a CES demo to ask about that, and whether the new features will be backwards compatible on old hardware.
post #392 of 577

Kiosk company MOD Systems, which began testing the first digital movie kiosks with major studio content in early November, announced today that it will now support playback of those downloaded movies on virtually all PCs and in the future on Blu-ray Disc players, TVs and other consumer electronic devices with SD card slots.

The kiosks from MOD and partner NCR offer movie downloads from Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures to SD cards, the same cards used in digital cameras to store photos.

Up to now, those downloads could only be played back on the TV through an MOD SD card set-top device, called GreenPlay.

With MOD now supporting playback on PCs, consumers who have computers with an SD card drive can slip an SD card into the slot and immediately playback an MOD download. No additional software is needed for playback. For PCs without an SD card slot, MOD will sell a SD-to-USB converter, which can be plugged into a PCs' USB drive for immediate playback of downloaded films.

Retailers are expected to sell the cards and the converters by the kiosks. Pricing will vary by retailer, but MOD chairman and CEO Anthony Bay said the intention is to make it as inexpensive as possible.

post #393 of 577
Thread Starter 
PlayStation Network Video Store Coming to PC, Bravia TVs, Blu-Ray Players Next Month


The PlayStation Network video store will soon expand to other household devices, Sony has announced at CES, starting with PCs, Blu-Ray players and Bravia-model televisions.

"Hundreds of movies from all major studios will be available to be streamed in standard definition and high definition directly to Internet-enabled Bravia and Blu-Ray devices in the United States starting next month," revealed Sony Networked Products president Kaz Hirai during the company's keynote speech.

"This premium video service will also be available on... any Windows-enabled PCs also starting next month. On this platform, standard definition movies can be downloaded and viewed on your PC and the service will be available initially in six countries."

The other initial five countries should be Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Spain, the only other countries currently with PSN Store video content--though Hirai noted Sony has "plans to add more countries later this year."

"It's time to harness the power of the PlayStation Network infrastructure and leverage the Network experience across new product platforms," said Hirai, explaining that the new video service will use existing PSN accounts and Wallets. He also revealed plans to "create a common user experience across all of our product lines."
post #394 of 577
Thread Starter 
NetFlix Hooks Up With Blu-Ray, HDTV OEMs at CES


LAS VEGAS -- Netflix on Thursday announced a series of distribution deals with five major electronics manufacturers ensure the next generation of Blu-ray disc players and HDTVs will be embedded with its streaming service for movies and TV episodes.

Netflix made the pacts official here during the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. Now Netflix's streaming service can be found on more than 100 different consumer electronics devices including Microsoft's Xbox and TVs and gaming consules made by the likes of LG, Samsung, Sony and TiVo.

The quintet of new partners includes Funai, which distributes the Philips, Magnavox, Sylvania and Emerson brands in the United States; Panasonic; Sanyo; Sharp and Toshiba.

"Ever since Netflix began instantly streaming movies and TV episodes to personal computers in January 2007 we've said we want to be ubiquitous on whatever device gets the Internet to the TV," said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. "The important companies and brands we've announced today join a roster of world-class CE companies that have partnered with Netflix."

Netflix claims to have more than 11 million subscribers, most of whom are paying $8.99 a month for an unlimited supply of movies and TV shows delivered either through the mail or via an electronic devices embedded with its streaming service.
post #395 of 577
Thread Starter 
Video: Mod Systems demonstrates SD Card kiosk.

post #396 of 577
Thread Starter 
Neustar gets deal to work on movie download anti-piracy system


A Sterling-based company has been tapped by a consortium of Hollywood studios and technology companies to manage a database that would limit piracy while giving consumers the ability to watch downloaded video content on a variety of gadgets and devices.

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem announced this month that Neustar, formerly a division of Lockheed Martin, will operate an upcoming "digital rights locker" system, designed to let users who legally purchase movies online view that content on smartphones, laptops or the living room TV.

The DECE technology, which is in the design stage, aims to give consumers more flexibility with the content they purchase while still employing digital rights management tools designed to discourage piracy. "Buy Once, Play Anywhere" is the marketing pitch; a launch date has not been announced.

The technology is meant to address a market in which consumers are increasingly expecting their electronic devices to connect with multimedia services. Nintendo, for example, announced on Wednesday that it will soon be possible for Wii owners with a Netflix subscription to view movies streamed via the Web to the game console.

Neustar was created as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, when consumers gained the right to take their telephone number with them if they switched carriers. The firm manages the central directory of area codes and phone numbers that make calls made across competing service providers possible.

"This is actually right in our sweet spot," Lisa Hook, Neustar's president and chief operating officer, said of the DECE deal. "Our core business is managing complex ecosystems around portability."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company is in a quiet period that prohibits it from disclosing details about the new business, but at least one analyst said she thinks the deal will not contribute greatly to the company's bottom line.

Katherine Egbert, an industry analyst with Jefferies & Co., downgraded her rating of the company from "hold" to "underperform" last year, and news of the DECE deal wasn't enough for her to reconsider her rating. "There's probably not a lot of money in it, is my guess," she said.

Most of Neustar's revenues are fixed by its number portability contract, she said -- and the terms of that contract were revised in a way that was slightly unfavorable to the company last year.

For the third quarter, Neustar reported revenue of $117.2 million, a 5 percent decrease from $123.8 million a year earlier. Net income totaled $24.5 million, compared with $28.4 million a year earlier. Still, in the past year, Neustar's share price has climbed from under $20 to $24.

DECE counts most of the major movie studios as members, with the exception of Disney. Many powerful tech and retail players, such as Microsoft and Best Buy, are members -- though Apple, the company with the most success in the area of selling downloadable content, is not.

Mitch Singer, president of DECE, and Sony Pictures Entertainment's chief technology officer, said that downloaded movie content hasn't seen the "hockey stick growth" pattern generated by DVDs in their early days because consumers are waiting on a technology that simplifies the process. Currently, consumers are faced with a confusing market in which content can be hemmed in by proprietary tech standards, and a movie bought from one company's online store might not be compatible with a smartphone built by another.

"On the surface, it sounds fantastic," said Danielle Levitas, an analyst with IDC, of the DECE technology. But Levitas also wonders if consumers have already gotten used to devices that stream video content and don't necessarily require the type of ownership that Neustar's database would track. "I think the market is starting to move past ownership and is much more focused on rental now," she said. "There's a cultural shift around getting stuff 'on demand' and watching it once."

