Tag Archives: internet television

Triple Play

It’s coming to a home near you.

A report by Booz Allen Hamilton has predicted that more than half of European homes will be plugged into ‘triple play’ services of TV, broadband internet and telephony from the same provider by the end of the decade.

The study also suggested that these digital homes will trigger more than €100bn (£60bn) in investment and generate more than 100,000 jobs, mainly among infrastructure providers such as cable and telecoms operators. A further €35bn is expected to be invested by content providers. However, the consultants warned that heavy-handed regulation, blocking competition, could cut the cumulative investments by 40% and wipe out 90% of job creation.

The report comes days after France Telecom confirmed that it had lost 600,000 fixed-line subscribers last year, mainly to ‘triple play’ competitors such as Neuf Cegetel and Alice in France, Europe’s third largest economy. Issuing a profits and sales warning, the group’s finance director said that Internet based telephony (VoIP) would account for 40% of fixed line traffic by the end of the year, compared with 15% in 2005 and 1-2% in 2004.

Full details of the report are available via Mediaguardian.

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BT to introduce ‘Catch-Up’ TV

BT prepares to take on Sky and other broadcasters with its own TV on demand service.

Following Sky’s purchase of EasyNet, which will see the broadcaster muscle in on the lucrative broadband market, BT has come back with its own TV on demand service. BT’s ‘catch up TV’ will offer a similiar (but limited) capability to Sky’s PVR, Sky+, enabling internet customers to watch programmes shown during the previous week without needing to record them. From next summer, customers will be able to buy boxes and then pay for certain shows, with others being free. Head of retail Ian Livingston said: “No longer will BT customers be reliant on TV schedules.”

The BBC has the full story.

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TV Online

More than half of Internet users in the US watched online video in June, according to research released this week.

Research company ComScore found that 94 million U.S. Internet users, or 56 percent of those online, watched streaming video. Based on the previous three months, the research firm found those watching video did so for an average of 73 minutes per month.

The research represents the first figures released by ComScore’s video ratings service, based on its panel of 2 million Internet users who have their activities tracked by ComScore and extrapolated to the entire Internet audience.

Web video offerings have grown this year, as more than half of U.S. Internet users now have broadband connections. On top of that, advertisers have shown keen interest in placing their TV advertisements online in the form of pre-roll video ads watched before clips.

ComScore found that men are more likely than women to watch Web video, representing a disproportionate 61 percent of Web video streamers against their 50 percent portion of the Internet audience. However, of those who watched Web video, males spent less than two minutes more time watching.

Importantly for advertisers (but maybe not for employers), ComScore found online video is most popular during work hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when consumers are typically difficult to reach via traditional media.

Report from Advertising Age.

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BBC’s content player – a blogger’s verdict

The skinny? It’s the BitTorrent for non-geeks.

Thomas Scott offers his verdict on the BBC’s Internet Media Player (iMP) which is currently at invite-only testing stage.

In summary, it’s a nice bit of software; a little clumsy at times and most definitely in beta, but hey – it’s a legal, (soon-to-be) P2P way to catch up with (some of the) TV shows you’ve forgotten. The interface is distinctly non-geeky too, so it’s going to be much better than BitTorrent for non-technical users. I’m keeping it installed, anyway.

Read the full blow-by-blow experience of BBC’s iMP’ on Thomas Scott’s blog.

Here’s the lowdown on iMP from the BBC site:

iMP is an application in development offering UK viewers the chance to catch up on TV and radio programmes they may have missed for up to seven days after they have been broadcast, using the internet to legally download programmes to their home computers. iMP uses peer to peer distribution technology (P2P) to legally distribute these programmes.

Seven days after the programme transmission date the programme file expires (using Digital Rights Management – DRM – software) and users will no longer be able to watch it. DRM also prevents users emailing the files to other computer users or sharing it via disc.

Clever. The BBC promises that, on launch, iMP will offer ‘500 shows 300 hours 7 days of BBC programmes’. Essentially, an online video recorder of BBC content.

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Google Box

Google launches TV service.

The web services company is to begin streaming television broadcasts over the Internet after signing up American broadcasters and holding negotiations with the BBC over the possibility of British content.

Google hopes to amass an online library of programmes which can be searched and viewed online from any computer. It also announced it was teaming up with UPN to exclusively screen Chris Rock’s new vehicle, Everybody Hates Chris.

Although Yahoo! has already done this – with Kirstie Alley’s show Fat Actress last year – the move signals Google’s intent to become a global video recorder - offering consumers streaming video of shows when they want. Peter Chane, senior business product manager f or Google’s video team said that the Rock show was a test of “how many users want to watch the show on the Internet if they didn’t watch it on television.”

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A Geek Writes… a rant about the future of telly

The future of TV? Who knows! The future of channels? Recent history suggests that a revolution is just over the horizon.

Ah, the big questions of life — ‘Why are we here’, ‘Is there a Higher Power’, and most importantly for those of us working in media: ‘What is the future of TV’. But what is ‘TV’? Is it that thing you lug home from Currys? Or is it something experiential ? If TV once meant Sunday 7pm+living room+sofa+family+ugly-box-in-corner, does flatscreen+bed+timeshifted Sky+ count? What about HDTV-quality video+surround sound all downloaded over the Internet and watched via an Xbox? ‘TV’ is a porous, mutable concept. By the time we’re finished asking what it is, it will have become something else (c.f.the record album‘). Perhaps at the moment there are simply too many possible futures of TV to even sensibly ask the question.

