Sling takes its video portal public


Sling.com, the streaming site of Slingbox maker Sling Media, has emerged from private beta and is opening up access to its video content to the public.

With the move, which was expected, Sling.com delivers TV episodes, clips, full-length movies, and professionally produced Web videos to a single destination. The free content is provided by the NBC-Fox partnership Hulu, along with CBS (parent company of CBS Interactive, CNET’s publisher), PBS, BBC America, and Web video sites like College Humor and Break.com.

Viewers can subscribe to the video feeds of shows currently on the air like The Soup and House, as well as recently and long-canceled shows like Arrested Development and MacGyver. The movie selection, which appears to be imported from Hulu, is limited, but Sling says all categories of video will expand in the future as it works with studios and other content providers.

The site also has a social-networking element, allowing users to create profiles that show which videos, programs, and movies the person subscribed to or marked as a favorite. Users can also become a fan of other Sling.com members.

Sling.com appears to be a natural progression for the small Silicon Valley company, which was bought last year by EchoStar.

Sling Media first grabbed consumers’ attentions with the introduction of its Slingbox, which allows owners to watch their own subscription TV channels remotely from a computer. Then the company began releasing the SlingPlayer as downloadable software for Symbian, Palm OS, and Windows Mobile that lets Slingbox owners also get their TV channels on mobile phones.

Sling then turned from just moving TV to the Web, and began pushing the idea of moving Web video to the TV with its SlingCatcher product, which started shipping last month.

CNET News’ Erica Ogg contributed to this report.
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. Before joining CNET News in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers. E-mail Steven.

Sling.com, the streaming site of Slingbox maker Sling Media, has emerged from private beta and is opening up access to its video content to the public.

With the move, which was expected, Sling.com delivers TV episodes, clips, full-length movies, and professionally produced Web videos to a single destination. The free content is provided by the NBC-Fox partnership Hulu, along with CBS (parent company of CBS Interactive, CNET’s publisher), PBS, BBC America, and Web video sites like College Humor and Break.com.

Viewers can subscribe to the video feeds of shows currently on the air like The Soup and House, as well as recently and long-canceled shows like Arrested Development and MacGyver. The movie selection, which appears to be imported from Hulu, is limited, but Sling says all categories of video will expand in the future as it works with studios and other content providers.

The site also has a social-networking element, allowing users to create profiles that show which videos, programs, and movies the person subscribed to or marked as a favorite. Users can also become a fan of other Sling.com members.

Sling.com appears to be a natural progression for the small Silicon Valley company, which was bought last year by EchoStar.

Sling Media first grabbed consumers’ attentions with the introduction of its Slingbox, which allows owners to watch their own subscription TV channels remotely from a computer. Then the company began releasing the SlingPlayer as downloadable software for Symbian, Palm OS, and Windows Mobile that lets Slingbox owners also get their TV channels on mobile phones.

Sling then turned from just moving TV to the Web, and began pushing the idea of moving Web video to the TV with its SlingCatcher product, which started shipping last month.

CNET News’ Erica Ogg contributed to this report.
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. Before joining CNET News in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers. E-mail Steven.

NFL to Test Live 3D Broadcast

PRNewswire

Enlarge Photo November 25, 2008 – BURBANK, Calif. — The National Football League, 3ality Digital and RealD today announced they will join forces to test a three-dimensional broadcast experience that could create a new home viewing standard for televised sports.
The first-ever live broadcast of an NFL game in full digital 3D format, being made available Dec. 4 to select audiences in three U.S. cities, is designed to immerse viewers in the game as never before.

The groundbreaking broadcast – featuring NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders – will be shot and transmitted by 3ality Digital and shown to invited guests at RealD 3D-enabled theaters in Boston, Hollywood and New York City. The three- dimensional nature of the broadcast, which incorporates near pixel-perfect quality, is able to convey the sense among viewers that they are actually on the field with the players.

Just as high-definition broadcasts have enhanced the home viewing experience in recent years, digital 3D broadcasts will set a new broadcast standard in the months and years to come. The upcoming NFL game will demonstrate the unprecedented picture quality viewers will soon be able to enjoy in their homes.

“The NFL has played an important role in the evolution of media and consumer acceptance of emerging technologies and we’re pleased to work with 3ality Digital and RealD to glimpse into the future,” said Howard Katz, the NFL’s senior vice president of broadcasting and media operations. “This broadcast will be an exciting test of how 3D could affect fans’ experience in the future.”

