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August 28, 2015


Blockbuster getting into VOD

by Brad Trechak, posted Jan 14th 2009 9:29AM
BlockbusterIn an effort to save itself from complete irrelevance and obscurity, Blockbuster has inked a deal with Sonic Solutions to offer Video On Demand services for the home.

Blockbuster is a bit like the Little Engine That Could. In the era of VHS, it had deals with the studios to allow for a rental window for movies. With the invention of DVD, that was deemed no longer applicable, which meant more money to the studios and less to Blockbuster.

Video On Demand is not completely overshadowing DVD (I think people still like the extras that a DVD provides), but it is taking a large bite out of that market. Some people only want to see the movie and couldn't care less about the extras. They also would rather stay inside to do it.

So what do you think? Will movie rentals go the way of the Dodo? Will Blockbuster go the way of The Sharper Image?

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TiVo working with CableLabs on new cable-ready box

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 6th 2008 8:19AM
TiVo logoTiVo released its quarterly financial results yesterday and the company reports narrower than expected losses. And buried in CEO Tom Rogers' statement was this little nugget: TiVo is working on a standalone set top box that will support Tru2Way, the standard once known as OCAP.

What that means is that one day you'll be able to buy a TiVo box that has support for advanced digital cable functions like switched digital video, video on demand, and pay per view. Right now, the closest you can get is a Motorola box from Comcast that runs TiVo software. If you happen to live in the Boston area, that is. For folks in the rest of the country, you have a choice: TiVo, or video on demand. You can't have both on the same set top box.

Of course, by the time TiVo gets this new box to market, Comcast and Cox may have already rolled out TiVo software outside of New England.

[via TiVo Lovers]

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TiVo hints at upcoming video on demand capable box

by Brad Linder, posted Nov 29th 2007 10:58AM
TiVo TiVo released their quarterly earnings yesterday and while the company lost about $8 million dollars, that's nothing new. What is new is a tiny little nugget buried in CEO Tom Rogers' remarks that indicate the company is working out the details for a set top box that supports 2-way communication with a cable provider.

In plain English, that means support for video on demand, because in order for VOD to work, you need to be able to send a signal upstream to your service provider and not just receive a signal sent to your box.

Right now you can only get VOD and TiVo service if you either have two set top boxes or a Comcast box with TiVo software. If the next TiVo box (we'll all it the Series4, even though TiVo may have done away with that naming scheme with the release of the TiVo HD), could work as a complete replacement for your cable company box.

[via Zatz Not Funny]

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Video on Demand libraries double since 2005

by Brad Linder, posted Oct 17th 2007 1:00PM
VODIf you haven't noticed, there's been a trend developing over the last few years. More and more you can watch video content on your own schedule. But there's not one single technology making this possible.

You can watch stream last night's prime time TV shows from network web sites. You can download videos from Amazon or iTunes. And of course you can record shows on your PVR to watch later. But while PVRs are becoming more and more common, video on demand is growing at a similar rate -- and could possibly make the concept of a personal video recorder obsolete. After all, why bother recording all your favorite programs if you can watch them on-demand any time you want?

Mari Silbey at Connected Home 2 go reports that since 2005 the amount of VOD content available on Motorola boxes has more than doubled. That growth covers everything from TV and movies to local sporting events. There's a shrinking window of time between a movie's theatrical release and the date at which you can watch it on DVD or VOD. And there's a growing amount of interactive and local content.

Of course, if you like to archive shows so you can watch a whole season at once or burn copies to DVD, a PVR is still the way to go. But for many users, VOD could one day replace the PVR.

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Building B announces TV/VOD/Web Video set top box

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 20th 2007 11:57AM
Building BIf I told you there's a set top box that lets you watch television, video on demand, and web video content, you'd probably just shrug and wonder why we're talking about Comcast's Motorola box with TiVo software yet again. But no, this is a new box from a new company called Building B.

The company has raised $17.5 million to develop its new set top box. The idea is that consumers shouldn't need 12 different devices in their living room to access all the media that's available to them. And they shouldnt' need a full fledged computer either.

There aren't a lot of details yest on exactly how the Building B platform will work. It's possible that the box could be sold as a standalone product to supplement your cable or satellite TV service. But it seems more likely that Building B will try to sell their boxes to television service providers as a way to provide VOD/online video.

While some content will be delivered through a traditional broadband connection, it looks like Building B also plans to use a wireless, over the air delivery method for other content.

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Could VOD kill the PVR?

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 26th 2007 11:00AM
Time Warner Video On DemandTime Warner president Jeff Bewkes says cable providers should be working toward providing on-demand versions of every television program from every television network.

If consumers can watch any show they want any time they want, he argues, cable providers can save the time and money it takes to install personal video recorders in their houses. Of course, by eliminating the need for PVRs, cable companies could also be removing the consumer's ability to skip advertisements. "Free" video-on-demand would have to be advertising supported, and that means cable providers would disable the fast-forward function.

And that's why I don't really see Bewkes' plan working. Certainly one of the most appealing aspects of a PVR is that you can watch shows whenever you feel like it. But being able to pause, rewind, fast-forward, and yes, skip commercials is another part of it. Would you be willing to pay as much for DVD purchases and rentals if there were ads that you couldn't skip?

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Ski Channel to launch next year

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 30th 2007 3:40PM

skiingYes, for everyone who has been waiting for a network devoted to nothing but skiiing (I'm one to talk; if I had The Tennis Channel I'd watch it 24/7), this is your lucky day. Or, to be more exact, some day in 2008 will be your lucky day.

That's when The Ski Channel launches. It's a new network devoted to, um, skiiing. I can't tell if it's going to be a regular network or something else, because it is described as a "network with distribution on video-on-demand and multimedia platforms." OK.

I was wondering how they'll fill the time with just skiiing, but they have that covered. From the article:

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A preview of Budweiser's bud.tv

by Matt Crape, posted Feb 4th 2007 10:05AM
Budweiser's bud.tvWith beer commercials being known for their originality and popularity, Budweiser is hoping that they will be able to get more bang for their buck by drawing people to their bud.tv webpage.

The idea behind bud.tv seems to be a somewhat similar one to those used by networks that stream shows: give the viewers what they want, when they want. Basically it is more or less an internet video-on-demand service, except for product advertisements.

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Nielsen stats coming to Video On Demand

by Brett Love, posted Nov 17th 2006 11:01AM
kate jackson, jacklyn smith, cheryl laddAn interesting article over at CNET about Nielsen's planned video on demand ratings which are set to begin in December. As the cable companies continue to offer more options to subscribers, there needs to be some way to measure who is watching what in order to manage the advertising. There is already a system in place that tries to fill the void, but it has its problems. For one, the cable companies have control over the numbers, which obviously presents a huge conflict of interest. Of course, on the other hand, we are talking about Nielsen here, so if you want to toss out the usual arguments about their shortcomings, I'll understand.

It's good to see more interest in the video on demand services as I've been really impressed with the selection Comcast is offering. My favorite features at the moment are the growing list of network shows, FEARnet, and Tube Time, which currently features both Soap and Charlie's Angels.

[ via lost remote ]

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USA launches broadband network

by Anna Johns, posted May 8th 2006 10:46AM
the 4400; usa networkAccording to Broadcasting & Cable, USA Network will announce its big plans for an online video presence called CharacterClique (Hello? Could you choose something easier to spell, please?). The magazine reports that USA will partner with Yahoo! to stream one series online. It will also start offering new episodes on Video on Demand before they even premiere on television.

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