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Tag: streaming

Hulu Not For Sale

Posted by susabelle at 8:08 PM on October 13, 2011

Hulu.comThe owners of Hulu announced today that they are no longer for sale, after shopping themselves around since June.  Maybe with Netflix’s sudden unsettled condition, it occurred to them that maybe they could make a few more dollars on their venture.

I am not a huge user of Hulu, but my teenage daughter is.  She watches all her favorite cable and network shows there when she misses them on regular broadcast, or when someone accidentally erases something she’s saved from the DVR.  Unlike others in the geek-o-sphere, we are not ready to cut the cord on our satellite yet.  But having choices like Hulu means that we have some flexibility in how we watch some of our favorites.

I went and tooled around on Hulu tonight for a bit, to see what was there to watch.  The American Experience series from PBS is available for free viewing, as is one of my guilty pleasures, Storage Wars from A&E.  Much of what I found was cable-based, as most network shows end up on the networks’ own websites.  Hulu is good for getting links directly out to shows that they don’t carry directly.

Most shows won’t play unless your ad-blockers are turned off, and they all include ads.  Most ads are only a minute or less, and happen only a couple times during the episode you may be watching.  That’s what you get for free.  If you want to pay $8 a month, you get access to more shows, many of them current or newest releases including movies, plus the ability to watch them on any device from a smart phone to a tablet to an Internet-enabled television or set-top box.

From what I can tell, if you’re looking for things that have appeared on television, Hulu is where you want to go for content.  If you’re looking for new releases, they are pretty much a black hole of nothing.  But still, for those that don’t want to pay Netflix’s inflated prices for content, Hulu may be a reasonable alternative.

I intend to spend a little more time poking around seeing what is there.

Thrusters on Reverse! Full Speed Back!

Posted by susabelle at 9:24 AM on October 10, 2011

netflix logoNetflix apparently woke up from its stupor and stepped back from the plan to spin off its DVD-rental service into a separate unit called Qwikster.  Universally panned by critics and users, the attempt to separate the businesses seemed like a terrible, terrible mistake.

Fortunately for Netflix users, it was a mistake and Netflix has been smart enough to reverse course and listen to the wants of its users.  There are other companies I wish would do the same (facebook and Google, I’m looking at you!).  Of course, it is really too late for users like me, who already left Netflix when prices increased by 60% or so.  I was never a fan of their streaming service, since it never had what I wanted as a stream option.  I could get very old things on streaming, including some old television shows, but what I wanted to stream were recent releases most of the time.  Or at least, releases from the last ten years or so.  I thought the idea of streaming was wonderful, since I could use streaming on my laptop when I was stuck in a hotel room in a random town for an evening.  But nothing I ever wanted to see was available through their streaming service.

As for their rentals, We had pretty much watched everything there was to watch that we wanted to watch.  At some point, we realized that we were not getting new rentals very often (maybe once or twice a month) and that wasn’t worth what I was paying.  It certainly wasn’t going to be worth what I was going to be paying once the price went up. There was a time when movies were coming and going from our mailbox like that flap was a revolving door.  But towards the end, when I canceled our service, we just weren’t using the service all that much. That time was past.

And overall, streaming was never really a huge draw for me to begin with, as we have no device with our television that will allow streaming to happen.  We don’t game, so there’s no XBox, and we don’t have OTT boxes either.  It’s not how we, as a family, operate.  And I’m sure we’re not alone.

I’m still happy to see that Netflix knows when it has made a mistake, and is willing to change direction.  And if they’d drop their prices back, we might just subscribe again.  For now, it will be RedBox and whatever we can pick up from our pretty up-to-date local library.  And there’s always MegaVideo, which my teenager uses to watch almost everything.

netflix logoMaybe it was the weird spelling, the fact it was too close to Qwikstar (the Amway rebrand) or the twitter is owned by the Pot Smoking Elmo. Nonetheless, Netflix announced today they will not be seperating the company into two. Netflix DVD rental will still be $8 (with an additional $8 for streaming).

