MTV.com has launched a large, and higher-quality show player.
The video player will automatic detect and dynamically optimize the streaming content to the highest level bit rate the Internet connection can support. MTV’s Flash videos stream from 1.7 Mbps for higher connection speeds to 350 Kbps for modest connection speeds.
Also, the player automatically displays 4:3 (full-screen) or 16:9 (widescreen) video in their native aspect ratio. MTV gives the ability to change display sizes and optimize bandwidth settings.
However, people’s response to this improvement cannot be worse. Too many bugs, errors, and updating problems are detected.
CBS tests HD video streaming
CBS Labs has begun streaming select HD video clips on their site. They are using H.264/AVC format at 480p, and it doesn’t require installing a plugin, as it happens with ABC’s video player.
The player itself reminds a lot of Hulu.com. Hulu currently provides three levels of quality: 360p, 480p, and 720p. The first two levels are streamed whereas the third is progressively downloaded.
The median broadband download rate in the U.S. is 1.9 Mbps, and HD video (ordinarily considered 720p or higher on the web, so CBS’s 480p does not constitute High Definition) consumes 2.5 Mbps.
Nobody plans so far to deploy 1080p because it takes up too much bandwidth and processing power.
YouTube ad feature shows when and where a clip is being watched
YouTube has launched a free feature called Insight that shows video creators when and where viewers are watching their videos. It provides a detailed view of a video’s popularity, both over time and geographically, giving video publishers some powerful new performance data. The tool has a number of practical applications, including market-testing TV ads to determine locations with high receptivity.
This information, than can help better promote publishers work, will be presented as a color-coded map and a graph of a video’s popularity, and it will be accessible from a video creator’s account page on YouTube. The company will update the data once a day.
YouTube executives suggest that marketers can use the tool in several ways. A movie studio might run several versions of a trailer to see what is catching on where, and then start running that trailer a TV ad. A political campaign could test spots to check candidates’ popularity.
Huffington Post beats Drudge Report
The Huffington Post, a 46 full-time employees, 3.7 million unique visitors per month, and $11 million a year revenue web page, has become the must read blog, even before Drudge Report. Behind only the technology site TechCruch, The Huffington Post is the second-most-linked-to blog.
The Huffington Post, launched just three years ago (in Many 2005), is made up of various news sources and columnist, and is Arianna Huffington’s political and new blog, or an “Internet newspaper”, as she like to name it.
Arianna Huffington, 57-year-old native of Greece author and former conservative pundit, was featured this week in the New York Times as “Citizen Huff”.
Blinkx BBTV incorporates the web interactivity to TV and offers speech tracks
Video search company Blinkx has launched a P2P video service called BBTV , that promises “a new kind of online television: full-screen, TV-quality and truly immersed in the Internet. By fusing TV and other video with the Web, BBTV can link what you’re watching with relevant information on the Internet.” The service requires a small software download, free of charge.
Cory Bergman, columnist of LostRemote, writes this: “Sound familiar? Yes, just like Joost, which I watched a couple of times and then never returned. But BBTV has a couple cool features: First, you can click a button to get deeper information on something on-screen. Second, you can read and search a show’s transcript while it’s playing.” But they aren’t working properly.
Most of the content is already available online (or via TiVo, AppleTV, Media Center PC, etc), so why you download an application to watch it? People don’t watch platforms, they watch content. In terms of quality, Hulu has about the same quality. Here is again Cory Bergman: “I think a critical success factor for BBTV is to focus on a niche that would make sense for that feature set: documentaries, for example. (…) By building up an expansive library of documentaries that aren’t readily available online, BBTV would be a compelling experience.”
Like others in this increasingly crowded space, which includes Joost, Babelgum, VeohTV and HP-backed Next.TV, BBTV is a desktop application that user P2P connections to stream video content.
iTunes becomes No. 1 music retailer surpassing physical stores
iTunes has become the top music retailer in the United States, surpassing Wal-Mart. The store now sells more music than any retailer in any format. Since its launch in 2003, iTunes has sold 4 billion songs and now claims to have over 50 million customers.
Paid downloads accounted for almost 30 percent of all music sold in January, bringing even closer the day when the sale of digital music outpaces the physical product.
iTunes sits atop this list with 19 percent, Wal-Mart (brick-and-mortar stores and online) is second at 15 percent, with Best Buy third at 13 percent. Amazon is fourth at 6 percent, followed by physical stores and online services such as Borders, Barnes & Noble, Circuit City, and Rhapsody.
The BBC’s iPlayer on the UK’s iPhone version
The BBC had introduced an iPhone version of its iPlayer which allows people to download BBC programs or watch them over the Internet. But it is only available to residents of Britain. And only work on the iPhone when it is linked to a Wi-Fi connection, not a cellular network. (The BBC has contracted with The Cloud, a network of 7,500 Wi-Fi hotspots, to allow iPhone users to connect to the BBC sites free at its localion.)
Apple has built into iPhone’s Safari browser some video playback capabilities, but has not enabled the iPhone to play programs in the Flash format. (Google presents a subset of YouTube’s video library on the phone).
So the BBC has had to reformat its video into the Apple QuickTime version of standard h.264 video format. For reformatting video, the BBC has built a “transcoding farm” of 50 powerful computers that can convert 400 hours of programming a week into formats for PCs, streaming, set-top boxes and an increasing range of mobile devices.
The Web is becoming a video medium
Hear what Walt Mossberg, Wall Street Journal columnist, says : “The Web is becoming a video delivery medium in a big way”.
Adobe has launched Adobe Media Player 1.0 and Adobe TV. This is a desktop media player that allows Flash downloads and content subscriptions in 1080p, 720p or 480i. It offers content from CBS, MTV, Universal Music Group, PBS, Scripps and CondeNet; you can subscribe to video feeds via RSS, and via catalog.
