Archive for June, 2007

Review: YouTube Mobile

YouTube Mobile on a Nokia e61With YouTube’s exclusive deals with mobile operators Verizon (in the US) and Vodafone (in the UK) coming to an end, the video sharing site has launched a mobile-friendly version that can be accessed by anyone with a compatible handset (capable of playing back .3gp video) and an appropriate data plan. With regards to the later, the first time you visit the site from your phone you’re given the following warning: “YouTube Mobile is a data intensive application. We highly recommend that you upgrade to an unlimited data plan with your mobile service provider to avoid additional charges.” What the site doesn’t highlight is that many providers impose a ‘fair use’ policy which means that in reality they’re unlimited plans aren’t unlimited at all, as well as prohibiting access to non-partnering video sites as part of their terms of service. It will be interesting to see how the mobile industry responds to non-exclusive access to YouTube Mobile.

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Weekly wrapup, 11 – 15 June 2007

Here’s a summary of the week’s digital lifestyle action on last100. Note that you can subscribe to the weekly wrapups, either via the special weekly wrapup RSS feed or by email.

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Top digital lifestyle news

We kicked off the start of the week with rumors that Apple is planning its own online film rental service, noting that this is key if the company is to achieve its aim of making the AppleTV a DVD player for the Internet age.

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UK television networks to launch a Joost-killer?

Freeview logoThe Guardian newspaper reported earlier this week that talks are taking place between British broadcasters — BBC, Channel 4 and ITV — regarding a joint online video service that will “do for broadband what Freeview did for digital TV”. (Freeview is the UK’s free-to-air digital television service.)

Called “Project Kangaroo”, it is understood the new broadband service would pool BBC, ITV and Channel 4 programming for delivery on demand…

Initially it is expected Project Kangaroo will deliver programming to computers via broadband but the ultimate aim is to deliver it direct to televisions.

The report goes onto suggest that a PC-less version of the service could be achieved through the future availability of broadband-enabled Freeview boxes. In other words, viewers could buy an upgraded free-to-air set-top-box which also has Internet connectivity — enabling a live terrestrial stream and on-demand video via the Internet.

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Archos media player to offer direct access to film downloads

Archos 605Archos has announced its 2007 lineup of media player/recorders which include two high end touchscreen and WiFi enabled models that can access the company’s own content portal which offers paid-for movie downloads from CinemaNow. Customers can also purchase a version of the Opera web browser with Flash video support, making it possible to browse and view video from sites like YouTube.

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SanDisk portable media players to support DivX

SanDisk SansaDivX have announced a partnership with SanDisk which will see the company license its DivX video technology for use in SanDisk’s Sansa line of portable media players. As a result, future Sansa devices will be DivX-certified so that they are guaranteed to support DivX video including content from the company’s Stage6 video website.

SanDisk’s Daniel Schreiber is quoted as saying:

“This partnership aims to allow our customers to take full advantage of innovative video features and content found only through DivX”

While there is plenty of video only available through DivX, much of it is copyright-infringed content (including television episodes and feature films) found on file-sharing networks. As a result, SanDisk’s support for DivX will be popular with users who want the broadest access to content (legitimate or not), and could also give the company’s Sansa line of players a shot in the arm when trying to compete with the iPod, which currently doesn’t feature DivX playback.

Related post: DivX-designed media extender in the works

Advertising in video games

This a guest post by Sean Ammirati, VP of Business Development at mSpoke.

eMarketer report on video game advertising

Explaining to media executives that it’s getting harder to engage an audience’s attention is like explaining rising fuel costs to the aviation industry — it just isn’t necessary. Two themes that are consistently mentioned when reviewing digital lifestyle devices are how they make it easier to multi-task and avoid ads.

However, one medium that is emerging as a great platform to deliver relevant ads to a receptive and engaged audience is video games. Advertisers are taking notice; according to research released in April by eMarketer the worldwide market for in game advertising was estimated to be over $690 million last year and growing at over 20% annually projected to almost $2 billion by 2011.

How Does it Work?

For marketers that want to reach the gaming audience there are two basic approaches:

  • In Game Advertising
  • Advergames

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AT&T to police the Internet

AT&TThough details are vague, the LA Times reports that AT&T is joining forces with Hollywood and the recording industry in a concerted effort to begin more aggressive policing of its network in order to prevent users from sharing pirated content, such as films and music.

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Nokia acknowledges Mac users (at last)

Nokia Mac file browserAfter years of treating Apple users as second class citizens, Nokia has released a Beta version of Nokia Media Transfer for Mac, which enables its N-series mobile phones to transfer music, photos and other files to and from a Mac.

After installing the software, a new menu bar item appears on your Mac which enables you to add a compatible device (connected via Bluetooth or USB) and open Nokia’s Device Browser, an application that resembles the Mac’s own Finder and allows you to browse and access any files on your phone.

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DivX-designed media extender in the works

DivX logoIf you want a job done properly, do it yourself, right? That appears to be the approach DivX is taking by developing its own reference design for a media streaming box which will also tie into the company’s online video destination, stage6.

Code-named GejBox, the device is designed to deliver online video via your PC onto your living room television, and features WiFi and Ethernet networking as well as Component, S-Video and HDMI video out.

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iPhone still missing support for Flash

iPhone Flash supportWe now know that third-party developers wanting to make software for the iPhone will be limited to building browser-based apps (see my post ‘ iPhone’s support for 3rd party apps won’t please everyone‘). And according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, that’s not a bad thing as anybody who knows how to write modern web-standards-based apps can develop for the iPhone. But what he didn’t say is whether that would include support for Flash, the technology that powers many interactive web sites as well as online video found on sites like YouTube.

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