Archives For Video

Web Not Good Enough for TV?

Mari Silbey —  February 9, 2007


There tends to be a lot of confusion around the term IPTV. It doesn’t mean video streamed over the free-and-clear Internet like YouTube. It means television that is streamed over a regulated IP network. In other words, IPTV requires some service provider manage the quality and security of the television experience.

Yesterday Google warned publicly that the Web cannot support broadcast-quality Internet TV over the long term. The system won’t scale. So what does Google plan to do about it? Apparently the company wants to work with cable operators to “combine its technology for searching for video and TV footage and its tailored advertising with the cable networks’ high-quality delivery of shows.”

Continue Reading…

TiVo Top Ten

Mari Silbey —  February 5, 2007

If you watched the Super Bowl last night, chances are you tuned in for and even repeat-viewed some of the commercials. It’s the one time of year when couch potatoes actually want to watch ads, and TiVo capitalized on the phenomenon by making certain commercials download-able for enthusiastic fans.

TiVo also put out a list of the top ten most-watched Super Bowl ads. Truth be told, I only remember two of the ones listed below (“Rock Paper Scissors” and “Mouse”), but then again, I was at a loud party that required leaving the TV room for actual conversation and access to munchies.  Note: Gizmodo also has a list of top Super Bowl spots and includes embedded video of the chosen few, er, 15.  Check out the Gizmodo post here.

Top Ten

1. Bud Light: Language Course with Carlos Mencia

2. Bud Light: Rock Paper Scissors

3. FedEx: Don’t Judge

4. Nationwide: Kevin Federline Rollin’ VIP

5. Doritos Crash the Super Bowl

6. CareerBuilder: Office Jungle

7. Blockbuster: Mouse

8. Doritos Crash The Super Bowl: Checkout Girl

9. Chevrolet: Everybody Loves a Chevy

10. Schick: Quarto Science

Given its new ad agency, maybe next year TiVo will have its own Super Bowl commercial?

Hands On With SplashCast

Mari Silbey —  January 31, 2007

The DEMO 2007 conference started yesterday, and I’m terrifically jealous of anyone who’s out there now. Luckily, we’ve been able to make a few arrangements to keep us up to date on any juicy DEMO news. Dave squeezed me into Marshall Kirkpatrick‘s schedule for a SplashCast briefing, and I’ve got a friend on the ground who promises to send on-site DEMO photos.

Here’s the deal on SplashCast: Marshall calls it a “media syndication platform” and Liz Gannes calls it a widget. Whatever the right term is, it’s a pretty cool tool. Simply put, SplashCast lets you string together text, images, audio and video for a multimedia production viewable (and listenable?) on a Flash player. Unlike YouTube-alikes, SplashCast also embeds a menu to provide access to multiple videos from just one embedded web player.

Here’s a sample SplashCast with text and random ZNF photos. More details after the jump.

Continue Reading…


I realize that even among the people that celebrate Christmas, few celebrate it the way my family does. We have a particular gene in our DNA that leads to obscene levels of spending on Christmas presents. Yes, you could view it as rampant commercialism, but we prefer to think of it as extreme generosity.

Below is Part 1 of a list of gadgets that made it under our tree and the current status of each one:

Wheee… The Wii!

Verdict – Thumbs Up


A family friend kindly stood in line till 3 AM so my parents could provide my brother with a Nintendo Wii for Christmas. It didn’t get set up till the 26th, but it has since provided non-stop entertainment. (Too bad we don’t have a Roomba…) I’ll limit my comments to saying how much I like the feature that lets you create an avatar in your own image for Wii Sports. Here’s a thankfully-not-true-to-life rendering of my brother’s girlfriend:


Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick

Survived the Set-Up


I’ll admit, the set-up for the Pro Stick took a very long time. This was a Woot daily special and I think they were giving away old ones because the device needed several software updates. Nonetheless, the Pro Stick is awesome. I don’t have an HDTV, but I can now get free, over-the-air HD on my laptop. Plus DVR functionality. Way cool. Look for a full product review in a future post.


