Thursday, March 27, 2008

New web-based video services

After posting about the Daily Media box yesterday, I came across an apparently similar product from the US: My Broadband TV: basically an STB for personalized TV over broadband.
There are some nice extras, such as CD and DVD playing functionality and the box also serves as a DVR. (It adds WiFi connectivity, something Daily Media didn't bother to include because of interference issues.) It hasn't launched yet and details are lacking, but going by their web site makes it look like they are on the prowl for both content and distribution partners.
The company offers a $100-200 subsidy, "depending on the functionality and the length of commitment", whereas Daily Media is free for consumers and requires no subscription.

In any case, the box market is on the move. I think that price and simplicity (on the consumer side) and revenue sharing (on the partner side) are of paramount importance - things I particularly like about Daily Media.

Also worth mentioning are video solutions that add to potential congestion issues - and hence to the importance of network upgrades (FTTH).
  • Telepresence, i.e. next-gen videoconferencing. Telephony ran this interesting article, highlighting the main players (HP, Cisco, Tandberg, Polycom, Teleris, LifeSize and Telanetix) and their market approach (managed services v. resellers). Still much too expensive ($250,000 for a room installation, plus bandwidth and service cost), but I suppose simpler products will come to market. Cisco: "At least 60% of our WAN traffic today is telepresence traffic." Benefits: reduction of travel cost ($70m for Cisco in 2007) and carbon emissions, increased productivity.
  • Home monitoring. SureWest, an FTTH pioneer, is launching remote monitoring with partner Xanboo. They will sell to anybody in the US, but obviously only SureWest subscribers have no upload bottleneck. And the experience will only be optimal if the viewer is on a high-speed connection as well. It "can be programmed to deliver live or recorded video and still images, as well as sensor notifications for things such as motion, door and window activity, water leakage and temperature change. (...) You can control your kitchen lights, check on pets, receive e-mail alerts if a window is opened, or watch your kids come home from school from virtually anywhere in the world."

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