Burbank-based 3ality Digital is overseeing production and transmission of the 3D broadcast. The company has established itself as the leading provider of digital 3D offerings by bringing to market the first live action film shot entirely in digital 3D (U2 3D), the first transatlantic 3D broadcast (Jeffrey Katzenberg interview at IBC) and the first scripted television show shot entirely in live digital 3D (NBC’s “Chuck”).

“Digital 3D broadcasting provides a compelling and visceral experience for viewers, one that is shaping the evolution of a new content delivery standard,” said 3ality Digital CEO Sandy Climan. “We already have demonstrated the tremendous value digital 3D brings to mainstream movies and scripted television programs, and we are looking forward to astounding the audiences who will be enjoying this unprecedented event on December fourth.”

RealD, based in Beverly Hills, Calif., specializes in bringing the most advanced digital 3D projection capabilities to cinemas worldwide. RealD’s next-generation 3D experience has garnered more than 90% of the global market for 3D cinema. Currently, with over 100 exhibition partners, more than 5,500 worldwide screens are committed to install RealD’s platform. The company will be providing access to RealD 3D-enabled theatres for the NFL event, as well as contributing 3D-capable television monitors to provide an advance look at the television viewing experience of the future.

“As boxing fans once gathered at local theatres to see heavyweight title matches in the era before pay-per-view and plasma televisions, RealD’s new technology will give audiences another reason to head to the theatre,” explained Michael Lewis, chairman and CEO of RealD. “The continued box office success and the strong audience response to films released on RealD’s platform have shown that consumers crave a premium 3D cinematic experience. We look forward to giving fans of live events the opportunity to feel like they’re in the front row without even being there.”

Next month’s broadcast is the latest in the NFL’s ongoing efforts to use technology to enhance fans’ enjoyment of the sport. Decades ago, the NFL was the first sports league to establish weekly sports programming on primetime television in 1970 with Monday Night Football. In the years since, the league has been at the forefront of emerging media, including cable and satellite television, satellite radio, online and mobile phones.

The Dec. 4 broadcast, which is being produced by 3ality Digital and presented in RealD, will be transmitted live to invited audiences in the three theaters. Supporting this first-of-its-kind event are Clearview Cinemas, Mann Theatres and National Amusements, all industry leaders who have long embraced 3D and RealD. Collectively, all three circuits have over 160 RealD theatre locations, with major expansions planned for 2009. Technicolor Digital Cinema is providing the satellite transponder time and digital downlink services to each theater.

About 3ality Digital

3ality Digital is a state-of-the-art entertainment company that uses advanced technologies to power uniquely dynamic content and audience experiences in 3D. The company’s mission is to deliver pixel-perfect 3D entertainment from image capture through broadcast, regardless of viewing platform. Based in Burbank, Calif., 3ality Digital brings together world-class experts in the fields of filmmaking, science and technology to develop environments in which audience members feel the action and become part of the moment. The company’s debut production, U2 3D, was the first movie shot entirely in digital live action 3D, and is nearing $20M in global box office, making it one of the highest-grossing concert films of all time.

About RealD

RealD is the global leader in 3D, bringing the most advanced and enjoyable digital 3D experience to cinemas worldwide. RealD’s next-generation technology, deployed across the world’s largest 3D platform in 29 countries with more than 1,500 installations worldwide, provides a stunningly realistic viewing experience. The impact of 3D upon today’s moviemaking has been compared to the advent of color film when once there was only black and white. Beyond cinema, RealD is the worldwide inventor and provider of key stereoscopic technologies used in science, manufacturing, marketing, and other industries, with thirty years of scientific development behind its systems. RealD’s mission-critical 3D visualization technologies are used by organizations such as NASA, Pfizer, BMW, Boeing and more. For more information, visit http://www.reald.com/.

3ality Digital

CONTACT: Brian McCarthy, NFL, +1-212-450-2069; Dave Curley, Hillman PRfor 3ality Digital, +1-443-683-0920; Gina Lang, RealD, +1-310-248-6105

FunMobility Launches aFlix.TV Service on Verizon Wireless

Datamonitor
November 18, 2008 – FunMobility, a US-based provider of wireless community and media services, has launched aFlix.TV, a user-generated video sharing service, on Verizon Wireless.
According to FunMobility, its aFLIX service will enable Verizon Wireless customers to share user-generated content with other mobile phone users across multiple carrier networks.

Using aFLIX, Verizon Wireless customers who have phones with video capabilities may share their mobile videos as life happens. Customers can upload videos into categories such as comedy, kids vids, crazy pets, sports hijinks, or create a profile with their videos and share public or private messages with other members.