Still in the Box


The iRecord was a present for my husband. Think we’re into video this year? The idea here is that the iRecord will transfer video from your set-top to a portable device, like a Neuros. According to iRecord’s site, the gadget is the “world’s first H.264/AVC recorder for iPod & PSP.” I’ll let you know how it works when we get it back home.

Stay tuned for Part 2… highlighting the Dash, Squeezebox, eStarling digital photo frame, and DigiMemo.

Gotuit Launches SceneMaker

Mari Silbey —  December 12, 2006

One benefit to covering cool companies is the subsequent rise in status to “official insider.” After writing about Gotuit at the TechCrunch NY party, the company contacted me to set up a pre-brief on a new product announcement. The new product, SceneMaker – which launches today – is a consumer application for tagging video segments within larger video clips. Gotuit calls SceneMaker the “first social video tagging application.” I personally think the word social should have been retired from the lexicon immediately after Zune’s “Welcome to the Social” campaign hit, but semantics aside, SceneMaker is a welcome addition to the world of online video.

Scenemaker works like this: You copy a video URL from YouTube or Metacafe into the SceneMaker application and add metadata to any segment you want within the clip. These user-generated tags are called VideoMarks. Once a video has VideoMarks, that metadata is included whenever someone runs a search in Gotuit’s InVideo search engine. You can also embed a video segment on your website or blog that only includes the section of a video you’ve marked. For example, the middle 30 seconds in a three-minute clip. Continue Reading…

The Content Wars

Mari Silbey —  December 6, 2006

Want to know how cable and telecom operators are going to compete in the short-term? One word: content.

Verizon has put a few notches in its lipstick case with recent sports content deals. Exhibit:

1. FiOS TV Signs the NFL Network
I’ve been skeptical of the NFL Network, but it does carry a few critical games that aren’t otherwise available in certain markets. There’s been a big brouhaha over this in both San Antonio and Washington DC, where the regional cable operators will be depriving fans of a Dallas-Atlanta game and a Ravens-Bengals game respectively. (Verizon kindly posts a cable v. FiOS comparison on the matter on its new blog…)

2. NFL Online
Starting December 7th, Verizon will offer “live NFL Network sports and entertainment programmingâ€? online to its broadband customers.

3. Verizon Gets Comcast SportsNet (?!)
Presumably in a move to appear anti-monopolistic, Comcast has given Verizon the right to carry Comcast SportsNet on its FiOS TV service. This is a big deal for Verizon because some customers might not consider a switch to FiOS if they couldn’t watch local games shown only on Comcast SportsNet.

So Verizon’s doing well in the sports department. But don’t think that cable operators are sitting idly by. Comcast, for example, has signed a deal for extensive VOD content from Disney, including popular ABC shows. The content wars are just beginning.

Ad-ding It Up for VOD

Mari Silbey —  November 25, 2006

It’s kind of like the war between spammers and anti-spammers. As soon as one side comes up with a new technological weapon, the other builds something for the arsenal to counter it. So it goes with television advertising.

charterlogo.gifCharter is starting a trial in hometown St. Louis of dynamic, on-demand advertising. The reason this is significant is because it greatly cuts down on the amount of time it takes to insert ads into VOD programming. Instead of planning weeks in advance, advertisers can deliver and update content virtually at any time.

The technology does look cool. Changes to content can be made without re-encoding and re-distributing the surrounding video, which suggests interesting applications for television outside of advertising. (Update a sitcom in re-runs with jokes that are relevant to current events. Serve up VOD news and update it with developments throughout the day…)

As far as advertising goes, we knew DVRs wouldn’t ultimately spell doom for the TV ad model. And I’ve got nothing against folks needing to make money by advertising their products. However, can we try to avoid overdoing advertisements in the new era of digital television? The amount of programming in a TV hour has significantly declined. I’d like a little more TV show with my hour of ads, please…