Tag Archives: Online Video

HTML5 and Netflix

Netflix explains in this post how they use HTML5 for their UI frontend and logic

HTML5 brings to the table, the freedom to create rich, dynamic and interactive experiences for any platform with a web browser. In fact, we’re also using HTML5 to create the user experience for our iPhone, iPad and Android applications as well

[...] HTML5 [...] is delivered from Netflix servers every time you launch our application. This means we can constantly update, test and improve the experience we offer. [...] Our customers don’t have to go through a manual process to install new software every time we make a change, it “just happens.”

[...] our world class UI engineers can seamlessly move between working on our website, our mobile experience, and our television-based applications.

This clip shows a sample of how that HTML5-based UI looks on a PS3.

[Chart] Apple Makes HTML5 Video Grow

With more than 7 million iPads sold in a few months, no one doubts that the iPad has forever changed personal computing. The chart, via the Business Insider once again,  shows the growth of HTML5 video this year, which is clearly driven by the iPad and its lack of support for Flash.

Adobe must be  worried. From total dominance of online video to “No Flash? No worries“.

Flash Vs. HTML5: Google Will Decide

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The future of Adobe Flash is in the hands of Google.

Apple’s reluctance to support Flash on the iPhone and the iPad is putting tremendous pressure on the future of Adobe’s ubiquitous platform, present in 98% of browsers worldwide.

The Adobe Flash Player  is the engine behind 99% of  Video in the web. Adobe Flash Player 10.1, soon to be released, was supposed to take Flash Player dominance together with online video to mobile handsets. But Google and Apple insistence in an Open Web with HTML5 native video (among other capabilities) that make Flash irrelevant can ruin Adobe’s plans. Apple bet of non supporting Flash even on the iPad shows they are pretty determined to kill Flash.

Abobe is going from being the ‘good guy’ that enabled video on the Web, to the ‘bad guy’ that imposes proprietary technology and that crashes browsers too often. Is Flash doomed to die then? It is up to Google.

Apple and Google close romance is turning to an end as both turn to competitors rather than friends in smartphones, office applications, browsers, OS, and soon in tablets and ebooks.

With Chrome OS now targeting the trendy tablet feast too, the support of Flash Player on Chrome OS and Android can give an edge over Apple’s rivals.  Having all video on the web on Google powered smarphones and tablets, that would be a huge advantage to Google.

But Google could also well decide to stick to its principles and go full speed on the HTML5 open web vision, shared with Apple. If Google moves all YouTube content to HTML5, who on Earth is not going to install an HTML5 browser? Even the stubborn IE6 laggards would finally wake up and change. How long would it take for other web video properties to move to HTML5 and drop Flash?

Update: Good ZDNet post on the HTML vs. Flash war.

Update 2: Good explanation on Gizmodo about HTML5 and Flash

Update 3: Great post on TechCrunch on the Future of Web Content

The Ultimate STB!

I will be in Taiwan in a few days, and I do not plan to leave without one of these boxes. I already posted about it. The newest Asus Eee Box is a great product. Small-form that can be (VESA) mounted on the back of the TV, quiet, low power, Wifi-n for true multimedia without wires, HDMI and SPDIF output…  and it is much more affordable than a Mac Mini.

I have not found any cons yet. And what’s more, see the video clip for the Eee Stick, the killer accesory to control the Eee Box from the sofa.

Install the Boxee version for Windows XP, or simply “tune-in” into http://www.youtube.com/xl for your Online Video experience on the TV.

Why Is Google Acquiring On2?

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Google has announced the acquisition of On2, the company that owns some of the video compression codecs widely used in online video, but that were recently losing ground in favor of h.264.

Why is Google spending $106 million in purchasing the owner of  decaying codecs?

1) Google has high hopes for HTML5, a standard set to handle video natively (i.e. there will a a <video> tag, as there is a <img> tag for pictures now, and no plugin will be required for the browser to play a video, unlike the plugins required now for flash, Windows Media or Real Audio). If Google open-sources the coming VP8 codec from On2, and forces it into  HTML5,  it would seriously hit Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight proprietary strategies in favor of an open HTML5. Google can put a lot of pressure by incorporating VP8 into Chrome and migrating YouTube to support it.

