Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Ditching Cable has launched!!

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

In the last few months, I’ve become more and more disgruntled with my cable service. The cost is high and I simply don’t watch enough television to justify the price. The video quality is poor and the DVR makes me not want to watch television. The selection of video on demand and movies on the “movie” channels are so poor that we also subscribe to Netflix to supplement our entertainment “needs.”

I looked hard at our television viewing habits and realized that most of the tv programming we watch is freely available over the air. There are some exceptions but by and large our “regularly scheduled programming” comes from the big networks. The value proposition is just not there.

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While we do receive HD signals from our provider and that provider is increasing the amount of HD channels on the network, by and large, HD content comes from the major networks. Standard definition, or SD content is so compressed, legitimate download sources are starting to look better.

Crappy picture, lack of selection and high costs leave me with two options.

  1. I could sit and complain about it.
  2. Or, I could ditch cable.

Given all that, we decided to ditch cable and launch this blog to tell you about it.

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If you’d like to know more about my little experiment, head on over to Ditching Cable, where I’ll be showing folks how easy it is to get rid of your cable subscription. It’s a little raw right now, but I’ll be spending some of my time fixing it up in the next few weeks.

Diet Coke and Mentos, Part Duh

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Feeling much like most sequels do, the EepyBird boys are back. Bigger and better than their first video, but lacking the wonder and awe. This time, they’re getting paid by Google, not Revver.

TechCrunch reports on the deal between Google, Eepybird and their new sponsors, Diet Coke and Mentos (You’d think that Diet Pepsi would beating down their door). According to the report, this will be the first of many sponsored videos from Google Video, but this doesn’t appear to be for just anyone. Google is focusing on the top producers, rather than their typical long tail.

Unfortunately, the biggest loser in this deal is Revver, but this certainly proves their business model.

Links for Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

PopSugar gets $5mm in funding from Sequoia
Blog network for “young, hip women” got a nice kitty from the folks at Sequoia. It looks like PopSugar’s main site has been growing a fair clip on their main blog (see graphic) and are doing a bit more than just blogging with a little bit of social networking thrown in. With women marrying and having kids later in life, this is a strong demographic that is under-served on the net.
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UndoTV launches…kinda

Looks like Chris Pirillo and Leo Laporte are getting the band back together for one more show…or an online revival of the TechTV gang of old. The site also looks to be a hub for getting other folks involved uploading their own reviews and tech related content. Looks interesting, although, this could just be a channel on YouTube, so I’ll be curious to see how they differentiate the product.

For Mark Cuban, history repeats itself

Monday, October 9th, 2006

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The first thing that I thought today was how strange it was that Mark Cuban had been calling Google “moronic” for thinking of buying YouTube. I don’t imagine that he was telling Tim Koogle that he was “crazy,” for buying his company, Broadcast.com, a company that Yahoo! would spend the next several years dismantling.

Mark’s definitely asking the right question as to whether this is a good deal for YouTube or not. After all, Broadcast.com, which arguably was more of a “real business,” (they had corporate customers, after all), wasn’t making any money and still got $5 billion. YouTube probably should have held out for a lot more money.

Ah, but those were bubble times and everyone thought that the future would come more quickly than it did. Who could have imagined that streaming video would suck so much? Asidecan you pause Real, QT or WMV streaming without waiting for 2+ mins for it to restart yet?

While the YouTube acquisition is similar to Yahoo!’s acquisition of Broadcast.com, I think there are two key differences. First, the iPod (and to a certain degree, the cell phone). Everyone has one (or both) and short form video excels on these devices. I know you can’t carry these YT videos around easily yet, but it’s coming.

Second, and more importantly, is the Class of 2009. If you live anywhere near teenagers, you may have noticed that there are a lot of them. The Class of 2009 (and the years surrounding them) is the largest graduating class in American history. These kids are already powering a lot of Web 2.0. They have always had a computer in their home and they probably can barely remember not being connected to the internet.

Google’s acquisition of YouTube is part of their bet on this upcoming generation of creators. It has taken us a long time, but we’re finally getting people off their butts and making them into content producers not just consumers. Mark Cuban helped lay the groundwork for this revolution and instead of pedantically nitpicking from the side lines, he should be cheering them on.

Now, let’s just hope they find a business model. :-)

Links for Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

gv_berkeley-logo.jpgBerkeley and Google Video team up
Not content to get your lectures via podcast? Now you can watch your prof’s give lectures on Google (as well as talks, symposiums and more). I wonder what this does to attendance?
[via eContent

Two thumbs down for Amazon Unbox
Wow… so I never did my review of the service (actually, I never downloaded a movie), but this review pretty much seal’s the deal. Old time computer smarty pants Peter Lewis gave Amazon’s Unbox service a pretty scathing review in Fortune magazine. His 5 hour download experience alone makes you want to run to bit torrent. I wonder if their update has helped?
[via Paul Stamatiou]

iTunes sharing skills
Playlist magazine has some good tips on managing the sharing aspects of iTunes.

iTunes updated to 7.01
Fixes a whole bunch of stuff. Go get it.

Links for Thursday, September 13

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Skype 2.0 beta available for the Mac
I can finally use video Skype with all my PC pals. I knew the MacBook camera would come in handy for more than making goofy faces via iChat.

