March 2, 2009

More Online Access for Cable?

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Look for some of the more prominent cable stations to go online either for free or a small fee in the near future. Media conglomerates such as those behind HBO, MTV, TLC, Discovery and Animal Planet are in negotiation. The reason for for the discussions are that there are already so many networks that offer their programming online for free, yet cable networks must pay them for content. Included in the companies are Time Warner, Cox, Viacom and Comcast, who has dubbed the initiative "On Demand Online." No doubt this is the shape of things to come and we will do our best to keep an eye on its progress.

Via CBS

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

VUDU First to Sell On-Demand Movies in HD

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VUDU has become the first on-demand service to offer HD movies for download to own. While users have only been able to rent about 1,400 of them, the company unveiled a collection of 50 independent movies available in both HD and HDX. Included are films from Independent Studios FirstLook, Kino and Magnolia's
"Man on Wire,"
the recent Academy Award Winner. Those that are purchased can be stored in the VUDU itself or in VUDU's Vault free online storage, which is certainly a plus considering that the company offers over 13,000 total movies and TV episodes. Each film is priced between $13.99 and $23.99. By the way, the company recently lowered the price of its player, no doubt to compete with
Apple TV
and the Roku.

via PR Newswire

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

February 26, 2009

URC PSX-2 Does More Than Your iPod Can

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The Universal Remote Control's PSX-2 is more than your average dock. It has hundreds of IR codes that not only cover every one on your iPod or PMP, but has some that aren't, such as alpha searches and EQ command settings. Connect to a TV and get metadata like cover art, songs, album and artist. Shortcut keys have access to genres, playlists, music videos and podcasts and there are 12 different shuffle options. An HD video output means you can hook it up to your HDTV and it can sync with your computer on a home network. URC also has an optional wireless keypad and touchscreen that can be used en lieu of a television making your house even more connected. The PSX-2 will debut with a $399.00 price, high for a normal dock, but not so bad for a super-system.

Via Ubergizmo

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 24, 2009

Control4 Table Top Touch Screen

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We find it somewhat amazing that things we saw on TV and read in sci-fi books only a few years ago are possible now. Control4 has released its Table Top Touch Screen for whole house automation. With a simple interface, you can control your home theater, multi-room music, security, smart lighting, temperature control and more by Ethernet or WiFi. The screen has a 16x9 format and four customizable buttons and has optional access to online Rhapsody. Look for it to come out sometime this month. By the way, if you are not the tabletop type, the touchscreen is available in a wall mountable model.

Via Control4

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 17, 2009

Netflix Hits 10 Million Mark - Blockbuster Tests Game Download

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Netflix announced last week that they now have 10 million subscribers. VP Steve Swasey posted a thank you on their official blog to all. Perhaps this is the reason that Blockbuster is now testing video game downloads with their Total Access plan. We know that they are not doing as well as the renting giant, so perhaps this will be their saving grace. The service is available for a $5.00 surcharge and the company is hoping that it will be available for all by the end of the year.

Via Netflix Blog

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 10, 2009

MLB.TV Drops Prices

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MLB.TV Premium has lowered their prices to $19.95 per month or $109.95 a year, $10.00 less than last year. Their regular MLB.TV is only $79.95 yearly. With their service, you get HD for your Mac or PC, live game functionality, multi-game viewing, PIP, player tracker and live game radio and chat. The company claims that they have lowered their prices "in a spirit similar to that of many teams' ballpark ticket prices this season." Whatever the reason, this is a $10.00 break for baseball fans.

Via MLB.TV

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Amazon VOD Private Beta Available for Roku

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There may now another reason to invest in one of our favorite gadgets, the Roku. According to their forum, Amazon Video On Demandhas entered into private beta. Unfortunately, if you were not one of the initial users to jump on their bandwagon, you cannot participate, but we expect the VOD will open up to us all very soon. And perhaps the next stop is HD.

Via Roku Labs

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 5, 2009

Grand Cinema HD - Theater on Your PC

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Turn your PC into a home cinema with the Grand Cinema HD. Plug one side of the digital media streamer into your USB and the other into your TV HDMI port. Connect 7 of them to your computer, (if you have enough TVs and USB ports) and you will end up with a 9960x720 resolution and great sound. No price yet but if the company thinks you can afford 7 of them, they had better not be too expensive.

Via Akihabara News

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 3, 2009

Interview: Todd Juenger Tells US Most Watched Super Bowl 2009 Ads

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The folks at TiVo do more than just put out a fine product. For 7 years they have been assessing the watching habits of viewers during the Super Bowl and determine which commercials are most watched, trends, and most popular plays during the game. The analysis is based on data from 20,000 anonymous TiVo users during the event.

We interviewed TiVo Exec. Todd Juenger who gave us the inside scoop. Note that they get these results overnight, so the delay of the telling was only dependent on our slow typing skills. (Pull out your magnifying glass for the fine print.)

So break down the winners for us.

What we are measuring here is the highest, overall audience for each commercial. It's not a popularity contest or a vote. It's not a survey. It's measured by taking anonymous data so the metric is most viewed commercials. The baseline audience comes from anybody who is watching the game on TiVo. But they also do a lot of rewinding and fast forwarding, so when they watch commercials multiple times, that adds up to higher ratings.

