Technologizer posts about Internet TV

People aren’t happy about Netflix’s effective price hike. I wonder what the odds are that it’ll address their concerns–or at least do a better job of explaining its actions?

Posted by Harry at 6:37 pm

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Netflix’s Price Reduction is Also a Price Hike

By  |  Posted at 11:28 am on Tuesday, July 12, 2011

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Netflix is announcing some pricing changes which are kind of confusing. The upshot seems to be this: if (like me) you want streaming access but not DVDs, you’ll continue to pay a reasonable $7.99 a month. If you want the ability to rent one DVD at a time and don’t care about streaming, you’ll now also be eligible for a $7.99 plan. But if you want streaming and DVDs–which, until recently, was the only option you had–you’ll pay more than you would have in the past.

For instance, if you want streaming plus one DVD, you’ll pay $7.99+$7.99, or $15.98–up from only $9.99. Streaming plus two DVDs is now $19.98, up from $16.99.

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Hulu announced its Hulu Plus premium service almost ten months ago, but it’s been taking its own sweet time arriving on devices. It’s only now available on TiVo Premiere–and Engadget’s Ben Drawbaugh wishes that it was better-integrated with other TiVo services.

Posted by Harry at 8:08 am

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My new TIME.com column is about TV on the Internet–and why it’s still nowhere near living up to its potential.

Posted by Harry at 9:16 am

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Google TV Will Get a Reboot

By  |  Posted at 5:31 pm on Wednesday, May 4, 2011

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Harry’s hopes that Google TV may be salvageable might be realized: Mobilized’s Ina Fried reports that the search company has learned from its mistakes, and will make some changes. The second incarnation of the product will be targeted as an “add-on” to TV in its traditional form, not as a replacement as some thought it was intended to be.

Of course, this whole Internet-television convergence thing is still in its infancy, and there’s a lot of work to be done before somebody gets it right. New apps are on the way, as well as more powerful hardware — with a focus on what TV won’t or can’t provide.

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If Cord Cutting Isn’t Real Yet, Just Wait: It Will Be

By  |  Posted at 12:55 am on Wednesday, May 4, 2011

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96.7 percent of us Americans have one or more TVs in the household. That’s a lot of TVs–but it’s fewer than before, say a new study by the Nielsen Company. Previously, 98.9 percent of us had TVs in the house.

So did the drop–the first one in two decades–happen because people are watching Internet TV in lieu of old-fashioned cable or terrestrial TV? Nielsen says it’s a factor, but it stresses another (distressing) one: low-income households which can’t afford TVs, especially after the digital transition rendered old analog sets useless without an adapter.

Cord-cutting is sometimes dismissed as a myth. And it’s true that no data shows TV watchers fleeing to the net in massive numbers just yet. But I feel in my bones that an awful lot of people are going to do so over the next few years–it’s just a matter of how many and how quickly. I mean, wouldn’t there have been a time in the 1990s when any study would have showed that only a tiny group of folks were listening to MP3s instead of CDs? And wouldn’t it have been a mistake to conclude then that this digital-music stuff wasn’t going to amount to much?

(Photo by Flickr user avlxyz)



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Is Google TV Salvageable? I Think So. I Hope So, Anyhow!

By  |  Posted at 8:55 am on Friday, April 29, 2011

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Logitech announced its financial results yesterday, and among the factoids it released was this: It sold $5 million’s worth of its Google TV-powered Logitech Revue box rather than the $18 million it expected to move.

I found Google TV so disappointing in its initial incarnation that I’m not the least bit surprised that consumers are staying away in droves. And I’m curious how a smart company liked Logitech, which usually makes very good products, misjudged it so badly—maybe the platform that Google described to it in the planning stages was better than the one that shipped.

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Google Takes Issue With Roku’s YouTube Channel

By  |  Posted at 8:59 am on Friday, April 22, 2011

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While Roku doesn’t offer an officially sanctioned YouTube channel, many of us have been enjoying that content through a “private” offering created by The Nowhereman. In fact, he’s such an exceptional developer, Roku brought him on as an employee (where he’s known as Chris). Yet that puts them in an even more awkward position now that Google has taken issue with the unlicensed YouTube channel.

blog comment tipped me off to the situation, that I confirmed on the forum… The YouTube channel remains functional for the folks who’ve previously activated it, yet no new subscribers are permitted. I reached out to Roku who also corroborated the situation, saying “we received a takedown notice from YouTube’s legal team and are in the midst of negotiations with them.” They’re hopeful of having more information to share with the community next week.

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Peter Kafka of All Things Digital wonders if consumers are engaging in “cable shaving”–dumping premium channels such as HBO for Internet TV, but keeping the basic stuff–instead of out-and-out cable cutting.

Posted by Harry at 9:53 am

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WatchESPN on Your iPhone (but ReadFINEPRINT)

By  |  Posted at 2:32 pm on Saturday, April 9, 2011

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The future is upon us. As the content owners and cable/satellite providers maintain relevance by extending their offerings beyond the traditional television. And the most promising new service is WatchESPN. Not only does it enable streaming around the home, as seen with Time Warner and Cablevision apps, but it allows you to get live ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN3 broadcasts on the go. Assuming you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad and subscribe to television services from providers ESPN has deals with (currently: Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS TV, Brighthouse).

