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October 7, 2007

Porn Industry To Crack Down On P2P File-Sharing

The porn industry has always billed itself as being the motor behind technological innovations in the entertainment industry. As the music industry and Hollywood have been busy fighting P2P file-sharing for years now, the porn industry has tried to use file-swapping as a way to portray themselves as more technologically advanced than the mainstream entertainment industry. They figured if they offered some free content on the torrent sites, it would encourage more viewers to subscribe to their premium services. Of course, over time this strategy has failed horribly and now everyone can find paid content on torrent sites as well.

Porn torrent sites such as Epornium, Puretna, and The Pirate Bay all have millions of users and tens of thousands of active porn torrents and are slowly beginning to cripple the industry. With tiny profit margins, small porn companies are beginning to strain with diminishing sales and this worries the industry giants who double as distributors for the smaller companies movies.

Now that the big players are being affected, the porn industry as a whole has decided the time for a crackdown on file-sharers is now. In early September, representatives of 65 porn studios got together in Los Angeles to discuss strategy for their anti-piracy campaign. Some companies have decided to form an association that will go ahead and sue file-sharers. In fact, gay porn studio Titan Media filed 22 lawsuits this week against both file-sharers and porn bloggers to kick things off.

Interestingly, while the porn industry's play on being technologically innovative has got them into this mess, Janko Roettgers from NewTeeVee pointed out that while the music and movie industries have been experimenting with ways to get around online piracy with iTunes, Joost and others, the porn industry has done nothing. It seems the "innovative" label no longer fits. Times are definitely changing in the world of TV and video.

Via NewTeeVee

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

October 6, 2007

TV Guide Moving With The Times

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(Credit: TV Guide)

Probably every household in North America has heard of TV Guide. Usually thought of by most as a weekly magazine highlighting TV listings, TV Guide is catching up with the times. With television listings easily accessed on the web and in local TV guides, the original TV Guide has had a subscription decline from a high of 19.8 million in 1974 to only 3.2 million this year. In fact, in 2005 TV Guide abandoned the weekly digest format altogether and began emphasizing celebrity interviews and special features in the guide rather that just show times.

TV Guide has realized that the days of the weekly digest are long gone and is beginning to implement some fresh new strategies to revamp their business. Their first move was to develop a website that has shown remarkable growth over the past year, from 2.9 million unique visitors in August 2006 to 4.9 million uniques last month. They've also just launched their online video guide to the public this past Tuesday after being in beta since April. The video guide is designed to enable TV viewers to find the best video clips that relate to their favorite TV shows while filtering out all the garbage.

TV Guide Online general manager Paul Greenberg says, "We’re filling a niche that Google and YouTube are not because they are not strictly TV-focused" while also pointed out that as many as 70% of YouTube users searching for clips related to television shows are searching for professional content rather than user-generated content.

Now TV Guide has launched a new marketing campaign designed to help fans of aired-weekly shows to get through the week before the next episode. The advertising campaign is intended to make viewers aware of TV Guide offerings beyond hourly program listings by pointed them to other TV Guide resources, such as those online, that allow viewers to view content related to their favorite show while waiting for the next episode.

The campaign features ad-spots for 13 hot shows of this fall season, such as House, Ugly Betty, and Prison Break, and each ad spot is specific to the show. The ads are designed in such as way as to count down the days until the next episode, so for example, in the case of House, days are counted down using the sound of heartbeats. The 15 second ads run near the end of each program to emphasize the beginning of the countdown and then direct fans to other TV Guide properties.

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(Credit: TV Guide)

The rebranding of the TV Guide name has come at a price however. Gemstar-TV Guide International, owner of the TV Guide brand has had to increase its marketing budget from $1 million last year to $20 million this year. But using the TV Guide magazine as a point of entry to other TV Guide media forms has shown the beginnings of success. With the huge traffic increase on the website to the 28% increase so far this year in ad pages in the magazine, TV Guide seems to be on the right track to become the powerhouse of years past.

Via last 100, New York Times

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 29, 2007

The iPhone/iBrick Verdict

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I've been waiting for the internet buzz regarding the iPhone update to cool down before I made a judgement on the validity of Apple's warning about possible "bricked" phones. Especially since the day of the update there was those saying they had no problems and others saying they did. Today the New York Times reported that Apple's warning was indeed true. Some were spared, but everyone who had third-party applications on their phones lost them and at least one person who had a book contract to write about third-party hacks lost the book contract as well! Those who had just installed third-party programs were the lucky ones though. Most didn't have their phones rendered competely inoperable, but those who took the risk of unlocking their phones to access other cellular networks besides Apple's exclusive partner, AT&T, found that their chances of ending up with a so-called iBrick were pretty good.

