Archives For mari

Drool-Worthy Camera?

Mari Silbey —  April 16, 2007 — 4 Comments


A press release crossed my inbox today with the announcement of a new camera by DXG USA. Now I have a great digital camera, but this release promised multimedia nirvana in one little device, all for just $199.

Before I get to the catch, here are some of the features of the DXG-589V. It’s a combination 5 megapixel camera, VGA camcorder, video game player, digital music player and video recorder that takes input from TVs and DVD players. Video is MPEG-4 with 30 frames per second at a 640×480 resolution. For gaming, the device has a flip screen and 20 built-in, full-color games. Not particularly exciting for a real gamer, but for someone like me who just likes to have something handy to do while waiting in line, it sounds great.

So why the second thoughts?

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Wondering what kind of foundation is beneath your favorite gadgets and gizmos? Look no farther than the start of earnings season. Among this week’s contenders in the great earnings game are Yahoo, Motorola (my employer), and Google. Followed by Apple, Comcast and Microsoft next week, and Verizon and Time Warner the following.

Recent news that may impact these financial events includes:

It’s Fandango-tastic!

Mari Silbey —  April 12, 2007 — 1 Comment


A million years ago, and for a very brief period of time, I did some public relations work with the Comcast High-Speed Internet division. At the time, Comcast was pushing its portal as a destination site for news, video, entertainment and applications like photo sharing and shopping. Unfortunately, only Comcast subscribers could access everything on the site, so it wasn’t a very attractive story to the consumer media.

Anyway, today Comcast announced that it’s adding Fandango to its online portal (for $200 million?). Not, but the upcoming Apparently Fancast will offer search and organizing functionality for video across a number of different devices and channels. (TV, computers, DVDs, etc.) Kind of a modern-day TV Guide.

Om Malik wondered who would own the new TV Guide space, and Broadband Daily has an article today (subscription only) about how Comcast is trying to compete with Yahoo and Google portals.

My question is: do we really need a portal site anymore? I love widgets and would rather get just the content and applications I want in widget form. Sure, I’ll still need a guide to find good content on the Web and on the TV, but why get it on a portal? Widgets are wonderful. Can be anything more than Fandango-tastic?

This is what Web video was made for. Forget real news, video blogs and gadget demos, turn your browser to the Onion News Network.

In case you missed it, the Onion debuted its online video broadcasts late last month. And if you’re a fan of the print version, the short-form videos are a must. There are only a few clips posted so far, but they have the same irreverent tone as the daily print fare. They’re not dissimilar to clips from The Daily Show, but with no TV heritage, the Onion crosses into territory that even cable broadcasters fear to tread.

Don’t want to bother with Onion video news on your computer? Download it to your TiVo with TiVoCast or take it on the go with Helio.

So far my favorite clip is the immigration one embedded above. It’s just as tasteless and hilarious as you’d expect it to be.


News from Gotuit: The company has just announced a deal with Sports Illustrated to power the 2007 NFL Draft FilmRoom feature. Gotuit has essentially created a video database of Draft candidates’ top college plays. If you visit FilmRoom you can search for players by name, position or school and then watch mini highlight reels of touchdowns, passes, blocks, etc.

This is a very cool application for football fanatics, but it’s even more interesting to me for its potential across the landscape of online video.

Gotuit considers itself an online video publisher and will work with businesses in a number of different ways to make video on the Web engaging. In a situation like the SI deal, Gotuit encodes and transcodes video for the Web, adds massive amounts of metadata, and then provides the publishing and sharing tools to create a dynamic, semi-personalized application.

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We humans have a tendency to want to quantify absolutely everything, which is why it’s no surprise that bean counters have fixed their beady little eyes on the world of online video. Where Nielsen dominates broadcast TV metrics, web analytics companies are now carving out a niche in video on the Internet. And the nature of the Web means that analysts aren’t limited to viewer samples; they can pore over the behavior of every single visitor to a video site, collecting data on what, when and how clips are watched.

A few Web video companies have recently announced partnerships that add analytics to their product offerings. Brightcove is partnering with startup Visible Measures, and Maven Networks is collaborating with WebTrends. The theory is that these companies will now be able to measure not just viewership, but viewer “engagement”. Which (again in theory) should tell advertisers down to the penny how well their investments are paying off.

I’m all for analysis, but the need to put a number on everything starts to drive me a little batty. And I fear that the ability to break down everything on the Web into measurable bits will drive all rationality out the window in a quantifying frenzy. Numbers aren’t objective because they’re still interpreted by humans. Humans trying to make money.

Meanwhile, should you be worried about the data companies are collecting on the Web video you watch? Stay away from those bomb-making demos and porn videos and you should be okay. For now. I think.


You heard it here first. Last November ZNF predicted, “Digital photo frames will probably hit their stride in the 2006 holiday season.”

Now, Parks Associates has confirmed it: “approximately 1.7 million digital photo frames were sold in the US in 2006.” That’s a 400% growth rate over sales in 2005. Parks had originally predicted growth of only 42%. Good thing ZNF’s instincts were right. ;)