Hired To Help People Bail On Cable

There should be an image here!Every time someone learns that I watch Hulu through my laptop via VGA to my TV set, the first question is “can you help me do that so I can cancel cable?” Clearly, there is something to consider here, both as an audience tired of being fleeced by insane cable/satellite costs, in addition to the appeal of getting TV for free or cheap… like we did when I was a kid.

At age 37, I vividly remember getting up as a child to warm up my TV for Saturday morning cartoons. To make sure my selection was not disturbed in any way, I would actually remove the “knob” from the TV set to guarantee my brother would not change the channel during an episode of my favorite cartoon show. Back then, the idea of paying for TV was not in the realm of reality of most people. 99% of the country was using a crazy contraption called broadcast TV. It cost us nothing other than time to warm up the TV set and maybe a pair of rabbit ears.

Flash forward to now. I think people are yearning for this simplicity once again. And settop devices, along with physical computers attached, do provide us with the ability to forego TV options of the 20th century once and for all.

The problem is, are they really ready for it? Do people understand that by going to a TV setup where you cannot simply have it running in the background with shows you’re not watching is where they’d be headed? On-demand TV is very different than cable or even broadcast TV. The obvious compromise, I guess, is a mixture of HD broadcast and on-demand options with Hulu, Netflix, and so on.

So no, I will not be available for hire as my friends and neighbors have asked me. Not because I cannot provide what they are asking for. Rather, because I realize its limitations are not always considered by those making the request. Once Hulu Plus comes to Roku (this fall), however, despite it being a little more limited in content than on the PC, I might reconsider setting folks up with my current home setup.

[Photo above by ellenm1 / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Amazon Combats Apple With $0.99 TV Shows

Amazon has just announced that its Video on Demand service will be selling $0.99 TV Shows from ABC and Fox just like Apple. But the difference from Apple is that you buy the TV show so you own the media instead of renting the show. So now the decision is: do you rent from Apple or do you own from Amazon?

One amazing plus that you get from Amazon Video is that it’s not just limited to one platform but is widely available a lot of different products. Apple now has a new competitor to the TV show market, going up against the Apple TV.

Steve Jobs boasted that the new $0.99 rental was one of the main features of the Apple TV. These days it’s relatively cheap and easy to watch a few TV shows. It also makes sense if you’re not a big TV watcher and you can decide to opt for the pay-per-view route rather than a pricey cable subscription. Because if you think about it, there are usually 22 episodes in a season, so that equals out to $22 per season of your favorite show.

Amazon’s better solution, however, includes that you buy the episodes for $0.99 and you can use them almost anywhere. The even better part about this is that you may already have the capability to play Amazon Video on Demand; it can be found in dozens of HDTVs from makers like Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic, including set top boxes like TiVo and Roku.

Though Apple TV may have more features than Amazon Video on demand, it is going to be a very big competition with the two services and it is going to be a tough climb to the top.

2010 Location Intelligence Conference Keynote Speakers And Agenda

Directions Media is pleased to announce its final agenda and keynote speakers for the 2010 Location Intelligence Conference to be held in Washington, D.C. on September 22nd at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center. Location Intelligence GeoCloud, as the event will be known, is the first conference to concentrate on the applications, business models and platforms specifically related to cloud computing for geospatial technology. To support this focus, the conference organizers have assembled three keynote speakers who can address these topics.

Attendees will hear:

  • Dylan Lorimer, Google Earth Enterprise Product Manager, Google
  • Jon Winslow, Director, Location Intelligence, Pitney Bowes Business Insight
  • Dan Burton, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy, Salesforce.com

The single track event will present sessions on:

  • Infrastructure and platforms
  • Business models and return on investment
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) Applications moving to the cloud

The complete agenda and registration details are online at locationintelligence.net. Attendees are encouraged to register before August 15th to save $100 off the regular registration fee of $595.

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About the Location Intelligence Conference

Now in its seventh year, the Location Intelligence Conference serves as a forum for discussing the integration of location-related products and services with enterprise computing and consumer products. The conference is a Directions Media event. Directions Media is the global leader in collectively covering news and trends about location intelligence geographic information systems (GIS), mobile location-based services (LBS) and “all things location.”

