Never enough time…

  • EchoStar XI DBS spacecraft launch scheduled for 2007. (Boeing)
  • ATI sued for misleading HDCP claims. (Engadget)
  • Prepare to do battle over DRM. (eWeek)
  • VLC 0.8.5 released with Intel Mac support, many improvements. (TUAW)
  • Someone Has to Pay for TV. But Who? And How? (PVRBlog)

As announced in November, TiVo is launching their targeted commercials service today. Presumably, one will select advertisement preferences through a new HME app on the recently updated Music, Photos, Products & More screen. As long as the ads remain voluntary and unobtrusive, I’m in favor of TiVo generating additional revenue… assuming they continue adding useful features (unlike this one) and keep fees reasonable. Though, as Om Malik suggests, TiVo’s continued push into advertising presents a business opportunity for another DVR maker to market itself as the anti-ad platform. Is there is a manufacturer brave enough to bring back ReplayTV’s commercial skip?

Wall Street Journal says: For the most part, the marketers won’t run traditional 30-second TV commercials. Instead, they will offer longer ads that attempt to be more informative than typical commercials. Kraft, for instance, will offer 20 different cooking videos that will show such things as how to grill its Tombstone pizza, potato-salad basics, or how to create a cantaloupe-and-Jell-O dessert. General Motors, likewise, will offer detailed video presentations about its vehicles. Ford is trying something more entertaining: one-minute takes of magicians Penn & Teller performing various tricks on a golf course, with a Ford vehicle shown nearby. TiVo users will be able to search for ads in several categories, including finance, lifestyles and travel and leisure. LendingTree’s ad, in the finance category, features personal-finance expert Suze Orman giving step-by-step overviews of different types of loans.

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If CSTV’s Navy football didn’t do it for you, now’s your chance for some hot surfing action! In addition to pimping NBC’s broadcast, TiVo is also advertising eMusic. Notice 4 out of 5 lines of text end with an exclamation point… yet I don’t feel very excited. At least they didn’t use Caps Lock. Wake me up when the VOD looks something like a Hollywood feature, not another commercial.

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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)

Never enough time…

  • Slingbox whips Sony’s LocationFree TV. (Time)
  • Porn industry may decide Blu-ray/HD-DVD winner. (PC World)
  • DVR installations to grow by 100% a year. (ZDNet)
  • No one really wants to buy UMD movies. (Kotaku)