Archives For Video

MovieBeam, originally priced at $249 plus $30 activation, dropped to $199 without an activation fee about a month into sales. As I wrote, that price still struck me as barrier to entry given the per-movie rental fees. Well, how does 49 bucks sound? MovieBeam’s online media account manager sent me a note to spread the word about a blog & forum special — just enter code PR49B at checkout to get this deeply discounted rate! At $49 a pop I can see them selling enough units to reach a critical mass, perhaps allowing them to recoup infrastructure investments and hardware costs through movie rentals.

Before pulling the trigger, you might want to review this… “Please confirm that you have a land-line phone before you purchase the MovieBeam Player. Sorry, the MovieBeam Player cannot connect to mobile or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phones at this time.” Ben over at HD Beat did get the unit working on Vonage, but your mileage may vary. Also be aware MB is not available in all areas (remember, local stations “beam” the movies), but their online address widget will quickly let you know if you qualify.

I’m in! :)

Rocketboom not doing it for you? TiVo has announced a partnership with Brightcove to distribute Internet video. Sounds neat, but I’m still waiting for a Hollywood feature film VOD service.

Interesting factoid: One article stated there are ~400,000 TiVo units on broadband.

Associated Press says: The deal with Brightcove Networks Inc., to be announced Wednesday, means some TiVo users will soon have not only TV shows to record, but also Internet-based videos from Brightcove’s content partners. “This is the first partnership for us to get content directly to the TV set,” said Brightcove’s founder and CEO, Jeremy Allaire. Allaire said TiVo and Brightcove would pick an as-yet-undisclosed set of Web-based programs to debut in June on TiVo’s Internet-connected, Series 2 digital video recorders. The companies said the programs would be offered for free initially, but may carry advertising. The two companies later plan to provide a way for content producers using Brightcove to have their material distributed to TiVo machines. The content providers could decide to charge for the content, the companies said.

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I guess sales aren’t so brisk, as only a month after launch MovieBeam has dropped hardware pricing $50 (to $200) and done away with the $30 activation fee. Will it matter? Somehow I don’t think so… their pricing model needs some serious tweaking if they’re going to compete with a large, installed base of cable and satellite subscribers who have easy access to PPV/VOD. MovieBeam seems intent on charging both hardware and movie rental fees, so I suggest they toss in 24 free flicks, two available per month, to sweeten the deal for consumers while protecting their financial interests.

When Jeremy Toeman isn’t wearing his Sling Media VP hat, he’s reporting on cool gadgets through LIVEdigitally. After putting MovieBeam through its paces, Jeremy came away largely impressed with the service… in standard definition.

Jeremy says: To me, Moviebeam is either the lazy man’s answer to Blockbuster, or, more likely, an early glimpse into the future of our soon-to-arrive “entertainment, anywhere, anytime, on-demand” lifestyle. I have to say the process of finding, selecting, and watching movies is completely satisfying. There may be some issues with pricing, business model, selection, etc., but when it comes down to the core functionality of the Moviebeam system, it does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and it does it well. Once the movie is playing you have complete control over the playback experience, including slomo, frame-by-frame, and multiple speed fast-forward and rewind modes. Also, a convenient ‘chapter skip’ button skips ahead a fixed time interval. After some hands-on use, I have to say, the product is quite fun to use, and a welcome addition to my home.

Stove Top TV

Dave Zatz —  May 4, 2006

Is this really neccessary…?

(via Gizmodo)

Operation Aussie Sling

Dave Zatz —  May 3, 2006

It’s been fairly well documented that you can Sling television feeds around the world, but Hobotech Ron and I wondered what type of quality one could expect outputting that signal to TV. So in the name of science, we broke several international laws to conduct an intercontinental experiment. Ron loaded up his Dell laptop with the SlingPlayer and viewed my Washington, DC-based Slingbox feed from his home in Canberra, Australia. As you can see above, video quality was decent on his rear projection TV with a consistent 320kbps-350kbps download bitrate (which is about what I get here in the US). We believe the limiting factor is not distance, but rather my DSL upload speed which is capped at 384kbps.

Ron says: I hooked it up to the RearPro via S-Video and my wife and I watched it for quite a while and came to the conclusion that, while less than perfect we would be quite happy to watch it, if it provided us with material we couldn’t get from any other source. A little bit like food, while one might prefer a steak, a hamburger will usually do quite well if that’s all that’s available!
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Never enough time…

  • One man’s experience with the MPEG-4 decoding Dish ViP622 HD DVR. (Extreme Tech)
  • MSOs urged to quickly enter portable media market. (Cable Digital News)
  • Wired publishes a static guide of online video services. (Wired)
  • Yahoo unveils tech news and reviews site. (Yahoo)
  • Davis Freeberg breaks down Netflix v. Blockbuster and beats down a financial analyst. (Thomas Hawk)

Today’s the day… ABC launched their two month trial (5/1 – 6/30) offering free web rebroadcasts of current, prime time television series. Unlike most streaming content, you do not need Windows as ABC is broadcasting via cross-platform Flash. Of course free is just another word for advertising, but it competes well with $1.99 iTunes downloads. Assuming all goes well, ABC is planning on tweaking the model and relaunching with the fall television season.

Check it out here!

Do I need to watch all of the advertisements?

The advertisements are placed at various points during the show. You cannot advance the show beyond that point until you have watched the ad for at least 30 seconds. You may see a maximum of four advertisements per show.

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