While Singer acknowledged that "time is not our friend" as DECE gets ready for the market, he does not count Neustar as one of his worries.

"We're very happy with the selection," he said. "Neustar came with a very solid team, both from a technical standpoint and a management standpoint."
post #397 of 577
Thread Starter 
In case you haven't heard (and I can't imagine how you haven't), Apple iPad launched today.



* 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
* 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
* Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
* Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously

Wireless and Cellular
Wi-Fi model

* Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
* Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology

Wi-Fi + 3G model

* UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
* GSM/EDGE (850, 900,1800, 1900 MHz)
* Data only2
* Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
* Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology

Audio Playback

* Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
* Audio formats supported: AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
* User-configurable maximum volume limit

TV and Video

* Support for 1024 x 768 with Dock Connector to VGA adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Composite A/V Cable, 576i and 480i with Apple Composite A/V Cable
* H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

post #398 of 577
Originally Posted by mikemorel View Post

In case you haven't heard (and I can't imagine how you haven't), Apple iPad launched today.

They appear to be showing that Star Trek movie cropped in a 4:3 aspect ratio.

- Tom
post #399 of 577
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by trbarry View Post

They appear to be showing that Star Trek movie cropped in a 4:3 aspect ratio.

- Tom

Yes - I was wondering why on earth they designed it at 4:3 instead of 16:9, but wasn't certain at the time of my post. That is just ridiculous.

Gizmodo has the counterpoint...

8 Things That Suck About the iPad


A lot of people at Gizmodo are psyched about the iPad. Not me! My god, am I underwhelmed by it. It has some absolutely backbreaking failures that will make buying one the last thing I would want to do. Updated

Big, Ugly Bezel
Have you seen the bezel on this thing?! It's huge! I know you don't want to accidentally input a command when your thumb is holding it, but come on.

No Multitasking
This is a backbreaker. If this is supposed to be a replacement for netbooks, how can it possibly not have multitasking? Are you saying I can't listen to Pandora while writing a document? I can't have my Twitter app open at the same time as my browser? I can't have AIM open at the same time as my email? Are you kidding me? This alone guarantees that I will not buy this product.

No Cameras
No front facing camera is one thing. But no back facing camera either? Why the hell not? I can't imagine what the downside was for including at least one camera. Could this thing not handle video iChat?

Touch Keyboard
So much for Apple revolutionizing tablet inputs; this is the same big, ugly touchscreen keyboard we've seen on other tablets, and unless you're lying on the couch with your knees propping it up, it'll be awkward to use.

Want to watch those nice HD videos you downloaded from iTunes on your TV? Too damned bad! If you were truly loyal, you'd just buy an AppleTV already.

The Name iPad
Get ready for Maxi pad jokes, and lots of 'em!

No Flash
No Flash is annoying but not a dealbreaker on the iPhone and iPod Touch. On something that's supposed to be closer to a netbook or laptop? It will leave huge, gaping holes in websites. I hope you don't care about streaming video! God knows not many casual internet users do. Oh wait, nevermind, they all do.

Adapters, Adapters, Adapters
So much for those smooth lines. If you want to plug anything into this, such as a digital camera, you need all sorts of ugly adapters. You need an adapter for USB for god's sake.

Update: Why stop at 8? Here are more things we are discovering that suck about the iPad.

It's Not Widescreen
Widescreen movies look lousy on this thing thanks to its 4:3 screen, according to Blam, who checked out some of Star Trek on one. It's like owning a 4:3 TV all over again!

Doesn't Support T-Mobile 3G
Sure, it's "unlocked." But it won't work on T-Mobile, and it uses microSIMs that literally no one else uses.

A Closed App Ecosystem
The iPad only runs apps from the App Store. The same App Store that is notorious for banning apps for no real reason, such as Google Voice. Sure, netbooks might not have touchscreens, but you can install whatever software you'd like on them. Want to run a different browser on your iPad? Too bad!

No HDMI either. An on-board SD slot would have been a no-brainer.

What were they thinking?
post #400 of 577
Originally Posted by mikemorel View Post

Yes - I was wondering why on earth they designed it at 4:3 instead of 16:9, but wasn't certain at the time of my post. That is just ridiculous.
No HDMI either. An on-board SD slot would have been a no-brainer.

What were they thinking?

Regarding recent MOD Systems news...I guess this hot new Apple device won't be working with MOD due to the SD card slot exclusion:

MOD Systems Announces Playback of Digital Movie and TV Downloads to SD Cards on PCs, Consumer Electronics, and Mobile Devices


No SD card = no MOD. Not that Apple would promote anything other than iTunes anyway. Though their apparently is a SD adapter for another $30 or so.

Big blow to mobile HD consumption, no? And to MOD? I thought viewing of HD content on mobile devices was the future? What's this 4:3 crap?
post #401 of 577
Thread Starter 
Wal-Mart Buys Vudu Movie Download Service


Electronic distribution of Hollywood movies took a step toward Main Street when Wal-Mart Stores reportedly acquired struggling movie download service Vudu.

Citing sources associated with the deal, The New York Times Feb. 22 reported that representatives from Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Vudu have begun meeting with studios and consumer electronics manufacturers regarding the deal.

A Vudu spokesperson said the former VOD set-top box service had no comment, but the company was working on an official response.

Merger talk was prompted earlier this year after Vudu announced it was moving away from a set-top box and repositioning itself as software app for third-party CE manufacturers, including Internet-based televisions, Blu-ray Disc players and related devices.

At this point, our future is entirely focused on embedded devices, Vudu spokesperson David Speiser said in January.

Wal-Mart in 2009 made an aggressive move to establish itself as major CE retailer following the demise of Circuit City, including reaching parity in the fourth quarter with Best Buy, according to analysts.

Best Buy is slated to bow an online content store featuring music and movies compatible with CE hardware this summer.

Independent analyst Rob Enderle said he envisions Wal-Mart using Vudu as a marketing tool to drive in-store traffic toward DVD and Blu-ray Disc, while generating ad-supported incremental streaming revenue.

Enderle believes Wal-Mart could re-create Netflix's popular streaming service and offer superior content due to its strong studio-supported physical sellthrough business.

