YouTube doesn't boast a cast consisting of Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Tory Belleci, Grand Imahara, and Kari Byron, but that didn't stop the streaming video service from doing a MythBusters piece of its own, but in blog form. The blog post, which was posted this week, addresses several issues about YouTube products that the company says are all bunk.
The number one myth in YouTube's list is that the video service is limited to short-form user-generated content. YouTube responds by pointing out it has thousands of premium content partners, from Sony to Disney to Universal Music, and hundreds of full-length feature films and thousands of full-length TV episodes.
Other concerns YouTube addresses include the popular perception that YouTube videos are grainy and poor quality, traffic and growth are bad for the service's bottom line, advertiser's won't touch YouTube, and that the Google-owned video service is only monetizing 3 to 5 percent of the site. There are all false, or 'busted,' the site says, and you can read the reasoning here.
If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em, and most would agree that Netflix has grown too large (and too strategic) to beat. So who wants to buy them? If you believe the latest rumor, Amazon wants to buy the online DVD rental service, news of which has sent Netflix stock soaring to the highest it's been in 11 weeks.
"There's heavy call buying and the stock is up on renewed takeover talk, with Amazon being mentioned specifically," said Fred Ruffy, the senior options strategist at WhatsTrading.com. "It's pretty typical of speculative buying."
While Netflix and Amazon both compete in the Internet video business, not everyone is convinced a takeover makes much sense. Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities, points out that Amazon has distribution centers all across the U.S., meaning the company would have to collect sales tax in those states. Should that happen, subscribers would likely end up footing the bill.
As expected, both Amazon and Netflix said they don't comment on rumors or speculation.
Pretty soon, even your toaster will come with Netflix streaming built in. In the meantime, Netflix's newest target is Sony's line of online-enabled Bravia LCD televisions.
Enabled via a software update expected to launch this fall, those with compatible Bravia sets will gain access to the same growing catalog of movies and television shows that are available on an also growing list of Netflix-streaming devices, including the Xbox 360 console, Roku player, some TiVo sets, and a few Samsung and LG Blu-ray players.
Supported Sony TV sets so far include the XBR9 series, Z5100 series, and the W5100 series, while other Sony sets can add support via a $200 Bravia Internet Video Link. In addition to Netflix streaming, Bravia Internet Video-enabled devices also support content from Amazon's Video-On-Demand, YouTube, CBS, and others.
According to Cisco, global IP traffic will skyrocket to a zettabyte -- or one trillion gigabytes -- by 2013, which is more than five times the amount of traffic today. Consumer IP traffic will account for a whopping 90 percent of the total, the company says.
Cisco also sees video leapfrogging mobile data traffic in the next four years, growing from 33 petabytes a month in 2008 to 2,184 petabytes (or 2 exabytes) a month in 2013. If true, that would mean mobile video would see a 131 percent annual growth rate.
Cisco, who bought the maker of the Flip video camera, certainly has a vested interest in seeing online video playing a bigger role, but potentially standing in the way of such a future is the increasing prominence of consumption based billing among ISPs. The future of broadband billing hasn't yet been decided as several ISPs continue to test market tiered consumption models.
Lionsgate, Paramount and MGM have all come together to create a new TV network called Epix that will show their own recent films in HD before they’re released on DVD. They’re also bringing this channel online with an on-demand website that will offer HD streaming of the very same films. And, best of all, it won’t have any advertising and won’t show up on your cable bill.
Epix will be bundled directly into cable packages, and according to their current business model, won’t show up as a separate charge on your bill. If Epix can convince enough cable operators to sign on (they haven’t announced any partners yet), they will be able to gain a competitive edge over pay-TV channels that have a monthly fee.
The best part of it all is the site, epixhd.com. The films will stream in 720p, all for free. The video will be offered through Flash and is multi-bitrate enabled. The player will check your available bandwidth every ten seconds to see if a larger or smaller stream is required. Epix is currently working off of six different encodings for each film, ranging from cell phone quality (500Kbps) all the way to full HD.
But, there’s reportedly a catch (surprise, surprise). In order to use the website, you’ll need to be signed up with an ISP’s Internet and cable. This is primarily because Epix is looking to install caching servers directly in the data centers of ISPs that partner with them.