Follow the Location Intelligence Conference on Twitter.

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BrightTALK Hosts Next Generation Data Center Summit

What: Next Generation Data Center Summit hosted by BrightTALK

As the heart of business IT operations and data processing, next generation data centers are creating incredible levels of efficiency, flexibility and reliability. At this summit, leading industry experts, analysts, and end-users will discuss the latest innovations, best practices, and solutions in IT infrastructure and data center management.

When: Wednesday, March 17 – Thursday, March 18, 2010 (The webcasts will also be immediately recorded and viewable on-demand at brighttalk.com)

Where: The global summit is available on brighttalk.com.

Presentations:
“Best Practices for Data Centre IT, Power and Cooling Performance”
Robert Neave, Co-Founder & Jatinder Ahluwalia, Technical Consultant, nlyte

“Bringing the Cloud into your Data Center”
Anil Karmel, Solutions Architect, Los Alamos National Laboratory

“Cloud Computing Strategy: Enabling IT’s Evolutionary Transition”
Tim Crawford, Board Member, Data Center Pulse

“Data Center Movement by Virtualization”
Rien Dijkstra, Enterprise IT Architect, Dutch Railways

“Data Center Pulse ‘Stack’ Treating the data center as a system”
Mark Thiele, Co-Founder, Data Center Pulse

“Mitigating the Risks of Virtualization & Cloud Computing Security”
Partha Panda, Director of Business Development, Trend Micro

“Next Generation Data Centres: From Space to Service”
Paul Morrisey, Chairman & Founder, Tubedale

“Open Nebula Toolkit for Virtualization Management”
Ignacio Llorente, Full Professor, Complutense University of Madrid

“Symantec’s State of the Data Center Report”
Sean Derrington, Director of Storage Management and High Availability, Symantec

“The Data Centre Evolution”
Ian Lloyd, Enterprise Technology Specialist, Intel

“The Shift to Enterprise Cloud Computing”
John Stetic, Director of Product Management, Novell

“Xsigo – Building the Private Cloud – Open solutions that succeed”
Jon Toor, Vice President of Marketing, Xsigo & David Griffin, Insight Integrated Systems

The summit presentations can be accessed live and later on-demand through the BrightTALK player, which can be embedded into any of your Web sites and blogs.

About BrightTALK:
BrightTALK makes online events the ultimate business tool for transferring knowledge by providing live and on-demand access to industry thought leaders.

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Blockbuster And TiVo Join Forces – Movie Rentals On Demand

Blockbuster and TiVo have joined forces to bring you movies on demand. The joint venture will provide TiVo users with classic movies starting at $2.99 and new releases at $3.99 a pop. A news release states:

Over the coming weeks, Blockbuster will expand its available catalog, adding to TiVo subscribers’ growing choice of premium digital entertainment, including select HD titles. In addition, TiVo DVRs will be sold at thousands of participating BLOCKBUSTER stores nationwide, making it even easier for consumers to transform the way they experience entertainment.

“Blockbuster nights are synonymous with family and fun, something that goes perfectly with the TiVo experience,” said Joe Miller, senior vice president of sales and marketing at TiVo Inc. “By bringing Blockbuster’s content direct to TiVo subscribers, we show once again that TiVo offers much more choice and convenience for our customers compared to other DVR offerings. We are very pleased to say that customers can now walk into a participating BLOCKBUSTER store to purchase TiVo DVRs and that together both companies have succeeded in bringing even more entertainment direct to the living room.”

“When people see BLOCKBUSTER on their TiVo DVR, they’ll instantly recognize that they have a movie lover’s trusted source of entertainment at their fingertips,” said Bruce Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of BLOCKBUSTER On Demand. “We’re thrilled to give consumers another way to enjoy the movies they want most now with the convenience of their TiVo remote control in the comfort of their living room.”

Interesting, but I think Blockbuster and TiVo may be late for the party. This reminds me of what the big three auto companies are trying to do: convince the American consumer that this is a deal. Well, no offense to the folks at Blockbuster and TiVo, but this is no deal. With Netflix offering movie rentals for a low of $8.99 a month, and on demand movies included in the price, I seriously doubt this scheme will save Blockbuster.