Drum roll, please. Here are the top ten.

1. GoDaddy.com: "Enhanced?"
2. Bud Light Lime: "Summer to Winter"
3. Careerbuilder.com: "It May Be Time"
4. Doritos: "Crystal Ball"
5. Transformers: "Revenge of the Fallen"
6. Monster.com: "Moose Head"
7. Bud Light: "Man Thrown out the Window"
8. Pepsi: "MacGruber/Pepsuber"
9. Dennys: "Thugs"
10. Coke Zero: "Mr. Polamalu"

The top 2 spots were the last two spots to run in the game. I think they ran at the 2 minute warning. That was the apex of overall viewership in the game, so clearly they got the most views. It's not that they were re-viewed but just seen more. That was a risky move because if the game is no good or people have tuned out they lose, but it turned out to be a great strategy.

A good contrast is that the other GoDaddy's and Doritos ad ran in the first quarter of the game and didn't make the list. The spikes are made from people watching them over and over again.

The graph is a second by second measure of the number of people watching the game. It can go up or down dependent on fast forwarding and rewinding. The biggest peaks in the first half are the commercials. If you contrast that with the fourth quarter, you see a gradual upslope as the game got more intense and exciting.

The other thing that was really different about this year's Super Bowl, some spikes are not aligned with commercials. They are points of the game, but we have never seen that before. The Super Bowl is all about the commercials.

What about the Harrison play?

It's right before halftime, the second highest in the first half that wasn't a commercial. Then that big drop is because a lot of people were rewinding to watch it again. Which may be the reason that the 3D commercials didn't do so well. They were behind in time, so they just fast forwarded to the Boss.

We really liked the 3D commercials.

Those were much talked about and highly promoted but did not do so well. The 90" ad for "Monsters vs. Aliens" was #49 on our list and the SoBe ad came in at #34. As we looked through the data, a lot of it was explained by their decision to run them at half time. A lot of viewers zapped straight through to Bruce. Or maybe the concept itself wasn't compelling enough for people to keep their fingers off the fast forward button or get their 3D glasses ready.

After those ads came on, we commented that another one should have been in 3D. Soon we were thinking they all should have been.

The thing that really should have been in 3D was during the halftime show when Springsteen slid into the camera and almost fell off the stage. He was coming right at you!

How well did Bruce do?

He had a better showing in our data than most half time performers going back to Janet Jackson. He had a steady audience that was as big as the game. I find it interesting that we can look inside his audience and see which parts were most exciting. He started out strong with "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out." There was a downward slide until he played "Born to Run." When he got to "Workin' on a Dream," the obligatory new cut, the audience dropped significantly, but when "Glory Days" came on, it jumped up to its highest level. You can see it in the graph, which we have made public for the first time.

Do you think overall the ads weren't as good this year?

We gauge peoples' reactions. There is no data to see if they are better or worse. I think it was a strained environment to navigate for a Super Bowl advertiser and that may have resulted in a lot more misses than hits this year. Super Bowl is all about excess ($3 million dollars per spot,) big stars and big productions. It's not a climate now for excess.

On the other hand, the tone of the commercials seemed kind of harsh. Slapstick humor and physical comedy work in the Super Bowl, like the Doritos ad "Crystal Ball" or the Bud Lite ad where the guy gets thrown out of the window. Maybe we are just processing things differently these days. As I said before, the ratings were higher during the game in the second half than the commercials. That is either because the game was spectacularly good, which it was, or the ads weren't that good, or maybe both.

Another thing that stuck out to me this year was that last year one of the E*Trade ads was the winner, the one where the baby spit up. They ran two of the same kind this year. One came in at #52 this year. It may be that the execution was better last year, or that it's a little hard to advertise brokerage services and that Wall St. environment. Some of them (companies) work with the idea that if you have a winning concept, stick with it. Budweiser does that and so did E*Trade, but they weren't as successful.

If you have ever seen the Clydesdales, how can you compare those beautiful horses with a baby that's been altered by computer?

I have seen them and you are right, they are magnificent and I am reminded of that every time I see a Super Bowl commercial with them.

Because of the economy, it seemed that many of the advertisers were spending less on production.

The one that sticks out in my head was the one for Vizio TV (#63.) It looked like a screensaver and could have been made by high school students but they must have gone for that look. I was struck with the opposite feeling with the NBC promos. Those felt more like paid commercials, at least from what we are used to, like the ones with Leno and Conan.

I agree. Thanks for talking to us, Todd.

Thanks. It's been fun.

Via TiVo at TiVo DVR

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 31, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII Advertising in 3D

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If you haven't yet, run, don't walk to your nearest grocery store, Target, K-mart or Dollar General and get your 3D glasses so that you can watch the crossover commercials that will be going on tomorrow during Super Bowl XLIII. One comes from Dreamworks' new "Monsters vs. Aliens" which will be out March 27 and the other is from Pepsi's SoBe Lifewater. Then, you can watch "Chuck" in 3D Monday night. You might get so excited you will rush right out and order Captain EO and "Jaws:3D." Better hurry. Only 125 million pairs are available.

P.S. Stay tuned. Next week, we are going to interview Todd Juenger, an exec from TiVo who will let us know all the winning and losing spots.

Via I4U News

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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