Adam Lavine, CEO of FunMobility, said: “Today’s mobile consumer demands creative freedom and giving them the tools to generate their own media is the next step in broadening and deepening their mobile experiences. aFLIX represents the next evolution of mobile media creation, giving users the ability to point, click, and immediately share their personal videos with millions of others.”

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

HDTV Sets Now In More Than One-Third of U.S. Homes

Hey I know this isnt about online but I suspect that this is very relevant as one of the key drivers to more web content in standard defintion.

Leichtman Research Survey Shows 1 In 5 Purchased a TV Set in Past Year

By Linda Moss — Multichannel News, 11/12/2008

New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group found that 34% of U.S. households have at least one HDTV set, about double the percentage of households that had such TVs two years ago.

The growth of HDTV sets has largely been driven by on-going consumer purchasing of TV sets coupled with a dwindling supply of lower-end non-HDTV sets being sold, according to Leichtman. Overall, 22% of all households purchased a new TV set in the past 12 months, with 43% of this group spending over $1,000 on a new TV.

These findings are based on a survey of 1,302 households throughout the United States, and are part of a new LRG study, HDTV 2008: Consumer Awareness, Interest and Ownership. This is LRG’s sixth annual study on this topic.

Other findings include:

— Combined, 38% of HD owners say that replacing an old/broken set or wanting to buy a new TV set was the most important reason for getting their HDTV, compared to 22% citing picture quality, and 7% the quality of HD programming or the number of HD channels.

— 44% with annual household incomes over $50,000 have an HDTV compared to 20% with annual household incomes under $50,000.

— 33% of HDTV owners have more than one HDTV set, and 25% are likely to get another HDTV set in the next year.

— 9% of HD owners say that they switched multi-channel video providers when they purchased their HDTV.

— 42% of HDTV owners say that they were told how to receive HD programming when they purchased their set.

— LRG estimates that about 58% of all HD households are now watching HD programming from a multi-channel video provider – up from 53% last year. However, about 18% of individuals with an HDTV continue think that they are watching HD programming, but are not.

“About 40 million U.S. households now have at least one HDTV set, and LRG forecasts that this number will double over the next four years,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said in a prepared statement. “While more people than ever before have HDTV sets, educating consumers on HD programming remains an issue.”

After banning YouTube, military launches TroopTube

Associated Press

November 12, 2008 – SEATTLE – The U.S. military, with help from Seattle startup Delve Networks, has launched a video-sharing Web site for troops, their families and supporters, a year and a half after restricting access to YouTube and other video sites.
TroopTube, as the new site is called, lets people register as members of one of the branches of the armed forces, family, civilian Defense Department employees or supporters. Members can upload personal videos from anywhere with an Internet connection, but a Pentagon employee screens each for taste, copyright violations and national security issues.

Part of Delve’s work was to build speedy tools for approving and sorting incoming videos. Its technology also crunches video files into several sizes and automatically plays the one that best suits viewers’ Internet connection speeds.

But the startup’s real forte is making sure searches on the site turn up the best video results. Delve’s system turns a video’s sound into a text transcript. It pares unimportant words like “this” and “that,” then compares what’s left against a massive database of words commonly uttered in proximity to each other, collected from crawling hundreds of millions of Web pages.

The result: Even if speech recognition software trips on the one word someone is searching for, there’s a good chance Delve can still deliver relevant results.

In May 2007, the Defense Department banned employees and soldiers from accessing sites including YouTube and MySpace, citing security and bandwidth issues. Delve Chief Executive Alex Castro called TroopTube a “retention tool” aimed at a generation of soldiers who bring laptops to the front lines.

“A lot of people are excited in the company to be doing something for the people who make sacrifices,” said Castro, his eyes tearing. “We’re proud of this.”

Full-Motion Mobile Digital Television in Chicago and Denver

ION Media Networks, Inc., owner and operator of the nation’s largest broadcast TV station group and an industry leader in the development of mobile digital television (DTV), today announced two successful mobile DTV field trial demonstrations using WCPX, its station serving the Chicago market and KPXC, its station serving the Denver market.

The real-world field trials use new mobile DTV technology that will enable television broadcasters to deliver live, over-the-air digital television to next-generation mobile devices, including battery-powered digital televisions, cell phones, laptops and personal media players. Mobile DTV will allow users to watch their favorite programs – as well as local news, weather and traffic information – on the go, either at pedestrian or vehicular speeds.

“Mobile DTV promises to deliver benefits to television broadcasters and viewers alike,” said Brandon Burgess, Chairman and CEO, ION Media Networks. “The collaboration of the Open Mobile Video Coalition, its members, and partners like LG and Samsung represent a unique unified commitment toward accelerating mobile DTV into a marketplace reality.”