Apple definitely had the right to do this. iPhone users are not authorized to install third-party apps by contract (though Steve Jobs of all people should have known this would happen) and AT&T is the exclusive provider of network coverage for the iPhone. By unlocking phones, users threatened the Apple-AT&T partnership and the phone networks business. Many Apple fans though are disappointed at the lengths the company took to prevent people from hacking the phone. Many questioned why it wasn't enough simply to relock the phone via the update and erase the installed applications. Rendering a phone inoperable and forcing users to purchase a new one has been deemed going a little to far by users.

It'll be interesting to see the future drama that I'm sure will unfold in iPhone circles. Will this move on Apple's part affect iPhone sales in the next quarter? What'll be the future of third-party apps for the iPhone? We all know someone will figure out a way to get around the update. It seems only time will tell.

Let us know your iPhone update experiences in the comments section. Also a couple of days back I questioned Apple's honest and transparency in this matter, so I'd encourage you to check out the activity over at Gizmodo. Question of the day yesterday: Are iPhone update problems malicious or unintentional side effect? The debate is still going strong so go check it out!

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (7) | social bookmarking

September 27, 2007

DEMO Conference Wrap-Up

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So the DEMOfall 2007 conference is over and many neat launches took place. Not surprisingly, many of the startups and product launches had some sort of video-related quality to them. Since I mentioned what I feel are the best of the best a couple of days back, I'll let you check out the videos of all the presentations yourself at the DEMO website!

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 22, 2007

Should We Expect A Boom For Mobile TV?

Would you pay to watch TV on your iPhone or Blackberry? Do you have the time to watch TV on your mobile device of choice? I know I would answer with an emphatic "NO" to both questions. Apparently though a report by Jupiter Research has stated there is a growing number of people out there who do have the time and would pay to watch TV on their mobile communication device.

The study has predicted that mobile-broadcasting revenues will exceed $6.6 billion annually by the year 2012 as the market for the service grows ten-fold in the next decade with 120 million viewers in 40 countries. Rather generous estimates considering mobile-broadcasting hasn't really been able to get off the ground for the past 20 years. Virgin Mobile, which began to offer mobile-broadcasting services last year has already suspended its operations (back in July) after only signing up about 10000 subscribers.

Some say that Virgin did have some service-related drawbacks and there are companies such as 3 italia, launched less than a year-and-a-half ago, that have been able to attract 500000 subscribers in less than a year.

Mike Masnick from TechDirt also pointed out that using available tools such as TiVo and Slingbox, people can watch TV when it's convenient for them at no cost. So while this is an interesting market to watch in the next few years, will anyone actually pay for mobile broadcasting when you can already get it for free? That remains to be seen.

Via Techdirt, CNET News.com

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 21, 2007

Free Fox Season Premieres On iTunes

fox.jpgFor those of you who have your desktop computer or laptop all setup for television viewing, the LA Times has reported today that Fox Broadcasting will be offering seven network season premieres for FREE on iTunes beginning next week. These will include such hits as Prison Break and Bones. Fox hopes this will act as an incentive for viewers to either tune in to Fox for follow-up episodes or download them for a fee at the iTunes store.

This is following similar announcements by Walt Disney Company and NBC Universal who stated they would be offering free downloads of select primetime shows through AOL and NBC Direct respectively.

Why are they being so generous? What's the catch? I'm sure that's what you're probably thinking. No catch, it's more of an act of desperation than anything. Thanks to services such as TiVo, networks are losing heaps of viewers who would rather watch their shows when its convenient for them. Networks are now trying out different Internet delivery systems with the hope that they will once again regain the number of viewers of past years.

This is definitely an exciting development in the television broadcasting world and one we'll look more at in the future.

Via Techcrunch

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 17, 2007

TV Chair with Cozy Synchronized Massage

Viewmedia

Want to make your TV viewing a bit less stressful? Check out this crazy massage viewing chair called the Rave. Integrating the latest stress management technology with a sleek design and color offering, Raffel Comfort Sciences and its flagship brand Tranquil Ease is introducing “The Rave” Synchronized Massage and Music Chair. Raffel Comfort Sciences is a leading, international manufacturer and designer of high quality, high-value personal comfort products including massage, sleep, therapeutic and personal comfort products that promote wellness, relaxation and a stress-free mind, body and spirit.

