Archive for April 2005

An Interesting Article on Open Media by Leslie Walker of the Washington Post

Internet TV Age Is Dawning, but Who Will Watch? Leslie Walker is out with a really good article on Open Media for the Washington Post where she writes about the new micro content of internet television and the internetworks that are producing it.

“The big challenges facing Internet TV ventures, of course, will be how to attract quality content and find the right audience. Who wants to watch a TV show about a man afraid to use public restrooms? How about a video blog of your neighbors eating breakfast? If there are audiences for such shows, how will the producers of such fare find them?

“It is a classic chicken-and-egg thing,” said Josh Bernoff, a Forrester analyst. “If they get the content, people will come and use it. And if people come and use it, then folks will want to make their content available on the system.”

Thanks, David!

Lost Remote: VOD helps fuel Comcast profit surge

Lost Remote: VOD helps fuel Comcast profit surge Comcast’s first quarter profit surged nearly fivefold thank to “robust” growth in high-speed internet and digital cable services like VOD, DVRs and HDTV. “Our customers are embracing a whole new way to watch television,” said Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts. “In March, our digital television customers viewed more than 100 million ON DEMAND programs. That is three times the number of programs viewed ON DEMAND in March of last year and a 40% increase in usage from the fourth quarter of 2004.” Thanks, Cory!

The Future of Long Tail Video Delivery

Search engines, startup media sites dream of becoming video hubs USC Annenberg’s Online Journalism Review has an excellent article out by Mark Glaser on the upcoming boom that you will see shortly in micro content video.

Glaser writes about many of the new internetworks and includes comments by many people that you’ve seen written about at thomashawk.com in the past: Jeremy Allaire, JD Lasica, Marc Canter and companies or efforts like Brightcove, Google Video, Open Media, Our Media, etc.

Gary Price mentions a bunch of other companies working in this space right now in a comment at the article as well: BlinkxTV, Virage, SpeechBot, TVEyes, ShawdowTV and Feedroom. I’d also throw in there CozmoTV and Akimbo.

Things are starting to get very exciting folks. The question is, when will I see all of this microcontent on my MCE or TiVo box? I want my, I want my, I want my “My TV.”

Thanks, Eric!

Ed Bott: Tip of the day: Instantly Maximize Any Window

Ed Bott: Tip of the day: Instantly maximize any window Cool! Ed Bott does these great little write ups on tips on using Windows better. Most of the time I read them and say, “yeah I knew that, old hat.” But every so often I’m surprised.

Today Ed posts on this very simple little technique of double clicking on the menu bar of an application to maximize a window and as crazy as it sounds I had no idea you could that. And all these years I’ve been moving my mouse over to the little box between the minimize and close buttons in the upper right hand corner of a window and clicking. I guess it really is true that you learn something new every day. Thanks, Ed.

Samsung, Microsoft in HDTV Pact on New Xbox Console

Looks like Microsoft is going to set up a bunch of Xbox kiosks that showcase the new Xbox on Samsung high-def TVs. So when do we get some kind of confirmation that the new Xbox (Xenon) will stream HDTV as an extender unit? Do we have to wait until May 12th?

“In order to keep the buzz going for its next generation of Xbox, Microsoft announced today that it has chosen Samsung as the exclusive HDTV worldwide marketing partner for the next-generation Xbox high-definition (HD) gaming platform.

In order to promote the Next Generation of XBOX video game console, the companies plan to place over 25,000 Samsung high-definition televisions in Microsoft Xbox retail kiosk locations around the world.

On April 11th, Microsoft said it would give gamers a sneak peek at the next-generation Xbox video game system on May 12th on MTV television, however a release date has yet to be announced.

“Samsung is a natural partner to showcase the richness of the next-generation Xbox,” said Peter Moore, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing for Xbox at Microsoft. “Samsung HDTVs will provide Xbox enthusiasts with the truest high-definition gaming experience available.”

Scoble’s Channel 9 Interview with Jim Allchin

Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger Scoble’s got his Channel 9 interview with Microsoft’s Jim Allchin up. Scobe and MCE guys, how come I’m not watching this on my MCE machine? Why no Channel 9 in Online Spotlight? I know I’d get a season pass. Are we afraid of what Microsoft execs look like on the 42″ plasma? Scoble, this could give you a good reason to get them to spring for a new high-def video camera for you. They are getting cheap enough now.

Disney’s Moviebeam Going Dark


Moviebeam pulled from test markets, going dark | PVRblog PVRblog is out with a post about Disney pulling their Moviebeam VOD service.

1. Disney priced the service way to high (on purpose).

2. There is nothing that would make Disney happier than for the general perception to be that VOD “won’t work.” Never trust your banana deliveries to a Monkey’s Uncle.

