Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

Internet TV: 10 UK on-demand and live video offerings compared

Last time we surveyed the UK’s live and on-demand Internet TV landscape (back in July 07), it was a bare-bones affair. The BBC’s iPlayer was Windows-only and hadn’t yet launched out of private beta, while rival broadcaster offerings were lacking content and, like the iPlayer itself, crippled by DRM and the need to install additional and sometimes conflicting software.

How things have changed.

Today, TV watching Brits are spoilt with choice when it comes to live and on-demand online from the 6 main UK broadcasters, along with a number of aggregators, including the newly launched SeeSaw, the closest yet to the US Hulu.

Read on for our full guide:

1. BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayerBBC iPlayer has the most helpfully laid out video on demand site in the UK. However, the newer version of the site (currently on show at adds to this with an impressive new design. As ever, there is access to a TV schedule so you can find what was on when, for each channel.

The front page of the site has a small section that displayes featured programmes in each genre. However, clicking the “Show All” button takes you to a full listing for that genre. Down the side category pages are a list of all categories, which when clicked expand to show a list of sub-categories, and how many programmes are in each. Each of these pages have options to list programmes by how recently they were broadcast, or as a full A-Z list.

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YouTube updated for Symbian, now supports user accounts

YouTube's new application homepage on S60

YouTube's new application homepage on S60

It’s taken a while but YouTube has finally added support for user accounts in its updated client for phones running the Nokia-led Symbian OS.

Announced on the 10th of March, users can now log into their YouTube account enabling them to access their favourites, subscriptions, and videos. YouTube stated that it has taken them this long because they wanted to focus on speed of search and playback. Also new to version 2.4 is suggested search terms as you type in a search query.

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3's CEO talks iPad, the mobile network's 'perception problem', Spotify, and more

3logo3UK’s CEO talks about how the network is planning to address its ‘legacy perception problem’ and why bidding for the iPad would be like trying to sign a premiership footballer

I’ve just got back from a fascinating press briefing with mobile carrier 3UK’s CEO Kevin Russell and CTO Graham Baxter, billed as a discussion of the “themes, trends and challenges that will shape the mobile industry in the UK in 2010.” Although the subtext was something more along the lines of: how is 3 addressing what was described as its legacy perception problem.

People still, wrongly or rightly, often associate the network with poor coverage and/or service. This despite the fact that the network’s coverage and capacity has and is improving and that in my view 3 is one of the most, if not the most, innovative of the UK networks, especially on pricing, data services and positioning.

Here’s what I learnt during two presentations and the very frank Q&A that took place afterwards:

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Video: YouTube on the WD TV Live HD Media Player

WD-LiveI gave Western Digital’s original WD HD Media Player a glowing review, describing it as a ‘kitchen sink an all’ media player that just works. As readers may remember, the set-top box does away with local networking or an Internet connection, instead featuring two USB ports only, to offer a near fool-proof way of watching almost any video downloaded from the Internet on the TV.

However, the lack of network connectivity, a potential shortcoming for some, has been addressed with the newly released WD TV Live HD, which adds an Ethernet port and support for YouTube and Flickr, Internet radio from Live365 and Pandora (US version only), along with content stored on a Windows PC or Mac on the same local network.

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YouTube relaunches TV-friendly version of the site, Android 'remote control' debuts too

YouTube XL

YouTube XL

It’s not the first time that YouTube has rolled out a version of the video sharing site designed specifically for viewing on a television but the application’s been given a polish and a new name to boot.

Now called ‘YouTube XL‘ the new version of the site features a ‘ten foot’ User Interface designed for viewing on a TV or large screen monitor, which despite running in a web browser, TechCrunch describes as having the look and feel of a ‘native application’. Like the previous version of YouTube optimized for the living room, XL is supported on both the PlayStation 3 and Wii games consoles, though the video quality is compromised on the Wii due to its limited processor and support for an older version of Flash video.

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10 feet away: YouTube lands on PS3 and Wii

Perhaps taking a leaf out of the BBC iPlayer’s book, Google-owned YouTube have launched a version of the video sharing site designed specifically for viewing on a television.

Currently in Beta, the TV-friendly YouTube initially targets Sony’s PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. That’s because both games consoles feature a built-in web browser compatible with Flash video, making it relatively easy to port over any browser-based video offering. From the US version of the official YouTube blog:

… the TV Website offers a dynamic, lean-back, 10-foot television viewing experience through a streamlined interface that enables you to discover, watch and share YouTube videos on any TV screen with just a few quick clicks of your remote control. With enlarged text and simplified navigation, it makes watching YouTube on your TV as easy and intuitive as possible. Optional auto-play capability enables users to view related videos sequentially, emulating a traditional television experience.

