March, 2011

Vudu moves to the front of the VOD line

VOD So the studios apparently have decided to hold hands and all jump together into a 60-day, premium VOD window, much to the dismay of theater owners. It’s an old trick the studios have used in the past, particularly in the early days of the home video business when they were about to do something they knew Wal-Mart or, back in the day Blockbuster, wasn’t going to like, such as move up the pay-per-view window or squeezing the video rental window.

The idea was to minimize the potential backlash against any one studio by an aggrieved buyer by presenting a consistent — if carefully un-colluded — front. In this case, Warner Bros., Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox have each decided to support an initiative by the cable and satellite industry dubbed Home Premiere, beginning sometime around the end of April. Read More »

Will clouds block UV light? (Updated)

Cloud Amazon is the first major player out of the gate with a cloud-based digital media “locker” service but it’s a fair bet that Apple and probably Google won’t be far behind. The question is: how long can they wait?

Both Apple and Google are reported to be attempting to negotiate licensing deals with the record labels that would allow them to offer cloud-based music storage and streaming services without fear of legal challenge or litigation. But that’s a lengthy process and Amazon’s decision to launch without such licenses may for Apple’s and Google’s hands. Read More »

Amazon takes another page from Apple’s playbook

The Cloud Amazon has already shown itself to be a close student of Apple, modeling its initial Kindle strategy on Apple’s approach to the music business: drive down the cost of the content to drive up the value of owning the hardware, which translated into more high-margin hardware sales for Apple/Amazon.

With the announcement Tuesday of the Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Could Player, the online retail giant seems to be taking another page from that same playbook. Read More »

Navigating the new TV landscape

Connected TVs Apple may be getting ready to license its AirPlay streaming software to other CE makers to embed in their HDTVs, according to a report this week by Bloomberg . Though the report did not identify the potential hardware partners, “two people familiar with the program” said AirPlay-enabled devices could be available before the end of the year.

If the report proves true, users of thirds-party AirPlay-enabled TVs would be able to stream video content over their home wireless network from the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch for display on the big screen. Currently, video streaming from Apple portable devices is only possible via an Apple TV set-top box. Under the proposed plan, no separate set-top hardware would be required. Read More »

Nice try, Google

Copyright So now what? Judge Denny Chin has rejected the painstakingly negotiated settlement in the Google Books case, leaving the outcome of the six-year old litigation uncertain along with the legal status of millions of books already digitized by Google and archived by major libraries.

While Judge Chin indicated he might look more favorably on a revised agreement that allowed authors to opt-in to its terms, as opposed to the opt-out standard in the current agreement, such a change would upend the commercial logic behind the deal and therefore might not be acceptable to Google. Read More »