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October 9, 2015


Amazon to launch video streaming service

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 17th 2008 10:01AM
Amazon Unbox
Amazon is rolling out a new video service today that will either replace or compliment the Amazon Unbox video download store. While Unbox customers have to wait for a video to download before they can begin watching, Amazon Video on Demand will let you begin watching as soon as you've placed an order.

The New York Times reports that Amazon is launching the service for a limited number of customers today, with a wider release scheduled for later this summer. The Amazon Unbox web page has a little button asking for volunteers for a new beta program, so I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that beta=video on demand.

According to the article, videos will be available for rental or purchase. And once you've purchased a video, you'll be able to watch it from any computer. No software installation necessary. In other words, it sounds like the new service is browser-based.

On the one hand, this means Amazon Video on Demand will be compatible with Windows and Mac machines (I'm not going to hold my breath for Linux support), which is great. But it's also nice to be able to save a copy of a movie on your own computer for archiving. What happens if Amazon kills the service in two years. Does that mean you lose your online video library which you've paid for? I'm hoping that Amazon still gives users the option of downloading movies, even if not everyone will need to use that option.

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Comcast TiVo software rollout in Boston area gets official

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 22nd 2008 12:55PM
TiVo softwareSure, it's been over a month since we started hearing reports that Boston area Comcast customers have been able to sign up for TiVo software on their Motorola set top boxes. But now TiVo and Comcast have gone and made the whole thing official-like by issuing a press release (not yet available on either company's web site) and getting the news in the papers.

The advantage of getting TiVo service from your cable provider is that you get the TiVo program guide and services like Season Pass, WishList, and search while hanging onto services from your cable provider like video on demand. Comcast currently offers 10,000 On Demand titles, including 1300 movies.

On the other hand, you don't get some of the features that make standalone boxes like the TiVo Series2 or Series3 attractive like TiVoToGo or online media.

Comcast will bill customers $2.95 per month on top of their regular DVR and cable fees. The service is currently available only to customers in the greater Boston area, but is expected to roll out in other parts of the country soon.

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Watch a thousand music videos on your TiVo

by Brad Linder, posted Dec 6th 2007 9:58AM
TiVo + Music ChoiceIt's been a long time since you could just turn on MTV and catch a music video. Fortunately it's pretty easy to find pretty much any music video ever made on the internet. But it's still kind of nice to be able to watch on a TV set, which is why I'm mildly excited to see that TiVo has partnered with Music Choice to launch a music video on demand service.

The service is free to use, and is as easy to navigate as any other TiVo service. You can just your remote control to browse by genre or search for specific artists or videos.

TiVo first announced its partnership with Music Choice back in January, so this week's service launch has been a long time coming.

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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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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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