How Netflix Screwed themselves in the last 3 Months.

In July, Netflix came to the realization their service was not priced efficiently for the company to make a profit. Therefore, they announced by Sept 1st, they would be changing price plans.

The service separated the streaming from the DVD rental. For $8, you could get one DVD at a time. Add another $8 and you could get Netflix streaming. It was a move that happened too fast, so people lashed back.

Last month, Netflix’ CEO Reed Hastings outlined plans to separate the DVD by mail business and give it’s own name – Qwikster. People started speculating Netflix was planning to sell the DVD mail side and focus more on streaming. Within 14 days, Netflix saw a major decline of customers (Some calling the idea “Qwikstupid”) .

Netflix stock dropped almost $100 a share from Septembers’ announcement, and over $200 a share from July. Netflix lost millions of dollars in the last 90 days with these changes. Needless to say, this is not a great business plan.

What Netflix Needs to Do to Recoup this Large Deficit.

First of all, it would be a VERY GOOD idea to offer at least 1 free month to current customers (although 3 months would be better). After all, these are the people that stuck through it all. Next – cut the service price for DVD rental and streaming. Meet in the middle – $12 a month for 1 DVD at a time and streaming.

Reed Hastings also needs to put together a very big public apology. I don’t think it’s time for him to pass the CEO reigns just yet, but maybe Netflix needs to shake up the board a bit. This was a horrible idea that was ultimately agreed upon by the directors.

Will You Go Back to Netflix?

This is the biggest question. After all these bad decisions, would you choose to go back to Netflix? They do have the most coverage in streaming options, being on most Over the top TV solutions and game consoles. Still, loosing 1/3 of their operating share makes you wonder if they can ever get back to the $300 / share peak they enjoyed back in July.

I personally use the Netflix streaming service – I abandoned DVD rentals simply because they sat on the coffee table for weeks at a time. With new additions in AMC’s Walking Dead and Discovery’s Mythbusters to streaming, I have a month’s worth of shows to watch. Tron Legacy also showed up this month, which gives me more of what I really crave – top movies that are only a year old.

Best Buy Selling Napster? To Rhapsody?

Posted by J Powers at 1:06 PM on October 3, 2011
Rhapsody

Rhapsody

The details are not disclosed, but it looks like Rhapsody has come to an agreement with Best Buy to take over Napster service. Of course, this is Rhapsody’s attempt to counter the surge of users on Spotify.

Napster was founded in 1999 by John and Shawn Fanning. Of course, issues arose with the downloading of illegal music, which was brought to the forefront by the band Metallica. The peer-to-peer sharing site went bankrupt in 2002, then sold their assets to Roxio, who then sold the company to Best Buy.

Rhapsody has also been in the music space since 2001. Their music streaming service has gone through a few changes, but survived for over ten years. So when Spotify brought a surge to the online streaming service category, it would make sense that Rhapsody would want to counter.

“This deal will further extend Rhapsody’s lead over our competitors in the growing on-demand music market,” said Jon Irwin, president, Rhapsody. “There’s substantial value in bringing Napster’s subscribers and robust IP portfolio to Rhapsody as we execute on our strategy to expand our business via direct acquisition of members and distribution deals.”

The only thing we know from the details is that Best Buy will still keep a stake in the company. That could become a great marriage for Rhapsody, because Best Buy has been known for putting bundles into their product sales. Getting someone on a service for a couple free months and hope they don’t cancel the membership when the time comes.

Currently, Rhapsody and Napster are the two largest on-demand music services. With the acquisition, they will be able to run against Spotify and the Facebook integration.

The deal will be finalized on November 30th.

NFL Brings Preseason Games to the Internet

Posted by Alan at 5:32 PM on August 3, 2011

nfl preseason live ad

It looks like the NFL, the last bastion of technology-phobia in sports, may be starting to come around.  While they haven’t announced anything regarding regular season games being available online, they did send out an email announcement today that all preseason games will be broadcast live on the internet.  I find it to be a step forward, while also still displaying their lack of understanding of modern media.

