xOD Capsule Newsletter - March 14, 2006
www.cedmagazine.com | CED Broadband Direct | Current Issue | Subscriptions March 14 , 2006 TiVo teams service with hardwareTiVo Inc. is trying to goose market share by bundling together (and therefore simplifying) the company's hardware and software service package. Last week, the company began selling its 80-hour Series2 box and service together, so customers won't have to shoulder a big upfront hardware cost. The catch? TiVo's got to get a return from that investment, so customers who take this route are expected to stick around and commit to the service for at least a year. The one-year package goes for $19.95 per month ($224 prepaid). The two-year package sells for $18.95 per month ($369 prepaid) The three-year deal goes for $16.95 per month ($469 prepaid) The move is a clear indication that TiVo is doing whatever it must to move the subscription needle in a new era in which it won't be able to rely on DirecTV to drive the bulk of new TiVo customers. In the quarter ended Jan. 31, TiVo had 4.4 million subscribers, up 45 percent from a year ago. But for the quarter, TiVo added 173,000 DirecTV subs, down from 379,000. This was expected because DirecTV is now pushing a DVR platform powered by corporate cousin NDS Group. So TiVo will have to pick up the slack from somewhere else. It does have a coveted deal with Comcast Cable, but time will tell how much fruit that will bear. Elsewhere in TiVoland, the DVR pioneer inked a deal that will allow Verizon Wireless subs to access their recorders remotely. Starting this summer, Verizon cellular subs be able to access TiVo Mobile through a simple download to handsets. Mobile DVR access is also a component expected to emerge from the joint venture between Sprint joint venture with Comcast Corp., Advance/Newhouse, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable. — Jeff Baumgartner, Editor in Chief, CED magazine and xOD CapsuleDirecTV offers early look at FX originalDirecTV is leveraging its pay-per-view system to give viewers an early look at its controversial new series, Black.White., a new original series from corporate cousin FX. DirecTV customers will have the ability to watch episodes of the series up to 48 hours before they premiere on FX. The broadcast debut is set for March 8. DirecTV will offer the special PPV window through April 10. Customers who take the early window will pay $2.99 per show. DirecTV isn't the first to try this early premiere approach with TV programming. Apple Computer recently began offering early access to "Conviction" from NBC for $1.99 per episode. Cablevision, Autobytel drive VOD serviceAutobytel Inc. said its CarTV division has won a deal to provide on-demand vehicle videos for Cablevision Systems Corp.'s "Optimum Autos" service. Available to Cablevision's 2 million digital subs in the New York metropolitan area, the interactive car shopping channel will feature 100 new vehicle video reviews. Videos will be added on a monthly basis. "The future of automotive marketing and information is online video and VOD, which is why we've focused on making CarTV a leader in automotive video programming content," said Autobytel President & CEO Rick Post. Autobytel said its CarTV division served up nearly 370,000 hours of video programming in 2005. SPEED accelerates VOD offeringSPEED has teamed with Anystream Inc. and SeaChange International as part of a plan to simplify and accelerate production of video-on-demand (VOD) content. SPEED, which features NASCAR TV and racing series such as Formula One, Supercross, IHRA, and the American Le Mans, will produce VOD fare with Anystream's QuickSilver Agility platform, which extracts and transcodes video for on-demand delivery. The system, resold and integrated by SeaChange via an agreement announce last April, is designed to ingest files from storage or editing workstations and combine them with CableLabs-compliant metadata files, box art and promos. Cingular tunes in video serviceCingular has launched a mobile, on-demand video service outfitted for select 3G-capable phones. Cingular Video, as it's called, features video clips and trailers from a raft of programmers, including ABC, Cartoon Network, CNN, Disney Channel, ESPN, Fox Sports, Fox News, Fuel, HBO, iFilm, NBC, Speed, The Weather Channel, and TV Guide Channel. Later, the service will also feature content from CBS Sportsline, Nascar.com, and TCM. Video customers are required to purchase the Cingular "MEdia Net Unlimited" data package for $19.99. In terms of premium content, the service will offer access to HBO Mobile and HBO Family Mobile for $4.99 per month and $2.99 per month, respectively. The service is presently available in Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tacoma and Washington D.C. At the start, Cingular Mobile is being offered on the LG CU320 or Samsung SGH-Zx10 handsets. This spring, access will be extended to the Nokia 6282 and LG CU500. Cingular is powering the video service with RealNetwork Inc.'s