Archives For Video

HD Beat is reporting Mark Cuban’s HDNet will broadcast upcoming Space Shuttle, and some expendable rocket, launches in HD through 2010. Very cool! Well… very cool if the Shuttle ever gets off the ground again.

Ben over at HD Beat got his hands on a MovieBeam and doesn’t come away impressed. The bottom line seems to be a limited selection of content with poor picture quality. Granted, both these faults could be improved without requiring a software or hardware upgrade — sign more partners and use less compression. But it’s a good thing I haven’t ordered one yet. ;)

XM Portable Video Player?

Dave Zatz —  March 6, 2006 — 3 Comments

So is this a fanboy Photoshop job or a leaked prototype? I’m voting Photoshop, though XM has partnered with On2 for video distribution. At the moment it appears they don’t have the bandwidth or content partnerships to beam multiple feeds of video, but what’s to stop them from creating a bring your own video (BYOV) solution until those details are worked out.

(via Orbitcast)

Cisco’s IPTV Strategy

Dave Zatz —  March 1, 2006 — 1 Comment

Cisco, who recently announced the acquisition of cable set-top box maker Scientific Atlanta, lays out their IPTV strategy for eWeek. It’s not clear how or if their investment in MovieBeam plays into this. Five elements are nice, but will they leverage Scientific Atlanta’s assets into some sort of convergent Cisco-branded appliances — how about a IPTV DVR set-top box with built-in cable modem, wireless router, and VoIP functionality? I’m sure the cableco’s would love marketing that triple play device!

eWeek says: By leveraging the combined expertise of Cisco with IP, home networks with Cisco’s Linksys unit and now video, “we can deliver a better user experience with a platform to support many services to many screens,” said Paul Sanchirico, senior director of video and IP TV Network Systems Group at Cisco in San Jose, Calif.

In Cisco’s vision, there are five architectural elements required to deliver next-generation services that improve the user experience. Those include the connected home, where Cisco can now offer home gateways, routers and now set top boxes with Scientific Atlanta. The second element is the network; the third is the video head end, provided by Scientific Atlanta with satellite receivers, encoders and digital content managers. The fourth is a video control infrastructure and the fifth is Business Support Systems/Operational Support Systems. For BSS/OSS, Cisco intends to partner with systems integrators such IBM Global Services and Accenture.

Well folks, we have a date for both Blu-ray hardware and media. I can’t say I’m overly excited about the initial titles, though they’re an improvement over Charlie’s Angels. Lion’s Gate is listing newer titles at $39.99 a pop and classics (I use that term lightly) at $29.99. Let the format war begin!

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is targeting May 23 to deliver the first wave of Blu-ray Disc (BD) titles at retail, it was announced today. Delivery will coincide with the launch that day of the first commercially available BD player from Samsung Electronics, which will be followed shortly by BD players from Pioneer and Sony along with a BD compatible VAIO PC from Sony.

SPHE and MGM Home Entertainment will first release eight BD titles, with another eight following shortly June 13. Benjamin S. Feingold, president, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, made the announcement.

The first Blu-ray Disc titles from SPHE and MGM Home Entertainment will include: 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, A Knight’s Tale, The Last Waltz (MGM), Resident Evil Apocalypse and XXX.

BD titles streeting June 13 include: Kung Fu Hustle, Legends of the Fall, Robocop (MGM), Stealth, Species (MGM), SWAT and Terminator (MGM). Underworld Evolution will debut in early Summer day and date with the DVD.

“We are primed to ensure that a variety of Blu-ray Disc content is available at retail to support the introduction of the first BD players from Samsung Electronics and Pioneer, as well as the first BD player and compatible VAIO computer from Sony,” said Mr. Feingold. “Sony Pictures further intends to provide additional titles to coincide with the launch of BD products from other manufacturers. We’re thrilled that the Blu-ray Disc era is about to begin.”

Here we have yet another video distribution system that will fail (see MovieBeam ). MovieKlub will send you up to two DVDs a week for $24.99/month. So what’s the big deal? These movies can only be played 3 times… then you toss them out or return them for recycling. We’ve seen similar schemes in the past which expire discs by calling in or through degradation via exposure to air or laser… none have succeeded as business models. MovieKlub is scheduled to begin operations this summer.

No thank you — Netflix has got me covered until a better VOD/PPV experience arrives.

MovieKlub says: The Limited Play DVD disc has a coating composed of a dye capable of being irreversibly bleached by light absorption. In this DVD, the information encoding features are machine-readable prior to bleaching of the dye, which is activated by absorption of the laser light in the DVD player. The dye, once bleached, inhibits further reading of the information encoding features. Based on the application of the dye, the number of read/plays of the disc can be controlled and pre-determined. With the Limited Play DVD disc, however, upon sufficient exposure to the reading laser beam, the dye in the disc coating undergoes a change in the index of refraction, resulting in unrecoverable data.

(via Hacking Netflix)

Disney’s MovieBeam Goes HD

Dave Zatz —  February 14, 2006 — 3 Comments

MovieBeam, who just received a large cash infusion, is relaunching in 29 markets this year. In fact, my neighborhood already appears to be online. Basically you buy the Linksys MovieBeam set-top box, every week a few movies are downloaded via a digital over-the-air (OTA) signal, and then you choose which you want to rent. The movie rental includes a 24 hour viewing period and typical DVR controls. Initially, only Disney and Warner Brothers content will be offered.

If they weren’t upgrading the service to include HD movies, I’d say they’re doomed to fail with this pricing model. By offering HD, they may have a chance… though I wouldn’t bet on it. I believe most people will still prefer Netflix’s understandable low-tech methods and reasonable rates. Not to mention, anyone with a cable or satellite box has access to some sort of PPV or VOD without MovieBeam’s upfront hardware fee. Things could get interesting since Disney, the originator and a major investor, is leveraging their movie library by making flicks available to MovieBeam 30 days prior to when cable providers can offer them via VOD.

LA Times says: The service allows customers to rent movies from a library of 100 titles stored in a set-top box. As many as 10 new films, including some in high definition, are automatically delivered to the device each week via television airwaves. The MovieBeam box costs $199.99 after a $50 rebate and requires a one-time service activation fee of $30. Movie rental fees are $3.99 for new releases — $4.99 for films in high definition — and $1.99 for older titles.