Seen Around Town

I’m not much of a photographer, but that doesn’t stop me from always taking my camera with me. Here are some recent gadget shots:

The music branding and advertising at Starbucks has gone completely over the top. Above is a pic of the digital release displayed in front of the cashier. I also picked up a business-card-size promotional sheet offering a free “song of the day” by entering the download code online. Makes me wonder where Starbucks will go next. (Co-op work spaces? Theme parks?) They’re clearly more than a coffee shop these days. And what about the music distribution business? Do music studios have to sell an experience rather than just a song?

Next check out what I found at Costco and a yard sale…

Read moreSeen Around Town

Jaman Almost Out of Beta, Launches Version .99

On the heels of Joost’s announced intent to offer live TV, I spoke with the CEO of online video distributor Jaman – a company taking a very different approach to delivering content. Jaman has gotten attention from some of the big wigs both for its focus on indie and international films and for its ability … Read more

More Photos, More Storage

When I read the news today that Comcast had upgraded free storage for customers to 1 Gig per Comcast.net email address, it happened to be right after reading another stat from a firm called InfoTrends. InfoTrends predicts that Americans will take 50 billion digital photos in 2007 and 60 billion by 2011. Putting the two … Read more

If Money Grew On Trees: FogScreen

If money grew on trees, I’d have a funkadelic living room. FogScreen “produces a thin curtain of fog that serves as a translucent projection screen, displaying images that literally float in the air.” It sounds like FogScreen has been available overseas for a bit (mostly appearing at trade shows), but is now making its way … Read more

Get Ready for Digital TV… Says Feather-Duster Lady

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has launched a new commercial campaign to inform American consumers about the upcoming digital TV transition. In one of four new spots, Eunice Mixon tells us not to worry about February 2009, cable’s got it taken care of. I find her authority somewhat undermined by the purple feather … Read more

U-verse Adds Yellow Pages

The great thing about software updates is that they can roll out at any time. Word is that AT&T is now field-testing new U-verse apps in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area. While folks are still waiting on the more coveted whole-home DVR feature, the U-verse Users Forum has screenshots up of a Yellow Pages directory … Read more

And a Note About Apple TV – It’s Not Selling Well

Buried toward the end of this morning’s WSJ article on Sony is a short blurb on Apple TV:

Apple’s set-top device called Apple TV, which lets users play music and video from their computer-based iTunes library, has not been selling strongly since it went on sale earlier this year, analysts say.

apple-tv.jpgI had numerous debates with people when Apple TV first launched about how successful it could be. Then and now the biggest argument for Apple TV has always been that it has the potential to become so much more. If you add HD content to iTunes it could be a great HD video machine. If you add a TV tuner and DVR features it could replace your set-top. If you give people a chance to pay a premium for no DRM, it could transform the video purchasing experience.

Unfortunately, each “if” is fraught with complications. The content companies are fiercely protective of their content and only want to work with Apple on their own terms. This goes double where HD video is concerned given fears of piracy and lost revenue. As for consumers, they (we) want access to content they’re used to getting from their cable, satellite or telecom company, and that means dealing with CableCARDs or some other workaround technology. No simple task.

Read moreAnd a Note About Apple TV – It’s Not Selling Well

DVRs Killing DVDs

The Netflix rental model is beloved in my household, and we watch very different things on Netflix DVDs than we do on our DVR. However, a new study out of the UK by a firm called Ofcom, the independent regulator of UK communications industries, suggests that DVR viewing may be cutting into DVD popularity. In … Read more