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YouTube to Expand Live Programming–Gradually

By  |  Posted at 2:51 pm on Friday, April 8, 2011

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Looks like YouTube is set to take on services like UStream, Justin.TV, and the like — it announced its roll out streaming capabilities to its platform on Friday in a blog post. Simply called YouTube Live, it marks the first time that its technology would be used for live streaming outside of one-off events.

Now don’t dump UStream just yet: “certain YouTube partners” are the first to gain access. YouTube says that the service will gradually be opened up to more and more partners, although it did not specifically say whether or not consumers would be able to use the live streaming. I’d venture to guess this is in the works, but obviously YouTube will need to make sure their servers would be able to handle the obvious extra load above their traditional video business.

Al Jazeera English has already been using this technology for at least two months now, helping that channel further reach US audiences that so far are still shut out by cable companies from being able to watch it on their televisions.

If you’re interested in checking out some live video on the site, head over to this page on the company’s website. Nothing too interesting so far– let’s hope that the company attracts some more high-profile content providers.



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Dish Network Buys Itself a Bankrupt Chain of Movie Rental Stores

By  |  Posted at 8:36 am on Wednesday, April 6, 2011

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Satellite TV provider Dish Network wants to become satellite TV and video-rental retailer Dish Network. It announced today that its bid of $320 million ($228 million in cash) was enough to win the auction to buy Blockbuster, the venerable, ailing video chain that went bankrupt last September. Assuming that the sale goes through, Dish will get itself 1700 stores and other Blockbuster properties, such as its on-demand services for PCs, phones, and set-top boxes.

Dish’s statement was optimistic, but cautiously so:

“With its more than 1,700 store locations, a highly recognizable brand and multiple methods of delivery, Blockbuster will complement our existing video offerings while presenting cross-marketing and service extension opportunities for DISHNetwork,” said Tom Cullen, executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Programming for DISH Network. “While Blockbuster’s business faces significant challenges, we look forward to working with its employees to re-establish Blockbuster’s brand as a leader in video entertainment.”

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Cablevision Opens the (iPad) Firehose

By  |  Posted at 8:59 am on Monday, April 4, 2011

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Leave it to Cablevision… True to form, they’ve thrown caution to the wind and have launched the full fledged STB replacement iPad app we’ve been waiting for:

  • ƒApproximately 300 channels of live television
  • ƒMore than 2,000 titles of Video on demand (VOD) available today, with Cablevision’s full VOD library expected to be encoded and available by early summer
  • ƒEnhanced guide information that is fully searchable and able to be filtered based on genre, cast, time of day and favorite channels
  • ƒ The ability to schedule future DVR recordings and manage (erase) previously-recorded content
  • ƒ Full parental controls (specific to each iPad)
  • ƒ Closed Captioning

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Roku Hits Retail

By  |  Posted at 10:54 am on Wednesday, March 30, 2011

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For essentially just being available online, Roku’s been doing pretty darn good. The company says it has sold about one million of its media players this way, and now its ready for it’s next big move — retail. Beginning today the devices will be available from most Best Buy, BJs, Fry’s Electronics, and Radio Shack locations.

Different retailers will be stocking different models. Best Buy and Radio Shack will carry the XD, the company’s standard 1080p HD capable unit that retails for $79.99. BJ’s on the other hand will carry the XD|S, which adds dual-band wireless and retails for $99.99. Fry’s plans to carry both models. (The cheapest Roku, the $59.99 HD, remains an online-only item.)

Roku had kind-sorta been available through retail before, through a Netgear-branded box, which was available from Best Buy. The way Engadget words it seems to suggest that these devices would be phased out as the Roku branded units themselves are brought in and would become the defacto unit sold at retail.

I have to say I’ve had my eyes on one of these units for quite a while now, and with it easier than ever to get one, I just may end up breaking down and picking one up. After all, it would be nice to watch Al Jazeera on my HDTV versus my laptop.



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A Better Way to Put Phone Video on TVs

By  |  Posted at 11:21 am on Monday, March 28, 2011

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One of the neater features on many recent smartphones is support for displaying high-def video stored on the phone on an HDTV through an HDMI connection. I just bought an adapter for doing this with my iPad, but using it can be a little awkward: Once you hook up the phone to the TV, you often have to worry about also connecting it to a power source, and to pause or otherwise control the video on the phone you might have to crouch next to the set since connector cables typically aren’t that long.

A nascent standard called MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) seeks to address these issues.  It allows the TV to charge the mobile device over the same HDMI connection used to deliver video and other content to the set. The MHL spec (version 1.0 is already out) also  lets you use your TV’s remote to control playback on the connected device.

It might take a while for the technology to gain traction since both the mobile device and the HDTV must support it. But at least you wouldn’t have to get a new TV: The MHL Consortium says you should be able to add MHL functionality to your TV through an short adapter cable that hooks into an HDMI port. As for phones and mobile device support, MHL Consortium members include Nokia, Samsung, Silicon Image, Sony, and Toshiba, so that’s a decent start in the manufacturing community.

I hope MHL catches on: I hate crouching by my TV.

 



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What’s Next for TiVo: Hulu, Streaming, Extenders

By  |  Posted at 8:31 pm on Monday, March 21, 2011

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While we generally shy away from rumor and speculation, TiVo’s been pretty quiet as they approach the one year anniversary of Premiere retail availability. Given our site heritage and interests, the lack of news out of Alviso can be frustrating. So we’ve whipped up a post based purely on hearsay, but one that hopefully gives some indication what TiVo is quietly working on.

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