Aug. 13, 2008

Here She Is...New MediaMall Website

Well, as you can probably tell, we launched our new Website today. Kudos to Rachel Su who was a rock star during development and deployment! We hope you like our face-lift (OK - it is more like Face/Off - John Travolta's 1997 hit, except we are not evil now ;). This should give you a better sense of who we are and where we are going, and gives us the place to launch PlayOn -- first in Beta form next Monday, with the fully featured release to follow shortly thereafter.

If you want to become a beta tester, you can sign up to be notified on Monday via email when the Beta is available for download. And - of course, we will send you detailed instructions.

There are too many changes to the website to enumerate here -- so check it out yourself. And - if you have feedback, send it our way - via our new feedback form!

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Aug. 11, 2008

The Broadband Olympics - What do you think?

So this has been dubbed the Broadband Olympics. NBC has undertaken offering over 5,000 hours of streamed and on-demand Olympic coverage in the two week Olympic timeframe. All of this video is recorded in China, edited, and offered up to us, the consumers, in record time. WOW. The Broadband coverage is a great way to check out more esoteric sporting events, or to make sure you see that race you have been anticipating, despite the fact it will occur while you sleep.

Check out the recent amazing upset: Swimming Relay

So - what I want to know is - are you watching? Have you used NBCOlympics.com? What do you think? Oh, and don't forget to stretch before the competitive fever strikes you too!

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Jul. 31, 2008

CBS on the DSM-520

We are not abandoning the DSM-520 or ActiveTV application! I know there has been a lot of buzz around PlayOn - the new Xbox360/PS3 product, but that does not mean that we don't love the 520. In fact, much of the development we are doing for PlayOn will enable us to enhance ActiveTV as well.

I received an email today asking: Was hoping to see something for the DSM520 and CBS.com...any details?

So - we currently have CBS.com running on the DSM-520 in a Beta version which I mentioned a while back. It is still Beta because we haven't perfected the ad units yet (we are working on that), but otherwise it is fully-functional. If you want to check it out, you can email me at tracy@themediamall.com and I can get you into the Beta program so that you can watch your favorite CBS shows on your big screen TV!

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Jul. 30, 2008

T-19 and Counting!

We are on track to launch the PlayOn Beta for the PS3 and Xbox360 in 19 days! It is looking great. We have decided on the name PlayOn (what do ya think?) for the product that will allow you to PLAY Hulu, YouTube, CBS.com, and ESPN.com ON your TV via your PS3 or Xbox360. We are still rounding up Beta users, and in fact I just received an email yesterday from a gamer that works over at Yahoo! Videogames, and I quote:

"Sounds awesome! I was just complaining to a friend the other day that I can't watch Hulu on my bigscreen because it doesn't let you download the video and stream it. So count me in for the beta. ;)"

Thanks Richard - we are excited too! And - if you have a PS3, Xbox360 or HP MediaSmart TV, you can be a Beta user as well -- just shoot an email to tracy@themediamall.com and let me know what device you have, and we will put you on the list for the August 18th Beta release. Oh - and like all Betas, the release will be free for Beta users! So, come on and join in the countdown fun!

Cheers!

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Jul. 24, 2008

Webtrends Enhances Video Analytics

Webtrends just announced that they have enhanced their video tracking metrics to enable advertisers to better measure the results of (and return on) their video advertising. This is good news as video advertising increases in importance. And, it is critical to those of us who will depend upon video advertising to support our product.

Our hope is to enable you to watch your favorite YouTube and Hulu videos on your TV. And - we want to make this VERY affordable (as free as possible). In order to do that, we plan to support the service with unobtrusive ads that run while you are searching for your video. In order for any advertisers to be interested, we will need to supply these critical metrics as to how much of the ad you saw, and if you expressed interest in learning more about the product. Webtrends and other services such as Visible Measures make reporting on video ads as data rich as static web ads - a critical piece to this developing medium.

So - as we continue on our quest to get your favorite videos off your computer and onto your TV, it is good to know that the supporting industries are evolving as well. Spread the news to potential advertisers - we still have some ad space available on ActiveTV!

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Jul. 21, 2008

OK - So I'm Not a Gamer

So I have been visiting the many PS3, Xbox360, and Wii forums to try to figure out how to garner interest for beta users of our new game console product (I blogged about here)...and I have realized that I am SO not a gamer! The lingo, the avatars, the passion for games and game consoles - it's intimidating! I LOVE video (ok, mildly addicted) and the internet has the best library around -- so Active-TV really appeals to me. I think folks who have PS3s/Xboxs/Wiis will be psyched to use them to play internet video on their TVs, but the fact of the matter is - I really don't know how to talk to them. So - if you know of a way to get in front of a bunch of gamers or want to help out -- let me know!

