Archives For Video

Bye-bye Boxee: how a startup with great ideas and beautiful design failed to conquer the living room

DISH_southwest

No Southwest Airlines seat-back displays? No problem. Bring your own device (laptop, tablet, or smartphone) and enjoy free access to 13 channels of live television on board Southwest’s 400 WiFi-enabled aircraft in exchange for sitting through a mere 30 seconds of pre-roll advertising. Beyond mile high video streaming, DISH and Southwest are further collaborating on the marketing front with a nationwide push – new DISH Hopper subscribers will receive 12,500 Rapid Reward points and an iPad 2.

(Sadly, Southwest retired their non-stop IAD-LAS route and we rarely have reason to fly them these days.)

TWC TV on Xbox 360 to Give Time Warner Cable Customers a New Entertainment Experience

appletv-espn

After three years of effectively, if not contractually, providing exclusive ESPN360 ESPN3 WatchESPN set-top box access, the Xbox 360 gains a competitor in the Apple TV ($99) today. Further, as revealed to us at the Cable Show, HBO GO has also made an Apple TV app appearance. However, unlike the Xbox 360 or forthcoming media-centric Xbox One, Apple doesn’t require an annual fee to access compelling online content. And Comcast seems to like Apple a whole lot more than Roku, as they’re permitting HBO GO aTV authentication for their subscribers.

activevideo

ActiveVideo has been on a tear lately, having recently expanded “CloudTV” distribution with Cablevision, Charter, and Roku. The ActiveVideo value prop:

CloudTV’s “write-once deploy-everywhere” content environment eliminates the dependency on consumer device resources that has fragmented user experiences and limited the reach of “TV Everywhere”-type services. Using CloudTV to render the user interface in the cloud, service providers, content providers and content aggregators can offer rich, consistent user experiences and applications across existing and new STBs, as well as consumers’ existing CE hardware.

Where it potentially gets interesting for TiVo followers are a few comments from FierceCable’s Charter coverage:

Charter said it plans to conduct a market trial of CloudTV in an unidentified cable system. [...] Charter CEO Tom Rutledge has told analysts in recent months that the MSO is working with TiVo on new user interfaces. ActiveVideo SVP and Chief Marketing Officer Murali Nemani said he couldn’t comment on Charter’s talks with TiVo. But he told FierceCable that ActiveVideo can support the TiVo program guide running on operators’ existing set-tops.

Last year, Charter dropped TiVo Premiere hardware for an unidentified “next-generation platform” that might still leverage the TiVo experience and we wonder who’s helping power TiVo’s upcoming Com Hem IPTV initiative. Surely these upcoming services are bound to be a vast improvement over the discontinued Best Buy TiVo TV and ActiveVideo has indicated that we’ll “be able to see how [they] are supporting TiVo” at the Cable Show next week. Stay tuned. Continue Reading…

fios-home-screen

I admit I was somewhat confuzzled when I first read Verizon’s FiOS TV email outreach. As, likely, you were while scanning this headline. Although “home page” is typically associated with the web browser, Verizon has co-opt the term to describe their newly minted FiOS TV welcome screen.

The FiOS TV Home Page is a screen on your TV that will appear each time you turn on your Set Top box. After you have finished exploring the FiOS TV Home Page, getting to live TV is easy. Either press the “Exit” button on your FiOS TV remote control or wait 15 seconds and you will see the last channel you viewed.

I assume the objective here is more branding reinforcement and VOD or service up-sell rather than useful-new-customer-centric-feature. However, the presentation is attractive and can be quickly cleared if one so chooses. And we suspect this is the way the industry is moving, given my TiVo Mini‘s initial menu screen (after the television has been off awhile) and Roku’s content curation objectives.

FanTV

Fanhattan has just announced their dramatic transformation from web service into living room set-top.

Fan TV is our answer to the future of TV and our vision – to make engaging with your favorite movies and shows simpler and more magical – realized. Fan TV brings your entertainment life together in one place: Live TV, cloud DVR, and streaming.

Based on the press release and seemingly conflicting coverage, it’s not quite clear if this well-rounded streamer (both figuratively and literally) will be distributed through retail channels or in partnership with service providers. Or perhaps they’re contemplating a hybrid approach as Boxee (via Comcast) and TiVo (via CableCARD) are pursuing. Regardless, we may not find out until later this year when the Yves Béhar-designed, Android-powered Fan TV arrives. And hopefully their fortunes will be more Roku than ZillionTV.

On the design front, the Fan TV sales pitch (embedded below) is mostly compelling with attractive hardware and a pleasant interface – comprised of both live television and video streaming. But, I wonder if their position on the form-versus-function spectrum is out of whack with what looks to be a 100% touch-based remote. The ill-fated Sezmi design decision to do away with numeric buttons wasn’t well received and I found GlideTV unnatural and limiting. But we’ll be ready to take a look with an open mind once Fan TV launches. Stay tuned. Continue Reading…