3. One of the big problems and hurdles for VOD to get over is the quality problem. It’s probably still too expensive to offer HDTV VOD. The quality needs to be at least DVD quality in order to make the value proposition work. Either that, or you need to be offering me niche content that I quite simply can’t get any other way. Mainstream content must be that good or else what I’m buying must be nichey and longtailish.

4. The reason that Disney priced this service for failure is that they make boatloads and boatloads and boatloads of money on DVD sales. The only possible way they would ever let something threaten their DVD franchise would be if they could also make boatloads and boatloads and boatloads of money on it. People who eagerly shell out money on DVDs (only to have their kids scratch them and have to rebuy them later) will not shell out the same money on a “service.”

5. With Netflix and Blockbuster in the DVD delivery game now, Moviebeam had about a zero chance of success in competing for the dollars of the hardcore movie aficionado.

6. People are not crazy about having yet another box in their already cluttered living room.

Hopefully somebody else will be able to make VOD work — but it will most likely be somebody small and interesting with fire in their belly or somebody big and powerful that has no DVD business to cannibalize, not some bloated old company with a huge vested interest in keeping a legacy business (DVDs) alive.

As MCE builds traction in the market and if Movielink and Cinema Now can ever address the quality issue, then we may have something interesting on our hands.

Mark Cuban, Microsoft, Brightcove, CozmoTV, CinemaNow, Movielink, Netflix, Verizon-SBC-BellSouth, Akimbo, Rupert Murdoch, TiVo, MSN, Marc Andreessen, Brewster Kahle, and yes even you tired old Comcast, your assignment, should you choose to accept it is to capture the enemy’s flag. Spelling and grammar count, extra points for initiative, creativity and a willingness to take chances and burn bridges.

Let the games begin!

Microsoft says NO to Longhorn screenshots

Microsoft says NO to Longhorn screenshots Ars Technica says that Microsoft is asking people to pull down screen shots of Longhorn. Chris Pirillo is reported to have remarked that the pull down requests are because, “Longhorn looks like ass.” When I saw the demo I thought it looked pretty slick personally.

If you are hellbent on seeing Longhorn firsthand yourself, you can still see it up on the Bill Gates WinHEC keynote address webcast. Fast forward to about 37:00 to see a Longhorn demo for yourself. You will get a much better sense of the UI than from the screenshots out there anyway. And keep in mind people, this is an early build. The final product is over a year away. By the way, screenshots are still up at flexbeta for the time being.

Scoble adds his take on the situation.

More on Google Video

Silicon Valley Watcher: Exclusive interview with Google video platform director Jennifer Feikin “While Google wouldn’t provide any specifics on the number of uploads so far, Jennifer said, “We’re definitely pleased. We’re getting all different types of individuals uploading,” including some high-profile analysts. Undoubtedly, it seems that video will be another successful Google project, and Google does have some ideas on business models. For now, though, the project is very much in the collect-and-review phase.

“Video is very complicated. We’re trying to understand which formats people are using to author their content, which formats are used for what kind of content, and how big the files are,” Jennifer said. She adds that there are no time schedules in place for moving to the next phase of the project: searching, playback and purchase. To help with searching, uploaders are encouraged to provide transcripts of their content.”

Thanks, Discfree. NSFW

Wednesday Night’s 20 Random Songs From Thomas Hawk’s Windows Media Player 5 Star Playlist

1. They Can’t Take That Away From Me, John Coltrane, John Coltrane, The Prestige Recordings, Disc 8
2. Plateau, Nirvana, MTV UnPlugged in New York
3. A Change, Aretha Franklin, Aretha Now
4. Nowhere Town, Chris Mills, Plays and Sings / Nobody’s Favorite
5. I Wanna Be Adored, The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
6. Montreal, Bran Van 3000, Discosis
7. I’m a Drifter [Version 1], Johnny Cash, Unearthed, Disc 2
8. Forgetable Song (Live), Freakwater, Fulda, Germany, 6-6-1994 (bootleg)
9. I’m Goin’ Down, Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.
10. It’s So Hard to Fall in Love, Superchunk, Tossing Seeds (Singles ’89-’91)
11. Funky Butt, Bill Morrissey, Songs of Mississippi John Hurt
12. It’ Ain’t Me Babe, Bob Dylan, Biograph, Disc 2
13. River of Love, T-Bone Burnett, T-Bone Burnett
14. Evangelina, Hoyt Axton, Rusty Old Halo / Where did the Money Go?
15. The Boy Done Wrong Again, Belle and Sebastian, The Black Sessions (bootleg)
16. You Are So Beautiful, Joe Cocker, Long Voyage Home, Disc 3
17. Rosealie’s Good Eat’s Cafe, Bobby Bare, Sings Lullabys, Legends & Lies
18. Burning House of Love, X, Ain’t Love Grand
19. Cowboy Song, Thin Lizzy, Dedication, The Very Best of Thin Lizzy
20. Texas Trilogy: Train Ride, Lyle Lovett, Step Inside This House, Disc 2