Some of the gamer forums I have come across include: gamepro, ps3forums, boardsus.playstation.com, psu.com, and playfire. If you know of others -- let me know as well!

tracy@themediamall.com

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Jul. 17, 2008

Finally -- Tivo and YouTube

So according to Adweek, some Tivo owners can finally watch YouTube on their TV! Bummer that it is only thousands that have a powerful enough box to do so. Tivo despirately needs to embrace Broadband Video as its increasing relevance may negate the need for Tivo altogether (with sites like Hulu and ABC.com). This is a step in the right direction -- as I mentioned in my post on Broadband's Abundance.

We want to take it much farther than the thousands who will be able to watch YouTube on their TV via their Tivo -- we want to open up not just YouTube, but also Hulu and ESPN.com and CBS.com and CNN.com to the millions (over 5 million) of folks who have PS3s or Xbox360s -- so they can watch these Internet-based videos on their TVs. I mentioned this on my last blog post where I invited PS3 owners and Xbox360 owners to try out our Beta. The offer is still open - email me at tracy@themediamall.com.

As always - would love to hear your thoughts!

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Jul. 10, 2008

Moving Beyond the DSM-520

We have had great feedback from our DSM-520 users, and we want to offer ActiveTV to many more users!  We are completing development on a UPnP version of ActiveTV...it will first be available for the PS3, XBox 360, and HP MediaSmart TV.  It will offer a limited but powerful set of video content sources, including Hulu, YouTube, CBS.com, CNN.com, ESPN.com, and Netflix.  WOW.  And -- to kick it all off, we are offering a FREE Beta version for folks who have one of these game consoles/TVs.  If you are interested in participating in our Beta, you can subscribe to this blog (we will be offering all subscribers the Beta version) or drop me an email at tracy@themediamall.com and I'll make sure you get on the Beta list!  It is still about 2 months out, but it is something to look forward to this fall!

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Jun. 16, 2008

Welcome Summer - Let the Party Begin!

Despite the rainy and cold weather we have had this Spring in Seattle, it seams the heat wave has really hit the east coast. And with the temperature rising, so are the tempers. I am talking about the cable MSO's tempers. It seems that they have gotten vocal about cable TV networks taking their content online. An article today in Advertising Age quotes Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt as saying "Guess What? We do mind" in response to a question regarding cable TV networks taking their content online for full-length web streaming. Apparently, Time Warner Cable even went so far as to threaten withholding subscriber revenue from Cable TV Networks that publish their content online.  MSO vs. Cable TV Network -- who are you betting on?

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May. 11, 2008

Active-TV.org

The Active-TV movement -- the ecosystem that is developing in support of a PC-assisted methodology for getting Internet-based content to your TV -- has a big supporter and resource in Daniel Mann. His recent post shows why PC-assist is a stronger technology than other proposed options. It is inexpensive -- it can be built into almost any networked STB or TV for a negligible increase to the Bill of Materials (BOM), and it is built for the future -- what I mean is that whatever new technologies are used on the Web to support video and other applications, Active-TV can handle them. Since Active-TV leverages the PC's processing power, and PC's can keep up with the new web technologies, it is an elegant solution to the problem. The other options don't offer affordability or sustainability. One option is to offer an expensive incremental STB, but many folks don't want another set-top, much less spend hundreds of dollars on it. Or, you can attempt to build it right into the TV, but in that case the technology will never be able to keep up with the web given the useful life of a TV is 8 yrs -- think about what video formats we were using 8 years ago, in 2000.... I didn't even watch video on the web back then. The fact that they are expensive and not "built to last" leads me to believe they are simply less elegant solutions. But, there is also lots of hesitancy around the Active-TV solution. PC-assist worries TV OEMs. They don't want the proper operation of their TV to depend on another device -- the PC. But -- they need to get over it. The PC is an asset, not a liability, and it can make the TV significantly more functional, opening the door to more content than we ever dreamed we'd be able to consume on our TVs.

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Top FAQs

What is PlayOn?
PlayOn is software that you install on your Windows PC. It allows you to use your Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Roku, iPhone, Android phone or another supported device to access movies and shows from content providers like Hulu, Netflix, Comedy Central, CBS, YouTube, MLB.tv, your personal media, and many more. PlayOn is both browser and media server software, built into one. It browses content from various online providers, and displays that content directly on your TV, iPhone or Android phone.
How does it work?
PlayOn runs in the background on your PC over your home network. It uses standards called UPnP and DLNA to communicate with networked gaming consoles,TVs, and mobile phones working both as an internet browser to access online media and as a UPnP media server to serve videos to UPnP compliant devices. Learn more
How can I buy PlayOn?
Simply visit our buy page for our current pricing.