Tag Archives: Video

Have they seen the light?

The Register, among many other news sites, reports that UK TV giants BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are to launch an on-demand video streaming service sometime in 2008.

Details are scarce in today’s announcement, but we’re promised “an exciting collection of over 10,000 hours of the very best of the UK broadcasters’ current and archive programming”. We’ve known about the project, codenamed “Project Kangaroo”, for some months now. The launch name hasn’t been revealed yet.

Will they get it right this time?
I’m perfectly ok with free streaming and pay for download/rental – one question though, are they finally going to shunt DRM protection?

I’d like to think the BBC has learned something from the verbal abuse it’s taken after the iPlayer was launched – or perhaps they’ll just do as they please and throw some rubbish like this at me:

14. Does Napster work with iPod?
Napster would like to work with your iPod, but Apple has chosen to keep both the iPod and iTunes closed off from Napster and every other digital music service. Napster’s philosophy is different. A Napster subscription gives you more ways to discover and enjoy music on more players. For a list of Napster-compatible players, click here.

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BBC streams video the Microsoft way

I was invited a few months ago to test the BBC iPlayer. I quite liked the idea and I’m very interested in everything streaming. I also tested Joost and Zattoo.

Unfortunately when the BBC decided to send me the invitation I had a Mac laptop and my computer at home was running Vista, !@”#$. Obviously the player doesn’t work with Mac OS. I wasn’t, however, expecting the application not to work with Vista. When I tried to activate the application I was greeted by an error popup telling me that the system works only with Internet Explorer on Windows XP. Fair enough.

iPlayer web interfaceI have now switched back to good old XP and am ready to test this player. Still no Firfox, I opened IE and logged in the BBC site with my beta account. Beautiful web interface, which works fine with Firefox too. After installing the small application an icon appears in the systray which is called: “Your Library”. Say what? I thought all BBC content was part of my library and I just had to click on any video to have it streamed to me instantly.

Apparently not. Opening the “Library” just says: you have nothing. Ok, so back to the BBC website with my newly installed IE plugin. Click on the new episode of Little Britain and right away the site told me that the video was being downloaded. Again, my only reaction is “Say what?”. So back to the library window, which is not even an application but a small popup running the IE engine with the BBC plugin to access your system information. This bright pink window is telling me that a 300 MB video is being downloaded and I had 500 MB of space on my hard drive allocated for the library.

My video is now here, excellent, click on play now. Another small IE-powered popup opens and, disguised under a customized interface, Windows Media Player starts playing the video, a bit slow though, but you can’t expect much from WMP. Oh yeah, almost forgot, my license for the video expires in 3 days then it’s a useless 300 MB file.

Now I don’t pretend to know any better than the BBC people working on this. They must have thought it through quite thoroughly. I do have a few questions though.

  1. Only windows XP and IE? Ever heard of flash? YouTube? Anybody? How about Mac users? Linux? Vista?
  2. Download a 300 MB file that I have to trash after 3 days? Planning to save on your Bandwidth anytime soon?
  3. Ever heard of streaming using P2P technology to save aforementioned bandwidth and offer more content? Seriously you should check out Joost, they started developing their application before you did.

Please, please have a look at Joost. Multi-platform, more content and less bandwidth usage because we stream to each other using BitTorrent‘s P2P technology. Maybe Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström will take pity on you and give you a small channel on their platform to share your content, if you ask nicely.

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The big deal – Weekend edition

I have a few things to post but no strength to do it. I figured another one of those trademark Bird and Fortune videos would do just as well.

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Starcraft 2 still far away

I wrote a couple of posts about the game at the time the official announcement was made. I was and am still very excited about it, can’t wait to take control of my armies again and start wasting countless hours of my life.

Ever since the official announcement Blizzard has worked hard to keep the hype going by revealing small portions of the gameplay at a time on their site. Not that they needed to considering the extremely morbid and dedicated community of fans out there.
During the E3 2007 conference a new gameplay video was released. The video was narrated by Chris Sigaty. Note that the label on the video at the time was “internal alpha”. He does mention it will be playable at Blizzcon though and also says there will be a beta (though it might not be a public one).

In case you needed any more reasons to want to go to BlizzCon, they’ve just announced that convention-goers will be treated to a playable demo of StarCraft II. Of course, who knows how much “playable demo” there is to the game yet, but but Blizzard tells us that “attendees can sample the new units and gameplay elements for themselves in multiplayer battles.” — WoWInsider

So Starcraft 2 may not be “that” far away after all. But I want it now!

Blizzard has now release a Terran gameplay video (embedded low-res here). A high definition release of the video is available for download here (roughly 600MB)

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The importance of “good words”

Being somewhat involved in the financial markets myself I find this video brilliant and particularly realistic. Especially the joke about emotions-induced volatility.
This is particularly true for who like me trades in Chinese equities which have been made even more volatile but the strong belief everyone involved in the market holds that China is a bloated time bomb about to explode.

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