It's not entirely clear at the moment how the player will work, or how Joost hopes to set itself apart from other services like YouTube or Hulu. The former has the lion's share of the online video market, while the latter has a much wider selection of popular full length TV episodes and movies than Joost. But considering the fact that only 6 million people have downloaded and installed the Joost client, while more than 10 million people watch YouTube videos every single day, it's clear that Joost had to do something.
What do you think, is Joost grasping at straws here? Or does the company's recent test of live streaming video and its plan to launch a browser-based player make sense as a competitive business strategy?
[via Silicon Alley Insider]
Personal video recorders are changing the way people watch scripted television shows and movies. But for the most part people like to watch sports and other live events, well live. The odds of taping Lost and then walking down the street the next morning only to have the plot spoiled by a front page newspaper story are fairly slim. But that's exactly what happens if you record last night's basketball game with plans to save it until the weekend.
So while video on demand is absolutely the right business model for most online video, the ability to provide live streams of some content seems crucial. Now let's see how many people actually turn to Joost instead of, you know, a television set for their March Madness coverage.
- Warner Brothers
- Wine Library TV
I've been relatively impressed with Hulu so far. The video quality is good, and it's relatively easy to find the content you're looking for by searching or browsing. But as the content library gets larger, I'd like to see Hulu improve its site navigation a bit or browsing is going to become nearly impossible.
But in terms of feature for the price, it'd be hard to find a better bargain than the new Popcorn Hour A-100. This $179 box supports YouTube, Flickr, Shoutcast, BitTorrent, and a slew of other internet protocols. It can handle MPEG 1/2/4, WMV, H.264, MP3, AAC, and WMA audio and video files in addition to most standard image and subtitle formats.
The box itself has S-Video, Composite, HDMI, and Component outputs, and 2 USB ports for plugging in an external hard drive. There's no hard drive included. There's also no WiFi support. You'll need to connect the A-100 into your home network via the Ethernet Jack, which will probably do a better job of streaming HD video anyway.
[via Boing Boing Gadgets]
In this "On Demand" era, the idea that we can watch shows anywhere we can get an internet connection (Hi there, Starbucks!) at any time just makes sense. And hey networks, once the strike ends, why not stream your entire primetime lineup rather than just some of it? And With 16 million people watching programs weekly online, what does that do for the ratings of those shows? How is all this new media going to be properly tracked?
The application is quite well designed and integrates beautifully with Windows Vista Media Center. You can browse TV streams by category, country, or mark your favorite channels for easy access later. When you click play, MiraWorldTV will attempt to load up your video stream in the background. Or you can choose to play the video in fullscreen mode.
The only problem with MiraWorldTV is that the plugin developer has no control over the content. And that's kind of a big problem when it comes to usability. Some of the video streams are high quality and look great in full screen mode (on a standard definition TV anyway), while others look like they're optimized for dialup connections. And some of the streams we couldn't get to play at all.
Content ranges from Discovery Channel nature documentaries to BBC World News with some Japanese pop music videos thrown in for good measure. I can't guarantee you'll find something worth watching, especially since there's no electronic program guide. But if you're tired of complaining about how there's nothing to watch on TV, MiraWorldTV might be worth checking out.
[via Missing Remote]
But the service drew a few groans for its inclusion of digital rights management technology, and for the fact that Linux and Mac users were left out in the cold. Well, while the BBC isn't lifting the DRM restrictions on downloaded episodes, it looks like Mac and Linux users will soon have a way to watch iPlayer content.
The BBC has partnered with Adobe to create a browser-based version of the iPlayer which will stream video using Adobe's Flash player. Adobe plans to add H.264 support to its Flash player soon. So while we don't know what video quality the BBC videos will stream at, the interface could theoretically support HD video.
SlingPlayer Mobile lets anyone with a Slingbox hooked up to their cable/satellite/TiVo/other set-top box stream TV from their home over the internet to a mobile device. We're going to go out on a limb and say that SlingPlayer for BlackBerry is going to run you $30, which is the going rate for Sling Media's other mobile clients.
A Sling spokesperson confirmed that a BlackBerry version is in the works. But he says it can take a long time to port the software to a new platform. It took nearly a year to develop Palm and Symbian versions. In other words, don't expect to Sling anything to your BlackBerry before 2008.
Although ABC's latest deal is with AOL, the announcement is part of a growing trend. When the networks began streaming TV shows online, the goal was to get people to visit a network website. Now we're seeing more networks teaming up to make content available on sites like MySpace, AOL, and Yahoo!.
As we all get ready to dive into fresh new seasons of our favorite shows, it's worth taking a look at the streaming options available from the networks. In this day and age of Tivo, DVRs, PVRs, and holdouts like myself that still have functioning VCRs, there's no reason to actually miss an episode. However, in the event that the cable company bungles your service at a quarter to 8, or the power goes out, or you just totally drop the ball, it's nice knowing that the streaming option is available for an increasing number of shows.
Hey football fans, how about games streamed directly to your computer?
Yeah, well, don't get too excited yet, cause it'll cost you. The streaming is part of DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket Package, so unless you already have that, you're out of luck. And, if you do have the $269 Sunday Ticket package, upgrading to the SuperFan package that includes the online streaming will cost an additional $99. Also, it only works with Windows XP and Vista and Internet Explorer.
Now how do you feel?
Someone's decided to step in and make the process a bit easier, compiling a list of over 2300 Netlix movies available for online viewing. Most titles include a link to the movie's page on Netflix. You'll need a subscription in order to watch these movies. But now that you know how easy it is to find titles like Gothic Vampires from Hell, why wouldn't you want to sign up?
[via Brent Evans]
But you can usually find just few episodes of a few programs. Mashable has put together a list of 33 services that provide online access to TV programs in one way or another. Some are 100% legal, like Joost and Babelgum. Others are a bit shadiers, like TV Links, which doesn't host any copyright-infringing video on its servers, but provides links to sites where you can (probably illegally) stream video.
Believe it or not, Turner is one of the first cable networks to do the streaming episodes thing, following in the footsteps of the big four networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. Last summer, only ABC Family offered its original programming for free online. Other networks, such as FX, Sci Fi, USA, and E! have streamed occasional episodes (mostly premieres and finales) but not entire seasons. As Broadcasting and Cable points out, it's probably because the cable networks can't demand a ton of money from carriers if their content is also available for free online.
Beginning next month, The Closer, Heartland, Saving Grace, and The Company will be on TNT.tv, while House of Payne, The Bill Engvall Show, My Boys, and The Frank Show will be on TBS.com. Episodes of The Closer, Bill Engvall, My Boys and The Frank Show will also be available on iTunes.
At least, it will be starting on July 1.
Pipeline, CNN's broadband site that was launched in 2005 under a subscription model, include four live streams plus archived video footage. According to The Hollywood Reporter, CNN never talked about how many people actually subscribed to the service, but I must say this seems like a good choice for CNN, considering how the majority of online content, news and otherwise, is offered for free and supported by advertising. If you charge, folks will simply go somewhere that doesn't.
In addition, CNN will also be redesigning the site for its relaunch.
So there you have it, news junkies: now you can have CNN playing on your computer, FOX News on the TV, NPR on the radio, ABC News on your iPod, and your butler reading you the New York Times all at once. It'll be like getting shot in the face with a machine gun of information. Yee ha.
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