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Clicker is a TV guide for the Internet age | VentureBeat September 17, 2009

Posted by pannet in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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Clicker, a startup launching at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco today, says one of the problems with watching TV online is figuring out what’s on: Where’s our TV guide for the web? Clicker says it’s the first “structured, comprehensive and unbiased guide for online television.”It’s raised $8 million from Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures. It also has an upcoming distribution deal with Boxee, to let users search for content directly on their TV sets.

The problem with the web now is that video search engines are often incomplete or poorly designed, Clicker says. You can search Hulu, but the results only show excerpts and don’t include clips from other sites. YouTube, naturally, only searches the mostly user-generated content it hosts.Clicker not only tells you what video is available on the web now, but also what’s missing. It demonstrated this by searching for Seinfeld and coming up with only six episodes. Clicker points to the page where the video’s hosted; it doesn’t necessarily host or embed the videos itself. Users can also add data about the show, putting in tags or memorable quotes.The site is in private beta over the next few weeks.

It has a couple of business models: it could function on advertising or share revenue with sites it directs a lot of traffic toward. It could also offer a paid pro version. […]


Flip vs iPod Nano: Flip Wins For Now September 13, 2009

Posted by hruf in Multimedia.
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When you have sold over 100 million iPod Nanos, then as a company you need a new schtick to keep the momentum going. So Apple introduced a really skinny iPod Nano model that has a built in video camera so that you can record videos and share them to YouTube, Facebook, Mobile Me or Email. Since I don’t own a Flip, I thought well maybe this might be a good option. I tried out the device and within a few minutes I realized that this is not for me. Why? The camera is positioned in a really awkward position which makes usage very unintuitive. I guess someone wasn’t quite thinking. Any how does it stack up against Flip? Chris and Liz did a side-by-side comparison of the new iPod Nano with Flip SD and are underwhelmed by the new Nano. You can check out their video overview and reviews here. (Photo of iPod Nano, courtesy of Apple.)

via Flip vs iPod Nano: Flip Wins For Now.

In-Stream Mobile Video Ads Now Know Where You Are September 5, 2009

Posted by pannet in Mobile & Gadgets.
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Geo-targeted mobile ads could be the most invasive technology we’ve ever seen. But of course they could also be really cool and useful. Now, location-aware ads are invading your streaming mobile video for the first time.

mDialog, a mobile video startup, announced today at Ad:Tech Chicago it has adopted Apple’s new HTTP adaptive bitrate streaming for the iPhone. The HTTP streaming technology — which we’ve covered in depth — stitches together chunks of the same video encoded at different bitrates. The primary purpose is to deliver video that adjusts to changing network strength without stopping to buffer. But a side benefit is that you can slot something else in the stream without interruption, either. And that means: mobile advertising opportunities.

mDialog is one of the first to experiment on the new platform, and so today it’s announced that it can now do in-stream geo-targeted dynamic video ad insertion using Akamai and DoubleClick. That means mid-roll video ads that know where you are. So, if you happen to be watching a video in an mDialog app on your iPhone, that app can ask Google Maps where exactly you’re located, and deliver in the middle of your stream an ad that’s targeted down to a one-quarter mile area.

We had been skeptical of mDialog’s focus on the iPhone in the past, but the flip side is the startup pushes forward these new possibilities. mDialog CEO Greg Philpott said he can envision mid-roll geo-targeting being used for attendees of a concert or sporting event, who are instructed to watch something on their phone and then get a version of an ad just for that event. Today it’s not a massive use case, but it’s definitely a sign of where things are headed.

via In-Stream Mobile Video Ads Now Know Where You Are.

Boxee Watches $6 Million More In Funding Stream In August 12, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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Boxee, the media center software startup, has won a lot of fans with its open approach to streaming content. And as a result it has won some more money, to the tune of a $6 million second round, led by Boston’s General Catalyst Partners. The new money will be used for growth: Both expanding the team and expanding the service’s reach in the market, we’re told.[…]

At the same time, Boxee is working hard to get the beta version of its software out the door (it’s still currently in Alpha). Back in June, it previewed that release while also unleashing a huge update to its service which finally included support for Windows. With that important support, the service now has over 600,000 users, we’re told.

via Boxee Watches $6 Million More In Funding Stream In.

YouTube’s Pitch to Hollywood July 10, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities.
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YouTube came to Los Angeles this week to seek out content partners, pitching them its 3-month-old redesign for premium content. “This was a big strategy change for us, one of the most significant ones to date,” said Jordan Hoffner, the site’s director of content partnerships, noting the site’s new “clean, well-lit” shows page was “the first navigation change in about two and a half years.” Hoffner emphasized online distribution of long-form content as a companion to television, but with fewer ads and the opportunity to get audience feedback.