Helix OnlineTV platform, supporting the RealAudio and RealVideo formats. CTAM, CableLabs offer OCAP primerIf middleware is Greek to you, here's your chance to learn the language of OCAP. CableLabs and the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) have launched a free online guide to the OpenCable Application Platform, a specified middleware for OpenCable "hosts" such as digital set-tops and televisions. "The OCAP Primer" covers the basics of the middleware, devices that can support it, and the business "value proposition" OCAP presents. CableLabs and CTAM commissioned the work, which was developed by Interactive TV Works Inc. Heard On The 'Net IN2TV in betaPali Research Analyst Richard Greenfield issued a note last week alerting us that AOL's recently announced plans for IN2TV service has reached the beta phase with 13 Internet-based "channels." It's available only to paid AOL subs at http://beta.aol.com. Being one, I can't resist the temptation to try it out. I'll report my findings in next week's issue, but just moments ago I did catch the few opening minutes of the pilot episode of Alice on the service and it didn't look bad in a small window. Greenfield, meanwhile, views IN2TV "as a great example of how new distribution platforms are increasing the value (and extending the life) of content/programming. While it is far too early to judge the success/failure of IN2TV, it is a great example of how the Internet is enabling yet another distribution window for content." His hope is that AOL moves beyond its five levels of streaming bit rate options (28 kbps to 700 kbps, presently) to something on the order of 1-2 Mbps. Amazon.com joining the video game?Amazon.com is reportedly holding discussion with some Hollywood studios with the intention of moving forward with a movie download service. Last week, The New York Times said the "advanced negotiations" are with Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Bros, but did not reference a possible service launch timeframe. Such a service would pit Amazon.com against the studio-backed Movielink service and possibly with Apple iTunes, which is dabbling in television content but has yet to announce an expected movie service. We are making changes and additions (including international deployments) to ourWeb-based "living" deployment chart. If you have a new deployment to report for the VOD Scorecard and the Web-based deployment chart, please contact CED Editor Jeff Baumgartner. March 2006Issue Contents » Company: Honest Technology Inc. Headquarters: Austin, TexasURL: www.honestech.com Claim to fame: A media gateway called "MY-IPTV Anywhere," which, borrowing a page from Sling Media and its Slingbox, allows users to watch their home television programming anywhere, as long as they have access to a PC with a broadband connection. Additionally, the system allows users to backup programs and media files on the hard drive in various formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4/H.264). It also markets a line of DVD authoring software. Recent news of note: The company announced the launch of the MY-IPTV Anywhere platform last week. Company: G4 Headquarters: Los Angeles, Calif. URL: www.g4tv.com President: Neal Tiles Company claim to fame: Launched in 2002 and owned by Comcast Corp., the G4 channel is available in 55 million cable and satellite homes. Its programming is squarely centered on computer gaming, technology, the Internet and broadband. Recent news of note: The network is boldly going interactive to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Trek with the airing of "classis" episodes and a spate of iTV features. Dubbed "Star Trek 2.0," the event, kicking off April 10 as part of the net's late-night programming block, will feature on-screen live chat apps, and "Trek Stats," highlighting show "quirks" such as the number of times Spock says "illogical" or "logical," and a running tab of Scotty's engine woes. A "Trek Facts" feature, meanwhile, will serve up didyaknow nuggets like this: The original Star Trek pilot, "The Cage," was produced in 1964 for north of $600,000. TelecomNext Las Vegas, Nev. March 19-23, 2006 More information: Click Here TelecomNEXT -Viodi Content Pavilion Features content booths and content sessions March 22; 2:15- 4:00 p.m.Las Vegas, Nev. NEXT Theater, Stage BMore information: Click Here CCMI'sProfitability Assurance 2006San Diego, CAMarch 22-23, 2006More information: Click Here Internet Home Alliance Spring 2006 Collaborative Research Planning Conference March 29, 2006 Orlando, Fla. More information: Click Here NCTA National Show April 9-11, 2006Atlanta, Ga. More information: Click Here ACA Washington Summit American Cable Association May 8-9, 2006Washington, D.C. More information: Click Here SCTE Cable-Tec Expo June 20-23, 2006Denver, Colo. More information: Click Here 2nd Annual C-CORGlobal IP Summit June 28-29, 2006 Athens, GreeceMore information: Click Here Copyright © 2006 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.