This might make sense depending on how [Wal-Mart] marketed the service to consumers and studios, Enderle said earlier this year.

Analyst Michael Pachter, with Wedbush Morgan Securities in Los Angeles, remains nonplussed by the scuttlebutt considering Wal-Mart shuttered a movie download service just 10 months after launch in 2007. The retail behemoth's foray into online DVD rentals met a similar fate; its subscribers re-directed to Netflix.

I don't see how Wal-Mart ownership changes anything, Pachter said. Vudu is just like any other delivery service on a pay-per-view model, and I don't see how it is better or different because it's owned by Wal-Mart.
post #402 of 577
Thread Starter 
PS3 to Get More Movies as Sony Signs Deal With All Six Studios for Movie Streaming


Sony (SNE) just announced that 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros have all agreed to allow Sony to stream their movies over the PlayStation Network to users of the PS3. The service, which launched yesterday, is only available in the U.S. but will be expanded to consumers in U.K., France, Germany, and Spain.

The PlayStation Network is the first gaming console to offer high definition movies from all of the major movie studios and consumers will have the option to either buy or rent HD titles. There's no word as to how many titles the studios will make available or how quickly they will be added, but Sony did list 18 new movie releases in the press release from all six studios that are available today.

I've had the chance to jump on my PS3 system and rent some of the movies and the quality looks really good. While I can't tell the bitrates they are encoded at and am waiting for Sony to get back to me with a lot of the technical details, so far, I don't see anything here that consumers won't like. Pricing on the new titles I saw (see below) were $3.99 to rent in SD or $5.99 to rent in HD and $14.99 to own in SD or $19.99 to own in HD. I still think the price to own movies on all devices is too expensive and that most consumers will rent movies anyway and I expect that even rental prices will come down over time.

I'll post more details on the technical side of the streaming offering as soon as I get them from Sony.
post #403 of 577
'Independent analyst Rob Enderle said he envisions Wal-Mart using Vudu as a marketing tool to drive in-store traffic toward DVD and Blu-ray Disc, while generating ad-supported incremental streaming revenue.

Enderle believes Wal-Mart could re-create Netflix's popular streaming service and offer superior content due to its strong studio-supported physical sellthrough business.'

good healthy competition
post #404 of 577
Thread Starter 
Six Questions: MOD Systems' Anthony Bay


HM: With majority owner NCR actively rolling out Blockbuster Express kiosks, will MOD Systems incorporate its technology in these kiosks?

Bay: We will continue to deploy digital kiosks together with NCR. NCR is a shareholder in MOD Systems but not a majority owner. We initiated technical trials in Q4 2009 and commercial deployments will begin in Q2 of this year. We expect to install in multiple retailers this year. Our objective is to test the consumer adoption, use and buy rates in different classes of retail trade.
post #405 of 577
Thread Starter 


Soon, you may be able to buy a copy of The Hurt Locker from a retailer - and then access it from a "digital locker" through your cable company's video-ondemand service.

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, a coalition formed a year and a half ago, is establishing standards that would let consumers buy a piece of digital media once, and then play it back on different devices after logging into their account.

The digital proof-of-purchase is in the cloud, said Mitch Singer, president of DECE and Sony Pictures Entertainment's chief technology officer.


Primarily, the initiative is an effort by movie studios to replace the gaping hole left behind by falling DVD sales. DECE aims to standardize and streamline the digital supply chain for movie downloads, which has been a mish-mash of different formats and proprietary standards.

DECE has to happen, because you're talking about the disappearance of a multibillion-dollar business, said Brian Baker, CEO of content-protection vendor Widevine Technologies, which is a member of the coalition.

But DECE, which counts 48 member companies to date, also could open a door for new valueadded services for cable VOD products, according to industry executives. For example, an MSO could now start selling videos rather than just renting access to them which could be accessible on multiple devices through any DECE-enabled affiliate.

It's potentially a new business for cable operators, said Dave Brown, director of strategy and business development for Motorola's Broadband Home Solutions group. Now they can be a sales channel for electronic sellthrough.

A pay TV provider could also charge a monthly premium to allow subscribers to access the content in their personal DECE locker.

Already, Comcast, Cox Communications, Liberty Global and CableLabs are members of DECE. Individual operators, though, aren't ready to talk publicly about where they see the idea headed.

Cox manager of public relations Erin Lambremont said how DECE will play into future VOD offerings has yet to be fully determined, but suffice it to say we view these type initiatives as additive to and not replacements for VOD.

For DECE, the next major milestone involves completing its core technical specifications, including media format, as well as getting the centralized digital rights locker up and running.

After evaluating six providers, the coalition selected Sterling, Va.-based Neustar as the vendor for the digital rights locker, a network-based authentication service and account management hub that will authenticate users' right to view content from multiple services and on multiple devices.

Singer is hoping the rights locker from Neustar, which currently operates the directories for telephone-number portability in North America, will be ready to test later in 2010.

So far, DECE has agreed on a common file format and approved five digital rights management technologies for use with its spec: Adobe Systems' Flash Access, CMLA-OMA V2, the Marlin DRM open standard, Microsoft's PlayReady and Widevine.

Now, DECE is hammering out the specifics on its media format, which Singer said will be based on MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding H.264 with 128-bit encryption. There's a lot that needs to happen before we get into the market, Singer said.


One sticking point for DECE is that there are two notable holdouts: The Walt Disney Co. and Apple. Disney is developing a competing system, KeyChest, that would perform similar authentication for digital content, and Apple sells songs and videos in proprietary formats through the iTunes Store.

DECE hopes to build critical mass to become the one industry standard accepted by everyone. The important thing is that this will be cross-retailer, so it will work whether I buy it on Blu-Ray from Best Buy or buy it from any other retailer like CinemaNow or Comcast, Singer said.
post #406 of 577
Thread Starter 
Studios Launch Cable VOD Primer


Hollywood studios and cable operators March 17 launched a public relations campaign aimed at bringing consumer awareness to renting new release video-on-demand (VOD) movies on cable television.

Dubbed The Video Store Just Moved In, the $30 million campaign, through the Movies On Demand consortium, over the next 12 weeks will showcase the ease of watching new release movies available on demand the same day as the DVD/Blu-ray Disc releases.

