27 January 2012

Netflix Gets A Good Outlook For 2012

Netflix Black & White Logo

AllThingD got a report about how Netflix recovered in 2011 Q4 and how Reed Hasting puts Amazon as Netflix most likely competitor for 2012

http://allthingsd.com/20120125/netflix-bounces-back-with-a-q4-beat/

This is why i never worried much about Netflix fate or put much credibility on those who said that they were going to ditch or ditched Netflix because of the Netflix-Qwikster debacle. 

As there was really nowhere to switch that could match the selection and the price. And those who switched or dropped Netflix are all coming back slowly, but surely. No surprises on that.

Reed now stated the obvious about Amazon coming after Netflix, but it is also nothing new. The way things are going, it will take Amazon the rest of 2012 to consolidate how they want to go after Netflix and if iLoveFilm will become their video brand in the USA too or that will remain disconnected. As Amazon still don't has opened a video service in the Netflix model for their home market. Even if they now got LoveFilm following on Netflix foosteps on the U.K and other international markets.

What did bothered me about Netflix recently is that they have now ditched the plan to go after GameFly and GameRush. No doubt giving Blockbuster some good news to grab on to tight. 

Netflix may be worried about Amazon competing with them on USA grounds. But considering how slow they have been moving. It is more probable that Netflix gets another year of smooth sailing as there are no real challengers to it yet. Will 6 months change that and Amazon will suddenly become their nemesis? While possible, i doubt it. Maybe in 9 months.

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18 January 2012

Dave Cutler Has Been Working On The Development Of The Next Xbox

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Mary Jo Foley, over at ZDNET has recently got confirmation from Microsoft that Dave Cutler, the father of Windows NT and one of the fathers of Windows Azure has been working on the next version of the Xbox.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-confirms-dave-cutler-father-of-windows-nt-now-working-on-xbox/11684

Xbox One OS had a NT base. I remember reading that it was supposedly made out of a gutted and then customized version of Windows NT 4.0 or NT 6.0 stuffed with DirectX tech.

Xbox 360 OS in turn was also of NT base. Said to be made out of a gutted and customized Windows 2000. Also stuffed with DirectX tech.

Xbox Next / 720 / ? OS in turn could then be made out of Windows Server 2008 R2 or as some rumors had stated, from Windows 8? 

If Microsoft is officially putting Dave Cutler as working on Xbox Next, then it is because things have got real and serious. Very promising all around.

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16 January 2012

Tizen OS

Tizen OS logo

According to a report from Forbes, Samsung is going to merge their Bada OS efforts with Intel’s Tizen OS.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/elizabethwoyke/2012/01/13/samsung-merging-its-bada-os-with-intel-backed-tizen-project/


There was never an OS born out of such a convoluted history from so many power players in technology, with such a high accumulated development cost and with such limited/poor results:

Tizen is now going to be a third try at a Mobile OS by Intel. 

Tizen is a OS spun off from a merger of MeeGo that was a Intel-Nokia project and LiMo that was a Linux Foundation project. MeeGo in turn was an OS spun off from a merger of Nokia's Maemo OS and Intel Moblin OS. 

Tizen is now adding into the mix Bada OS from Samsung. Making it a future spun off Mobile OS -- that is going to try to be a Top Grade OS for Smartphones, with the chance of extending to Slates and Smart TV's -- out of a merger of MeeGo, LiMo and Bada OS. 

If with such amount of OS tech and it having that kind of backup it don't manages to grab a firm fifth place in the Mobile OS ladder by 2014, it should then be just killed off. But Tizen better watches out as they could do lose their last grasp of a good result if the upcoming Ubuntu Mobile ends up as the fifth placed Mobile OS.

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On Hulu 2011 Report And What 2012 Could Bring To It

Hulu Logo

As of the 12 of January of 2012, Hulu released an 2011 info report blog post about its progress.

http://blog.hulu.com/2012/01/12/2011-2012-and-beyond/

With the two most important facts in CEO Jason Kilar blog post about how Hulu did in 2011 being:

1.- Hulu grew 60% in revenue compared to 2010 and reached a total $420 million in 2011. Something that is around 20% less than it was projected because of Ad Spending and Ad Prices still not fully recovered. Yet still accounting for a 60% growth year over year.

2.- It reached 1.5 million paid Hulu Plus customers. And it is expected that Hulu Plus revenue will be around half of whatever the company gets to make in 2012.

Other not so important, but interesting details were that Hulu felt the need to point out that they are a better bet than competitors like Netflix for content providers because they pay twice as much. And that they also count with a better profitability because of their dual revenue model.

But no doubt that the most glaring bit about this Hulu 2011 report post by CEO Jason Kilar is to boast about how Hulu is planning to spend up to $500 million dollars in content for Hulu during 2012. Figure i found huge considering that it is more than what they made in revenue in 2011. And because it brings out the point to me that they will be going for a very aggressive expansion. 

