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Tag: ABC

XBox adds Voice, Gestures with TV Update

Posted by J Powers at 9:28 AM on December 5, 2011
Xbox 360

Xbox 360

A new interface for XBox 360 game console users allows you to use your voice to navigate through the games, TV shows, movies and music.

Steve Ballmer showed off this technology back in September, but starting this Tuesday, this becomes reality. It adds not only remote gesture control, but also remote voice commands. Therefore, if you don’t have a Kinect motion controller, you still can control without a remote.

The Associated Press got a special demonstration of the new features. When the Microsoft employee said “XBox Bing ‘Iron Man’,” a search for Iron Man came up. When the employee said “XBox, show movies,” a list of movies from various sources appeared.

With over 57 million XBox units sold, Microsoft is expecting to make a real impact in the cord cutters market. Adding pay channel partners like Verizon FIOS means that XBox will get into the Over the top TV market with a vengeance. You will have to use over-the-air or alternate cable methods to get network TV like NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox.

The real question is how this will affect your household. Will you cut your cord over this update? Will you start to use the XBox as more than a gaming system?

TV Networks Stick Collective Finger in Dike

Posted by Alan at 7:12 PM on October 22, 2010

Over the past twenty-four hours you have probably heard the news that some of the major networks, such as ABC, NBC, and CBS have blocked access from Google TV.  I don’t know if I should be surprised or not.

I’ve grown accustomed to them doing this sort of thing – Hulu (NBC and Fox) blocked Boxee, and didn’t even want your PC hooked to your TV.  But in recent months it seemed to be changing – Hulu is going on set-top boxes, TV Networks are making apps for things like the iPad.

Now in the past day they have tried to suddenly turn back the clock, by blocking the Google TV set-top box.  It seems to go against the tide they had been riding recently to a more open, freely available content future.  They saw this coming years ago as they watched the music industry struggle.  While they have not yet given up their DRM, as music had to, they were finding ways to (mostly) satisfy viewers by rolling out Hulu and placing content on their own web sites, and, as I said previously, even releasing apps and putting Hulu on real TV’s.

They saw bit torrent as their own personal Napster, and they were right to.  It was, and if they don’t figure this thing out soon then it still could be.  There’s no shortage of apps and directories available to even the most casual users to get all of their TV shows while cutting the providers out completely.  And this kind of move is the type that pushes people in that direction.  The music industry has shown that low prices and wide availability can work as a business model.  The TV industry seems bent on showing that low availability can’t work.

Maybe it’s the wide-open, PC-style approach that Google TV takes that is scaring them.  After all, they were never really afraid of a few geeks hooking PC’s to TV’s.  But, when the process gets vastly simplified by a device, then the game really begins to change.  And those high-profile, big-profit hostage negotiations like the one going on in New York between Fox and Cablevision lose their value.

The one thing they don’t seem do get, or maybe they get, but haven’t sensed the urgency of, is that they are running out of room quickly.  As the old saying goes, they are putting their finger in the hole in the dike, but they can’t hold back the flood much longer.  They need to figure out the revenue model for this new technology yesterday.  Blocking access to Google TV is already a flawed plan.  Anybody can go in and change the ID of the Chrome browser and get their access back.  It takes 30 seconds.  And early adopters are the kind of people who know how to do that.  These days knowledge is digital and once it’s out it’s not coming back.  The content producers and networks are running out of time and, even in that race, they are running in the wrong direction right now.

GNC-2010-09-21 #612 Go Ivi Go!

Posted by geeknews at 12:44 AM on September 21, 2010

We knew this was coming, Ivi is in a battle for their survival. I am going to do my best to do a interview with their CEO this week to have available on the The Morning Tech Show. I am at a turning point with the Podcast Awards, info in todays show, plus how your host is operating with a scratched eyeball all that and more in the show.

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Where Is Hulu Heading?

Posted by Alan at 8:13 PM on August 18, 2010

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding Hulu lately, and I am trying to figure it all out.  There’s Hulu Plus, rumors of an IPO, content questions…the list goes on.  So, what do we make of it all?