Spearheaded by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, which includes Warner Home Video, the studio in 2006 was the first to offer new releases on VOD, claiming the practice did not adversely affect retail sales while producing greater margins than disc rentals.

Last year eight of the top 10 VOD titles were released day-and-date with DVD, including Bride Wars, Gran Torino, He's Just Not That Into You and Twilight, the latter the top cable VOD release of 2009, according to Rentrak.

Indeed, cable VOD revenue topped $1.2 billion in 2009, up 20% from $1 billion in 2008, according to industry data.

Lionsgate, in a recent financial call, said it expects to generate $86 million in VOD revenue this year.

Top VOD titles offered early this year include Oscar-winner Precious, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Ninja Assassin and Pirate Radio. Others include Astro Boy, Bandslam, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Fourth Kind.

Movies On Demand is a great way for consumers to rent movies, they are reasonably priced, always available, and the number of day-and-date titles continues to increase year over year, said Kevin Tsujihara, president of Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group.

While VOD has been around for years, widespread adoption of renting new release movies via the cable remote control has lagged as many consumers remain indifferent or unsure about the process. At the same time kiosk vending of lower margin $1-per-day DVD movies skyrocketed to more than $900 million in 2009, up 88% from $486 million in 2008, according to data from The NPD Group and Adams Media Research.

The campaign, through TV, print, Internet ads and a Web site (www.cablevideostore.com), showcases the Movies On Demand new green logo, which is meant to signify the speed and ease of VOD renting.

We've seen [VOD] rentals hit an all time high this past year, and research shows that it will continue to grow," said Mike Dunn, president, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Worldwide.
post #407 of 577
Thread Starter 
Internet TV Viewing Has Tripled Since 2006


Viewing of complete TV show episodes over the Internet has tripled in the past three years, according to a new report from Knowledge Networks.

Usage of the Internet to watch TV in the 13-54 age group has risen from 8% to 22%, and is up from 12% to 30% among 18- to 34-year-olds. As a result, 6% in the 13-54 group and 9% in the 18-34 group said they plan to or already have reduced or canceled their pay-TV service in the past year.

The small but notable level of people watching TV programs via the Internet on regular TV sets suggests that the convergence of the two screens for mainstream audiences may finally be on the horizon, said David Tice, VP and group account director at Knowledge Networks.

Research was conducted in November 2009 among 1,901 Internet users chosen based on a representative sample of the full U.S. population.

The survey also found 7% in the 13-54 group and 11% in the 18 to 34 group have used a TV set to watch streamed or downloaded video.
post #408 of 577
Thread Starter 
Netflix: More than half of subscribers tap streaming video


Netflix's transition from a DVD distributor to a streaming content provider hit a notable milestone in the first quarter--55 percent of its nearly 14 million subscribers are now watching movies and TV via the Internet.

To put that streaming media figure into perspective, Netflix said that in the fourth quarter 48 percent of its subscribers watched more than 15 minutes of content. A year ago, 36 percent of subscribers watched streaming movies or TV episodes.

The company delivered the typically strong quarter as it finished the three months ended March 31 with 13,967,000 total subscribers, up 35 percent from a year ago. Netflix reported first-quarter earnings of $32.3 million, or 59 cents a share, on revenue of $493.7 million, up 25 percent from a year ago. Earnings were 5 cents a share better than Wall Street targets. Revenue was in line with estimates.
post #409 of 577
Thread Starter 
NCR Brings Digital Entertainment to Airport Travelers with First Major Kiosk Deployment


NCR Corporation will install its digital download kiosks at airports across the United States through InMotion Entertainment stores, bringing easy, affordable access to a wide choice of digital movies, television programs and music tracks for the first time to airport travelers on the go.

InMotion Entertainment is the U.S.'s largest airport retailer of electronics and entertainment. Each year, more than 750 million travelers pass by InMotion's 57 stores in 35 airports.

Through kiosks developed in partnership with MOD Systems(R), Inc., NCR will rent and sell entertainment titles to airport travelers who will download the content to portable Secure Digital (SD) memory cards and USB memory sticks. Consumers can use (and reuse) their own SD memory cards to download video titles or purchase one in the InMotion store. Video content can be played on Windows PCs, including laptops, netbooks and tablets, with additional consumer electronics device support planned for later this year. Music tracks can be loaded onto any USB storage device and, eventually, directly to portable MP3 players.

Travelers will be able to download entertainment content from the kiosk in about the same amount of time it takes to buy a magazine or newspaper at an airport news stand. Music downloads take, on average, just a few seconds and movie downloads often take less than two minutes. Up to four kiosks will be installed in each store to accommodate multiple customers at once.

"The modern airport traveler has limited and often inflexible options for entertainment on the go," said Alex Camara, vice president and general manager, NCR Entertainment. "DVDs and CDs cannot be played on many portable devices. Movies and music can be downloaded to portable devices at home, but once travelers leave home, purchase options have been limited. Streaming content often cannot be accessed in air, and never without expensive fees. We are bringing faster and easier entertainment choices to consumers while they are on the go. This new technology -- in partnership with MOD Systems -- brings consumers simple, affordable and flexible access to entertainment."

"The deployment of NCR and MOD Systems' digital download kiosks in InMotion stores will give consumers exciting new entertainment content they have never before had access to outside the home," said Jeremy Smith, president of InMotion Entertainment. "We have big expectations for the potential of digital entertainment kiosks, and we look forward to expanding this program with NCR."

Movie rental and purchase prices from the digital download kiosks will be consistent with online digital downloads and in-store rentals today and will be tested at various price points. For movie rentals, consumers will have 30 days from purchase to watch the movie and 48 hours to watch once they begin.

The NCR and MOD Systems kiosks will offer thousands of new release and catalog movie titles and television episodes from major and independent studios, and hundreds of thousands of MP3 music tracks from all major music labels and several independents. Because they're digital, the video and music titles are never out of stock and rental movies do not need to be returned.