But what do you think? Deal or no deal?

Comments welcome.

Homeplug, Directv And On-Demand TV Content

Recently we had Directv HD installed here at the house. Both my wife and I are familiar both with the packages and performance of Directv, Dish and Comcast for their HD offerings, thus making the choice that was best for us. And while there is NO argument that Directv does HD better than cable, unfortunately in many ways Comcast does On-Demand with greater appeal overall than anything I have seen with Directv thus far.

What, you did not know that Directv has On-Demand? Well, do not get too excited as it clearly needs more time in the oven. But before I even get into the shortcomings, let me explain how we were able to get it working as a Google search will demonstrate that it is not all that simple.

  1. Think Homeplug devices. Forget about anything wifi related, just use something like we did with the Netgear XE102 kit. It was painfully easy to setup – next best thing to direct router access, minus the high speed.
  2. Ignore Directv documentation. Yes, run the network wizard and prepare for complete failure the first day’s attempt. See, you must both run the network wizard, wait overnight for ALL of the available channels to appear in the lineup AND then reset the DVR as well on the second day. Fun, huh?
  3. Forget HBO, local network stations and viewing content immediately. I can live without HBO (Showtime is provided for On-Demand) and the fact that I must download the shows to a half-way point before viewing is possible. However not launching this service with NBC, CBS, FOX among others was really foolish. No worries though, they did make sure Style, HGTV and Noggin are provided! Yippie! (/sarcasm)

Why even bother with this silly service then? Because there are some comparable options to cable with Discovery, History among other channels as well. They do provide A&E, yet managed to pick out the absolutely stupidest programming imaginable for for download. No, you will not find The Cleaner, but rest assure that Pamela Anderson’s latest biography is readily available!

So if you own a compatible (check with Directv on this) HD-DVR, happen to be interested in seeing what the On-Demand content is like, it is sort of worth it just to access the pay-per-view movies without relying on satellite’s tired “it starts at this time” routine. Oh, for you sports nuts – you will likely approve of various games presented as well.

Why not go back to cable? Having “seen the cable difference” in the recent past and used the buggy equiment as well, the choice was clear – satellite is the least of the two evils. Better picture, better price and smarter fit for our viewing needs.

Webcast: Offsite Replication: Disaster Recovery Planning For The Advanced IT Environment

In a complex, heterogeneous IT environment running multiple server operating systems, a comprehensive disaster recovery (DR) plan that includes offsite replication could mean the difference between maintaining operations in the face of an emergency and losing your business entirely.

Listen to this TechRepublic Webcast (free TechRepublic registration required), featuring David Aschmann, Product Manager for CA XOsoft, to learn about offsite data replication and how it can protect your advanced IT environment.

Aschmann’s presentation highlights:

  • The various types of cluster configurations in use today
  • How the use of VMware and other virtualization technology in replica environments affects disaster recovery planning
  • Issues impacting cross-platform disaster recovery support
  • How to reduce hardware costs in replica environments

So whether you’re looking to protect data on Windows or UNIX servers or replicate to a less expensive platform such as Linux, you’ll want to find out how CA XOsoft’s disaster recovery and high availability solutions can safeguard your business operations and data.

[tags]XOSoft, IT environment, disaster recovery, data replication, Computer Associates International Inc., disaster recovery planning, Webcast, information technology, replication, on-demand[/tags]

Viiv Tech To Enable Broad Choice Of On-Demand Entertainment

Content Tested, Verified to Work with Upcoming PC Platform to More Easily Manage and Enjoy Movies, TV, Music, Games and Photos.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 30, 2005 – As part of its forthcoming Intel Viiv technology PC platform, Intel Corporation is enabling a broad choice of on-demand, Internet-delivered digital entertainment along with several options for how families view, manage and share content – options that range from a “10-foot” living room TV viewing experience in the home to laptops or handheld devices for on the go.

Continue reading “Viiv Tech To Enable Broad Choice Of On-Demand Entertainment”