Using convenient fingertip control, The Rave offers four pre-programmed massage sessions, each running 15 minutes with automatic shutoff. Sessions feature the finest therapeutic Shiatsu acupressure and Swedish massage techniques available, all of which can be adjusted by intensity, width, speed and direction. The sessions provide deep kneading, tapping, rolling, spot and partial massages, to meet the user’s specific needs and preferences. Custom massage options are available.

Read at www.tranquilease.com

Jay Brewer at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 26, 2007

Step Up to 1080p with the Samsung LNT4665F 46" 1080p LCD HDTV

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If you're looking for a FULL HD Set (1080p), then you'll love this LCD TV from Samsung. The Samsung LNT4665F 46" 1080p LCD HDTV has 15000:1 dynamic contrast ration and a resolution of 1920x1080. You'll get 3 HDMI ports with this bad boy, and it's also a whopping 46" for just over $2200. The Samsung LNT4665F also features the Samsung Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) Video Enhancer, that refines all analog NTSC and wideband video inputs for an overall improvement in picture quality. We recently had a look at this set at a local shop and we also really liked the clean black frame of the screen.

At Samsung LNT4665F 46" 1080p LCD HDTV

Previous Samsung Coverage at TVSnob:
William Hungerford at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 17, 2007

Not Sure Which Type of TV is the Best for You?

We've talked quite a bit in the past about the major TV types but it might be time for a small refresher course. There's a small but decent article at CourierPostOnline.com that breaks down some basic TV types like:

Rear-Projection DLP (digital light processing)

Displays are based on microchip technology from Texas Instruments. Light is projected through a color wheel by thousands of tiny tilting mirrors, which reflect the image off the chip onto the screen.

Pros: Better picture quality than rear-projection CRT; not as expensive as plasma or LCD flat-panel; essentially immune to burn-in; excellent brightness levels, great picture color.

Cons: More expensive than rear-projection CRT or direct-view CRT; average black level quality (although the latest 1080p models are much improved in this respect), can suffer from "rainbow effect.'

Or how about:

Rear-Projection LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon)

A a type of LCD that sandwiches liquid crystals between a plate of glass and a silicon microchip rather than between two layers of glass. Hitachi and JVC are two companies that have made serious investments in LCoS, which is less-proven in production than DLP as a microdisplay technology.

Pros: Much higher resolution and picture quality than rear-projection CRT; much less bulky than rear-projection CRT; much larger screen sizes than plasma or LCD flat-panel.

Cons: More expensive than rear-projection CRT or direct-view CRT; economic viability of production is currently unclear.

Be sure to check out the entire article.

at CourierPostOnline.com

Compare Prices: LCD TVs

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Compare Prices: Plasma

William Hungerford at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 11, 2007

Are Two Second Commercials the Way of the Future?

We've mentioned in the past about Fox TV's experiments with "Fast-Forward" advertising, now it appears NBC is seriously studying this type of advertising. According to SeattlePI.com:

In new experiments for NBC, people are hooked up to sensors as they watch television, and researchers observe changes in their heart rate, palm sweat, eye movement and breathing patterns.

But the panelists are not watching just NBC programs. They are watching commercials -- in fast-forward mode.

So far, the findings have been just what NBC hoped: judging from the biological reactions, the test subjects were just as engaged while watching fast-forwarded advertisements as they were while viewing opening scenes from the NBC show "Heroes" at regular speed.

And that conclusion -- which is still preliminary -- could have big implications for NBC and other networks as they negotiate rates for airtime with advertisers.

Now the next step is figure out what type of content for fast-forwarding will work. According to the article:

Innerscope is working on a second study for NBC that will try to pin down which types of commercials generate the most engagement in fast-forward mode. Innerscope will monitor things such as how often brands are shown during the advertisement, how quickly the camera cuts to new images, and whether audio is important in the storyline.

Of course, the big hurdle is going to be getting advertisors to buy off on this. Who knows if it'll work but I know I usually pay attention to commercials even if they are flying by at a million miles an hour.

At SeattlePI.com

William Hungerford at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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