How i can tell better than those that have reported over this news? I actually use Hulu on a daily basis and have done so since it was in private beta. I have been a Hulu Plus user on an on and off basis too. I Know first hand what they got and add in their index on a monthly basis and how it is working so far. While Hulu CEO Jason Kilar choose very carefully the words in his post. $500 million in Content Investing -- in proportion no less than doubling their spending on that area -- has to lead to more localized versions of Hulu and that probably Hulu is negotiating extending the scope of how the content is going to be served. Hopefully meaning that having and paying for Hulu Plus will finally mean not just having access to content in 720p, but being able to watch it all, regardless of if you are accessing it via a PC or via Mobile.

Why do i think that? 

The amount of money at play is a lot higher than what they spent in 2011. The very same year they not only launched Hulu Japan, but that Hulu content trove exploded with the addition of the Criterion and Miramax movie archive. And in TV it meant the addition of new networks, small content partners and a lot of deals so that Hulu Plus would reach new devices. If that content explosion happened with only $250 million or less. What Hulu cannot do if they are going to put $500 million on the line for 2012.

What 2012 could or should bring for Hulu?



1.-Better Hulu Plus Access

If there is a criticism well deserved to Hulu Plus is that it is a pain to pay for Hulu Plus, only to find out that what you want to watch, you cannot watch on a mobile device. Said it already in this post, but that is worth repeating. As it is an issue that needs to be fixed.

2.- Better Advertising. 

I don't mind the ads in hulu at all. What bothers me is that they are sometimes not well targeted based on what show you are watching and that the Ad serving is dumb as hell. This last part about how on earth on what is a completely smart medium you dare to serve me the very same Ad on the same episode 3 fucking times?

It makes me think Hulu don't has any Ad Intelligence tech or that someone in there is not doing the job right and should be fired and replaced immediately. 

3.- More Hulu Plus Localizations.

Hulu Plus Japan was a great start. Still odd how Japan got Hulu Plus first than Canada and the U.K. If 2012 could bring Hulu Plus to Canada, The U.K, Mexico and Latino America. I think those would be the markets that are the easiest to supply to and open at. Even if that essentially means following on Netflix footsteps. 

4.- More Premium Content.

HBO produced content may be out of the question. But getting more shows from AMC, Showtime, Starz, Space or BBC would be nice. 

5.- More Original Or Independent Content.

Slotting The Confession, buying the rights of more independent movies and producing A Day In The Life were an OK start too. But Hulu really needs a lot more of that, not just to get fresh content, exclusive content but also to be seen as a credible alternative to not just Netflix, but to Basic Cable Packages.

6.- No less than a 50% growth. 

I see Hulu growing no less than 50% over their past mark. Putting them at no less than $630 million in revenue for 2012. With the potential of doing up to $750 million in revenue if things go better than expected.

Oh, And Hulu Owners, Please Do Not Fire Jason Kilar

Because like i said, i use it everyday and want to be able to keep using it. 

The guy has been what has made Hulu work. He gets it. Don't be jerks and ruin it. 

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11 January 2012

Smoked By Windows Phone Challenge

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It is a CES 2012 challenge from Microsoft, where Ben The PC Guy competes against someone else using a competing smartphone in completing the same task. Searching for a 4 star restaurant, posting a pic to twitter or Facebook, getting the weather of two locations, etc. If the competing smartphone wins, they get $100 and a "defeat face" photo with Ben. If the competing smartphone loses, they have to say their name, their phone and the phrase: "Got Smoked By A Windows Phone" at the end. They also have to take a picture with a sign saying the generic version of the same thing. 

In the cases where the challenger admits defeat or gets defeated very badly. Ben usually issued a free upgrade to Windows Phone by giving them a Windows Phone Device.

Up to now Windows Phone 7.5 has won 30 challenges and lost 3. Apparently all the losses where against iPhone 4S by a hair. In none of the challenges Ben used a Lumia 800 or a 900, probably because those are not phones yet available and that would had not been considered fair-fair. Or at least that was the case from all the videos i saw. Windows Phone still did beat out 6 or more iPhone 4S and around the same amount of Galaxy Nexus devices. 

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My opinion is that this was a great promotional move by Ben and Microsoft. They should make them into a cable TV and Hulu ad. 

Linkage

Windows Phone YouTube Channel

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10 January 2012

Opera TV Store

Opera Software Logo

Opera announced and demoed at CES 2012 their new strategy and offering. A Opera Browser powered TV OS

How things can change within hours. Yesterday i posted about Ubuntu TV being an alternative to Google TV. Noting how there are now 2 true and through TV OSes. 

Little after that, i read on Opera Software launching their own TV OS, called Opera TV Store.

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Opera in the desktop is nowhere. They have around 2% of marketshare. Its history reads like a tragedy too. Full of too late decisions and moves.Filled with raw innovation, Salvaged by the competition that copied its best features without most of the tech public even knowing it or acknowledging it. 