"MOD Systems is excited to bring its partnership with NCR into the consumer market, and reach busy travelers through a relationship with InMotion -- the leader in airport entertainment," said Anthony Bay, chairman and CEO of MOD Systems. "Until now, retailers have not had an opportunity to capture the tremendous business opportunity in digital entertainment. Our solution with NCR gives retailers a slice of the growing digital market while offering the latest content for their customers to enjoy on the devices they travel with everyday."
post #410 of 577
Thread Starter 
FCC moves to open television set-top box for Internet, competition


The Federal Communications Commission took a tiny step forward on Wednesday toward updating the television set-top box, a move that Chairman Julius Genachowski hopes will eventually stir more competition between providers of paid television and Internet services.

Consumers want devices that can navigate the universe of video programming from all of these sources and present the choices to them in a simple, integrated way, Genachowski said in the commission's meeting Wednesday. They also want to know that they can buy a device and not have to replace it if they change video providers.

The FCC voted Wednesday to begin studying ways to achieve that goal, which was part of the agency's national broadband plan. One proposal would require paid television service providers to deliver their signals to a small adapter that could serve as a standard interface for broadband and paid television content. That adapter would connect to a television, computer or other device.

Motorola and Cisco make the vast majority of set-top boxes currently on the market. Cable and satellite providers control those devices by renting them to consumers. Mandating a standardized gateway device would allow consumers to switch pay TV providers without getting a new set top box. And it would permit integrated television service and Internet service on a TV set.

We think the FCC wants to lay the groundwork for over-the-top video to potentially impose some competitive pressure on pay TV providers in the future, said analyst Paul Gallant of the Concept Capital research firm. That policy could help Internet TV providers like Netflix, Apple, Google and Amazon, he said.

But the proposal is sure to be met with resistance.

Cable/telecos/satellite providers are capable of bringing a fair amount of political opposition to the table if they decide this is sufficiently problematic for their pay TV business, Gallant said.

During Wednesday's FCC meeting, Republican member Robert McDowell cautioned against rules that could hamper progress already seen in the market.

The idea of accessing the Internet through the TV screen is certainly attractive - so attractive, in fact, that the marketplace already appears to be delivering on that vision without any help from the government, McDowell said. A quick Internet search revealed more than a dozen different devices available to consumers who wish to bring some or all of the Internet to their television screens, ranging from specialized web video products and software applications to elaborate home theater PCs and even online gaming consoles.
post #411 of 577
April 27, 2010, 12:30 AM EDT
By Todd Shields and Adam Satariano

April 27 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. regulators may use their veto power over Comcast Corp.'s planned purchase of NBC Universal to demand concessions that help Web startups, analysts say.

The Federal Communications Commission extended its review of the deal this month, in part to assess the effect on online video services. The FCC may bar Comcast, the largest U.S. cable service, from interfering with Web video startups such as Roku Inc. and Boxee Inc. or from denying them NBC shows or films.

Internet programming is just taking hold as this merger comes before the government, said Paul Gallant, a former FCC aide who is an analyst for Concept Capital's Washington Research Group. The agency may consider declaring that Internet TV companies have program access rights like satellite services.

An April 6 court ruling undermined FCC efforts to regulate the Internet policies of companies such as Comcast, according to Rebecca Arbogast, a Washington-based analyst for Stifel Nicolaus & Co.. That leaves the NBC merger review as a way for the agency to push policy goals, she said in an interview.

Sena Fitzmaurice, a Comcast spokeswoman in Washington, declined to comment for this story. Rules that require Philadelphia-based Comcast to sell programs it owns to services such as Dish Network Corp., DirecTV and Time Warner Cable Inc. shouldn't be extended to Web companies, company officials said in response to questions from a U.S. Senate committee.

Boxee and Roku, both closely held, use the Web to stream movies and shows that viewers watch on demand with PCs or TVs. They need shows and films that generate pay TV revenue of $32 billion a year for studios, according to researcher SNL Kagan, as well as access to broadband networks. They want some of the $121 a month that the average Comcast user pays for TV.

Roku Service

A Roku box, starting at $80, lets Netflix Inc. subscribers stream rented movies from the Web to a TV. Boxee's free software allows people to view material from YouTube, Comedy Central or MLB.TV on their TVs. To attract more customers, the companies say they need more content.

The FCC will thoroughly consider all the important issues that have been raised or will be raised about the Comcast-NBC transaction, Chairman Julius Genachowski said in testimony at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on March 12. The agency determines whether such mergers are in the public interest and can demand binding conditions. The FCC censured Comcast in 2008 for blocking customers using peer-to-peer software that can be used to share videos. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said on April 6 the FCC lacked authority over Comcast's Web practices in a setback for the agency's net neutrality agenda.

Netflix Viewers

Netflix, the movie-rental service with 14 million subscribers, said in a January letter to regulators net neutrality rules were needed to prevent Internet service providers such as Comcast from restricting its service.

In an interview last week, Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said the merger was unlikely to affect his company directly.

While the Web lets people choose when and what they want to watch, the government needs to classify it as a distribution platform with the same access to shows as cable and satellite services, said Avner Ronen, CEO of New York-based Boxee.

Studios may be reluctant to upset lucrative relationships with pay TV services, Ronen said.

There is a real concern among media companies that being more aggressive on the Internet would cause the cable companies to use their muscle, said Ronen, whose company announced a deal on April 19 to show professional hockey on its service. Roku recently signed a deal for professional basketball.

NBC Accord

Comcast agreed in December to acquire a majority of General Electric Co.'s entertainment division, which includes NBC TV, Universal Pictures and television, and cable channels including USA Network, SyFy and Bravo. The company will pay $6.5 billion in cash and contribute its own cable channels to the business.

The combined company will have no enhanced ability or incentive to refuse to sell NBCU content, Comcast and NBC said in a filing with regulators. Withholding programming would cause the new company to lose money without drawing viewers from competitors, they said.

The FCC should ensure Web companies have equal access to licensed material, like a cable operator, and bar Comcast from restricting bandwidth based on how it is being used, said Anthony Wood, CEO of Saratoga, California-based Roku.

Comcast's purchase of NBC is an indicator that they are worried about the fact that distribution of content is moving to the Internet, Wood said. Their video distribution is at risk. The shift is happening whether they buy NBC or not.

Boxee Cutoff

In February, NBC Universal head Jeff Zucker was questioned by U.S. lawmakers about Boxee's loss of access to programs on Hulu.com, the online video site NBC co-owns with Walt Disney Co. and News Corp.

