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TiVo returning to the UK thanks to partnership with Virgin Media — Engadget March 11, 2010

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It looks like TiVo’s freshly minted Premiere hardware will soon be setting sail eastwards as The Daily Telegraph is reporting Virgin Media’s next generation set-top box will be built around it. Loyal readers of Engadget HD will already be aware that TiVo and Virgin hooked up last November and this latest news relates to the first hardware to be spawned from that relationship. According to TiVo CEO Tom Rogers, the Premiere will “heavily inspire the development work” going into Virgin’s next TV appendage, which may or may not mean that the cable company will simply rebadge the well-received new boxes. What’s assured though is much greater integration with online content, with search linking you out to Amazon, BBC’s iPlayer, YouTube or good old standard broadcast channels. The whole thing’s about unlimited choice, apparently, and should be showing up on the Queen’s isles by the end of this year. We can wait, but we’d rather we didn’t have to.

via TiVo returning to the UK thanks to partnership with Virgin Media — Engadget.


Half of Netflix ‘Watch Instantly’ Users Are Streaming to the TV February 28, 2010

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According to a newly published study from TDG – the nation’s leading new media research consultancy – almost two-thirds of Netflix users that subscribe to a home broadband service are now viewing the ‘Watch Instantly’ streaming video service. One-third of broadband-enabled Netflix subscribers view this streaming video exclusively only on their PCs, 8% view the content exclusively on their TVs, and 24% use both their PCs and TVs.

“Netflix is now the archetype for over-the-top (OTT) streaming video services,” notes Michael Greeson, TDG founding partner and director of research. “Not only has Netflix eclipsed its immediate competitors in terms of online DVD rental, but it has quickly become the ‘gold standard’ for new OTT streaming services.”

The implication of TDG’s research is significant: one-half of broadband-enabled ‘Watch Instantly’ users now view streaming video on their TVs, a phenomenon unimaginable just a few years ago. As Greeson points out, this speaks volumes about the maturation of streaming video technologies that, until recently, had delivered an inconsistent experience that left regular TV viewers wanting.

via Half of Netflix ‘Watch Instantly’ Users Are Streaming to the TV – Press Releases.

Hulu to stream reality show internationally, incessantly — Engadget December 18, 2009

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See this forlorn-looking male model? He’s got a lot on his mind. Really, he’s just like the rest of us — a starry-eyed dreamer who’s headed to Hollywood in search of fame and fortune. To this end, he’s shacked up with four fellow photogenic wannabes in a Hollywood crash pad where they’ll be webcast 24-7 for Simon Fuller’s new Internet-only talent show, If I Can Dream. In addition to weekly episodes broadcast on Hulu, voyeurs viewers will be able to watch the action in the house live, as it goes down. You see, Hulu (who’s not had much luck getting a foothold outside of the states) will be streaming the thing to select international markets in an attempt to spread their brand and influence worldwide. Will it work? Who knows? Besides, Jersey Shore is more our speed. PR, video after the break.

via Hulu to stream reality show internationally, incessantly — Engadget.

Download DRM-Free Music on Your Android Phone with Mewbox | AndroidGuys December 11, 2009

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Music download service Mewbox was recently launched for Android smart phones and the Android-powered Archos 5 Internet Tablet. Mewbox is offering around 4 million tracks from over 23,000 labels. All music available via this service is DRM-free, meaning you can move it to and from whatever device you like.

3-150x150As of this moment, you cannot download Mewbox from the Android Market – users must download it from their site. Having downloaded the application on my own, I can tell you that the user interface is extremely attractive and very slick.  I should also note that the site includes a very thorough set of directions on how to use the application which I found to be very useful.

via Download DRM-Free Music on Your Android Phone with Mewbox | AndroidGuys.

Apple confirms Lala music service acquisition | Web Services | Playlist | Macworld December 11, 2009

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Apple has acquired online music streaming company Lala, the company said Monday, adding to the ways it could offer music to users.

via Apple confirms Lala music service acquisition | Web Services | Playlist | Macworld.

If Apple Acquires Lala: 3 Models for Service Integration – ReadWriteStart December 9, 2009

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If the rumors are true, then something is afoot in the Apple music camp. According to a recent article in Bloomberg, Apple is in talks to acquire online music service Lala. If a sale is finalized between the two companies, a number of new music monetization models can emerge and with Apple holding the supply chain from devices to players to downloads, a streaming music component may prove devastating to others.


