Tag Archives | Internet Video

Qik Goes Legit on the iPhone

qiklogoLivestreaming service Qik finally has an app available on the iPhone App Store. (A version for jailbroken iPhones already existed.) It’s good news, but not without a major gotcha: The App Store version of Qik doesn’t permit you to stream live video from your phone to Qik’s site. It does, however, allow you to record video with an iPhone 3GS which is  then instantly and automatically uploaded to Qik (along with your GPS location), as well as share it via YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Which is useful in and of itself, and similar to the tactic taken by competitor Ustream to get into the App Store.

The biggest limitation of this Apple-approved version of Qik is that you can only upload via Wi-Fi, not 3G. Qik says it’s submitted a 3G0-enabled version of the app to Apple, though. That one should be a decent stopgap until the day comes–I’m an optimist and assume it will-that Apple lets developers write apps that stream video on the fly over 3G.

One comment

Netflix: An iPhone App Litmus Test?

Netflix for iphoneRumor has it that Netflix may be bringing its Watch Instantly video-on-demand service to the iPhone. Unless there are insurmountable issues with content licensing, actually, it would be startling if it Netflix didn’t want to be on the iPhone. (In some respects, the iPhone land grab reminds me of the mad rush to release Windows versions of existing applications in the early 1990s.)

The big honkin’ question with a Netflix application for iPhone is the same as with any other app that involves video on the iPhone: Would it permit streaming over AT&T’s 3G network, or only over Wi-Fi? So far, there’s no discernible consistency to what’s happened with other such applications. TV.com does 3G but Joost doesn’t; SlingPlayer’s 3G version was apparently rejected on the grounds that it violated AT&T’s terms of service; Major League Baseball’s At Bat app not only streams games over 3G but takes advantage of new features in iPhone OS 3.0 designed to make that possible.

A 3G-enabled Netflix could be terrific; a Wi-Fi-only one would be a letdown. Here’s hoping.

I guess there is one other significant question about Netflix on the iPhone: Is there any chance that Apple would keep it off the iPhone altogether by using the “this duplicates features built into the phone” rationale it’s used to remove some apps, such as third-party Google Voice clients? iPhone owners who have access to movies and TV shows from another major provider such as Netflix, after all, are less likely to buy content from Apple’s iTunes Store.

So far, Apple has permitted other video merchants onto the iPhone, but neither TV.com nor Joost provides really compelling competition to iTunes. Netflix would be a bigger deal, as would the rumored iPhone edition of Hulu. But the really big question is whether there’s any chance in heck that iPhone users will ever get access to Amazon’s Video on Demand, the most direct competitor that the iTunes Store’s movie offerings have.

I’d love to think that the fact that the FCC is now nosing around into Apple’s app-approval process will lead to a chastened, paranoid Apple erring on the side of approving competitive apps–whether or not the feds eventually force it to do so. A really good iPhone Netflix client would be an encouraging sign; one that felt crippled would not be.


Amazon-Netflix? Let’s Make It Happen, Please.

Netflix AmazonAt this point, it’s just a rumor that’s giving Netflix’s stock a nice goose: Speculation has it that Amazon.com might move to buy Netflix, a merger that makes immense sense to me. Between its Amazon MP3 service and Video on Demand and the Kindle and Audible, Amazon.com is working overtime to reinvent itself for the era–coming sooner than we think–that virtually all content is digital. Netflix, meanwhile, has an enjoyable and well-done Watch Instantly service, but its selection is sparse and less-than-current; if Watch Instantly is as good as it’s going to get, it’s hard to imagine Netflix stating Netflix once it no longer makes sense to mail shiny discs.

An Amazon that owned Netflix would get the opportunity to market digital downloads to all those happy Netflix customers; a Netflix that was part of Amazon would have access to Amazon’s ambitious video-on-demand platform and content deals. It would probably leave both companies and their customers better off—and hey, it give Apple an iTunes Store competitor that was that much larger and stronger.

I’m just a customer of Amazon and Netflix, not a shareholder. But if mergers were voted on by shoppers, I’d give this one my stamp of approval. Even if it’s not really under discussion at the moment, it feels sort of inevitable…


Obama Edges Jackson in Net’s Most Watched Sweepstakes

Stevie WonderThose that believe what happens in Washington and government in general is more important that the funeral of a major celebrity can take heart today as the much ballyhooed memorial service for Michael Jackson didn’t break the streaming records set by Barack Obama’s inauguration as our 44th president.

While the numbers were big, Jackson’s 2.185 million streams served over Akamai fell well short of the 7 million delivered when President Obama was sworn in to office, says MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka. CNN claims it served 781,000 concurrent streams for Jackson, which lags behind the 1.3 million served on January 20. Ustream did have its biggest day ever, serving 4.6 million streams through its partnership with CBS.

That’s not to say the King of Pop’s service didn’t flood the Interwebs. Akamai said it surpassed 2 terabits per second during the memorial service, according to GigaOM. Also, there were over 3.9 million visitors per second at the height of the service at 1pm EST, second to the 4.24 million/second visitors that hit news sites on June 25, the day Jackson’s death shocked the world.

Overall, the Internet seems to have held up better to the memorial than it did to news of Jackson’s death. Anecdotally, there didn’t seem to be many complaints on network slowness or sites going down on Twitter and other sources during the service, unlike when Jackson died. Obviously with that much traffic, there were some slow downs though. Gomez said its Internet “availability index” fell to 98.2 percent at one point yesterday, down from the usual level of 99.65 percent. It also said Twitter suffered from a heavy traffic load, though I didn’t notice any odd issues with the service during the funeral broadcast yesterday.

While Obama’s numbers were bigger, Michael Jackson’s memorial is still a major milestone for the Web and its ability to stream live events efficiently to a global audience.

But now, we can get back to more important things, as President Obama himself predicted: “Michael Jackson, like Elvis, like Sinatra, when somebody whose captivated the imagination of the country for that long passes away, people pay attention. And I assume at some point people will start focusing again on things like nuclear weapons.”


YouTube Goes Downloadable

youtubelogo1Some observant folks noticed last month that YouTube was dabbling with letting users download videos from the site to their hard drives. The YouTube blog just made it official: The company is permitting content providers to allow their videos to be downloaded, either for a fee (via Google Checkout) or for free.

It still sounds fairly experimental: YouTube is only working with a few content sources, including Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Khan Academy, HouseholdHacker, and PogoBat. And even with them, the download option isn’t universally available–actually, I’m not seeing it on any of the first half-dozen videos I’ve checked.

This isn’t earthshaking news–for one thing, tools like KeepVid have allowed YouTube fans to snag videos and save them for a long time. The YouTube videos are in unprotected MPEG4 format: I assume this means that YouTube isn’t going to enable downloading on the massive amount of stuff it offers that consists of short, unauthorized clips of copyrighted material. And while YouTube is also experimenting with streaming official versions of Hollywood content, it seems unlikely that the entertainment industry is ready to allow DRM-free downloads of current shows. At least right now.