Brace yourselves for this one. Hulu -- the free video streaming service that has others, like YouTube, trying to emulate it -- may not be totally free in the not too distant future. Or at least that's how Jonathan Miller, News Corp.'s new chief digital officer, envisions things.
According to AOL's Daily Finance website, Miller said he sees Hulu making at least some of its content available only to paid subscribers. At the same time, he was also quick to clarify that he won't attend his first Hulu board meeting until next week, meaning his speculation doesn't necessarily reflect that of Hulu's.
"In my opinion the answer could be yes," Miller said. "I don't see why over time that shouldn't happen. I don't think it's on the agenda for Monday [but] it seems to me that over time that could be a logical thing."
Keep in mind that News Corp. co-owns Hulu and it's Miller's job to find ways of getting revenue from from News Corp.'s properties.
In other words, enjoy Hulu while you can - in the long run, it may all have been just an extended free trial.
Just this week Hulu launched their new service, Goog—err, Hulu Labs in the interest of letting their users get a more hands on approach to the development of the site.
“To help us learn from user feedback […], we’re excited to open up a new Hulu Labs section on the site today. At Hulu Labs, we’ll provide sneak peeks at some of the upcoming releases from our product roadmap, some of which are personal projects and hobbies our devs have been cooking up,” wrote Eric Feng, Hulu’s CTO on their official blog. “From new recommendation algorithms to tools for building custom widgets to a time-based view for browsing your favorite shows, we’ll be sharing a variety of these new creations with you at Hulu Labs and looking forward to your thoughts on how to make these products better.”
They also released the beta for Hulu Desktop, an application that has been optimized to let you watch all of your favorite shows (so long as they’re hosted on Hulu) on your desktop or media center PC. The UI has been designed with a small Microsoft or Apple remote in mind, making it a very reasonable contender for all the media center PCs out there.
Chances are good that if you’re a fan of streaming music online, you’ve heard of Pandora. And, apparently users of the service like it so much that they’ve actually been asking about ways to pay the company to guarantee its survival. At long last those (strange) questions have been answered, with the introduction of Pandora One.
Pandora One is a subscription-based model allowing users that shell out $36 a year access to some premium options. First off, premium users will no longer have to put up with ads of any kind (this includes the in-stream audio ads). Secondly, and most notably, they’ll gain access to a Pandora desktop app that includes high quality streaming audio (bumped up to 192 kbps), a personalized look, a mini player, and extended player time outs.
For many of us, the free-to-use service is just fine as is. The ads that are currently keeping it alive aren’t very invasive (even the audio ones), and with apps such as OpenPandora out there it’s admittedly a tough sell. But, for those looking to show their love for their favorite online streaming service, $36/year isn’t too bad a price.
Jonas Brothers fans and those looking for marblecake recipes on YouTube may get more than they bargained for today. That's because 4chan and eBaum's World have teamed up for "Operation Porn Day," which involves uploading explicit video clips to YouTube using innocuous tags.
Many of the clips have already been removed, but according to Arstechnica, it was able to find others that haven't yet been caught (still reading?). In addition to the false tags, a lot of the clips contain 20 to 30 seconds of seemingly legitimately content, such as a newscast, before getting down and dirty.
"It may take some time for video search results and thumbnail images to disappear from the site," Google spokesperson Scott Rubin said. "Typically, this should not take more than a couple of days, but the videos themselves are no longer viewable."
In other words, you may want to keep your kids and nephews occupied with something other than YouTube for the time being.
Let the streaming music wars begin. Just last week Microsoft went on the offensive and attacked Apple's iTunes service over its pricing model compared to the Zune Pass unlimited subscription service, which serves up all-you-can-listen-to tunes plus 10 free tracks for $14.99/month. Looking to leapfrog ahead of them both, Napster, now a Best Buy commodity, is planning to relaunch its subscription music service with a $5 deal that includes 5 free tracks every month.
"There's no need to settle for 30-second clips to decide if you want to buy a song," said Chris Gorog, CEO of Napster. "For five bucks now you can have access to our entire music catalog and get five MP3s to add to your permanent collection."
The new pricing model, which goes into effect tonight, could put Napster in contention with more popular music services and put the one-time P2P pioneer back on top. Napster's catalog sits at over 7 million strong and includes more than 60 commercial-free radio stations, which seems like an obscene amount of content for the same price as a Subway footlong.
Anyone plan on giving Napster a second look? Hit the jump and sound off.