TV Stations next to be disintermediated?

November 28, 2005

On The Long Tail, Chris Anderson has some numbers on this year’s poor stock performance on the part of the 12 public TV station owning companies.

Terry Heaton says “Broadcasting is an industry in deep trouble, and it will take innovation and integrity to save it from a real disaster.” He then shows the stock charts over the past year for the 12 publicly listed companies that own TV stations. While the number of lines going south is striking, it’s a bit hard to see them in context that way. So I’ve re-run the numbers and expressed them below in percentage terms.

The upshot is that in 12 months when the Dow has risen 4%, these companies have fallen 16.8% — not a good sign.

But not terribly surprising, either.
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New Options – SageTV 4, Beyond TV 4

November 10, 2005

Just as I start to get my MCE box back stabilized, there are starting to be a lot of tempting new options. SageTV has released version 4 of their PVR system, and SnapStream is now shipping Beyond TV 4.

Both now support HDTV, although each has (as always) a bit of their own spin, and like MCE, both are still limited to recording OTA (over-the-air) HD.

Hopefully someone will soon give us some detailed comparisons of them in use; I’m tempted to do it myself, but I won’t have time to even start such a thing for another couple of weeks.
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CBS Soon on iTunes?

November 5, 2005

iLounge is reporting that CBS is considering offering shows on iTunes.

CBS Digital President Larry Kramer said this week that he has had talks with Apple about selling CBS television shows on the iTunes Music Store. Kramer said a deal with Apple is a strong possibility as long as the “economic proposal is fair enough.” Currently, the only network the offers shows through iTunes is ABC.

Well, that didn’t take long, now did it? Now for Fox and NBC…

(wait — is NBC still around?)

More MCE Keyboard Info

July 12, 2005

Windows MCE KeyboardMore info on the new MCE Keyboard, from Chris Lanier.

Additional highlights include “spill-resistant” keyboard (hey, that means it’s livingroom friendly!), a “key lock” feature to keep buttons from being inadvertantly pushed, TV Power and Volume Control, and a 30 foot range.

Available in September.

Chris links Microsoft’s consumer page, Google’s cache of an OEM info page, and a Flash demo.

No official word anywhere of it using the same remote receiver, but apparently a new update for the existing remote receiver includes support for the new keyboard, so I suspect that means it all works together.

I’m looking forward to this one.

Microsoft Remote Keyboard for MCE

July 12, 2005

Windows MCE KeyboardEngadget has a preview of a new Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows XP Media Center Edition.

Infrared, touchpoint mouse, backlit buttons and the requisite little green MCE button, for “under $100”.

If this will work with the same remote receiver as the MCE Remote, I can finally retire my trusty old “Airboard” and its receiver, and clean up my installation a bit.

HUSH M Mini-ITX Windows MCE Set-top

June 15, 2005

If you prefer your Media Center set-top boxes the way you like your partners — small, silent and drop-dead sexy — you may want to check out the new HUSH M MCE Mobile. (That’s not mobile as in you put it in a laptop bag, but mobile as in it uses a laptop CPU.)

Powered with a Pentium M (well okay, a Celeron M), the Mini-ITX based HUSH M is tiny, fanless, and wrapped in anodized aluminum, but still comes with all of the good stuff — TV & FM Encoder, DVD, 5.1 Audio, onboard Ethernet, built-in MCE remote receiver, and 160 gig of hard drive to store all of your content on. It also comes preloaded with MCE 2005 (of course), Microsoft Works, and PowerDVD 6.

Prices start at 1400 Euros…

HD PVRs – Rock and Hard Place

May 19, 2005

Thomas Hawk has some comments on my Dish 942 article.

Thomas writes:

These type of HDTV PVRs will be the competition for TiVo and Media Center going forward. It will be important that TiVo and Media Center are able to distinguish themselves in the HDTV PVR space in order to convince people that it is worth spending the money over what you can get for free (kinda free anyway) from your cable or satellite provider.

Absolutely — and there’s the rub.
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Media Center Show – TV Tonic Interview

May 17, 2005

Ian Dixon’s Media Center Show podcast #8 is now online.

This week Ian interviews Michael Sprague of Wavepress, the people behind the TVTonic Online Spotlight application for Windows Media Center.

MPAA Sues TV Torrent Sites

May 13, 2005

Just in time to target nasty file-sharers who are looking to download a missed season finale or two, ZDNet reports that the MPAA has apparently filed suit against 6 more TV Torrent sites.

The latest round of suits retains a focus on BitTorrent technology, which has been widely used online to distribute movies and films.

The suits are focused on the sites that serve as traffic directors for BitTorrent swaps, rather than on individual computer users uploading and downloading content. The MPAA also has sued individuals, but has not said how many people have been targeted.

I wonder if they’ll ever figure out that they’re missing a wonderful opportunity to embrace this technology, reduce distribution costs, and sell advertising targeted at an entirely new demographic…


Dishplayer 942 Near Miss

May 12, 2005

I was all set for some prime HDTV PVR action last night — I was serious when I said that the latest DirecTivo software update was the last straw, and I went ahead and signed up for Dish.

It’s really a no-brainer, at least once I decided that the DirecTivo was an orphan stepchild and was never likely to get the full current Tivo suite of functionality.

I also wanted HDTV PVR support (for more than my locals), so that left me with Cable (not gonna happen), The HDTivo (too much $$ for too many bugs) and Dishnetwork’s Dishplayer 942 (still too many bugs, possibly, but far less $$ for a new subscriber).

Dish’s recent acquisition of another 10 HD channels from Voom’s demise made it even sweeter.
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