Zune launching tomorrow
The battle for your pocket (and pocketbook) is on!

Web Geeks show off new tools
Future of Web Apps conference started today.

Links for Wednesday, September 12, 2006

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

Is Steve Jobs Bill Gates 2.0?

Om works out that Steve has the new monopoly so he can afford to pre-annonuce products to scare the competition shitless. Interesting observation…

Facebook to allow open registration
Apparently, both salt and lemon juice do wonders for open wounds.

Tivo Series 3 launch video
Dave Zatz gives us the Tivo Series 3 promo video. Looks like this sucker is gonna cost you $800. Ouch. Here’s the press release from Tivo.

Dave.TV to share revenues with users
Yet another video site decides to share revenue with their users. Where will the madness end??

AOL Video: Want to buy a video? Watch an ad first

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

You gotta be kidding me…. If you watch a preview of a movie that you would like to buy, AOL makes you sit through an ad. Great user experience.

Wow.

What are we selling here? A movie download or Citibank Visa?

This is one of the reasons going to the movies sucks. It’s the only place I see video ads.

I’m not even gonna link to them.

(Not to mention, when I view this on my Mac, they totally get me to the video popup and then finally tell me that the DRM isn’t “available” on my Mac.)

Sony acquires video sharing site Grouper for $65mm

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Here’s a link and comment roundup regarding the purchase.

Sony is acquiring Grouper Networks in web-video bid – WSJ
“YouTube Inc., which had about 16 million unique visitors last month compared with 542,000 for Grouper, according to comScore Media Metrix, a research company. Grouper says comScore doesn’t measure its traffic accurately and claims its numbers were about eight million last month.”

Grouper sells for $65 million – TechCrunch
“the $65 million valuation on Grouper suggests a YouTube valuation of around $2 billion.”

Sony Pictures Buys Grouper – PaidContent
“valuation is not really based on traffic…what it does have is a solid management and technical team…and user tools”

It will be interesting to see what happens to Grouper as a result of this acquisition. Sony may actually be ahead of Apple in the NIH (not invented here) syndrome. Of course, this acquisition is from Sony Pictures, not electronics, which may or may not make increase the chances of a successful merger and integration.

Monday Links

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Why Apple should buy YouTube
This will never happen, but it’s fun to talk about. Apple has a long history of not doing big acquisitions (NeXT excepted). Fact is, Apple (a) could build a crappy version of YouTube that integrates nicely into iLife or (b) just sit back and wait for one of the numerous companies falling all over themselves to get onto the iPod to make a service that works with the iPod?

Farecast goes Coast to Coast
Damn, now the rest of the country can enjoy the data porn Seattle and Boston-ites have been enjoying the last few months.

Seth Godin’s Web 2.0 Traffic Watch
Keep track of your favorite Web 2.0 company.

Amazon Unbox Video launched?

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Methinks someone pushed the wrong button at Amazon.

Gizmodo
Kokogiak.com

Here are some pix, click for bigger images.

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More in my Flickr stream.

It looks like the video will work on some portable players, will contain DRM, Mac users need not apply, and you will be able to rent as well as buy.

Check it out

Thursday Links

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Del.icio.us slightly less ugly
Hey, I didn’t say that I didn’t use it, but come on, it ain’t pretty.

YouTube talking to record labels on music videos
YouTube owns the long tail of internet video and they seem to be going after the head. Interesting… now, if only it worked on my iPod.

CBS to Webcast Evening News
But until I get it on my iPod, it doesn’t matterOk, is it me or does ‘real-time’ streaming video still suck? I’m not talking about Flash here (which for some reason does not suck), but WMV, Real, Quicktime streaming. Is there any reason these are still used?

WSJ – NBC, YouTube in promo deal

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

This deal is pretty big for YouTube, who just months ago was being sued by NBC:

NBC plans to announce that it will make available on YouTube promotional video clips for some of its popular shows, such as “The Office,” “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” NBC plans to market its new fall lineup using clips on YouTube, and is holding a contest for consumers to submit their own promotional videos for “The Office.” It will also buy ads on the site and promote YouTube with mentions on television.

The article goes on to do a profile of the YouTube founders and their meteoric rise.

Read [subscription site]

GUBA goes legit

Monday, June 26th, 2006

guba.jpgUsenet and illegal video fans should be weeping today, GUBA has signed a deal with Warner Movies to distribute Warner’s videos day and date as the DVD releases. Rentals are available for $1.99 and purchases are 9.99 for catalog titles and 19.99 for new releases(that sounds really familiar). You gotta have a Windows XP or 2000 box and Windows Media Player. No Macs need apply.

I haven’t been a customer of GUBA in the past, but originally, the site made its money selling subscriptions to Usenet groups that had illegal videos and porn. I’m assuming that all illegal video has been removed (and if you look around you are hard pressed to find Usenet at all) as a result of this deal.

GUBA, in their former life, even transcoded video from Usenet groups into an iPod compatible format. That appears to be gone as well.

I suspect that with it’s new “official” catalog, GUBA will lose more customers than it gains. Although, it might not get sued out of existence.

Read [via iPodNN]