Daniel Eran Dilger takes a while to get to his point (though along the way you get a very good education about consumer video), but that point is a very interesting one about the video marketplace today. He writes:
... Apple happens to be positioned to ride the sweet spot of LD/SD content right
now, and has the infrastructure and hardware to deliver HD content using the
same iTunes ecosystem with Apple TV in the future. Apple has bet on the
mainstream 720p HD format as the best balance between high quality content and
downloadable file sizes. ¶ That will enable the company to transition to offering HD programming from
iTunes as consumer’s bandwidth availability increases and the demand for HD
expands. Until that happens on a large scale, Apple will continues to sell the
most content because it has targeted what consumers want–convenient
downloads–not what other vendors are all trying to sell: high end, high priced
... Estimates suggest that by the end of the year, there will be an installed
base of about a million standalone HD-DVD and Blu-Ray disc players, besides the
7-8 million PlayStation 3 consoles that can also play Blu-Ray discs. That makes
less than ten million HD players in total, compared to around 40 million video
playing iPods, and hundreds of millions of iTunes installations capable of
playing back iTunes content directly from a computer or through an Apple TV. ...
The Metropolitan Opera, of all organizations, has been doing a very innovative thing by transmitting its performances in HDTV to movie theaters around the country as well as other innovations. Non-profit fundraising guru Bob Stein writes:
... [CEO Peter Gelb] has taken opera to the streets--free large-screen broadcasts in Times Square (opening night of Madame Butterfly), introduced $20 rush orchestra tickets and broadcast live performances to movie screens around the world. He's brought directors from the theater world to stage operas, and he even recruited design celeb Isaac Mizrahi to create the costumes for Orfeo ed Euridice. ¶ What has resulted is a revitalized Met. According to Bloomberg.com,
Sales during the 2006-07 season rose 7.1 percent to 810,225, said Gelb, who succeeded Joseph Volpe in August. In all, the Met sold 83.9 percent of tickets offered for its 3,800- seat opera house at Manhattan's Lincoln Center compared with 76.8 percent last season.
The legendary Mark Schubin gave a talk about the Met's Live HD opera-to-theater broadcasts at October's Iowa DTV Symposium. The talk (The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: global cinemacasts, robotic cameras, and more) is available both as a PowerPoint (click here and scroll down to the Content Track's Tuesday at 2:30 session) and as an MP3 file.
Just went to the Met web site and see that one of their theaters is about a 75-mile drive from me, so I'm going to buy a ticket and check it out. --Dennis
The percentage of U.S. households that said they were interested in
HDTVs fell this year compared to those who expressed an interest last
year, and the number or those reporting to have little or no interest
has grown, according to a series of studies from market research firm
In-Stat. ¶ At
the same time, worldwide interest in HDTV among consumers is rising,
with particularly strong interest in France and South Korea, the
research firm said. The reports also showed that consumers are choosing
LCD TVs over their plasma display equivalents in good number, which
will be responsible for LCD televisions claiming 75 percent of the
market by 2011 and the plasma market share dwindling to below 15
Reuters is reporting that Blu-ray HD discs outsold HD DVD discs in the U.S. by two-to-one in the first half of 2007. I, of course, bought an HD DVD player when it dropped below $300 at Costco (context: I bought two Beta VCRs before I bought my first VHS one). Blockbuster announced it's going to stock Blu-ray, but on the other hand Wal-Mart announced it's building a zillion HD DVD players in Asia for the holidays. So maybe the jury is still out.
Two observations about HD DVDs: The discs seem to be more sensitive to scratches than standard DVDs. One we received from Netflix was unplayable for more than about 15 minutes at a time, then one had to start over and hope it skipped the scratch the next time. Also, while the video quality is great, it's not hugely better on my 50-inch monitor than video from an upscaling standard DVD player. Those now sell for under $100 and do a great job. --Dennis
On July 24, ABC became the first network to launch Internet streaming of full-length
programming in high definition, with a player providing full-screen 16:9 images
at significantly higher quality than previously available. The service was
launched in beta form, with episodes of Desperate Housewives, Grey's
Anatomy, Lost, and Ugly Betty, with more programs to follow
in the new season later in the year. The ABC HD service is available free of
charge to consumers at: http://dynamic.abc.go.com/streaming/landing. ...
Gartner has published its 2007 hype cycle chart for a large number of consumer technologies.
