It's been online for a few days now, but I just spotted (via PaidContent) Forbes' article titled The iFlop (subhead: "Steve Jobs tried to design--and dictate--the future of television. Here's how he failed.") Author Scott Woolley calls the Apple TV "a flat-out" failure, claiming that it's sold less than 250,000 units in six months. Among the supposed sins of the product: the lack of a built-in DVR and a "parochial and proprietary approach" to online video content. He also highlights a variety of on-demand video competitors, including Vudu, TiVo (via Amazon Unbox), and Xbox 360 (which offers rentals and sales of TV shows via the Xbox Live Marketplace)--while glossing over many of their shortcomings. Still, is he right? Is the Apple TV dead in the water? … Read more
Remember when Amazon.com was just a bookstore? On Tuesday morning, the online retailer launched the public beta of its much-anticipated rival to Apple's iTunes Store: Amazon MP3, which features over 2 million songs free of digital rights management copy protection, which means they'll play on any computer, music player, or music-enabled cell phone.
Because of Amazon MP3's DRM-free focus, that means the selection isn't as wide as the iTunes Store's. Several major-label conglomerates, like Sony BMG and Warner Music Group, have not jumped onto the bandwagon and hence aren't offering their music for … Read more
Like me, there are a lot of people who fantasize about making extra money in their spare time. We've all seen the "earn cash while you work from home" flyers taped to the street posts but there's always a hitch, like the need to pay $500 up front to get the materials to start working.
So, when I heard about Amazon's Mechanical Turk business opportunity, my interest was piqued. It's one of Amazon's Web Services in which it offers things like infrastructure, computing power and storage on an outsource basis to start-ups. With … Read more
College football is back, and so is fall television. If you're looking to pick up some free TV shows (legally), the Internet is your friend and is a great place to go for digital versions of TV shows, sans a TV or the need for a VCR or DVR to watch shows when you want to. Note that several of these sites are walking a fine line of what's legal and what's not, which was outlined in yesterday's post about legal suicide for start-ups. We don't condone piracy or encourage it; this guide is for entertainment purposes only.
Free (and paid-for) downloads:
iTunes. iTunes is worth mentioning here because you can often get the first and last episode of any show for free. You can then put it on your iPod, iPhone, or watch it full-screen on your computer. While the iTunes Store is now lacking shows like The Office, because of NBC pulling out of its renewal deal, you can still find shows from ABC, CBS, and Fox--which incidentally is offering free pilots of all of their series, which you can find here (link opens up in iTunes).
Amazon Unbox. While we may not have had the best experience using this service in the past, if you're looking for legal digital copies of NBC's newest shows, you're stuck with Unbox until Hulu launches next month. Like the iTunes Store, you'll find all the big players here, although keep in mind that you can't watch these shows on any portable media players, which makes the $1.99 price tag a little harder to swallow.
Editor's Pick: MythBusters
Joost. There is an absolute ton of content on Joost, including entire seasons of the original Transformers from the 80s. The only catch? You've gotta download and install the client, and get a private beta token, which these days is about as easy to get as it was to get a Gmail invite a few years back.
Click the "read more" link below to continue reading, and find out about free, streaming options.… Read more
It seems some investors are thinking about where all this user-generated content is headed.
Nirvanix, a new storage provider for online media applications, has received $12 million in funding from Mission Ventures, Valhalla Partners and Windward Ventures, the company announced Tuesday.
Nirvanix, which launched in early September, provides storage and retrieval tools for online media applications that host user-generated content. The company intends to specialize in large-scale media sites where millions of users may generate, store and retrieve content.
MeeVee, a site where you can browse TV programs, movies, and other shows to watch on your computer, is adding a widget enabling people to purchase movies through Amazon.com without having to leave the MeeVee site. The Amazon player will appear on MeeVee's new Amazon channel starting Monday, says Michael Raneri, chief executive of MeeVee.
When I think of Amazon, I think of all the money I spend there buying books and CDs. But the company isn't just focused on selling Harry Potter books online to school kids anymore.
Amazon is trying to lure start-ups to sign up for its Amazon Web Services, which offers storage, virtual server, payment and other services on a pay-per-usage basis. This makes sense for young companies that want to focus on their core business and not have to spend money on expensive hardware.
Five years after it launched its first service, the company is making a name for … Read more
Amazon Web Services is launching a program to entice start-up developers with money to build applications that use Amazon's utility computing services. A small company could even get seed money out of the deal.
A subsidiary of online retail giant Amazon.com, Amazon Web Services is a suite of services that let developers access hosted computing, storage, payment and other services and pay for them on a per-usage basis.
Company executives, including CEO Jeff Bezos, have singled out its Web services business as a potential area of future revenue growth and a way to expand into new customers.
Its … Read more
The divide between Web IM apps and the software versions is getting smaller, albeit with the help of improved bandwidth and technology like Adobe's Flash. In the same vein, Meebo, the popular Web-based multiclient chat platform is getting a handy update tonight. Users are now able to trade files with each other right in the chat window. It's not just Meebo users, either, it's anyone on your friends list. If your buddy has a file-transfer-enabled client, you'll be able to pass files back and forth freely.
However, unlike software IM clients, the caps for file transfer … Read more
After Jim Gray, a technical fellow for Microsoft Research in Silicon Valley, was lost at sea in January, Amazon.com set up its Mechanical Turk service to let the public help examine Digital Globe satellite photos of the ocean outside of San Francisco Bay for signs of Gray's sailboat. Unfortunately, Gray was never found.
I spent an evening going through these images on Mechanical Turk because I knew who Gray was (coincidentally, his home page at Microsoft Research was the first entry in my "People" bookmarks collection) and because… Read more