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Analysis for 'EchoStar'

  • EchoStar Selects Conviva to Guarantee Video Quality of DISH's TV Everywhere Services

    EchoStar, which is DISH Network's main technology partner, has selected Conviva to guarantee video quality of DISH Network's 2 main TV Everywhere services, DISH Anywhere and DishWorld. The former provides live and on-demand access to DISH's programming while the latter is focused on international programming delivered online.

    EchoStar will use Conviva's Intelligent Control Platform to optimize streaming video quality in real-time, on a per user basis. Conviva's platform monitors stream quality at an the individual user level, anticipating problems and preemptively optimizing by adjusting the bitrate, content delivery network and other parameters. An analytics suite gives content providers insight into the performance and viewership of their video.

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  • 10 Online/Mobile Video Items from CES Worth Noting

    Happy Friday. Below are 10 interesting CES news items related to online and mobile video that hit my radar this week, but that I didn't have an opportunity to write about. There were many more cool things coming out of Las Vegas, and on so on Wed, January 19th TDG's Colin Dixon and I will present our next complimentary webinar, "Demystifying CES 2011" to review everything more fully. Mark your calendars, registration will be open shortly.

    Intel "Insider" Movie Service unveiled - Intel unexpectedly launched its own online movie service as part of its "Sandy Bridge" chip announcement. The world probably doesn't need another service, but when Intel soon enabled is "WiDi" wireless display to project content to HDTVs, Insider will get more attention.  

    EchoStar acquires Move Networks assets - an inglorious ending for early leader in adaptive bit rate (ABR) streaming. As CDN prices plummeted and ABR competition emerged, Move's service was over-priced and marginalized.

    Funai integrates ActiveVideo Networks into connected devices - The first integration of AVN's "CloudTV" into connected CE devices allows interactive streaming content to be delivered in standard MPEG format.

    Orb BR launches - Orb Networks launches "Orb BR," a disc that inserted into connected Blu-ray players or PS3 that allows viewers to access content from the full Internet. Cost? $19.95. Waiting to try one out, this could be a winner.

    Comcast and Time Warner Cable service coming directly to Sony and Samsung TVs - Hate that cable set top box? Soon Comcast subscribers will be able to buy a connected Samsung TV and access the full Xfinity TV channel lineup. Similarly, Time Warner Cable subscribers will be able to buy Sony connected TV buyers and see the full cable channel lineup. Who would have thought?

    Skype plans to acquire Qik mobile video service - Moving to bulk up its involvement with video, Skype plans to acquire Qik, which allows users to record and share video via mobile devices.

    Motorola and AT&T unveil Atrix 4G - Have a look at this video to see what the future of mobile devices look like - the power of a full computer in your pocket. Two very clever docks mean that users can easily view video on bigger screens as well as work with a full keyboard and mouse.

    Vudu to offer 3D movies - a first for online delivery, aggregator Vudu announced that it is currently offering 3D movies to certain Samsung connected devices, and will soon offer it to PS3, Vizio, LG, Mitsubishi, Toshiba and boxee.  

    Boxee gains access to CBS programs - Boxee broke some new ground by gaining access to CBS programs, something that neither Apple TV, Roku or Google TV currently have. No word on pricing yet.

    Yahoo adds feature to its Connected TV platform - Yahoo, one of the early entrants in the connected TV area, launches a feature call "broadcast interactivity" which allows further engagement with TV program content.

     
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  • Here Comes Sling.com

    Does the world need another broadband video aggregation site for premium quality video content?

    The answer to that question will start to come early next week when Sling.com, the latest entrant in this already crowded space, officially launches. Recently Jason Hirschhorn, president of Sling Media's entertainment group and Brian Jaquet, Sling's Director of Public Relations came through Boston and caught me up on their plans to launch commercially on Nov. 24th.

    Many of you know that Sling is the maker of the Slingbox, which connects to your TV or DVR, allowing you to remotely watch programs on your computer. It's a very clever product, though I have to admit its use case has always been a little confounding to me. Nonetheless, just over a year ago, Sling was acquired by EchoStar in a $380 million deal. Shortly thereafter, EchoStar split itself into two parts, Dish Network, the satellite-delivered programming company, and EchoStar Corporation, which includes Sling and other technology-based businesses.

    Sling.com, developed by Jason's entertainment group, is the first Sling offering not tethered to any of its devices and therefore open to all users. Acknowledging that Hulu has set a high bar on user experience, Jason explained that Sling.com is attempting to go one step further on usability, and will also differentiate itself with updated social networking capabilities and highly focused editorial content.

    In particular, Sling.com offers a slew of Facebook-like features that allow users to subscribe to and favorite programs and networks, with users in turn able to follow these activities. As Jason aptly put it, the goal is to "digitize the water cooler conversation." The whole experience is geared toward engaging the user at a far deeper level than we're accustomed to in passive linear viewing, or even typical at other aggregators' sites.

    The real differentiator for Sling long-term though is the integration of Sling.com with the remote viewing offered by Slingbox. Enabled by a new web-based player (instead of the prior downloadable client), users are able to seamlessly browse back and forth between watching live TV and cataloged programs, as shown below.

     

    Taking this one step further, Sling's goal is to get its remote viewing technology embedded in others' set-top boxes as well. So for example, a Comcast STB with Sling inside would allow you to have live TV integrated into your Sling.com, without having to go buy another box.

    That's an enticing prospect, but making it happen will be no small feat; the STB giants like Motorola and SA (now part of Cisco) will get on board only when their biggest customers - America's cable operators - ask for it. The prospect of these cable executives wanting to incorporate any technology controlled by Charlie Ergen, Echo's founder/CEO and the cable industry's arch-enemy, stretches my mind. However, stranger deals have been done, so who knows. In the meantime, there are a whole lot of other non-cable homes globally Sling can address first.

    But much of that is down the road anyway. For now, Sling.com is going to compete head on with Hulu (which by my count supplies virtually the entire current movie catalog at Sling.com, in turn begging the question of how many different ways one relatively small ad revenue stream can get carved up?), Fancast, the portal sites, YouTube and so on. Jason readily admits that these sites will not compete on content exclusivity; ultimately they'll all have access to everything that's available.

    So in this incredibly crowded space, is there room for a newcomer? On the surface, it's tempting to say "no." But history teaches us that "better mousetraps" can elbow their way into even the most crowded spaces. Remember how many search engines already existed when Google burst onto the scene? On a totally different level, I can relate to this challenge myself. A year ago I wondered whether there was room for a new broadband video-centric blog when so many others already existed; now here we are.

    The reality is that newcomers succeed because they don't accept the status quo as final. Rather, they find smart ways of delivering new and better value to customers who didn't necessarily even know what they wanted, but when they got it, were delighted. That's Sling.com's challenge. Whether it can meet it remains to be seen. But in this crummy economy, their deep-pocketed backing certainly gives them a leg up on any VC-funded competitors when it comes to long-term staying power.

    What do you think? Post a comment now!

     
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