In honor of Michael Bolton, we’re giving away a first generation Pogoplug today. It’s an interesting bring-your-own-drive network storage solution, at a great price without service fees and featuring one of the quickest, easiest initial installs ever. It realizes many aspects of my personal cloud vision, yet the Pogoplug wasn’t exactly the right solution for me. But it, along with its multiple clients (Win, OS X, web, iPhone), might be right for you. Entering the giveaway is as easy as it gets, simply leave a comment below. (US residents in the lower 48 only, please.) I’ll choose the Pogoplug winner at random in a few days.
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Cablevision has always danced to the beat of a different drummer. Unfortunately, their ambitious (and quite logical) network DVR was tied up in a costly, multiyear battle with the studios. Now they’re at it again and will surely ruffle feathers as they pilot a “PC to TV Media Relay” service this summer. Basically, Windows software captures the audio and video from a PC to ultimately present the content via a television. However, unlike say a SlingCatcher or Netgear’s Push2TV software-to-set-top screenscraping, this feed is transmitted back up to Cablevision’s headend and broadcast back down as a private channel on one’s cablebox. Which is more reminiscent of the original ZvBox that utilized coax and clear QAM for in-home distribution. Piping the feed beyond the home does seem a bit inefficient. But it’s surely cheaper than replacing or retrofitting every broadband modem and/or cablebox. But where’s the controversy, you ask? Beyond personal photos and videos, you know this service is best suited for watching Hulu on the big screen. And their dinosaur studio genes naturally fear evolution.
Wow. The rumor was true. Wal-mart is indeed acquiring Vudu. Given their prior failed attempt at digital media distribution and MediaMemo’s way-off financing stat, I had a difficult time buying it. But the deal is done – so congrats to the Vudu team.
Vudu’s story arc is interesting. From the beginning, and like many, I found the idea of a premium priced, dedicated movie box problematic. And suspected we had another Moviebeam on our hands as Vudu nearly folded late in 2008 when they discovered what most of us already knew. But after a few rounds of layoffs, a new strategy to port the Vudu experience to 3rd party hardware, a press relations agency upgrade, and additional financing, they quite successfully weathered the storm.
With Best Buy embracing TiVo and Napster it sort of makes sense Wal-mart would want a digital distribution partner of their own. Although the investors recouped their cash, consumers probably aren’t the big winner here. I fully expect Vudu’s AVN channel will be the first thing axed. And Dan Rayburn anticipates the whole enterprise, under Walmart’s stewardship, will fail.
I do hope the original stand-alone boxes see one more software upgrade to move them off P2P distribution and onto the CDN in use by all other Vudu devices. Rather than a complete shuttering. Also, in light of the acquisition, my plan to find a deal on a LG BD390 is on hold.
While TiVo employees program automated laundry machine tweets, TiVo customers continue to give their DVR a Twitter voice. About a year ago, we first saw TwiVo – which tweets newly completed TiVo recordings and was hacked together in PHP, primarily for the author’s own usage. However, this weekend, the new and far more sophisticated TweeVo has been released to the masses by Brian Peek.
Like TwiVo, TweeVo periodically polls your TiVo’s Now Playing list (via embedded web server) to determine and then broadcast new recordings on Twitter. But TweeVo also provides a GUI for easy and smart customization (above left), when the Windows system tray app isn’t running in the background. (.NET 3.5 SP1 required.) Additionally, TweeVo mates your recordings to Zap2it show information so followers can optionally learn more.
HBO Go finally made it out of beta this week. And like EpixHD, the online video service requires a television subscription in order to access their web-based content. And FiOS customers with HBO are up first. Both EngadgetHD and NewTeeVee have taken HBO Go for a spin and came away relatively pleased with the Flash video quality. However, the movie selection (as opposed to original television programming) appears lacking. However, I’d much rather have fewer good, current selections than tons of mediocre, older flicks. But there’s a reason why we don’t see much of that from services like Netflix instant streaming… $$$.
So while I doubt we’ll see a large library of all-you-can-eat blockbuster films anytime soon, what I’d like out of Netflix is a weekly feature. Just ONE tent pole flick a week added to their instant streaming package that we can schedule movie night around. Of course, they don’t necessarily need to stop there… and are hopefully considering several new releases as part of a premium streaming tier to take HBO (and my cable provider) out altogether. As I doubt HBO will embrace the new reality and allow purely web-based video subscriptions.