July 20, 2010
Redbox, the company that places DVD rental kiosks in dark corners of grocery stores and other such places, is reportedly working on the development of a web strategy to take on the likes of Netflix. Now's probably a good time. Redbox may have upwards of 24, 000 kiosks out there, but the company only offers around 200 titles. Compare that with the 100, 000 mail order titles and 20, 000 online titles that Netflix offers.
Likely Redbox will tie up with a technology provider like Sonic Solutions to make it to market faster. But is it already too late. With competition from Netflix, Apple, Best Buy, Walmart's Vudu and even to some extent, Blockbuster, is Redbox coming to the game too late? It remains to be seen.
July 19, 2010
I've been waiting a long time for this. According to a tweet from the Netflix Twitter account, the video rental/streaming service is launching in Canada this fall. The company has launched Netflix.ca, a Canadian website version, where you can sign up to be notified when the service launches. Details are minimal at the moment, but since the word comes from Netflix itself, I think we can call it official.
July 5, 2010
Way back when I predicted that Blockbuster would go bankrupt as it struggled against businesses such as Netflix and Apple's iTunes and their better business models. The bricks-and-mortar video rental chain has repeatedly failed to move its business online or into a similar, lower-overhead type business.
Now, Blockbuster will likely be delisted by the New York Stock Exchange as its share price has fallen below the $1 minimum. The company was made aware of the issue back in November of 2009 and attempted to remedy the problem by combining its Class A and Class B shares. Unfortunately that required a vote which went bad due to a "low vote turnout". Not good.
Hopefully the 960 stores Blockbuster closes this year will lower its expenses enough to allow the company to begin paying off some debt. Unlikely. I stick by my prediction.
November 29, 2009
Anyone seriously concerned about acquiring swine flu or any other number of exotic diseases these days probably wonder about the cleanliness inherent in handling money--or say, Netflix discs. To test out the cleanliness of Netflix discs, which are handled by millions of people, KLTV.com sent a sample of six Netflix discs
and sleeves to the pathology lab at the University of Texas Health Science Center of Tyler to put them under the microscope. Surprisingly, at least to myself, the four different types of bacteria found to be growing on the discs were nothing to be concerned about. Separate testing of the sleeves proved to be benign as well. To be fair, a sample of six discs is small, and doesn't mean every Netflix disc is clean. But I wonder if companies like Redbox or Blockbuster would fair as well?
September 20, 2009
The Washington Post has a great write-up about the evolution from the tube TV to the flatscreen--and why you can't even give away your tube TV once you upgrade.
Carroll offered his TV free on Craigslist and got some interest, but no solid taker. If nothing clicks for Carroll and Johnson, their options include the dump, which neither prefers, and Goodwill, which still accepts donations of TVs if they are digital-ready. Goodwill no longer takes models lacking a coaxial cable connection. And there is recycling. In Montgomery, where Johnson lives, the government pays e-Structors, an Elkridge company, 7.2 cents a pound to pick up clunker TVs and strip them for parts. The recession has driven commodity prices so low that the material inside the TV is worth less than the cost of recycling it.
August 15, 2009
I have to admit: the direction of the HDTV market is tough to predict. In the first quarter of 2009, HDTV sales grew despite the worst global economy in decades. Now, as the second quarter reports begin to appear, research firm Quixel Research says that plasma TV sales were the fastest-growing. This despite reports and predictions of the demise of plasma for a couple of years now.
This wasn't a small amount of growth either. Plasma TV sales in Q2 were up 31% in volume and 35% in value from Q1, just south of $1 billion in sales. The key takeaway from the report though was more significant. The real plasma growth was in the 42-inch 720p class of plasma HDTVs, more of a value proposition than newer, larger and higher-resolution models.
The growth in plasma does seem to stem from its relative value to LCD models in this quarter alone. Or maybe it has something to do with the 'load of crap' LCD specification revelation. In all seriousness, these plasma numbers may seem counterintuitive because they are. A dynamic of pricing in one quarter alone rather than an indication of a longer-term trend.