Let’s start with Hulu Plus.  For those not familiar, Hulu Plus  is the recently announced, and released, paid version of Hulu.  You can get full details on what’s available in Plus here.  In a nutshell, though, you get every episode from the current season of all shows on ABC, NBC, and FOX, plus all episodes from past seasons of many of the shows.  This comes with a price tag of $9.99 per month.  That’s not a bad price – a whole lot cheaper than any cable or satellite subscription.  There’s no trial though.  You have to pay right from day one, which has been a big drawback for many consumers.

There have also been recent rumors of a Hulu IPO [initial public (stock) offering].  I would have to say it’s a fairly credible rumor based on it coming from the Wall Street Journal.  Based on that story, Hulu may be worth as much as $2 billion on the market and they are looking to use money raised from stock to land contracts from other content providers.  With only three networks on board there is plenty of room for expansion.

That segues nicely into the last question – content.  Obviously an IPO would allow them to have the funds to really negotiate some big time deals – think CBS, HBO or maybe even Disney.  But if that doesn’t pan out, then how do they build relationships to gain more content?

So, we have looked at the three aspects of what Hulu is doing and/or trying to do right now.  Where does that take them?

First, let’s look at Plus.  It’s a good offering.  After all, everyone’s chief complaint had always been the shifting content.  Any given show you wanted had only certain episodes available and those seemed to change regularly.  So this is a solid win for them.  But, what about subscriber numbers?  That seems to be kept secret from every source I checked.  Everyone talked up Plus when it was announced, but how many actually signed up?  Or, maybe more telling, how many signed up expecting a trial only to find that they had to pay from day one?  We need numbers, combined with ad revenue (which is different from every source), to determine how they are really faring.

Second, the IPO (or rumored IPO).  If it’s true, and if the valuation ($2 billion) is in the right ballpark then that solves a big content issue.  More content available, even if it’s only in Plus (and I would assume most would be) means more users.  That much money, or even close to that much, would allow for negotiations for big content providers.  Every major provider added, such as an HBO, would add huge amounts of value to Hulu and their revenue.

And third, the content question.  This one pretty much hinges on number two.  If the IPO happens, and goes as laid out in the WSJ, then this is moot.  But, if not, then where does Hulu turn to add subscribers?  They have a decent stream of revenue from ads, plus whatever they are getting from Plus subscribers, so there is some money to work with.  In this case they will need to work with smaller networks to get content.

So, let me come to a conclusion, such as it is, here.  We know nothing about the Plus subscribers and, therefore, nothing of the revenue from the program.  The IPO is a rumor, although fairly well based.  If it happens then Hulu has the money to go after the big fish,  But that doesn’t mean they will land any of them.  I think Disney is out of the question for now.  I think CBS and HBO are possible.  If they don’t do the IPO then they go after smaller content providers.  I would think Comedy Central would be on top of the list.  Having The Daily Show would really be a feather in the cap.  But, it can’t go in Plus, because it’s already free on Comedy Central’s web site.  Showtime might also be possible, and they have some sought-after original content.  Then all of the others – Discovery, History, WB, USA, etc.

It seems that they can make it without the IPO and without making a lot off of Plus (if they get something like The Daily Show in their regular feed).  So, they are viable for the foreseeable future.  But, I think, as they stand now, they are not in the best place.  They will definitely need revenue to add either one or two big providers or several smaller ones.  And, depending on who they add, will make the difference of if the content goes to Plus or not.  But some, no matter how much it hurts them, will have to go to the regular, free feed.  After all, that’s what brings the initial views.

OTT And Paid Content

Posted by tomwiles at 11:41 AM on July 9, 2010

OTT, short for “over-the-top-television” is an up-and-coming acronym that we are all likely going to become familiar with in the near future, provided someone doesn’t come up with a different marketing name. The concept is simple – it’s TV that comes “over the top” of traditional channels on a cable system via the Internet delivered in digital packets. It can either be live streaming video, on-demand streaming video, or in the form of a pre-recorded on-demand podcast.

