Tag Archives | ZillionTV

ZillionTV Gives Up on 2009

A Q4 2009 release has morphed into a second half of 2010 launch as, I assume, ZillionTV struggles to find distribution partners, perhaps feeling threatened by local broadcasters which don’t appreciate the studio-backed over-the-top video set-top box encroaching on their turf. I also assume their business plan of a free box streaming ad-supported content will be reevaluated… and then dropped.

Can’t say any of this is surprising, as it’s damn hard to launch a new “television” service. Just ask Sezmi and their “TV 2.0″ experience, which we first covered 5/08 and has yet to see the light of day. Or how about satellite-broadband hybrid XStreamHD, first revealed late 2007 and who canceled their 2009 CES press conference on Ben Drawbaugh (EngadgetHD) and I without announcing distribution plans or partners. (And most know that the current incarnation of TiVo, Inc has had a hard time retaining customers of what is arguably the premier DVR.)

That’s not to say there’s isn’t room for success in this space, as it sure looks like networked gaming consoles and Roku (having moved hundreds of thousands of units) are thriving as secondary sources of video content. But my money’s still on the existing, entrenched cable and satellite providers maintaining their lock on the primary television service market.

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)

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ZillionTV Shows NBC, Fox's Hand

zilliontv_logo_cropped_200-thumbNow it makes all the sense in the world while suddenly Boxee is no longer good enough for these two networks. Both NBC Universal and 20th Century Fox Television are equity stakeholders in ZillionTV, yet another set top box offering.

Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, and Disney also own a stake in the company. About 40 other providers have agreed to provide content, with discussions ongoing with Viacom and CBS.

The service is provided through something called a ZBar and is free of charge. It’s not completely free though: users will have to fork over a $100 activation fee and sit through advertisements.

In an attempt to get you to actually watch the commercial, points will be awarded for each one viewed. Its not immediately clear exactly what these points would be redeemable for.

Visa is also a stakeholder in Zillion, and would run the payment processing backend. The service would allow users to purchase content to skip ads, although it would not be stored locally. Content with Zillion would be stored in a “locker,” and streamed to the user when requested.

I feel really bad for the boxee folks. They had a good product going, but apparently partners like NBCU and News Corp. were working behind the scenes to undermine their work. I doubt with ZillionTV on the horizon that boxee ever gets Hulu back now: why would these two companies cut into the business of their own product?