Tiered Pricing: With a Lala purchase, Apple could easily employ a tiered pricing model for a streaming service. Users would continue to purchase streams on a per-song basis while also having the option to download songs through the iTunes store.

Full Subscription: In contrast to this model, Apple could also follow MOG’s lead and launch a full subscription service with links to purchase Apple downloads.

Full Subscription with Download Limit: And finally, different still, there’s the opportunity to employ Microsoft’s Zune Pass model. The company could offer a $15 dollar per month subscription streaming music service with the option for users to download their ten favorite songs per month to keep. If Apple decided on this route, downloads would still prove lucrative as users in excess of their download limits would be driven to iTunes for additional sales.

via If Apple Acquires Lala: 3 Models for Service Integration – ReadWriteStart.

Boxee Beta Releases New Social Dashboard – ReadWriteStart December 9, 2009

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In a world where content is king, Boxee has found a way to give entertainment producers the royal treatment. After a successful App challenge and calculated rollouts of its Mac, Windows and Linux releases, internet television platform Boxee is launching into private beta with a new and improved look. ReadWriteWeb got an early look at the product and found out how the company plans to increase its growing user base.

Says Boxee’s VP of marketing Andrew Kippen, “We’re trying to change how people view television. It the past it’s been something people have associated with unhealthiness. Instead of force feeding programs to passive audiences, users are exploring and interacting with web and TV content and each other.”

Kippen hopes that the company’s new design will be more conducive to dialogue and exploration. Rather than appearing like the mobile app interface of an iPhone, the new Boxee offers an experience much like that of social dashboard Seesmic. In addition to OAuth integration, users will notice the following changes.


New Homepage

With Boxee Beta, users are greeted by a dashboard with three columns in the form of a newsfeed, featured content and a program queue. The newsfeed offers starred content and comments from Boxee, Twitter and Facebook friends. The center column is reserved for featured community content. In the future this area will be monetized through a pay-to-promote program. And finally, the program queue lets you to keep track of your Netflix queue and latest Boxee-related TV subscriptions.

TV and Video

In the past users were asked to differentiate between their local and web files. Boxee Beta mixes local and web content in recognition that users simply want to watch their favorite programs regardless of the formats or location of files. Instead of filtering by types of file or having to open an application, Boxee Beta has a new integrated search feature and allows us to pull up files by genre and price, rather than having to switch between file types. The company also organizes your favorite TV shows by episode and season.

Some New Applications

Social : While both Justin.tv and Hulu’s Watch Now Facebook application allow users to chat alongside their favorite entertainment programs, nothing beats the resolution of your home entertainment system. The Clipsync application lets viewers interact with others while watching content on Boxee. Some examples of activity include trivia games and chat.

Super Fandom: If you’ve ever wanted to have yourself a Kurt Russell movie marathon, then the Clicker Boxee application is your answer. ReadWriteWeb recently covered the web version of Clicker as a TV guide for web video and the Boxee application allows users to pull in all the relevant metadata on shows, channels and even actors.

Niche Content: Boxee Beta’s latest content partners include The Escapist gaming network with episodes like the ever-popular Zero Punctuation video game reviews as well as the Suicide Girls’ community programming. By changing Boxee’s default settings to allow for adult content, users will discover that a number of additional adult applications exist.

via Boxee Beta Releases New Social Dashboard – ReadWriteStart.

Will YouTube Begin Charging for TV Shows? December 1, 2009

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YouTube is in talks with content providers to add a pay-per view element to its business, which would allow partners to charge end users to view some premium content on the online video site, according to MediaMemo’s “multiple sources.”

The talks center around YouTube creating a new micro-payment model for streaming videos that would rival similar offerings from Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s video-on-demand service. According to the report, YouTube would offer first-run shows a day after airing on broadcast and cable networks for about $1.99 each.

The news comes not long after earlier reports that YouTube was in talks with major film studios to introduce a movie rental service. In that report, YouTube was expected to charge about $3.99 for movie streams, putting it in general parity with movie rentals from iTunes and Amazon.

The key stumbling block seems to be whether consumers would pay for video streams at the same price that they pay for downloads from iTunes. But networks and studios don’t want to charge less for streaming service, fearing they might then have to renegotiate existing deals.