In Mobile and Devices on the other hand, they are a very strong proponent and have been so for many many years. Thanks to their several Browser versions. Opera Mini that works and can be made to work in pretty much any device you can think of. Opera Mobile that is on Smartphones and Slates. Opera Console Browser that is more of a white-list thing, famously integrated in the Nintendo Wii. 

It is from the wii and other console work that they have learned a lot about the TV space. It is from their experience in the Mobile and Portable spaces that they got a lot of confidence in going with this new TV OS.

Once i finished reading some documentation and seeing some videos about it. including the official one in this post. What i can tell is how this Opera TV OS do takes from everything that Opera has done so far. It takes from their work in the Wii, from their Opera Mobile, but ultimately it takes the most out of what they have on the desktop version of Opera. 

First Official Demo Video Of Opera TV Store


Because in the desktop is not just a browser. It is a browser bundled with a suite of software and even a widget engine. They got their E-mail, their torrent client, the feed reader, userscript support and more all at reach within the Browser. It also got and always has got their own browsing engine by the name of Presto. That has been their pride, but also pain -- even if they do not admit it -- simply because it always was too strict, snob and purist about web standards. It was not until Opera 11 that it stopped being as stuck up in my opinion. 

Opera TV Store then also takes from all that tech they got in all their Opera Browser Versions, mixes it up and then lay it up as TV experience and platform based around Web Stack Apps. Or HTML5 as that is the simplistic media moniker.

And that is when things get the most interesting. Because then you realize that Opera TV OS got more in common with Chrome OS than with Google TV or Ubuntu TV. Making it a TV OS that right now stands out as trendy, lean, tech forward, but that in the end is entering a space where it starts in third place from the get go on that denominator and it is not even in the Top 5 when seen from broader perspectives.

Best of luck to Opera TV, it will need it. Regardless of it looking like a very good TV OS for a first version and first release.

Linkage

Opera TV Promo Portal 

Opera TV Store Fundamentals Portal 

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09 January 2012

Ubuntu TV

Ubuntu Logo 

 

Canonical just announced and showed Ubuntu TV at CES12 Today

First Official Demo Video Of Ubuntu TV

While there are many Media Center Apps around as TopBoxes or for PC's like:

WMC, Mediaroom, Zune Software, Zune for Xbox, Xbox TV, XBMC, Boxee, Ruku, Vudu, Plex and Moovida.

Ubuntu TV is more of a Google TV alternative. 

As it is a proper TV OS. It can do apps, got a media center experience, it is smart connected, cloud enabled and it got a browser. So, while there a lot of competition out there for Media Center styled apps and Smart TV ecosystems, there is really not as much competition when it comes TV OSes, Google got one and Ubuntu now has one. 


Both Microsoft and Apple have yet to respond to this specific model. Microsoft will respond in a way thanks to Windows 8, even if it already got tons of Media Center And TopBox software spread around. Apple got Apple TV, the one that just need to be officialized as one in whatever form Apple ends up deciding. But that some hackers have already shown how it can do be a TV OS. 

Ubuntu TV seems like a good and worthy thing to try from Canonical to diversify. Does it will find support, and will it be as good as Google TV? Who knows. The good news is that it cannot be worse or more limited than Google TV either. And because of its relative obscurity and at the same time openness. Ubuntu TV users may find themselves been able to find and watch free content easier than with a Google TV.

What is i do find very amusing, is how the Ubuntu Unity UI-UX seems a lot more fitted for TV usage than desktop usage...

Linkage

Ubuntu TV

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Microsoft CES 2012 Keynote On-Demand Stream

Microsoft Logo White On Black

The On-Demand Stream for the last Microsoft CES Keynote  is now available.

You can watch it here or at the official Microsoft CES PressPass Page.

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Microsoft CES 2012 Keynote

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Vizio Goes All In For PC and Slate Market

Vizio Logo Grayscale

Vizio announced at CES 2012 that the would be entering in the PC market. The announcement was also followed with a fully stocked show floor with demo units of their new offerings.

Vizio All-in-one PC

Like i said when the news broke. Vizio entering the PC biz is very big news. The All-In-Ones and The Laptops look enticing and if the price is right, as it usually is when it comes to Vizio. Then you have a head-turner. 

At the Vizio CES 2012 page, you can now really see how wide they are aiming to expand in what are completely new markets for them.

One neat -- even if minor -- bit about the Vizio all-in-one PC monitor is how you can use it to connect directly your Xbox 360, Slate or even your Smartphone and use it as if it were a small HDTV. Simple, yet a nice touch to show and point out that fact. 

Vizio also decided to reveal a new 10-incher Slate. Adding that to the 8-incher Slate they got and they are now going head-on in competition for the slate space too. 

All this for a first gen and first release showing. Nothing short of a great way to start. 

Price, Details and Availability to be revealed by early March. 

Linkage

Vizio CES 2012 page

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