But television content has not yet been particularly successful on YouTube. According to recent stats from TubeMogul, full-length shows average only 7,407.9 views per episode. Perhaps the TV content the site has secured isn’t high value enough; perhaps it should do more to promote the stuff it can actually run pre-rolls on. For whatever reason, few people look to YouTube to watch TV shows online. […]

via YouTube’s Pitch to Hollywood

VLC: An Excellent Media Player (Finally) Turns 1.0.0 July 10, 2009

Posted by andre in Multimedia.
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There’s nothing worse than a video player that won’t play all of your video files. That’s why I’ve long been a fan of the free VLC media player: It plays back just about every kind of file you can throw at it. And, finally, several years after the first version was released, VLC media player is now available in version 1.0.0. If you’ve never used VLC, now is the time to start. […]

via VLC: An Excellent Media Player (Finally) Turns 1.0.0

Decoding the HTML 5 video codec debate July 6, 2009

Posted by Matthias Kiefer in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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The HTML 5 video element has the potential to liberate streaming Internet video from plugin prison, but a debate over which codec to define in the standard is threatening to derail the effort. Ars takes a close look at the HTML 5 codec controversy and examines the relative strengths and weaknesses of H.264 and Ogg Theora. […]

In an article last month, we explored the challenges and opportunities associated with the HTML 5 video element. One of the most significant of these challenges is the lack of consensus around a standard media codec, a contentious issue that has rapidly escalated into a major controversy. The debate has now stalled without a clear resolution in sight.

The HTML 5 working group is split between supporters of Ogg Theora and H.264. Their inability to find a compromise that is acceptable to all stakeholders has compelled HTML 5 spec editor Ian Hickson to “admit defeat” and give up on the effort to define specific codecs and media formats in the standard itself. This is problematic because the lack of uniform codec availability will make it impossible for content creators to publish their videos in a single format that will be viewable through the HTML 5 video element in all browsers. […]

Read the whole article at Decoding the HTML 5 video codec debate – Ars Technica.

Apple’s HTTP Adaptive Video Streaming July 2, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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When Apple upgraded its iPhone operating system in June, it included some highly prominent and loudly demanded features, like search and copy and paste. But the Cupertino, Calif., computer maker also added some behind-the-scenes upgrades that haven’t yet started to show up in most iPhone users’ daily experiences. One of them, HTTP video streaming, has the capability to substantially change how mobile video is perceived and consumed.

HTTP streaming enables publishers to give users a better video experience by employing adaptive streaming techniques, something other players such as Microsoft, Adobe Systems, Move Networks and Swarmcast already offer (though Adobe uses a more traditional proprietary real-time streaming protocol to do so, rather than sending chunks of video over standard HTTP like the others). That means that watchers can enjoy a continuous, smooth video experience. The stream intelligently adjusts to the highest quality a viewer can receive at each moment. If the connectivity worsens, a lower quality stream is substituted without interruption or buffering. […]

via Video: See Apple’s HTTP Adaptive Video Streaming in Action

Streaming Media East: Verizon and boxee Want In To Your Living Room May 16, 2009

Posted by pannet in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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Keynotes from Verizon and boxee pushed forward the concept of getting online video into the living room, though each company takes a radically different approach.   [HERE IS THE VERIZON PART:]

[…] Ambeault [of Verizon] went on to discuss an upcoming service, an enhancement to FiOS TV that he says will allow access to over 7 million pieces of content. To do so, Verizon understood the need to create an interactive media guide that would allow access to all this content, which in turn should drive an uptake in digital video recorders (DVR) and increase the amount of consumption of FiOS TV in the living room. […]

At its core, the upcoming interactive media guide will be driven by a search engine, which Ambeault calls “core navigation through a plethora of content: multimedia, music and other types of content, with a robust search engine that’s much closer to an internet search tool than previous interactive TV solutions.”  The content found through the guide would play back in a variety of players, including ones that mimic traditional TV, RSS feeds, and even web video players. “These media players also have access to plug ins and applications, such as a DVD emulator,” said Ambeault, “which makes on-demand content more like a DVD experience including rich menus and other DVD-like navigation.”

Ambeault also talked to the benefit of external APIs, one of which is a desktop application which can be used to pre-populate content to the TV for a customized experience. “Rather than having to cue up content on the TV with a remote control,” said Ambeault, “which only has a few navigation buttons, we’ve used a model that allows a customer to set up content ahead of time, from work or other location, using a desktop application. So when it comes time to watch the content, the customer just sits down and watches the content.”

“We are continuing our beta testing during the early commercialization stages,” said Ambeault, “which will add podcasts (video and other downloadable media) at early tester request, and we think that newer set-top boxes may mitigate need for PC bridging. We also think there is a potential for advertising, which was not part of the original model, and we are looking into adding Facebook and Twitter widgets, allowing social networks to power discovery of content that in turn will be viewed on FiOS TV.”


Hulu: CEO Jason Kilar On The State Of Hulu April 28, 2009

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Hulu CEO Jason Kilar sits down with Sarah Lacy on Yahoo Tech Ticker. The first and second segments are now up.

In the first segment, in response to Lacy’s question about why Hulu removed its content from the popular Boxee service, he talks about his need to juggle the needs of his three customers – networks, viewers and advertisers. The networks must be kept happy to make sure Hulu is around for the long term, he says, and this move was made to keep the networks happy. Kilar also addressed rumors of NBC pulling out of the joint venture.

Kilar talks about Hulu’s business model in the second segment. He won’t disclose revenue but says the company is ahead of plan. Analysts say the company may have made as much as $65 million last year on the back of advertising that sells at much higher rates than YouTube commands.

More segments coming up.

via CEO Jason Kilar On The State Of Hulu.