At this point, who could begrudge Reed Hastings and his Netflix management team from some celebration, from performing the corporate equivalent of an end-zone dance?
Wall Street and Netflix subscribers appear overjoyed with the direction that Netflix's CEO has the Web's top video-rental store pointed in. The only people who don't seem pleased with Netflix's success work in Hollywood.
Just days before Netflix reported third-quarter earnings that jumped 48 percent from a year ago and subscriber growth of 28 percent during the same period, two executives from different studios told me they aren't getting their … Read more
Lately, I've been hearing a lot of fanfare about an application called DoubleTwist that is at its core a free music jukebox that offers content syncing to a variety of portable devices, including the BlackBerry, the PSP, and the iPod, as well as pretty much anything that can mount in Universal Mass Storage mode. One of the main draws of the program is that it can take your iTunes library and sync it to a variety of non-iPod players, an important feature for anyone who has ditched the ubiquitous device in favor of a music phone or other MP3 player. And soon, the Windows version of the jukebox will offer built-in support for Amazon MP3 store purchases as well (note: the Mac version already supports Amazon MP3 purchases), a move in line with the company's goal to offer consumers choice when it comes to digital music management.
Certainly, DoubleTwist is a useful solution for a lot of people, especially since it incorporates automatic video transcoding for a lot of the supported devices, which is the feature that drew me to the software. However, the program is not without its pitfalls, and some of them are sure to cause no small amount of frustration. For example, the video transcoding--done during the syncing process--takes forever. Conversion speed was roughly two times normal speed, so a 90-minute movie took 50 minutes or so to encode and transfer. Still, considering DoubleTwist offers this feature for free and integrates it so simply, I'm willing to forgive the sluggishness.
Much more annoying is how slow the video library loads in thumbnail mode, and while it is loading, you can't actually browse the selections.… Read more
On Thursday came more signals from News Corp. that Hulu will charge for at least some of its films and TV shows.
Chase Carey, News Corp.'s deputy chairman, suggested in comments he made at the OnScreen Media Summit that it's just a matter of time before Hulu, the video service founded by News Corp. and NBC Universal, launches a subscription service.
"I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content," Carey said, according to a report Broadcasting & Cable, which co-hosted the conference. "I think what we … Read more
Like indie films? Documentaries? Animation? Ho, boy, have I got an app for you: NFB Films lets you watch over a thousand movies on your iPhone. For free.
The "NFB" stands for National Film Board, a kind of Canadian PBS. The app taps the NFB's mammoth library of documentaries, animated films, trailers (for upcoming NFB releases), and more.
All the movies are streamed to your iPhone, but there's also an ingenious "watch later" option that downloads a selected movie for later viewing. However, these downloads expire after 24 hours, not unlike App Store movie … Read more
If you're a blogger, you know that finding images, videos, and audio for your blog without worry of copyright issues can be difficult. Either the content is copyrighted, or you need to pay for it. In either case, it's not as tempting as freely available, copyright-free media.
Luckily, there are resources across the Web that allow you to use multimedia content for free with some simple attribution. It's a great way to add interesting flavor to your blog without worry of copyright issues.
Let's take a look:Go public
Creative Commons A search for public-domain multimedia content usually starts with Creative Commons. The site is one of the best places to go, if you're looking for content to add to your blog.
When you get to Creative Commons, you'll find a search box where you can input a query. From there, a handy tabbed-browsing interface is shown, allowing you to send your query to Google search, Google Images, Flickr, and more.
Creative Commons' site is quick to point out that all the searches bring you to third-party sites, and there's no guarantee that the content is free to use, but you'll notice under the search box that the page automatically searches for content that's "free to use, share, or modify, even commercially."
I've used the search engine on numerous occasions and had some success using it. Try out Creative Commons, if you want to search several sites for some photos.
EveryStockPhoto EveryStockPhoto is a search engine for those who want free, public-domain photos to use on their site.
Overall, I was really impressed by EveryStockPhoto. When you get to the site, you have the option of viewing photos in popular categories or using the page's prominent search box to find photos. When you search the site, it finds images from several resources, including many of those mentioned in this roundup. Flickr is one of its most used sources.
When you click on an image in EveryStockPhoto, you can see who owns it, the licensing rights associated with it, and more. I really liked EveryStockPhoto. Check it out.… Read more
EMI and Warner Music Group, the two smallest of the four top recording companies, has begun discussing the possibility of joining Vevo, the music-video venture created by Universal Music Group.
Universal Music, the largest of the major labels, has already landed Sony Music Entertainment, the second largest and fresh off banking an undisclosed investment from investors in the Middle East. The technology platform Vevo will operate on will be powered by YouTube.
Vevo's creators have said the site will feature high-quality music videos and other original content, most of it coming from each of the participating labels' artists. Music … Read more
Vevo, the online music-video jukebox, now counts an Arab media conglomerate among its backers.
Abu Dhabi Media Company, backed by the people from the United Arab Emirates, has made an undisclosed investment into Vevo, the companies announced Monday.
Universal Music Group, the largest record label, founded Vevo earlier this year. Sony Music Entertainment, second in size behind Universal, has since joined the venture. YouTube is providing technology support for the video service, which is scheduled to launch later this year.
According to previous press reports, Abu Dhabi Media Company was created by the oil-rich government of Abu Dhabi in 2007 … Read more
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday, October 9, that the H1N1 virus was widespread in 37 states. Fortunately, vaccines are on their way, and seasonal flu shots are currently available (the map on the Flu.gov site helps you find a vaccination center near you).
The best way to avoid bringing the flu bug home with you from the office is to stay out of the office. If you have the flu, do yourself and your coworkers a favor: stay home and rest! Not sure if you have the flu? Check the CDC site for a list and description of the symptoms of both H1N1 and seasonal flu. You'll also find information on the CDC site for taking care of people with the flu, prevention for people at high risk, and travel updates.
One of the best ways to track the flu's spread is via Google Flu Trends, an interactive map that indicates the frequency of flu-related search terms in various countries.
Additional information on flu trends is available for the U.S. and several other countries. For the U.S., you can compare yearly flu trends and view data for each state.
Link to your office PC for free In many work situations, there's no substitute for being face to face. But every year it gets easier to get your office work done from outside the office. One way to do so is via Windows' Remote Desktop Connection component, which lets you link to a PC that's on an office network, but only if the machine's running XP Professional or Vista/Windows 7 Professional, Business, or Ultimate.
Since 2006, many observers have scratched their head over what prompted Google to pay $1.65 billion for the video site YouTube. We're now a little closer to the answer.
The blockbuster acquisition for the 18-month-old start-up played a large role in sending valuations in the tech sector skyrocketing. Although YouTube made little revenue, the all-stock transaction gave Google control of a company many believed would change the face of mass entertainment. It also led to criticism from skeptics who thought that Google would never get its money back.
Google has revealed little about how it decided to pay $… Read more