HD-DVD, Now With Ads!

Studio executives would like you to believe that HD-DVD and Blu-ray represent the future of the DVD, but according to Ad-Jab it also represents the future of advertising. In a move sure to infuriate fans everywhere, HD-DVD is going to start including enhanced advertising content on the extra space that HD-DVD discs allow for.

The only thing more controversial then the ads that the studios make you watch when you buy a DVD are the ads that movie theaters force on you when you go see a film. The advertisements that you can opt out of, or skip past don’t bother me quite as much, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rented a movie and have then been forced to sit through some lousy spot that I have no interest in.

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TiVo v EchoStar Update, Part 1

Davis Freeberg believes recent developments in the TiVo/Echostar patent infringement suit may indicate an imminent settlement. -DZ

In the latest twist for the blogosphere’s favorite patent telenovela, the Federal Appeals court overseeing the current stage of TiVo’s patent case against Dish, has put EchoStar’s patent appeal on pause for the next 14 days, pending the settlement of the case. According to the Pacer court of appeals website, the following entry was recorded last night.

10/30/2006: ORDERED: Briefing schedule stayed. EchoStar to notify this court within 14 days of date of disposition of final postjudgment motion in dist ct. By: Motions Panel. Judge: Gajarsa
SERVICE: by Mail on 10/30/2006

In addition to this order item, there was also the following action posted on the site:

ACTION: Entry 27: Motion moot

While I don’t play a legal expert on TV or even pretend to understand the subtle legalese of the Pacer website, I did contact a friend of mine who is an attorney in Texas, and he said that the order likely meant that TiVo and Echostar are very close to a settlement, but that the details haven’t been completely finalized.

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DivX Unmuzzled, Quiet Period Ends

divx.jpg

Over the past few months I have become increasingly obsessed with a company that I have followed for a very long time. For most people, today was like any other Monday. They went to work, talked about their weekend and couldn’t wait for it to be over, but for me I spent the day waiting in anticipation of something that I’ve been looking forward to for several months now.

For the first time ever, I had the opportunity to listen to DivX publically comment on their business plan and their execution over the last few months. In the past, I’ve followed DivX as closely as any other tech enthusiast and while I understood that the quality of their codec and the underground roots that set them apart, very little information was leaked out about this private company based in San Diego California. While many have either never heard of DivX or have no idea of what the company does, over the years, I’ve formed a fond appreciation for their technology and their inexplicable ability to survive regardless of the competitive landscape.

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Hollywood and Technology Endure Awkward Blind Date

One of the pranks I used to play in college was to dial the phone number of one of my friends, who typically was having relationship problems, and as soon as their phone would start ringing, I would immediately put them on conference call and dial their recent ex and then sit back and watch as both people thought that the other person was calling them. In retrospect it probably wasn’t a very nice thing to do, but the results were always unpredictable and hilarious.

Sometimes they’d just start fighting, other times they would actually make up, but most times there would be a certain awkwardness as both parties thought the other had called, but couldn’t figure out why. While it may not have been the nicest practical joke, today Forbes magazine played a similar version of this gag when they invited some of the top technology firms to interact with Hollywood fat cats at their MEET (Media Electronic Entertainment Technology) 2006 conference.

The list of technology experts was a literal who’s who of the geek world. TiVo, Sling, Netflix, Apple, Google, YouTube, you name it, the list went on and on. While many of these technology companies came to court Hollywood into embracing them as business partners, they faced a tough crowd and a hard sell for an industry that hasn’t been forced to make significant changes in the last 30 years. In a nice overview of the conference, Paul Bonds with The Hollywood Reporter, gives a great run down on some of the more memorable recaps.

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Starship Netflix, You Are Cleared For Liftoff

Recently, I was looking at some of the online data that is available on GameFly and I remarked to Motley Fool contributor Daniel Rubin, that I was surprised to see that internet video game rentals hasn’t turned out to be more popular option for consumers. Online video games have been something investors and customers have been very vocal about wanting, yet Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings has stood steadfast in his commitment to stick with just DVD rentals. Rubin’s response to my comment was a true testament to how much Reed Hastings has shown an uncanny ability to understand the DVD market better then anyone in the industry.

Isn’t this yet another spectacular display of strategic leadership by Reed Hastings? The guy’s like a Starship captain flying this sucker through an asteroid storm and outmaneuvering every one and every thing.The man has thrashed Blockbuster (one of the biggest brands in busines history), beat off Wal-Mart, scared off Amazon, and now may have dodged a huge bullet by having NOT wasted time on a failed venture at this critical juncture when time is of the essence. I’ll take Red Envelope Entertainment and the value that will come from proprietary content over video games any day.

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