While Youtube already has some full-length programming from premium content partners, most notably CBS, most of that content is older, long-tail videos from shows long gone by, like Start Trek: The Original Series or Beverly Hills: 90210. But if it were able to launch a micropayments system, it could potentially open up a new realm of premium videos available to users.

YouTube isn’t the only ad-supported video site pondering a pay model; Hulu has long been rumored to be interested launching a subscription service that would add to its revenue stream, for instance. In both cases, the pay models aren’t meant to supplant the ad model, but to add additional revenue for value-added services on top of the existing business model.

via Will YouTube Begin Charging for TV Shows?.

The Problem With the Boxee Box – GigaOM November 25, 2009

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Boxee generated a lot of excitement on the part of online video fans when it said it would release a dedicated hardware device that will enable users to connect its open-source media center software directly to their TVs. But by becoming a hardware company, Boxee may have to choose between alienating its biggest fans and alienating potential content partners.

As Sam over at OStatic points out, much of Boxee’s success stems from a “very enthusiastic community of users” that has helped augment its media center platform by building out various content channels. But while some content owners have created their own channels, not all channels are built by the content owners themselves — or even sanctioned by them. As just one example, Boxee’s new chief creative officer, Zach Klein, told an audience at the Future of Television conference in New York last week that when he joined Boxee he was surprised to find that users had built channels for IAC’s Vimeo and College Humor, where he previously worked, without that company’s permission.

We saw the possible repercussions of such unsanctioned channel-building earlier this year, when Boxee got into a public cat-and-mouse game with Hulu over the online video site’s content being available through Boxee’s software. Since then, Hulu has gotten even more aggressive in trying to protect its content from being embedded on video aggregation sites without its permission.

Boxee has always defended its software by saying that it was just another browser, even if it was clearly meant to be used for navigating online video content when a user’s laptop is connected to a TV. But by becoming a hardware play, the company may have to rethink what content it makes available.

And therein lies the rub. If Boxee simply ports the software and all the channels that it and others have created into its Boxee Box without the permission of content owners — in other words, if it’s committed to remaining open and allowing anyone to build content channels for the device — then it risks alienating potential content partners. Or worse, it risks getting itself into legal trouble for distributing copyrighted content to the TV without getting the content owners’ permission.

For now the company says it’s committed to providing the same content on the Boxee Box that’s available through its desktop software — even if it doesn’t have rights to distribute that content. In an email to NewTeeVee, Andrew Kippen, Boxee’s vice president of marketing, writes, “It’s always been our goal to keep a consistent experience across all platforms — Windows, Mac, Linux, AppleTV, and now, the Boxee Box. We’ll do our best to make sure our users can access the same content across all the different platforms.”

The alternative would be for Boxee to provide content on the device only from companies with which it’s officially partnered, such as Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Current, Pandora, Digg and Tumblr. But there’s also a whole lot of content on Boxee from major broadcast video sites or cable networks that Boxee doesn’t have deals with, like Hulu, CBS, CNN, Comedy Central or MTV.

While Boxee is taking a chance by making unverified content available without a deal, others are playing it safe. Roku, which already sells a broadband-connected set-top device, only has content from partners available through its channel store. The company also issued an SDK earlier this year that will allow just about anyone to build their own content channels for Roku devices. But in that environment — on its platform and on its box — Roku will have the ultimate say when it comes to who is included.

If Boxee kowtows to content owners, the platform will not only become less open but it will also mean it will offer less content than what it currently makes available — which could make it less attractive to consumers.

via The Problem With the Boxee Box – GigaOM.

Rovi hooks cars up to home media collection November 12, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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A new ‘automotive solution’ has been announced which looks to bring all your home-entertainment needs to the humble car like never before.

Created by Rovi, provider of entertainment tech solutions, the company has come up with what it is calling Rovi’s Lasso. Essentially it’s a bundle of media recognition software that provides descriptive details on CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and digital files played in the car.

And not only that, the software can hook up to your home servers, “allows the transfer and sharing of digital content for enjoying on the go.”

The system uses DLNA / UPnP (which works with Windows 7 ‘Play To’) to sync the car to your AV setup. […]

via Rovi hooks cars up to home media collection | News | TechRadar UK