There are many aspects of over-the-top TV that have yet to be shaken out. Specifically, here in the early stages there are some still-murky areas when it comes to details of how advertising is going to work.

Things that we know about how OTT works successfully so far:

People are willing to pay for bundled on-demand professionally created OTT content in the form of Netflix on-demand streaming of movies, TV shows, and other content. The bundled Netflix price for all-you-can-eat on-demand streaming OTT offers the consumer a real value. In most cases, a great deal of marketing money and effort has been spent promoting the majority of individual movies and other content that are available on Netflix, so the consumer has a fairly high degree of familiarity with much of the on-demand streaming content they offer. These are essentially repurposed movies that are already on the shelf.

People are willing to watch on-demand streaming OTT of professionally-created content with embedded ads as demonstrated by the ongoing success of Hulu.Com. The consumer is likely already familiar with a portion of the content, but Hulu also allows the consumer to discover and explore previously unknown TV show content in an on-demand stream with embedded ads. These are essentially repurposed TV shows, some movies, and other content.

Live streaming OTT of live content is still catching on. The most successful live OTT content as typified by what Leo Laporte and company are generating still offers an on-demand podcast version that can be downloaded later. Currently, on-demand, after-the-fact podcast versions of live OTT generated content end up with many more downloads than people watching via live streams. Both live streaming OTT and the on-demand podcast versions can contain ads. For the ads to be effective in this format, they need to be relevant to the audience’s needs and desires. The old “shotgun” advertising approach does not work in this format. This specific type of content is closely associated with word-of-mouth promotion.

There are a few questions that remain to be answered. Will consumers pay for on-demand streaming of TV drama-type content they are unfamiliar with — in other words, will consumers pay to watch an on-demand stream of a new TV show drama, documentary or reality show? Using myself as a gage, I wouldn’t pay for individual on-demand episodes of a TV show or movie I wasn’t fairly familiar with. Promotion and word-of-mouth still has to take place.

If consumers will pay-per-view for an unfamiliar on-demand TV show, can the content still contain ads? I think the answer to this depends on the content and its perceived value – i.e., how well it is promoted, and the resulting perceived value that is generated in the potential consumer.

Once “Lost” was a hit TV show, would the fanatic fans have paid for on-demand streams of new episodes? Probably they would have, if they could have gotten them, say a week or so in advance of the actual broadcasts. “Lost” fans would have also put up with ads in the advance on-demand stream. They might have grumbled about it, but if that were the only way it was available in advance, many of them would have opened-up their wallets and paid the price monetarily and with their attention to the embedded ads in order to satisfy their “Lost” habit. Clearly, the producers of “Lost” – ahem – “lost out” on a time-sensitive revenue stream opportunity.

Bottom line, I believe it all revolves around the content and the real and perceived values that the content delivers.

I liked last season’s remake of the old “V” television series. If I could be assured the production values remained just as high, I might pay to subscribe in some manner. If the “V” series is picked up again by ABC next season, I would also pay to subscribe if I could get episodes via on-demand streaming before they were broadcast.

In the meantime, we are still dealing with the death-throws of the old broadcast model with its old appointment based viewing schedule combined with the old shotgun advertising approach. ABC broadcast TV affiliates would have had a cow if “Lost” episodes had been made available as a paid on-demand OTT stream before the episodes were actually broadcast via the network.

The final destination of OTT and when it ends up at that destination depends on what is right for the time. Both delivery infrastructure capabilities and consumer demand will make that determination.

GNC-2010-05-03 #572 Feels Like Ground Hog Day

Posted by geeknews at 9:04 PM on May 3, 2010

On the Road Again and I am starting to feel like that movie Ground Hog Day. Need a replacement for JungleDisk what are you using to access your Amazon S3 Buckets? So how does the show sound with the current road recording gear? Thanks to all of our sponsors for their ongoing support.

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