You can check out the report here (PDF).
July 22, 2009
How many televisions do you have in your home? I'll admit I have 2 and only 2 people live here (though my wife is pregnant and it will be 3 soon!). It's funny though because I think some of the best content available is actually found on the internet. A recent survey by research group Nielsen revealed that the average home in the United States has 2.86 homes and only 2.5 people. Doesn't make much sense, does it? In 1975 the average American had 1.57 TVs. That number grew to 2.43 in 2000 and despite the prevalence of web TV continues to grow.
July 9, 2009
Best Buy and TiVo are forming a partnership that will result in heavy TiVo promotion in all 1100 Best Buy stores in the United States.
As part of the deal, TiVo will develop a custom version of its digital video recorder for Best Buy that will allow the electronics chain to advertise its products and services to TiVo subscribers on their TVs. Subscribers will also be able to purchase items and receive tips and advice. Best Buy will finance a move to bring TiVo's search tools and software to its own brand of home theater products, Insignia, as well.
TiVo hopes the partnership will help people realize that the set-top is more than a way to rewind and record television shows. Newer TiVo boxes have broadband connections allowing subscribers to do things like order pizzas and Netflix movies, and buy tickets for movies and events. But TiVo has had a tough time educating consumers about the new features; not a good thing considering most cable companies now offer their own DVRs.
April 7, 2009
Blockbuster has, in my opinion, been on death row for some time now. Opinion is one thing, but we haven't seen any facts supporting my opinion...up until this week. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week, Blockbuster revealed that a credit extension granted a couple of weeks ago may not work out after all. The lenders may not fund the loan unless Blockbuster meets conditions it may not be able to. If it can't, Blockbuster said there is "substantial doubt" about its business future.
Blockbuster has spent the last year playing catch-up to rivals like Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon Video on Demand. But it's too little to late I think.
January 12, 2009
LG Display already supplies 70% of Apple's notebook screens and monitors, but it appears that the company which also produces displays for HDTV's has secured Apple for the long term. Reuters is reporting that LG Display has signed a deal to supply Apple with LCD displays for 5 years. The financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed, but LG did state it would receive a $500 million advance this month.
October 1, 2008
Matsushita, formerly known as the parent company of the Panasonic brand familiar to us, has officially changed its name to Panasonic. In some form or another the company has had the Matsushita name since 1918 so this is just cause for celebration. So, this morning Yoshi Yamada, CEO of Panasonic North America, rang the bell on the New York Stock Exchange and the behemoth 150-inch Panasonic plasma TV first unveiled at CES this year, will get its first public viewing outside the Exchange. Hmm, I wonder if this will have any effect on the company's stock price? By the way, if you're an investor you'll be looking for PC rather than MC from now on!
September 28, 2008
A study conducted in the UK will add to the controversy surrounding the link between onscreen and real-life violence. A group of British women were shown one of three clips-either a knife fight from Kill Bill, bitchy bullies from Mean Girls, or a calming seance scene from What Lies Beneath. Afterwards the women were told they'd be competing in an online game where the loser is greeted by a loud blast of noise and then faced with a rude job applicant looking for a reference. In both tests, women who watched aggressive scenes in Kill Bill or Mean Girls were meaner than those that had watched What Lies Beneath. While studies like this don't bode well for the younger crowd who have worried parents monitoring their television consumption, it gives us adults a perfectly reasonable excuse for our anti-social behaviour!
September 1, 2008
Digital TV Transition 2009
August 20, 2008
According to Bloomberg, the Digital Cinema Integration Partners and Hollywood studios' are close to a huge $1 billion deal that would see 14, 000 theater screens owned by Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., and Cinemark Holdings Inc., equipped with 3D display technology. Agreements with all of Hollywood's major studios should be reached in a "relatively short period of time", and those close to the deal say the plan is to recoup the funding through higher ticket prices for 3D shows. All 14, 000 screens in question are located in the United States and Canada, so we can look forward to a life-like theater experience in the near future by the looks of it.