Zucker said Hulu management cut off Boxee because it was illegally displaying shows without any business deal. In a response on his blog, Ronen said Boxee is a supplier of a browser like Internet Explorer and doesn't violate copyrights.

Internet operators have the means and motive to discriminate against new ventures that might threaten their revenue, Los Gatos, California-based Netflix said in filing on net neutrality. Cable companies can also leverage significant content purchasing power, Netflix said.

Comcast doesn't try to prevent studios from selling shows to Web companies, the company said in answers to questions from a Senate committee. The company limits rights for certain full episodes of cable shows to be distributed free at the same time, or shortly after the shows are shown on cable.

--With assistance from Kelly Riddell in Washington. Editors: Rob Golum, Ville Heiskanen

To contact the reporters on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.net; Adam Satariano in San Francisco at asatariano1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net; Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net.
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Media Moguls Weigh In on New-Media Monetization


LOS ANGELES: Comcast's Brian Roberts, Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes and CBS Corporation's Les Moonves were among the panelists discussing new-media business models and content creation for devices such as the iPad in a Cable Show session yesterday afternoon.

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Google and Intel in web TV launch


Google and Intel are expected to announce a significant breakthrough into consumer electronics and the broadcast industry this week with the launch of a Smart TV platform.

Top executives from the Silicon Valley companies are reported to be ready to reveal a deal with Sony, bringing web services to its televisions, during Google's annual developer conference in San Francisco.

Intel's Atom microprocessor and Google's Android operating system are spearheading their assault on set-top boxes and TVs featuring integrated internet services.

The technology companies have had little success penetrating the TV industry to date but both are now seeking to take advantage of service providers and TV manufacturers scrambling to add web capabilities and content.

The revolution we're about to go through is the biggest single change in television since it went colour, Paul Otellini, Intel chief executive, told analysts last week.

At the Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, in January, manufacturers showed off televisions, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes with internet connectivity and services ranging from movies provided by Netflix, CinemaNow and Vudu to channels playing internet radio, connecting to online photo services and adding social networking features such as Twitter and Facebook.

Intel pioneered internet widgets on TV screens with Yahoo in 2008 but while many other players have entered the market since, it remains fragmented and has been slow to take off.

If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said no way Intel and Google could make an impression, said Kurt Scherf, principal analyst at research firm Parks Associates. But Intel looks to have gained some traction and the operating system space is so wide open that it's a case of why not Google at this point.

Intel said its latest Atom chip offers better audio and video performance, wider and open software support and is cheaper than the competition.

It currently has an order backlog of 1m units for the chip. France Telecom and Telecom Italia are among a number of customers lined up to put the chips in set-top boxes.

We're seeing the beginning of explosive growth, Eric Kim, head of Intel's Digital Home group, told analysts. Right now, we're gearing up for a massive retail launch of [connected devices] this year.

Google is expected to call on its Android developer community this week to create applications for TVs and its software could prove popular if it also promises advertising revenues for TV manufacturers.

Consumer electronics manufacturers want a piece of this [advertising] pie and Google is the player in this very crowded space that can immediately offer them revenue share, said Mr Scherf.
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Google TV: everything you ever wanted to know

Google made some waves yesterday when it announced the new Google TV platform, backed by major players like Sony, Logitech, Intel, Dish Network, and Best Buy. Built on Android and featuring the Chrome browser with a full version of Flash Player 10.1, Google TV is supposed to bring "the web to your TV and your TV to the web," in Google's words. It's a lofty goal that many have failed to accomplish, but Google certainly has the money and muscle to pull it off. But hold up: what is Google TV, exactly, and why do all these companies think it's going to revolutionize the way we watch TV? Let's take a quick walk through the platform and see what's what.

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Netflix Taps Microsoft PlayReady as Its Primary DRM Technology for Netflix Ready Devices and Applications


REDMOND, Wash., and LOS GATOS, Calif. May 25, 2010 Microsoft Corp. and Netflix Inc. today announced that Netflix has selected Microsoft PlayReady technology and the Protected Interoperable File Format (PIFF) for use in new Netflix ready devices and applications. This adoption will enable Netflix members to instantly watch thousands of TV episodes and movies over the Internet on a wide range of new devices Internet TVs, Blu-ray disc players, home theater systems, video game consoles and other devices from a broad variety of consumer electronics manufacturers.

Today's agreement, which makes Microsoft PlayReady the primary content protection technology for Netflix partner devices and applications, underscores the benefits of PlayReady as a flexible, reliable and scalable content protection technology. Netflix already deploys PlayReady to enable all instant streaming scenarios on Windows-based PCs and Macs. The company expects the first Netflix ready devices beyond computers to incorporate Microsoft PlayReady as early as this summer. The Netflix ready device program, which launched in 2007, already has dozens of devices on the market that use Windows Media DRM.

Netflix ready devices are a popular way for our members to instantly watch the huge library of TV episodes and movies available from Netflix that can be watched instantly on their TVs, said Bill Holmes, vice president of business development at Netflix. Netflix is expanding our investment in PlayReady and making PlayReady our primary DRM technology because it best meets the requirements of our content suppliers and device partners while allowing us to benefit from efficiencies in our content delivery infrastructure.

Microsoft and Netflix have worked closely on the technologies enabling Netflix members to instantly watch movies including PlayReady and Silverlight since the initial planning of instant streaming from Netflix, said Andreas Mueller-Schubert, general manager of the Media Platforms Business at Microsoft. By working with Netflix on this broader support for Microsoft PlayReady and PIFF, more people using more devices will enjoy the immediacy and choice that the pioneering service of Netflix delivers.

Microsoft PlayReady is designed to enable digital entertainment services across devices and software applications, with a specific focus on meeting the needs of mobile and network operators, service providers, and device manufacturers. Microsoft PlayReady supports a broad range of business models that can be applied to almost any type of digital content, including videos, games and images, and a wide range of audio and video formats, including MPEG Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), AAC+, Enhanced AAC+, H.264, Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Windows Media Video (WMV). Microsoft PlayReady also provides features, such as service domains and embedded licenses, specifically designed to make it easy for consumers to enjoy content on all of their registered devices without the need for an active connection.
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Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem Announces New Member Companies and Appoints Mark Teitell as General Manager

BT, Cineplex Entertainment, CSG Systems' Content Direct, Huawei, IBM, NDS, and Red Bee Media Join Charge to Make "Buy Once, Play Anywhere" a Reality for Consumers


LOS ANGELES, May 25, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today, the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem LLC (DECE LLC), www.decellc.com, a cross-industry consortium dedicated to driving a new, open market for digital content distribution, named Mark Teitell as its general manager and announced the addition of seven companies to the coalition, bringing the total to 55 member companies.