Adobe describes it a cross between TV Guide and a DVR. Critics say that is just a video RSS aggregator tuned for Flash media.
The player, which works on Windows and Mac, can be downloaded here.
Adobe TV is a network in the player with programming related to Adobe products.
Internet style news coverage
Want to do a cheap, Internet style, news coverage of any big event? Take example of people of Lost Remote, who attended this year Las Vegas NAD TV’s biggest convention, and blog the event, shoot video, post phone, did live-brogging sesions and send Twitter alerts.
Even they encouraged attendees to submit their own photos (on Flickr group) and videos (on a YouTube group.).
Flickr hosts video
Yahoo’s Flickr now is hosting video. Its player is basic, good looking, Vimeo-style. Uploads are limited to 150MB in size, and you can’t choose your own video thumbnail. A group of Flickr users are really unhappy.
The site is not really aiming to compete with the majors players in the online television space. They are sticking to its roots, encouraging “video snapshots” that play a similar function as photographs.
Embedding video pays off
The power of embeddable video is clear. MSNBC.com, the first major news network to offer embeddable video player, says it set a video record: 125.7 million streams on 7 million unique users, which it says beats CNN.com.
In addition, Hulu.com, launched a month ago, has said that its video players have been embedded 105,000 times on 12,000 sites.
Microsoft improves its IPTV software
Microsoft is improving its MediaRoom interactive TV software that’s being marketed to telcos with IPTV services. MediaRoom manages a user’s shows, photos and songs, similar to MediaCenter, but on a more powerful level. A sample: in Nascar, viewers can have the ability to select different cameras, microphones and read driver track profiles (the data is pulled via an XML feed from Nascar’s site).
Another application that is coming: voting in polls, play video clips straight from a website, or even integrating social functionalities like Facebook, so you can view your friends, what they are watching, chat with them, rate shows and recommend shows to your friends. It is like building social profile around television (which opens up a new world of targeted advertising.) Depending on how quickly IPTV is getting rolled out, we will see all this functionalities working.
The Associated Press Syndication Model takes step in the right direction
AP’s 1,800+ Online Video Network affiliates can now syndicate video and get a cut of the ad revenue generated by their shared clips. With this new feature, local media can be compensated for their original stories.
Blockbuster’s set-top box
Blockbuster is developing a set-top box to stream movies directly to TV sets. The effort, powered by recently-acquired Movielink, would compete with Apple TV, TiVo, Xbox, Netflix, Vudu, to name a few. It seems to us that these browser-based solutions that lock users into their service, while waiting to be able to stream HD content, make no sense.
A cold, calculated and impersonal attempt to be personal using “my” on Websites
There is a remarkable rise of websites with “my” prefix. You can find MyCoke, MySubaru, MyIBM, MyNetworkTV, MyAOL, MyClick, MySpace, MyStarbucks Idea… The New York Times says in an article titled “On the Internet, It’s All About My” that there are “a new world of Web sites designed to imply a one-on-one connection with a corporation or large business”.
These “my” webs are the extension of a marketing trend that says that “we all want to be individuals and this brand will help you express individuality”. Companies are trying to be more authentic and connect with consumers on their terms. In the reality, it is not that “the company cares about me”, but it’s all abut the database and getting personal information.”
For example: At www. MyCokeRewards.com, Coca-Cola admits that they seek to “collect data through survey questions and through categories and passions”, and this site is one of the company’s “most robust return-invest models.”
Domains that starts with “my” more than tripled between 2005 and 2008, to 712,000. A decade ago, everything was “e” –from eBay to eTrade-, and “I”, as in iPod or iPhone. Next trend could be the collective “we”, since people seem to want to be connected and part of a community.
Microsoft enters into cloud computing world
Microsoft has announced this week data storage and Web software system, called Live Mesh. Doing so, Microsoft enters –late- into a rapidly growing market described as cloud computing, in where software run in remote data centers available via the Internet. Initially, that technology will be available only to a group of about 10,000 test users.
Companies like Amazon, Sun, Dell, Yahoo, Google, Salesforce and dozens others are building these computers centers that effectively outsource data processing and make it a commodity that companies purchase as they would electricity. For example, Salesforce offers software that manages customer relations through a Web browser. Recently they began broadening its products to a wide range of computing services. This could be the next generation of computing.
Microsoft new Live Mesh service will have 15 components, including an application that synchronizes files on multiple computers, or a free software service that will permit users to control computers and other devices over the Internet. Initially, only five gigabytes of free data storage will be included.
Also, IBM will announce new specialized hardware needed for “cloud computing”. This infrastructure is designed to reduce 40 percent power consumption sharply and take up 50 percent less floor space.
The Internet companies and the mainstream corporations alike are increasingly interested in cloud data centers, opening up a multi-billion business market.
Best video sites and news sites in the U.S.
Want to know what are the best video sites and news sites in the nation? Please check the EPpy Award finalists list.
The annual finalists for local TV/cable sites are Fox News Chicago/MyFoxChicago.com, King5.com, wibw.com and WRAL.com. For the best news site (over 1 million uniques) are BBC News, CBCNews.ca, msnbc.com, NYTimes.com and Slate Magazine. And for network TV/cable sites: CBSNews.com, CNN.com, Discovery.com and ESPN.com.
Sadly, many of those sites are standard content management systems deployed on dozens of different stations’ websites. Someone should start an award for content management systems!
The future of the TV news lies on video journalism
See how NBC News has teamed with the New York Film Academy to promote a digital journalism and broadcasting program. (Watch the video here). Students will shoot, write and edit short and longer-form stories, as well as maintain a video blog. Some people criticized the program saying that students will end up getting hired at NBC.