A periodic roundup of relevant news… from our other blogs:
As a few sites reported yesterday, Sling.com has gone into beta (and is taking applicants). Sling Media’s online video play was first announced at CES 2007 as a destination where Slingbox owners could share video clips with the world. As you can see above, the scope of the portal has greatly evolved from the original concept to include full-length television content through various partnerships. And to provide a web-based SlingPlayer – hot! I can confirm paidContent’s report: Clipping functionality won’t be immediately available though much of this programming will ultimately also be viewable on a television via the forthcoming SlingCatcher.
While most of the world is talking about Vudu’s new higher definition HDX content (which I haven’t tested) today, what got my attention is the $200 movie credit being run in conjunction with Best Buy’s nationwide rollout. Purchase a $295 Vudu box via BestBuy.com or a brick & mortar location by the end of the year and receive $200 of content. While their HD library has lagged the competition in the past, the Vudu box provides a superior movie experience over a Xbox 360 or AppleTV. If you can consume $200 worth of content in four months, $95 for Vudu is an excellent deal. Two possible gotchas:
I first came across PlayOn a few weeks ago. The PC-based software streams several Internet video site’s content to DLNA-compatible devices. PlayOn is still in beta, though the promised Netflix Watch Now support has just hit. Like most of the PlayOn experience, it continues to be rough around the edges – which is not unreasonable for pre-release software.
There’s a lot of promise here… Folks would much rather watch long form content from their couch and PlayOn leverages existing hardware platforms, such as the Xbox 360 and PS3 with Wii support on the way. While I am hopeful, thus far my experiences have been mixed. Check out the list of folders below right. That’s how you (try to) navigate Hulu. My Netflix experiment this AM wasn’t so successful either. While I could bring up my playlist (above), no movies would stream. And after a few minutes of futzing, PlayOn decided my Netflix credentials were no longer valid.
If they can tighten up the experience, both interface and reliability, while keeping up with any changes these sites will periodically throw at them, PlayOn will be well worth the $30 software fee. But not yet.
After bemoaning the lack of quality Netflix Watch Now content, Netflix is now providing an additional 1,000 titles to their existing lineup via an agreement with Starz Play – with another 1,500 titles by year-end. The Netflix Blog highlights popular movies such as “No Country for Old Men”, “Ratatouille,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “Superbad,” and “Spider-Man 3.” While many of these are not obviously brand-new releases, they definitely raise the bar on quality and freshness. There were certainly some good titles in their collection before, but not much in the way of newer movies. So this move goes a long way in terms of making the service more attractive. Netflix seems to get it and I suspect they’ll continue improving their Watch Now collection, while maintaining the service as a subscription-based model instead of a pay-per-title model.
Check out more of Brent’s reflections on tech, gadgets, software and media at Brent Evans Geek Tonic.