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All posts tagged "VOD"


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

VUDU Adds Internet Content

Posted by Timothy Huber in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

http://www.engadgethd.com/2008/12/1...ternet-content/

"The VUDU fans who felt teased by the leak a few weeks ago can feel a little better today. Not only is VUDU offically announcing access to the previously discovered features, but in addition VUDU owners will have access to other on demand HD content from networks you've actually heard of like National Geographic and PBS -- other SD content will also be available, but really who cares about SD? What might end up being the most interesting in the long run though, is the fact that VUDU has brought this to market using its new VUDU RIA (Rich Internet Application) platform, which in the future will allow third parities to bring even more internet content to your living room. We'll have to hold our tongue on this idea until sometimes next year though, to see if anyone actually adopts it. These features are great and all, but how 'bout giving us access to our own content VUDU? Yeah we know, you're partners wouldn't like that very much, would they? The full release is after the jump."

Until now, VUDU has been a one-trick pony: digital video on demand for rental or purchase. Granted, it performed the trick very well with an amazing interface, consistent software updates, an ever-growing library including the largest collection of HD movie content, and stellar HDX video quality. With the launch of the RIA (Rich Internet Architecture) platform, VUDU has added a few more tricks including YouTube videos, a wide range of video podcasts (called OnDemand TV), and access to photos on Flickr and Picasa. For me, the new features are interesting but not nearly as compelling as its original trick. I'll have to wait and see if anyone takes them up on developing additional VUDU content using this RIA platform. Maybe access to local network content would be a good place to start?


Monday, December 8, 2008

Netflix Launches Streaming to TiVo

Posted by Timothy Huber in "Digital Home News" @ 11:00 AM

http://www.tivo.com/mytivo/whatsnew...tivo/index.html

"Netflix on TiVo* is here! TiVo customers who are on a Netflix unlimited plan can now instantly watch over 12,000 movies & TV episodes from Netflix via any broadband connected TiVo® HD, TiVo® HD XL and TiVo® Series3™ DVRs."

Before I left for work this morning I got a chance to give this a try. During the night my TiVoHD received the new service update, which among other things, added Netflix to the Video On Demand category. Activating the TiVo took just a few minutes: my TiVo gave me an activation code, I entered into my Netflix account, and a couple moments later the TiVo recognized my account. I tried it out for maybe five minutes, using a couple of movies my kids had added to the Instant Queue. The first, the infamously dull 1969 musical "Dr. Doolitte," never played more than a couple seconds of video before freezing (as bad as this movie is perhaps this is a feature). I had better luck with my second try, the movie version of "Annie," which seemed to work okay. About that time I had to take my daughter to school, so my opinion at this point is all based on first impressions.

And those impressions? Not the greatest streaming quality, including some very visible compression artifacts. I don't think I will be using this as a primary video on demand source. But if I'm desperate to watch "Annie" (or any of the 10,000 other movies that Netflix streams) it's a definite no-cost option. Kudos to TiVo and Netflix for putting this together.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blockbuster Box a Bust?

Posted by Timothy Huber in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:30 AM

http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2008-12...for-prime-time/

"At the title states, the Blockbuster OnDemand MediaPoint 2Wire box just isn't ready for prime time. While the pricing is extremely reasonable ($99 for the hardware, including 25 movie rentals), the interface looks pleasant, and the content selection is solid... the device is in need of a software update before I can recommend it."

It looks like the Blockbuster OnDemand set-top box might not we quite ready for public consumption. Dave over at ZatzNotFunny.com rented one movie and after unresponsive hardware, manual reboots, DRM errors, video artifacts, stuttering, and loss of audio/video sync he has packed the box away in the closet. For a box that only does one thing, it doesn't seem to do it very well.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Streaming vs. Downloading

Posted by Timothy Huber in "Digital Home Talk" @ 09:00 AM

http://www.engadgethd.com/2008/12/0...etflix-problem/

"For weeks now, Roku Netflix Player owners have noticed an almost universal drop in quality dots (which range from 1 to 4 in order to show quality levels), with many finding the new feeds "unwatchable." CNET recently had a talk with Tim Twerdahl, vice president of consumer products at Roku, about the issue, and according to Tim, all he knows is that "Roku didn't make any changes." Furthermore, we've seen comments in our own posts noting that other Netflix-enabled boxes are also seeing the quality drop. The worst part is that there's still no definitive solution in sight, so we suppose our only advice is to kick back and watch Netflix and Roku bicker over who's really to blame"

I don't have a Roku box, but apparently users are having issues with Netflix streaming quality, to the point that the video becomes unwatchable. This got me thinking about the fundamental differences between streaming and download services particularly as it relates to the (relatively) new category of IP set-top boxes.

Streaming services like Netflix automatically adjust the quality of the video based on the media player: bandwidth, resolution, etc. The stream is not stored, but played and then discarded. Time to playback is typically short but quality may be limited. If the connection is unreliable or unavailable, a streaming solution effectively no longer works.

Conversely, download services deliver an existing video file but may require the entire file to be downloaded before beginning playback. Since the file is stored locally, quality is consistent and it can easily be replayed. In a system with progressive download, used by Vudu and the new Blockbuster set-top box, playback is started before the video is completely downloaded. However, depending on connection speed and quality, playback may be delayed while waiting for the video download to finish.

Read more...


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blockbuster Brings Another Box to the Home

Posted by Timothy Huber in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:34 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2008/11/24/...2wire-mediapoi/

"We've rubbed our eyes four or five times now, but the factual heat remains: Blockbuster -- of all companies -- has decided to dive headfirst into the movie set-top-box arena. We wanted to believe the rumors were false, but sure enough, it has joined VUDU, Apple TV, Roku and the Xbox 360 in the highly competitive market place for your digital download dollars. For a "limited time," the outfit will offer the 2Wire-built MediaPoint player for free with the "advance rental of 25 first-run movies, TV shows, foreign or classic films from Blockbuster On-Demand (previously Movielink) for $99." After that, rentals are $1.99 apiece, and a Blockbuster subscription is not required. The unit itself measures 8- x 8- x 1-inch and includes two USB ports, an SD slot, Ethernet / WiFi and an HDMI port, and it should be available at the company's website and in select retail stores very soon."

This has been rumored for a while and it hit the news today: Blockbuster has jumped into the set-top box business. While there are several other established options (Apple TV, VUDU, Tivo/Amazon, Roku/NetFlix, etc.), internet-delivered video-on-demand is still a very young market. Given Blockbuster's history, this is a logical step. The Blockbuster OnDemand library is seriously lacking, however. They only have about 2,500 movies available and it all appears to be SD content. It will be interesting to see how this whole market plays out!

Have you made a choice in the internet-delivered VOD space? Let me know in the comments.


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