Google also reminds us that, through partnerships with set-top box makers such as Apple, combined with the YouTube API, it’s not the first time that viewers have been able to watch YouTube on the TV, although progress hasn’t been as fast as the company would have liked.

See also: TiVo continues expansion, adds YouTube to “television services” lineup

“Our hope is that this site may help to accelerate an industry evolution towards open television access to Web video. Over time, we plan to add support for additional TV devices that provide Web browsers.”

You can access the new TV-friendly version of YouTube by pointing your PS3 or Wii’s web browser to

Vudu set-top box no longer a one trick pony, adds support for YouTube, Flickr and more

My biggest beef with the Vudu set-top movie box is that it’s always been a one trick pony, and an expensive one at that. Focusing on paid-for movies (rentals and to-own), Vudu’s sole proposition was that you purchased one of its set-top boxes, starting at $299, so that you could begin purchasing content. Essentially paying to enter the store.

That changed today, with the company announcing support for a range of free online video from YouTube, MSNBC, CNN, MTV, PBS, and National Geographic, as well as images from photo sharing sites Flickr and Picasso. “The new content will be available via a free firmware update that should hit all Vudu boxes over the next 24 hours”, reports Cnet. And best of all there’s plenty more to come.

See also: AppleTV 2 breaks free from the PC, remains under Apple’s lock and key

That’s because Vudu isn’t providing access to said content through formal licensing agreements but is instead pulling in content through those sites’ own APIs or freely available web feeds. Better still, Vudu is going to open up this feature to third-party developers in the first half of 2009 who’ll be able to add support for more online content.

In other words, Vudu looks like it might be slowly morphing, to some extent at least, into the open Apple TV I’ve been long calling for.

Netgear bringing YouTube HD to a High Def TV near you

Our friends over at NewTeeVee got a glimpse last night of a new set-top box from Netgear that, amongst other features, can stream YouTube HD content directly to a high definition television.

Dubbed the EVA 9000 Digital Entertainer Elite, the device is aimed at “the tech-savvy, early adopter, not your average Roku user”, reports NTV, and, along with YouTube support, can download BitTorrent files, access additional Internet-based content, as well as stream video from any PC connected to the same local network. Netgear hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Netflix streaming too.

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Zatz Not Funny: TiVo, Flip MinoHD, CES Unveiled and more

A periodic roundup of relevant news from our friends at Zatz Not Funny (one of my all time favorite blogs)…

Flip goes HD, adds FlipShare software

Mari Silbey: Pure Digital unveiled its anticipated Flip MinoHD today packaged with new FlipShare software for editing and sharing… One of the issues with the Flip camcorders to date has been keeping a sharp focus for close-up shots. According to a Flip spokesperson, the MinoHD doesn’t necessary solve that problem, with the minimum focus range staying at 80 cm. However, it’s likely not a significant concern for casual users, particularly with the new HD resolution.

(Ed. I looked at purchasing a Flip but after reading multiple reviews I’ve plunged for the more expensive Sanyo HD800 – review coming soon).

Dave dumps XM (again)

Dave Zatz: See ya, XM. I was on the fence and you pushed. Our time together has been mostly positive, but the massive lineup modifications yesterday without any advance notification isn’t the proper way to treat your customers. So I’m walking.

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YouTube adds select TV shows from CBS; takes aim at Hulu for long-form video content

We wouldn’t call YouTube a sleeping giant necessarily, but when it comes to long-form video the world’s dominant video-sharing site certainly seems to be cat-napping.

Other sites such as Hulu, the joint venture between Fox and NBC, have been getting much of the long-form video attention and name recognition, whereas YouTube remains known for short-form content that lasts 10 minutes or less.

Google, YouTube’s parent, is seeking to change this as it has added select full-length content from CBS in an attempt to take on Hulu and attract other network content to YouTube. [YouTube blog]

Available full-length shows include 20- to 48-minute episodes from CBS’s past and present lineup, including “Star Trek,” “MacGyver,” and “Beverly Hills 90210.” The season premiers of “Dexter” and “Californication” and current episodes of “Young and Restless” will also be shown on YouTube.

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