A most unusual source, Linux Journal, has a scathing but humorous observation about television offerings and the Suits that provide them. –
For the purpose of discussion, let’s suppose that you are a *huge* fan of NBC’s 30 ROCK. I’m not, even though I think Tina Fey is really, really hot, but let’s just pretend for a moment. Further, let’s suppose that you missed last week’s episode, so now you are pointing your Linux-powered Firefox browser at www.nbc.com to catch it. After a quick search and a couple of video advertisements you find the link to last week’s episode.
You click it.
You get a pretty Flash animation of the NBC peacock, and a pop up window containing the following message:
Sorry but we do not support that browser, please use one of these
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Internet Explorer 7
Internet Explorer 6
See what I’m getting at? What a stupid message! What a stupid policy to block Linux users! And how rude to not even tell us up front that we are being blocked! There are xx million Linux users in the United States. Nobody knows what xx is, but we’re pretty sure that the number of Linux users in the US is in the tens of millions. …”
Yes. NBC opts to pass over Linux viewership thinking of little consequence. The sad thing is it will only get worse for them as embedded linux browsers are appearing in internet ready TV’s, set top boxes, etc. So to watch that 30Rock episode one will have to go over to Hulu as described in the article.
We have never said that the Suits were smart, they are only well heeled.
Read the whole piece at the link.
There’s a mind set in the cable side of the broadband duopoly that refuses to sell us what we want and demands the we buy what they are selling. It’s the conventional wisdom among the management in the world of coax as demonstrated by Comcast COO Steve Burke:
Speaking at the CTAM cable marketing convention in Denver, Colorado on October 25, Burke described his fears if the industry does not move ahead to form new business models. The industry-wide TV Everywhere authentication project is a way to try to “take the cable industry and put it ahead of the internet and try to not let it roll ahead of our industry,” he said. Burke also illustrated some frustration with those in the business who were not lending a hand.
“Some people’s business models are going in the wrong direction,” he said, a likely reference to News Corp, Disney and NBC Universal who are partners in free online video site, Hulu that is considering putting some content behind a pay-wall. “I’ve yet to meet a content provider who doesn’t worry about cord cutting and doesn’t see the wisdom of trying to get ahead of that. Stop talking about how hard it is and start figuring it out,” he said. (Broadcast and Cable)
Let’s see, cable needs to get ahead of the internet with a more limited, restrictive, and expensive product? It’s amazing Comcast’s shareholders tolerate this kind of leadership. Video on demand has become as common as email on the internet. Both free and paid models are succeeding growing and delivering profits. Instead of burning a pile of money building a whole new technology like TV Everywhere that consumers don’t want, why not offer more of what they are actually buying. Netflix, Amazon and iTunes are having no problem finding people who are willing to pay for content. If Comcast would simply discover the big dumb pipe, and deliver content via the internet to anyone with a broadband connection, it really would be ahead of the trend. But that would require some profoundly arrogant folks like the cable industry to start their customers what they really want. Cable isn’t accustomed to doing that.
Youtube continues to spend a fortune while its much anticipated ad revenue remains elusive. Any sensible person could have told Google that pitching ads that would share space with low quality vid capped clips from TV shows intermixed with stupid human tricks and Jackass wannabees is going to be a very tough sell.
This week the tech blogosphere has been abuzz with a new tab on Youtube that offers full length programs including newly added Sony content. In my cursory run through the shows I found a sparse offering and that video quality not quite up to the standards of Hulu or the network sites. Google seems to have learned selling ads is much simpler of this kind of content.
Will Youtube ever gain dominance in the full length format? With the nearly unlimited resources of Google backing it, there’s a chance. One thing is certain. Hulu and even Joost have a heck of a head start. It’s going to be very expensive to catch them if it’s even possible.
Why would Netflix as if subscribers would pay an additional $10/month for streaming HBO content? Probably because that’s what it will cost to add these programs to the streaming library. Funny thing though, most of the content listed that would be available is already available at no extra charge to Netflix subscribers on DVD by mail.
Netflix sent out a survey to customers asking if they would be willing to pay an additional $9.99 per month for HBO shows. Netflix already has more than 700,000 customers paying an extra $1 per month for Blu-ray titles, so they’re already setup to collect the fee. (Hacking Netflix)
If you are a one trick pony type device then what you do you have to do well. Not just better than the competition, but laps ahead of the competition. Roku, the TVoIP streaming box is in that genre of devices. And it does it with aplomb –
One of the best examples I’ve come across in the last year is the Netflix player from Roku. It’s a tiny little box that streams anything from Netflix’s on-demand library straight into your television, and that’s all it does.
It’s a wonderfully elegant little device. The user interface is clean, and the menus are super easy to navigate. It has outputs that range from RCA to composite video and HDMI, as well as digital audio. The remote has nine buttons on it – that’s fewer than I have on my cell phone – and they mimic the controls we’re all used to on a DVR or DVD player. It’s so small and simple to set up, my wife and I frequently move it between the two TVs we have in our house, and I’ve tossed it into my backpack and taken it with me to friends’ houses for movie nights.
Set up was incredibly simple, and it took less than ten minutes from the time I opened it until I was watching my first movie. Speaking as a life-long technology geek, the highest praise I can give it is this: I still haven’t opened the manual, and don’t think I’ll ever need to.
So I love it, but is it worth $99 to you? It depends on your movie-watching habits and your network speed. If your ISP throttles your bandwidth, or your download speed is slower than 3Mbps, you won’t get the best quality picture. I didn’t realize how much that really mattered to me, until I was forced to watch a bunch of movies that looked like they were VHS quality on my HDTV. I upgraded my service to a faster bitrate so I could get maximum resolution, though, and the next movie my son and I watched, Vanishing Point, was indistinguishable from DVD.
The Roku is one of those class of devices that ‘Just Works’. It lets the experience stand for itself. And no worries about the time showing ’12:00′ all the time. There is no clock!