On the plus side, the NFL is actually broadcasting games live on the internet – all of them – every single preseason game.  On the negative side, you have to buy them all.  Granted, it’s only $19.99, which is pretty cheap for 32 teams each playing 4 games, but where is the per-game option?  What if I want to watch only the 4 games of my team?  Can we have a per-game price (read $1.99 or there abouts)?

In fairness, at least they are taking this step, and we should be happy with the progress.  And yes, I will pay the $19.99 and probably watch only 4 games.  But, I will also consider it as progress for the sport Americans love more than any other.  Maybe they still have a regular season surprise in store for us.  To subscribe, you can visit NFL Preseason Live.

TMS #25 Felony for Streaming Video

Posted by geeknews at 9:59 PM on June 18, 2011

The Morning Tech Show Video This weeks Morning Tech Show has Dr. Bill from DrBill.tv and Norbert Davis from Totally Cool Tech. We talk Time Warner Bandwidth caps along with Congress making it a felony to stream media.

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Dyyno Universal Broadcaster and EZ Grabber

Posted by Andrew at 12:36 PM on February 13, 2011

Jeffrey and Tom interview Vamshi Sriperumbudur to see what Dyyno has to offer video broadcasters. Dyyno are a video streaming company and offer a complete portfolio of tools for the video lifecycle, from video creation through delivery to promotion and marketing. In this video, the focus is on the initial capture and broadcast of the video stream.

The first part is “dUb”, Dyyno Universal Broadcaster, which allows the broadcaster to broadcast nearly anything. Basically, if you can see it on your computer screen, then you can broadcast it, whether it’s a full-screen game or an application such as Powerpoint.

To make this more useful to video broadcasters, dUb has been integrated with the Geniatech range of video capture devices; EZ Grabber, EZ Grabber 2.0 and HD Cap Express. Over a million of these have been sold which makes them some of the more widely used video capture devices.

The basic package of EZ Grabber and dUb costs just $30 to get started with 50 hours per month and upgrade packages for more hours are available.

The  competition to win an EZ Grabber in this video is already finished, we gave the units away during the live coverage.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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Orb: Getting Your Media Where You Want it

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 6:38 PM on February 12, 2011

Orb

Tom Newman and Jeffery Powers interviewed Joe Costello CEO of Orb. The problem that Orb is attempting to solve is how to get your digital content to your TV and your stereo system. Mr. Costello talked about three solutions that Orb has developed. The first is the Orb music, you connect the Orb device to your receiver or speakers. Run the Orb Caster on your PC or Mac and stream your music collection from your music library to the your stereo. The second is Orb TV, which attaches to your TV and captures any media from your network.

Finally the newest solution Orb BR which uses a disc you put in a media live enabled blue-ray player that is connected to the same network where your media is. All Orb devices can be controlled through a smart phone The Orb Music player is available now for $69.00 the Orb TV is $99.00, the Orb BR should ship sometime in February for $20.00. All these devices not only stream the media on your network but also online media.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast. and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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Dish Network TV Everywhere

Posted by tomwiles at 9:02 AM on February 8, 2011

Francie Bauer from Dish Network describes Dish Network devices that are enabled via Sling technology to allow consumers to watch their programming content from anywhere in the world via the Internet on computers and other mobile devices.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Bigstar.TV Streaming TV Service Spans Multiple Devices

Posted by tomwiles at 1:34 AM on January 28, 2011

Emerald Brooke of Bigstar.TV (www.bigstar.tv) presents the Bigstar.TV streaming service, which has a lot of independent films and older TV shows available to stream to many different devices including iPhone, iPad, Roku, Palm Pre and Android devices.

Interview by Jeffry Powers of Geekazine and Esby Larsen of MrNetCast.com

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