Click on image for larger version. Note the relative positions of digital terrestrial radio (HD Radio) on the far left and digital terrestrial television (DTV) on the far right. Via Bobbie Johnson at The Guardian Technology blog. --Dennis
When it is an Apple TV - the High Definition DVD-killer ...
... Apple TV will be the spoiler of many a Blu-ray or HD DVD sale because Apple TV
is cheaper and easier, has no expensive consumable media, and HD movies will
probably cost a little less to buy through iTunes than at Target. ...
But most of this column is about Neokast, a very interesting video distribution technology based on multicasting with which he suggests Apple hook up. Unlike broadcasting, where multicasting means sending multiple program channels over one broadcast RF channel, the term multicasting here is used in the Internet sense, where it refers to a technology that enable multiple users to access a program without the origination point having to simultaneous send out multiple copies of that program -- one to each user.
According to the USA Today, a recent report published by PWC
is forecasting that traditional TV advertising sales will grow 4.5% a
year to $46.3 billion in 2011. When you consider product placement
revenue and fees that cable, satellite and phone services pay to carry
a channel, network TV revenues could grow of 6.5% a year to $85.4
billion in 2011. ...
... So what’s going increase TV viewing? The Internet is
becoming a bigger source of videos, but the following will increase TV
viewership and even shift Internet Video viewing from the Computer to
the TV screen.
HDTV – With the high resolution and quality of HDTV, users will not
just watch more TV, but also will shift to using the HDTV for watching
Internet Video as well. PWC predicts that nearly 59% of homes will have
HDTVs in 2011, up from 12.7% at the end of 2006. HDTV uptake will be
propped up by falling prices and the FCC mandate to transmit all TV
programs in high-def by 2009.
DVR - DVR growth is expected to rise to 39% in 2011, up from 11.8%
in 2006. With Slingbox and other DVRs, people have already started to
record and watch TV, albeit with time-shifting or place-shifting (e.g.
watch on mobile).
Sondra Russell works for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and
writes the following News Digest on a weekly basis. I think it's a
very nice piece of work, but it's distributed by email only. So she's
given me permission to quote it here so it can get RSS distribution and
also be seen by people outside of public broadcasting. Her email
address is srussell [at] cpb [dot] org. --Dennis
PaidContent: "Fox has tapped online TV distributor Brightcove to provide
its networks and studio with ad-supported internet video channels. The pact
will also give Fox the ability to target its broadband video directly to
Offers Web-Streaming Device As Option on HDTVs
From the WSJ: "The fight is intensifying in the battle to bring the
Internet -- and all the video available on it -- to a television near you. Sony
will include its Internet streaming device as an option in all of its new HD
television models this year."
programming wars: Comcast says 800 HD channels by 2009
From ArsTechnica: "At a press conference I attended at CES early this
year, DIRECTV proudly announced that it would have 100 HD channels available by
year end. Comcast is trying to trump its competitor by saying that it will have
over 800 HD channels by that time."
Passes Debates to a New Generation
From the NYT: "YouTube, which is owned by Google, and CNN are
co-sponsoring a debate among the eight Democratic presidential candidates on
July 23 in South Carolina, an event that could define the next phase of what
has already been called the YouTube election."
the Screen Is Tiny, but the Plans Are Big
ESPN isn't alone. Other companies, like CBS and MTV, as well as news
organizations like The Associated Press and magazine concerns like the Hearst
Corporation, are investing in original cellphone content.
New Media Fund Gets $27.3M from Government
From CBC: "Administered by Telefilm , the Canada New Media Fund
was created in 2001 to support the development, production, marketing and
distribution of original Canadian new media projects in both official
TNS Media Intelligence: "Internet display
advertising is projected to lead the market with 16.0 percent growth in 2007.
Network TV expenditures are expected to increase by just 1.3 percent. Small
declines are also projected for Radio (-0.3 percent)."
Radio Makes a Grab for Internet Listeners
From the NYT: "Confronted by a slow erosion of listeners who are turning
to iPods, podcasts and other sources for entertainment, the radio corporations
are trying to merge their over-the-air music and D.J. chatter with the
Developing Educational Site for Students From the
NYT: "The network is to announce an online venture intended as a
supplement to Advanced Placement high school courses in three subjects:
American history, government and English. The effort draws heavily on its
exhaustive film and video archives."