DECE's newest members who are dedicated to ensuring digital content, devices and services will work together seamlessly include: BT, Cineplex Entertainment, CSG Systems' Content Direct, Huawei, IBM, NDS, and Red Bee Media. These companies join DECE's diverse roster of member companies that span every industry involved in digital entertainment.

"Cineplex is dedicated to expanding and enhancing entertainment choices for our guests both in our theatres and at home through our Cineplex Store," said Pat Marshall, Vice President Communications and Investor Relations, Cineplex Entertainment. "Leveraging the benefits of the DECE ecosystem is part of our plan for online innovation as we prepare to launch our digital download product later this year. We're delighted to join fellow DECE participants in charting this course and bringing the ecosystem to market."

Brian Levy, Chief Technology Officer of new member Red Bee Media added, "Red Bee Media with our heritage of innovation are proud to join DECE and to play our part in this important industry body to deliver next generation cross device content services to the customer."

Additionally, DECE has retained the services of Mark Teitell to help drive strategy, product and business development, marketing and operations for the consortium. Teitell will be dedicated to working with executives from DECE member companies to launch DECE's open, interoperable digital ecosystem and accelerate its global adoption by the industry and, ultimately, consumers.

"DECE has grown tremendously in the past year, both organizationally and technically," said Mitch Singer, president of DECE and Chief Technology Officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment. "With a seasoned executive like Mark, who is so well-versed in the digital entertainment landscape, coupled with the support from our ever growing team of member companies, we are moving steadily towards launch."

Teitell most recently served as a partner in the media and consumer technology practice at Oliver Wyman, an international management consulting firm. There, Teitell advised senior leaders across the home and mobile entertainment value chains, including DECE, as it made key strides such as developing a common file format for digital content and selecting a vendor for its digital rights locker.

These milestones were announced by the consortium at CES 2010, along with the approval of five DRM solutions and the addition of 21 new members. With these elements in place and the continued expansion of the consortium, DECE is establishing the backend platform that will support this new, open digital media market and prepare the way for its brand launch.

About Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) LLC

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) LLC is a cross-industry initiative developing the next generation digital media experience based on open, licensable specifications and designed to create a viable, global digital marketplace. The DECE is currently made up of Adobe, Alcatel-Lucent, Ascent Media Group, Best Buy, Blueprint Digital, BT, CableLabs, Catch Media, Cineplex Entertainment, Cisco, Comcast, Cox Communications, CSG Systems' Content Direct, Deluxe Digital, DivX, Dolby Laboratories, DTS, ExtendMedia, Fox Entertainment Group, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Irdeto, Liberty Global, Lionsgate, Microsoft, MOD Systems, Motorola, Movie Labs, Nagravision, NBC Universal, NDS, Netflix, Neustar, Nokia, Panasonic, Paramount Pictures, Philips, Red Bee Media, RIAA, Rovi, Roxio CinemaNow, Samsung Electronics, Secure Path, Sony, SwitchNAP, Tesco, Thomson, Toshiba, Verimatrix, VeriSign, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Widevine Technologies Inc. and Zoran. DECE's new digital media specifications, logo program and interoperable digital rights locker will enable consumers to purchase digital video content from a choice of online retailers and play it on a variety of devices and platforms from different manufacturers.
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Thread Starter 

Warner Bros. Chief Considering Earlier Home Video Release


Warner Bros. Chief Executive Barry Meyer said Thursday the studio is considering an early window for home video release at a premium price in an attempt to offset declines in DVD sales, which is Hollywood's largest engine of profits.

At an investor presentation held in New York City by the studio's owner, Time Warner Inc. (TWX), Meyer said the industry is discussing making films available on-demand in homes 30 days after their theatrical release. He said he is open to such an offering, but added that 30 days is likely too short of a time lag, adding that he is aware of the conflicting needs of the studio's partners, such as movie-theater owners and DVD retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT).

Meyer, however, noted that about 90% of box office receipts for a film typically come in within four weeks of its theatrical release, suggesting that a 30-day time lag for home entertainment release might not hurt that business substantially.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), which was spun off from media conglomerate Time Warner last year, has been pitching a service known as "home theater on demand," which would make movies available on the cable company's on-demand menu just 30 days after its theatrical release for $20 or $30 apiece.

The specifics of the proposal is still being debated and talks are fluid. People close to the matter say that several studios could sign on to a version of it as soon as the fall, making the first movies available on such a system by the end of the year or early 2011.

The proposal is controversial, since it would likely be highly disruptive to the traditional movie business and could meet stiff opposition from theater chains as well as Wal-Mart, which wields enormous power in the home entertainment business since it commands such a large share of the DVD retail business.

Among the studios who have reviewed the proposal are Warner Bros., Walt Disney Co.'s (DIS) Disney Studios, General Electric Co.'s (GE) Universal Pictures, Sony Corp.'s (SNE) Sony Pictures, Viacom Inc.'s (VIA) Paramount Pictures and News Corp.'s (NWSA, NWS) Twentieth Century Fox.
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Sonic Solutions and MOD Systems Align to Link Kiosk and Online Entertainment Delivery Platforms


Offers Retailers a Comprehensive Solution for Digital Entertainment Sales and Promotion

NOVATO, Calif., and SEATTLE, June 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sonic Solutions® and MOD Systems today announced a strategic partnership that intends to arm retailers with a complete, multi-platform system for digitally delivering premium entertainment. The system will integrate RoxioNow, Sonic's platform for the over-the-top Internet delivery of entertainment to connected devices, with MOD Systems' solution for self-service digital download kiosks. Participating retailers would be able to provide consumers' convenient in-store and connected-device options for purchasing digital film and television titles that can be easily accessed and enjoyed from a wide range of devices including PCs, laptops, Blu-ray Disc players, HDTVs, and smart phones. Sonic and MOD Systems will announce additional details of their initiative later this year, pending the securing of appropriate license rights from content owners.