So let’s ignore TV for a bit, and think about the future of something a little more tangible — channels. Whatever TV is, channels have long been a part of it. Just as brands retain value as waypoints through a landscape of atomised experience, channels (and channel brands) help us navigate our way through increasingly diverse content.

Since the dawn of TV, channels have been made and maintained for us. We’ve tuned in or out, or (heresy!) turned off, dependant on schedules, mood and time of day. Since Sky+, the PVR-gifted amongst us have been enabled to create our own, personalised channel-of-me through timeshifting linked to EPGs: the revolution is upon us.

But step back a bit, and that revolution looks already a little stale: my PVR-driven channels-of-me are only available at my house. Crave the brilliance of my content selection? You have to come on over. Contrast with the promiscuous accessibility of the ‘channel’s emerging in other media: syndicated blogs as newsfeeds of personally cherry-picked news and views, networked iTunes playlists as ‘radio stations’ in offices. Maybe TV — even time-shifted TV — needs to get up out of the sofa and live it up a bit in the world of social networks and smart mobs. Forget channel-of-me, isn’t it time for channels-of-we? Shouldn’t the future of channels be a bit more sociable?

And you know what? We aren’t going to care about the delivery mechanism — content from online, conventional studios, the BBC archives can all fight it out for our attention. Is it TV? Who cares! While the pedants worry about the ‘death of the album’, post-‘pod, the rest of us tune into iTunes or Napster and create the soundtracks of our own lives. The future of TV? Who cares! Liberate content: dice, splice and link it up to make channels wherever, whenever we want, for an audience of one or for one million. Lets forget about TV for a bit. Let’s play with channels. Let’s have some fun.

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More DIY Media – Popcast

Popcast enables people to create, broadcast and subscribe to TV shows without having to worry about complicated technical details or costs.

Wired reports on how Popcast which officially launched its broadcasting tool, player and channel guide this month, provides a full set of free tools for DIY video geeks to create full-screen, HD-quality programs. People download the player to watch programs, and can subscribe to their favorite shows.

There are already hundreds of vloggers out there creating their own videos and broadcasting film clips, news segments and slice-of-life shorts. Founder Rob Lord claims that Popcast provides a more sophisticated set of tools for video producers and consistent viewing experience. Each channel is distributed through a “swarm” of viewers who share the content between them, an “optimized derivative of BitTorrent,” Lord says. In addition to this private swarming network, a Flash-based presentation system makes it easy for the viewer to navigate the player, and for creators to use the producer tool. The full story is in this month’s Wired.

See also previous posts about Podcasting – creating and distributing radio programmes over the net.

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Picks from Fortune’s 25 Breakout Companies: Sling Media

Much like the TV Brick, the Slingbox enables you to ‘sling’ or transfer any channel you get on cable TV or any program stored on your TiVo or PC to anywhere in the world.

Created by two San Francisco Giants fans who were sick of missing games when abroad, the Slingbox will be available in the US from July 1 retailing at $249.

TV Brick got there first and, being Japanese, is much cuter.

The TVBrick is able to stream programmes stored on its hard disk to PCs or an optional receiver device that plugs into a TV. In an attempt to appease TV broadcasters, the TVBrick is marketed at what manufacturer Nexedi calls ‘international families’ — families where one or more members live overseas. Nexedi has discovered that it is legal in many countries to redistribute TV programmes as long as it’s done on a private, personal basis although sending the material over the net is surely stretching that definition. Programme streams are password-protected so only family members can access them; in practice, owners are able to give the password to anyone.

See also: bittorrent.

See the full Fortune list here.

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five to offer shows as free downloads

Five is to become the first UK broadcaster to offer legal downloads of its programming

Fans will be able to buy clips of 12 car reviews over the internet

From Monday, viewers of motoring show Fifth Gear can pay £1.50 for “DVD quality” downloads of car reviews

The full story is here

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The Internet is now a Global Video Recorder

Says Ben Coppin from web tracking firm Envisional. The Guardian reports that with the increasing incidence of TV piracy, the era of the PVR/DVR may be over before it’s even properly begun .

The article is here

The BBC reports the key findings from the Envisional research: “It’s now as easy to download a pirate TV show as it is to programme a VCR,” said Ben Coppin.

According to Envisional 18% of downloaders were from within the UK and that downloads of TV programmes had increased by 150% in the last year.

Exact figures are difficult to pin down, but it is thought that about 80,000 to 100,000 people in the UK download TV programmes.

A typical episode of 24 was downloaded by about 100,000 people globally, said the report, and an estimated 20,000 of those were from within the UK

The industry has coined the term “time-shifting” to describe this trend of being able to watch what you want, when you want. The more retro phrase is video on demand.

The BBC ran a trial of what it calls the Interactive Media Player (iMP) last year, which was based on a peer-to-peer distribution model.

It let people download programmes it held the rights to up to eight days after they had already aired. It is looking to do a more expansive trial later this year.

The BBC already allows radio fans to hear programmes they missed online up to a week after broadcast.

About six million people in the UK now have a fast, always-on net connection via cable or phone lines.

A typical episode of 24 was downloaded by about 100,000 people globally, said the report, and an estimated 20,000 of those were from within the UK.

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