2) Owning a video codec technology, as online video becomes King in the Web. Although h.264 is an open standard licensed by MPEGLA, Microsoft owns their own propriety Windows Media codecs. Imaging Windows introducing ad insertion, or search within videos, or interactive video objects within the video coding technology ahead of others. What would be the effect to Google’s search and advertising “bread and butter” in a video-centric Web? Can you imagine Google paying licenses to archrival Microsoft?

3) Is $106m too much? Google might be making the simple maths? What would be the impact on their market cap, if Microsoft releases a video codec with ad/search features? What would be the impact on Microsoft stock if Google is able to master the video codec technology and do that first? Note that just the announcement of this acquisition make Adobe shares drop 3.5%!!

It is not the saving in licenses or bandwith what drives this acquisition. This is about strategy, defending from Microsoft, and taking control of its own future. Google will not make direct revenue from this $106m acquisition, but if it succeeds in getting VP8 widely adopted into HTML5, they are going to be better positioned that anyone to defend their Advertising and Search business in video too.

Online 3D video, interactive objects within video, search within video contents. All that will come and Google wants to be the one to bring it and not depend on standard bodies, or worse,  its major competitor.

Coverage of this news by other blogs:

TechCrunch, Google Acquires Video Compression Technology Company On2 For $106 Million

GigaOM, Google: You Buy Some, You Sell Some

NewTeevee, Watch Out, Flash; Google Buys On2

StreamingMedia.com, Google’s Acquisition Of On2 Not A Big Deal, Here’s Why

Blue-ray Won the Battle but Lost the War

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It is already one year since Sony signed with the four big movie studios and knocked out Toshiba in the war for the high-definition video format. Seagate’s CEO said then “Blue-ray won the battle but lost the war”, referring to hard-drives as the end winners that will store HD movie downloads. Time is predictably confirming his point, as broadband speed grows, movie downloads gain popularity and storage costs drop.

As NYT writes in Blu-ray’s Fuzzy Future, DVD was a big step forward compared to VHS, but Blue-ray quality improvement versus a DVD is not enough to compel consumers to invest into it, less in the middle of a recession. And time plays against Sony’s format. A Blu-ray disc (BD) has 25 GB capacity,or 50GB for two-layers BDs. By next year memory cards of 32GB will be available, and that will kill the adoption of BD-ROM units in computers. The Mac Air and all netbooks already said good-bye to DVD-CD discs. The popularity of external Terabyte drives makes the use of a 50GB Blu-ray disc irrelevant for back-up too.

Not even Microsoft is considering anymore to include Blue-ray in the Xbox 360. Why would they make it more costly when the 360 already has an Internet connection to download movies and games?

With the growth of  broadband speed and cheap storage, do not be surprised if Blu-ray is not in the picture(s) in ten years. As flash get cheaper, even SanDisk could venture into SlotMovie to distribute movies in micro-SD cards, as they did with SlotMusic.

Online Movies 2019

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In 2019, while Music downloads are mostly free, people is ready to pay for Movie downloads.

The Music industry has changed in the past ten years and artists make their work known by distributing it for free. Their revenues come from fans fees, live performances, merchandising, ad endorsements and downloads of live concert videos.

Movie producers maintain theaters as their main source of revenue, but they also cash on HD downloads, at a few dollars each, and TV-rights from Pay-TV broadcasters. TV movie channels have survived due to the high number of people that still find “zapping” as the way to discover what to watch this evening.

With set-top-boxes powered by 128 cores CPUs, 250 GB RAM and flash drives of  32 TB, fed by a broadband connection of 8 Gbps, the premium content is now delivered in Ultra-HD at 4320p with 20.2 audio channels and 60 frames per second. HDTV 1080p is the standard quality, except from some lower resolution user-generated-content sites at 720p.

The Immersive Game Consoles just announced promise to deliver a new genre of  immersive games, but also immersive movies and immersive communications within a 3D virtual reality environment.

TV shows continue to be ad sponsored, and also available streamed from the Net with the option to download them for only $0.99,  free from inserted and overlay ads. 

The cash cows for Pay-TV operators are live sport events, broadcasted in HD and Ultra-HD and enriched with interactive features like multiple-angles and “watch-with-friends”. 3D VR immersive live events broadcasts are not available yet, but it will come in the next ten years before 2030.

This post is a fictitious prediction of what could be written about online video and movies in ten years from now. I can not guarantee it will happen but I am ready to take bets of $1.29, $0.99 or $0.69