Fresh from its initial unveiling and then its release to the US market in the Autumn, late last month Google’s latest streaming device – the Nexus Player – hit the UK shelves. The device, retailing at £79.99 (roughly the same price as Amazon’s competitor Fire TV streaming box), is – significantly – the first to use the new Android TV operating system (OS), coming later this the smart television screens of Sony, Sharp and TP Vision. It comes complete with the “cast” technology offered by Google’s content-less Chromecast, its Wi-Fi streaming dongle, and also offers content and services through apps from the Google Play store, among others. more “Google, Android TV and the Nexus Player: reasons to be excited”
It’s been a busy few days for Google Play, Google’s digital media store. First came the announcement last week that Google Play was to be added to the “channels” on Roku’s streaming boxes in the US, UK, Canada and Ireland. Shortly following this was the company’s Google+ post in which it revealed that Google Play’s movie service had been rolled out to nine more countries (many in Eastern Europe, and three – Iceland, Macedonia, and Bosnia – where they’ve got in ahead of iTunes). And now Decipher’s latest wave of Mediabug research has thrown up an interesting perspective on a service that’s not only finding its place but performing well in the UK TVOD (transactional video on demand) marketplace. more “TVOD: the crown is there for the taking”
Damien Read – February 2013
However, there are two competing models for the evolution of these DVRs which are about to get into the ring with one another; cloud based network DVR (your recordings are saved in the network) and terabyte sized home ‘media servers’ that can stream live channels, recorded content and VOD around a home with full DVR functionality.
The central difference between the two is simple – the location where the hard disks are located when the recordings or the paused TV is saved. Network DVRs store recordings and even live ‘pause’ centrally in the network whereas the ‘media server’ DVR stores them in the home. This subtle difference actually has little implication for the consumer recording experience, but a big impact on what kit is in consumers’ homes, the quality of the broadband needed to deliver content to the home, and content rights structures.
So Freesat have launched a TV campaign to promote their new <freetime> service (see the ad here on YouTube). This prompted us to continue our analysis of the differences between Freesat <freetime> and YouView. In our previous blog post about this (see Comparing Freesat to Youview) we pointed out that the two products have very different target markets so weren’t really competitive and shouldn’t be compared directly.
However, it was interesting to explore their different approaches to some complex market issues. The launch of the ad campaign highlights two more areas where they have taken a fundamentally different approach: branding and relations with Sky.
Back in 2009 – when BBC catch up content first arrived on Virgin cable we wrote the following:
‘There is a rule in life that if something walks like a duck and talks like a duck it must be a duck. It is a good rule, but we have been struggling this week with a slight variation to it. How about if someone really big and important repeatedly tells you something is a duck, and has gone to the trouble of painting the thing to look like a duck, but every time you look at it, it still doesn’t walk or talk like a duck?
The duck in question is the TV version of iPlayer that is available on Virgin cable. The BBC and Virgin have made a great fuss over the fact that ‘iPlayer is now available on Virgin’. But however much we have tried, we can’t make it quack or waddle.‘ (See the blog: ‘iPlayer Looks Like a Duck’). more “This Duck Still Won’t Quack…”
By Nigel Walley – Augst 2010
So Google and Sony have jointly announced the launch of Google TV – a range of set top boxes running a version of Google’s Android software. Google have also announced a range of other box launches in the US before Xmas. You may have seen the press notices about this, and we would like to offer an explanation and opinion on its importance.
First thing is to understand the background landscape. Broadly, there are three types of competitor in the TV market at the moment: the pay operators (like Sky and Virgin) who make their own boxes and software; the set top box manufacturers who are making Freeview and Freesat boxes with all sorts of fun stuff added over-the- top of broadcast (sometimes called the ‘over the top’ or OTT boxes); and the device manufacturers, like Sony, who are desperately trying to grab ownership of the TV experience in the home with a device centric strategy. Google TV has relevance for both the OTT and device manufacturers.
By Nigel Walley
Martin Johnson, the England rugby coach stood in front of the cameras after the England Scotland game at the weekend and said that he saw improvement in the England team. Like most of the English sporting audience, who had just watched a dire display of turgid rugby, I gulped in shock and stared at the screen feeling very uncomfortable.
My discomfort came from the fact that Martin Johnson should be able to do no wrong in my eyes. He is someone I revere, and for whom I desire success in a very difficult job. But he was talking rubbish. What I couldn’t work out was whether he knew he was but was fronting up, or whether he actually believed the stuff he was saying. It is discomforting when people I like, and want to succeed, spout stuff that is not believable. Particularly if I am not sure that they believe it either. I am beginning to feel this way about a whole host of new media initiatives that are currently underway.
Adrian Stroud – June 2009
I recently challenged myself to work-out why I still watch so much ‘live’ TV. I don’t mean news or sport because I can rationalise those genres quite easily. I mean bread and butter programming.
The challenge came about because I was debating just how much more damage all the VOD services and PVRs will do to live TV viewing figures in the long-run. This is important because it is those live viewing figures that contribute the vast bulk of advertising impacts. VOD currently delivers far, fewer impacts per hour of viewing than live TV, so the ‘end game’ for advertising funded TV programming is defined by this question. My guess was that live TV won’t drop more than perhaps 25%, no matter how many VOD and time shifting gadgets like Sky+ launch, but I could not say why. I suspect I’m making the mistake of confusing the technology with the benefits.
VOD and the PVR are the rational way to consume all but the livest of live TV events. So, when VOD has all the content you want and it is available on every screen in the house, why would you want to watch ordinary old broadcast TV at all?
Commercial TV funded by advertising is an astonishingly scalable business. You can look at the richest territories in the world such as the USA and note that when it is fuelled by $70bn in TV advertising, the TV industry can produce a service that occupies 34 hours a week of leisure time for the average adult. Then look at Serbia, with a TV ad spend that is about 1% of the USA and, you guessed it, they keep the average Serbian adult busy 34 hours a week. I know this ignores other revenue like subscription but you get the point. With a business model that scalable you’d have thought the UK TV industry could absorb a reduction in advertising revenue of a few percent without all the talk of the sky falling-in.
Nigel Walley – Feb 2009
I used an overhead projector for a presentation at a conference the other day. It was great. You get to write on a sheet of acetate, like your teachers used to, and it shines up on the wall. Joking aside, there was something immediate and human about presenting ideas with an overhead that is completely lost with Powerpoint. I know that I sound like a music nut comparing vinyl to the CD, but in the rush to move into the digital age, we can sometimes throw the baby out with the bath water. Before we got rid of overheads, someone should have stopped and questioned whether there was anything great about them that needed preserving. In fact I think they may make a comeback