WCPX, transmitting from atop the Sears Tower, and KPXC, reaching Denver from a Fort Lupton-based tower, are both broadcasting two mobile DTV programs simultaneously, in addition to the multicast of four programs already transmitted, within their 6-MHz channel. ION Media is using handheld mobile phones, laptops fitted with USB receivers, and screens installed in traveling test vans throughout the downtown area, surrounding suburbs and rural regions. The trials have demonstrated winning program reception in pedestrian locations as well as at highway speeds in the nation’s third and eighteenth largest media markets.

“Our local station field trials in Chicago and Denver prove that multiple channels of premium-quality video broadcast television can be reliably delivered to users anywhere they want to access content, all using the existing digital television broadcast infrastructure,” said Brett Jenkins, Director of Technology Strategy and Development, ION Media Networks.

Field trials, such as these, are being applauded by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), the major broadcast industry consortium with a mission of advancing mobile DTV technology, of which ION Media is a founding member. At the manufacturer level, LG Electronics and Samsung agreed in May 2008 to jointly support a single common standard for mobile/handheld digital TV broadcasting. The emerging Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) Mobile DTV standard, which enables DTV services to mobile and handheld devices, has broad, solid and enthusiastic broadcaster support. The standardization process is moving ahead rapidly and is expected to be finalized in 2009.

For the Chicago and Denver trials, LG Electronics, Harris and Zenith are providing mobile TV receivers, transmission equipment and technical expertise to ION Media. According to Harris Broadcast Communications President, Tim Thorsteinson, “ION Media Networks has been a driving force in generating broadcast industry support for mobile DTV. We are pleased to be working with the broadcaster on their market demos and the mobile DTV campaign going forward.”

Dr. Woo Paik, President and Chief Technology Officer, LG Electronics Inc. said, “We are very encouraged by the strong and growing support for mobile DTV within the U.S. broadcast community, as exemplified by the groundbreaking trials by ION Media, and we look forward to moving a wide array of ATSC mobile DTV compatible handheld devices from prototypes to retail shelves in the years ahead.”

ION Media’s WCPX and KPXC broadcast in multicast SD, which is compatible with multiple broadcast strategies, including mobile DTV. Their signals carry varied programming, including: a digital feed of ION Television, a contemporary general entertainment network featuring a mix of compelling television series, theatrical and made- for-television movies and specials; qubo, a digital television and multimedia network offering programming for children focused on promoting positive values and literacy; and ION Life, a digital network dedicated to active lifestyles and personal growth. ION Media’s leadership role in the charge to make mobile DTV widespread, along with its advancements in digital network programming, plays a crucial role in the Company’s overarching multi-platform business strategy.

About ION Media Networks

ION Media Networks, Inc. owns and operates the nation’s largest broadcast television station group and ION Television, which reaches 94 million U.S. television households via its nationwide broadcast television, cable and satellite distribution systems, and features popular TV services and movies from the award-winning libraries of RHI Entertainment, CBS Television, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Television, Twentieth Television and Warner Bros., among others. Using its digital multicasting capability, the Company has launched several digital TV brands, including qubo, a channel focusing on literacy and values, and ION Life, a channel dedicated to active living and personal growth. It also has launched Open Mobile Ventures Corporation (OMVION), a business unit focused on the research and development of portable, mobile and out-of-home transmission technology using over-the-air digital television services. For more information, visit http://www.ionmedia.com.

(c) 2008 BUSINESS WIRE. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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National CineMedia Extends FirstLook to Web

Advertisers participating in the launch of the new site include Sony and Honda
Nov 5, 2008

-By Katy Bachman

National CineMedia is extending its FirstLook preshow program from the big screen to the computer screen with the Nov. 5 launch of its new Web site (ncm.com). Intending to create an interactive entertainment and social media destination for consumers, NCM is also hoping to build an integrated marketing platform and gateway for advertisers.

Advertisers participating in the launch of the new site include Sony, which has provided exclusive worldwide content from the new James Bond film Quantum of Solace, and Honda.

NCM.com premieres with dedicated sections on movies, TV and NCM events, links to tickets through Fandango, and social media features including the ability to post and share NCM content. Taking the movie trailer interactive, HyperTrailer allows users to pause action and select a variety of directions to explore different aspects of a movie such as interviews, special effects, games and even do content-related shopping. The first HyperTrailer is the Quantum of Solace.

“This expansion of our cinema advertising business online will allow advertisers to extend beyond the 360-degree marketing reach of the movie theatre environment,” said Cliff Marks, president of sales and marketing for NCM.