"Today consumers have a variety of physical and digital entertainment purchase options, both in-store and online, but without a bridge that connects them together," said Anthony Bay, Chairman and CEO of MOD Systems. "Together with Sonic, we're taking a major step toward meeting the long-standing vision of the entertainment industry by giving consumers easy access to digital entertainment whether in-store, online, at home, or on the go, all sold and supported by the retailer brands consumers trust."

The integrated solution supports approved digital content distribution standards, and is being designed to be compatible with Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), an industry consortium developing a digital content distribution ecosystem that will provide consumers with an easy way to access, purchase and play digital content.

"DECE's goal is to deliver protected content in such a way that consumers enjoy a 'Buy Once, Play Anywhere' experience," said Mitch Singer, President of DECE. "By participating in DECE, aligning their digital platforms with the framework of DECE, and preparing for the eventual adoption of the DECE specifications, Sonic and MOD are taking a step that will benefit consumers."

The companies' combined solution would allow retailers to offer consumers access to a wide array of digital entertainment for purchase from online digital download and streaming storefronts, as well as self-service, touch-screen kiosks that load to Secure Digital (SD) memory cards. Consumers will have the flexibility to play the content, including new movie releases and next-day television shows, at home and on the go. Content on SD cards from kiosks is delivered in the GreenPlay format, which can be played on any Windows PC and a growing number of GreenPlay-compatible consumer electronics devices. Entertainment from online storefronts will be streamed or downloaded to portable and connected devices through the RoxioNow entertainment platform.

"While we've seen a significant increase in the number of consumers embracing over-the-top video services, many still turn to physical storefronts as their destination for entertainment," said Dave Habiger, President and CEO, Sonic Solutions. "Leveraging kiosks to provide an in-store way for consumers to purchase entertainment in a digital form will help educate more consumers to the convenience and flexibility digital entertainment can afford them."

The Sonic and MOD Systems integrated approach will offer many benefits to retailers and studios. The solution will support both retailer and studio migration to digital content sales, while preserving valuable retail shelf space for new optical formats like Blu-ray Disc, and higher margin products. The combined technologies can also enable retailers to integrate customer accounts and deliver additional services with the retailer's brand at the core.

This new initiative extends the Sonic and MOD Systems partnership established in late 2009 with the joint development of the GreenPlay Media Player, based on the Roxio CinePlayer® software, using the MOD Systems GreenPlay SDK. The GreenPlay SDK, introduced in January 2010, enables software developers and device manufacturers to easily add GreenPlay support to software programs, portable media players, set-top-boxes, Blu-ray Disc players, and televisions.
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Thread Starter 
Hulu plans to charge, expand to devices: sources


(Reuters) - Free video website Hulu plans to soon begin charging customers and is looking to expand its content to consumer devices like the Xbox and iPad, according to two sources, as the site's media owners experiment with platforms beyond an ad-supported TV model.

Those sources and another with knowledge of the matter said that Hulu, the website for TV viewing owned by News Corp, General Electric's NBC Universal and Walt Disney Co, was developing a subscription service to be rolled out on multiple devices in the next month or two. It was not clear if that service would be offered before Hulu is available on devices.

One of those devices is expected to be Microsoft Corp's Xbox, which also features Netflix Inc's movie streaming service, one of the sources said on Tuesday. Another one of the sources said Hulu was also working to offer its service on Apple Inc's iPad.

Hulu, which generated an estimated $100 million in advertising revenue last year, will continue to offer newer episodes of shows like Fox's "Glee" free of charge, but it will also charge viewers a monthly fee to see older episodes and other content, two of the sources said.

Hulu and Microsoft declined to comment.

Entertainment and cable industry executives will be closely watching Hulu's attempt at a paid model. Competition is intense, with entertainment companies and content distributors scrambling to become top dog in a worldwide online video market expected to hit $16.1 billion through paid and ad-supported services by 2012, according to ABI Research, which tracks media trends.

Since its launch in 2008, Hulu has emerged as one of the star players in online video, offering TV shows like "The Office," "The Simpsons" or "Lost" as well as hundreds of full length movies. Advertising has enabled it to be free.

Hulu is hardly an exception. Across the Internet, nearly all movies, TV shows, and video clips can be seen for free if the consumer is willing to tolerate advertisements. But that could change quickly if a Hulu paid service succeeds, since other entertainment companies are likely to accelerate their own efforts to create subscription models.


Hulu's plan is not without risks, given how accustomed its users are to watching free video.

"Many consumers already pay $100 or more monthly for TV, telephony and high-speed Internet access and are unlikely to welcome an incremental fee merely to watch from the Internet some of the programs they already get," said Phil Leigh, an analyst with Inside Digital Media.

But Mike Vorhaus of media consultancy Frank N. Magid, believes that consumers will pay for the convenience of getting content when they want it, where they want it.

"Many viewers are not going home to watch TV anymore. They've already been trained to believe TV is coming to them and demand is growing for this content in different forms and different business models," he said.

"Some payment by some people for some online content is here to stay, but it will continue to evolve," said Vorhaus.

Netflix's Chief Executive Reed Hastings said on a recent conference call, "There's the potential emergence of direct competitors (like) Hulu. We'll see what they do, and potentially others over time ... but the upside is it's a very big market."

Some of the biggest threats to Netflix and sites like Hulu come from cable and satellite operators, who are ramping up video-on-demand, fearing viewers will drop pay-TV subscriptions in favor of broadband and mobile video.

Cable company Comcast and Time Warner are trumpeting plans for "TV Everywhere," which would enable viewers to watch TV shows on demand for free and on any device

as long as they are already paying customers.

There has been industry speculation that companies from Apple Inc to Disney's ABC are looking into launching subscription-TV services. Sony Corp recently inked a deal to offer Time Warner's HBO programs via download through the PlayStation 3 game console.

An episode of an HBO series like "True Blood" will be available for download on the PS3 as it is on services like Apple's iTunes. Through affiliates like Comcast and Verizon, HBO also offers "HBO Go", a broadband service attached to its regular cable subscription, which goes into the TV Everywhere model.
post #420 of 577

Hopefully the studios start jumping on board something like this. I would certainly watch at least two or three movies a year for $20 to $30, at 30 days after the inital theatrical release date.
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