From the very beginning, we've found the Hollywood Writer's Strike to be extremely exciting for one reason: its potential to move internet video forward, rapidly, and with genuine Hollywood talent. Some of the internet videos created by striking writers uploaded the web, featuring big names such as Eva Longoria have attracted huge numbers of viewers, and that seems to have helped them see the light. While studios and writers battle over internet revenues, the writers are beginning to be attracted to the more egalitarian, open-source business approach of Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Contrary to the top-down, control-oriented approach of the studios, Silicon Valley is helping writers' see that the 21st century offers all kinds of opportunities for Hollywood types in a free and open environment far removed from what they've been used to for the majority of the last century.
It's rumored that seven independent groups of A-list writers including screenwriter Aaron Mendelsohn (Kindred: The Embraced, upcoming Cat Tale, Air Bud) are all developing companies that hope to challenge the dominance of the studios by creating television and movie content and distributing via the web. Some writers have even announced that once their respective contracts run out, they'll move the internet entirely, not re-signing with the studios at all.
One move to the Silicon Valley model of film distribution has been made by director and writer George Hickenlooper who has teamed up with Prince of Persia videogame creator Jordan Mechner to make a feature film that will be released in daily segments on the web. They will be using A-list names in the movie and the plans are to release the movie over either a month or 50 days and then release it on DVD in its entirety.
Hopefully this transition will continue and 2008 will be a revolutionary year for web video.
We reported the other day that Apple would be announcing at the MacWorld conference that they had signed a deal with Fox to provide movie rental on the iTunes movie service. Disney has now jumped on the bandwagon according to Variety. There is still a chance that studios such as Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM will also sign with Apple, while Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros will probably not be included for competitive reasons.
This expected announcement has provided fodder for interesting discussion regarding how iTunes movie rentals will affect other online movie services such as Netflix and Blockbuster. Silicon Valley Insider did an excellent analysis of the effect of iTunes rentals on the movie industry in general. Check it out here.
YouTube has released the top vids of 2007 taking into account not only the amount of times each video was viewed, but also how often they were shared, discussed, and how highly they were rated by viewers. The famous Britney boy clip, "Leave Britney Alone" by Chris Crocker, was among the top ranked, as was Obama girl, featuring an attractive singer professing her love for Barack Obama through song. The "Battle At Kruger" was also unbelievably popular. Viewed more than 21 million times, the vid features a battle between a pride of lions, a crocodile, and a herd of buffaloes over a calf. People are sick, I know. Other popular videos of 2007 included Esmee Denters from the Netherlands, singing Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around" and Tay Zonday "Chocolate Rain".
One of the big questions on the minds of TV Snob's heading into 2008 is whether or not internet video will hit out living rooms in the new year. This isn't quite internet video, but it's definitely a step in the right direction and a cool application nonetheless.
Interestingly, this cool new software developed by Dave Winer, called FlickrFan, grew from Winer's dissatisfaction with the Apple TV. What a surprise! In a news release today, Winer says that there is a "convergence between big screen high-definition televisions, and photography as an Internet based activity" and "the purpose of this product is to smooth that convergence, to make it easy to set up a connection between the Internet and your television. To allow photography to come into your living room in new, powerful and easy ways".
Basically, the new software which is available for free download is a uses folders on your Mac to sync up to Flickr so you can display your Flickr photos or your friends Flickr photos on your HDTV. Or you can hunt down professional photography and display that too. Flickrfan was just released this evening and is in beta, is if you have a Mac or better yet a MacMini that connects to your HDTV, joint the early adopter game and give this a try.
This could be the beginning of the internet to living room convergence we're all hoping for in 2008.
By the way, if you haven't already figured it out, Winer's new software is Mac only. However, Slickr is apparently a workable software package for PC owners. Haven't tested it, but heard it works.
Via Podcasting News
Could 2008 be the year that online video makes it into our living rooms? NewTeeVee has come up with a panel of new media experts and posed the question to them. Not surprisingly the answers are varied. Experts include such names as John Cioffi, the Hitachi America professor of engineering at Stanford, Zadi Diaz of Smashface Productions, and George Kliavkoff, former interim CEO of Hulu.
Futurama fans will be delighted to know that every single Futurama episode EVER will be airing on the Adult Swim network starting tonight at 11 PM in a Futurama marathon that will see nothing buy Futurama on Adult Swim until 11:30 PM on December 31! On December 31st, Adult Swim will air the first Futurama episode, "Space Pilot 3000", and the last episode, "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" at 11 and 11:30 PM respectively. This is all in preparation for Futurama's move from Adult Swim to Comedy Central as of January 1. Should you happen to miss the marathon (we know it happens over the holidays and yes we believe you didn't know the eggnog was spiked), Comedy Central will air 3 episodes of Futurama per night starting at 8 PM and hold a Season 2 episode marathon on January 6.
So you've read everything there is to read about Hulu but you either don't have an invite or live outside of the United States so you can't actually see the video platform in action yourself? No worries. A plethora of Hulu clones are popping up on the web that feature Hulu content without all the protective walls.
OpenHulu is one such Hulu clone that, masterminded by Matt Schlicht, features all of Hulu's content on an open site not requiring an invite. However, this will only be of use to you if you live in the US. OpenHulu still doesn't allow visitors from outside of the US. Not really all that open, eh?
TVParadise.org is a site created by some French dude specifically so that non-Americans could watch Hulu content. The site uses embeds and points users to a free VPN that gives them a US-based IP address. The bit stream rate of Hulu video is too much for the VPN, but the lower bit rate of embeds allows the VPN to work. Embeds can also be enlarged to full screen size which isn't a possibility when playing video directly from Hulu.
If you want to take a more ethical route to watching Hulu content without being able to access Hulu, just head to some of its syndication partners's sites. Primetime on MySpace, MSN, Yahoo, AOL, and Comcast's FanCast all feature Hulu content outside of the closed beta platform.
The heavily criticized video platform, Hulu, has announced the launching of their HD Gallery, an assortment of high-definition videos with 1280x720 resolution made possible by the compression powers of the H.264 video codec. The system requirements are fairly high-end at the moment, but Hulu acknowledges that the gallery is a sneak preview for those on the cutting edge of technology who want a look at streaming high definition video on the web. At the moment, system requirements include an internet connection of 24 Kbps or higher, a completely up-to-date Adobe Flash Player 9, and a "fast computer".
There is an absolute multitude of hilarious video content on the web. In fact, if you're looking for a good laugh, you've got better chances on the net than your TV. Productivity blog Zen Habits has dug up the top ten funniest YouTube vids out there right now. Here they are: