Xbox 360 With Zune HD Integration (Fall Update Preview) – Fascinating Implications – Is This The Box I’m Looking For?

The TV on the Internet world has had a bunch of interesting announcements this week. We now know Apple TV is running IOS on the inside (TV Apps anyone?) and Hulu+ is coming to the Roku box. When will we get that ultimate box?

Does Microsoft have a chance with all in this?

Let’s cover the big issues (in my mind at least): Price, Netflix integration, Hulu+ integration, Movies to purchase/rent, Television to purchase/rent:

Roku: $69 and up – Netflix yes / Hulu yes / Movies yes (Amazon) / Television yes (Amazon)
Apple TV: $99 – Netflix yes / Hulu no / Movies yes / Television limited
Xbox: $199 and up – Netflix yes / Hulu yes / Movies yes / Television yes
Boxee Box: $249 – Netflix yes / Hulu yes / Movies yes / Television yes (free/paid)

We just don’t know enough about Google TV (yet) to include here.

Microsoft sent an Xbox with the Fall Update Preview Beta. Very nice integration. Haven’t been able to talk about it until today. BTW, here are Engadget’s thoughts.

Yes, Roku is cheaper but she doesn’t let me play Gears of War – nuff said.

I think Microsoft has something very cool here – but I’d love your thoughts. I got everything I want on this device (minus iPhone integration, of course) and don’t know or see how Apple can deliver on their Apple TV platform (or at least what we know of it today). Boxee is more expensive and does a lot less. Yes, I have some free Internet TV viewing options but there are ways to get that on the Xbox as well.

Embedded below is a video walkthrough of the Zune stuff on the new Xbox Fall Update Preview. More on that over at ZuneLuv.com.

Weekend Roundup: Breaking Eggs Edition

As I’ve chewed on / had a few days to think about the Hulu Plus announcement, I am both amazed at what a bad idea it is, on some many levels. I guessed I’ve moved from questions to lethargy. I tweeted yesterday that I thought Hulu was trying to make an omelet without breaking eggs on this one and was failing miserably. Still feel that way.

Here are a few other thoughts from people smarter than me (although I’d love to hear from Boxee or Roku right now):

There is also a lot of talk online about how you have to pay for the higher level of access to the PS3 or Xbox versions while paying for the access but I’m pretty sure the zillion or so Xbox users watching Netflix on their gold accounts have gotten over that pretty quickly.

I’m frustrated because it is a very very very weak attempt at bridging the gap, almost so weak that one might ask if it was designed to fail. I’ve said from the beginning that I think Hulu was designed to fail since day one and although the Hulu Plus announcement did surprise me, I can’t help but wonder if I’m still right.

What do you think?

Hulu Plus – Here Are My Questions

Update #1: Just found out / realized that the Hulu Plus stuff is “broadcast only” – meaning you won’t see any cable content on there. Yes, stuff like Burn Notice and Caprica ain’t gonna happen, even with commercials. Yes, the CEO seems scared that people might think this is a cable killer.

Update #2: Boxee ain’t the only one not on the list. No Android or Google TV either. No Roku. Silly.

I’ve been saying for a long time that I never thought a “paid/premium” version of Hulu was in the cards. Somebody somewhere has smelled some coffee (they woke up too) and I’m quite intrigued. Here’s some reporting from Engadget with a little more insight than the Hulu press release.

For the record, I have no problem paying $9.95 – even with commercials – it’s far less than any cable bill out there and (at this point) has less commercials than any cable bill out there. I’ve applied for beta accounts and am waiting to hear back.

I installed this bad boy on both my iPhone and iPad. Now I’m really glad that I have unlimited 3g on both of them. The demo stuff looks great over 3g – better quality than either Netflix or ABC (on the iPad at least).

But, I have questions:

  • Where is CBS? Nothing from them is in the lineup and we hear rumors of them going all HTML5 on us this fall. Will they be the ones to go totally free?
  • What about Boxee? The lie that “content providers wanted it removed” is about as plausible as (insert BP caring joke here). How come they weren’t listed as a means to get Hulu Plus? They’re on other boxes. What gives?
  • How many commercials on plus? We know the industry is moving to more than one. Will “Plus” go with it?
  • Why Xbox in 2011? Don’t really need commentary about this one.
  • Why no Zune or Windows 7 phone options? Did Remond upset someone at Hulu?
  • Will it “take?” Right now the commentary I’m reading says folk don’t want to pay $10 for this thing.

What about you, will you pay for Hulu Plus?

Do you have answers to any of my questions?

Do you have any questions of your own?

YouTube And Her Secret Plans For World Domination

It’s time for a reality check on YouTube again.

YouTube 1080p. If you haven’t yet seen the Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody bit, do so. Once you’ve done that (you have to be inhuman to not love the Muppets), realize something very important, YOUTUBE IS STREAMING 1080P. This hasn’t got the press it should. Who else is streaming content 1080p? Not Hulu.

YouTube Streams U2. If you didn’t watch it live, it’s all archived. The YouTube stream of the U2 show was incredible and, dear friends, YouTube is “getting into the game.”

YouTube Protects Her Window. The press about the YouTube / Popcorn Hour “conflict” was way overplayed and completely misunderstood by the “sphere.” YouTube isn’t denying anyone anything, they’re just making sure they can track what goes where. Why would they care? Keep on reading.

YouTube “In Talks” Re Streaming Television. Calling this trend an “iTunes Killer” makes about as much sense as calling anything from Blackberry an “iPhone Killer” – but we need make no mistake here, YouTube is getting into “the game.

Enter Paul’s first (and way too easy) prediction for 2010 …

In 2010, YouTube will offer a premium streaming television model that, unlike the other options, will work on the desktop, the phone and the television instantly.

Prediction #2 …

It’s gonna rock.

See, they’re already there.

iPhone is on the computer. No debates there.

But they’re also on every phone that can receive video. Yes, the iPhone has the YouTube app but, … so does Android … and WinMo … and Blackberry … and everything from Nokia (that can do video at least).

And, they all let you enter in your existing YouTube login and password …

But it’s not just the desktop and the phone – although this is impressive.

It’s also the television set.

Tivo has YouTube.

Apple TV has YouTube.

Lots of television boxes – Popcorn Hour, VuNow, nValeo, Playnow (Powering Wii, Xbox, PS3), and others – all carry YouTube.

Don’t forget YouTube XL (made by YouTube for viewing YouTube further away from the computer screen) too.

Oh yeah, there are a bunch of HD television sets and Blu-Ray players that also give you YouTube.

And, they all give you the ability to log in to your account.

Where YouTube ain’t?

Computer – check. Television – check. Telephone – check. Anything with a screen – check!

Other than the Roku box (and, oh yes, a piece coming about them very soon), can you name me on connected device capable of playing streaming video that doesn’t have YouTube?

Exactly.

Oh, wait a minute, are you on YouTube?

Are You On YouTube?

Here’s my YouTube Channel. Where’s yours?

Over a year ago I launched YouTube Secret Weapon with Julie Perry. Version 2.0 has been a long time coming and some announcements should be made soon but … we’re practically being forced to produce this with the realities of what’s ahead.

What Else YouTube?

So, Mark my words, before we see 1/1/11 it will be easier to watch television on YouTube than anything else. Yes, they’ll even trump (already have) the ease of use of anything Apple.

With the tracking that YouTube is demanding (go back to that Popcorn Hour thing), they can even give “the industry” what they’ve been looking for.

With the devices we’ve already purchased, the only thing we’ll have to pay for is access.

And, by the way, when we do the math on that kind of access versus what we’re paying for cable, we’ll be thrilled.

But, back to the question at hand – and my visions of world domination.

If YouTube makes it so much easier than anyone else to deliver content online, why would we go anywhere else?

You on YouTube?

Am I nuts?

Please leave your comments below.

No NDAs were violated in the authoring of this article.

Oprah Doesn’t Need CBS – Do You?

CBS is scared. They heard the rumor (I’m sure you did too) that Oprah might be moving from them to her “OWN” network (perfect name) and, well, the offers should get really interesting.

Sit back for a second and move past the inevitable bidding war that is about to happen. Ponder this simple fact:

Oprah doesn’t need CBS anymore.

A few days ago I wanted to catch the online replay of “V.” I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember (or care) what network it was on. A flagship major play during sweeps month for a network and I couldn’t associate one with the other. Is ABC the winner, or is “V?” I think we know the answer. Yes, I had to look up the association to write this piece.

And, of course, with Hulu, 3 of the 4 networks are there so I jumped over and found my fix. You know my feelings on the future of that little site but while she lasts, I’ll continue to enjoy the ride. At this point, Hulu matters more than ABC, NBC, or FOX.

If you took the top 20 new media entities on the planet and offered them a gig at a “real” media company, I predict, sadly, that 18 of them would take the job. Now at the pay some of them are getting I understand the initial reaction, but the facts are simple: they don’t need “real” media to get somewhere.

You don’t need CBS either.

Based on the recommendation of Lynn Terry during last week’s Internet Marketing This Week, I picked up Socialnomics (affiliate link) on my Kindle (amazing book, review to come). In the book, @equalman examines the social media efforts of a number of huge brands: Coke, Jet Blue, ESPN, CC Chapman, etc.

CC Chapman – a “huge” brand?

He gets equal play in the book.

He deserves equal play in the book.

He’s as important to the story as is ESPN.

He is the (new) media.

So are you.

The shows and people and characters I love in this space can all be found with this little site called “Google.” Heck, most of them can even be found on another site called “Bing.” I don’t need an aggregator or network or commercial series to remind me that Cali Lewis is going to keep me up to date with geek news or that Chris Brogan might have something interesting to say. They’re bookmarked, I follow them in my reader, and if for any reason a site went down or a feed died (“or they jumped to another network”) it wouldn’t be hard at all to figure out where they went.

If Oprah leaves CBS (please do, Oprah), she has this little billboard in every stinking grocery store called “O Magazine” that would make it very easy to tell others where she went. Oh yeah, I bet you Google (and possibly even Bing) might serve the purpose as well. Oprah is the story, not CBS.

You are the story.

You are the media.

Oprah doesn’t need CBS.

Neither do you.

So what Paul?

Yeah, but Paul, I’m not Oprah!

Neither am I.

Neither is CC Chapman.

Neither are the other 4 point whatever billion people on the planet.

We are in an exciting new era where the good stuff rises to the top, without the need for a network to promote it. That’s why I love this space so much – and I hope why you read this blog.

You spend your time on creating content that rises to the top and, one day soon, you’ll be able to turn down CBS’s offer.

Just like Oprah.

Hulu And The Value Of Content

The blogotwitisfacebooksphere has been all abuzz with the very idea that Hulu might be charging for content at some point in the near future. This piece at NewTeeVee does a good point of catching you up with the story so far.

I brought the idea up on Twitter and got back a few responses. This one was my favorite:

@colligan – You think HULU makes it with this model? They are getting greedy too quickly IMO.

Is it really greedy to make money from content that you own?

Is the problem greed – or just a bad business plan?

Of course, we could ask this question about Wall Street and Detroit – but that’s another post all together.

Hulu reminds me of some of the first dotcom bubble companies – they’re all about enjoying the ride but being honest enough to know that the ride ain’t gonna be around for long.

There was a company in Portland that would actually deliver to my office a pint of Ben and Jerry’s at cost. They would even pick up my dry cleaning at my house (and deliver it back) for less than I was paying at the time to take it to the dry cleaners (and, of course, they did so in these massive trucks “wrapped” with their branding). You bet I used the company and you bet I enjoyed the ride but, … let’s be honest, … I always knew it wouldn’t last.

Time to face some simple facts with Hulu:

1 – Yes, a single (30 second) commercial per break is wonderful but admit it, 75% of them are PSAs. If you can’t sell a single ad per slot – you can’t sell multiple ads per slot – even if people would “put up” with watching them. The ad model isn’t working for Hulu – and anybody who cares about the future of Hulu needs to ask if it ever will.

2 – The fact that Hulu starts each show with a reminder to watch it live with the full commercial experience reeks of a company who has sold some content owners a fascinating bill of goods. The reality that the EULA for their desktop player prevents you from hooking it up to a television set says more about what they think of their audience than this blog ever could. Hulu doesn’t like you skipping the traditional “channels” to consume content on your terms.

3 – The silly fight with Boxee – ’nuff said.

4 – The “experience” is wonderful and the programming is impressive but, admit it, they’re losing money on each and every stream. I’ll direct you back to my “You Can’t Handle The Truth” posting of over a year ago for more on that one.

I’ve said it multiple times – Hulu can’t scale and the coming Hulu is nothing like the one we have today. Personally, I’d prefer the paid model because my time is worth more than these silly commercials take.

And I honestly believe yours is as well.

Here’s the deal: Good content has value.

If we took half the energy spent on trying to figure out how to deliver it for free and put it towards coming up with a payment and delivery model that actually made sense, we’d all be better off for it.

How anyone can spend the money they do on connectivity but feel that the media said connectivity brings should be free is akin to thinking cds should be free because your paying for electricity – or that food should be free because you bought a fridge to hold it in.

When the futurists stop complaining about what the future is obviously bringing, we might get to enjoy the future a bit sooner.

‘just sayin …

The Hulu/Boxee Silliness Proves The “Big Media” Models Broken While Proving The Power Of Web Syndication At The Very Same Time

In the news, Hulu asks Boxee to remove Hulu from Boxee and Boxee complies with Hulu’s request. If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any time, you know what a fan I am of Boxee and have written more than a few pieces about how Hulu (and the ad-supported streaming model as a whole) has been doomed from the start.

Today’s news only goes to prove my point.

Throw in a dash of the “power of syndication” stuff and, friends, we have something to learn from this petty bickering.

Now, the snarky would say that Hulu (really) doesn’t want people to watch television on their tvs, but on the Web. They would continue to say that Boxee makes it too easy, and that’s why they killed it. But, they’d be forgetting something … Hulu has also removed their content from TV.com today. TV.com makes most of us want to return to broadcast television so that ain’t the point.

Hulu wants control, Hulu wants ownership. They want us watching their content on their terms.

That’s not Web 2.0, that’s Web 1.0.

As a reminder: Web 1.0 is the Internet on the producer’s terms. Web 2.0 is the Internet on the audience’s terms.

8 out of 9 people who read PaulColligan.com content don’t read it on PaulColligan.com. I like that. It gives me reach I could have only dreamed of a few years ago. It’s making me money. More and more people aren’t consuming Hulu.com content on Hulu.com. That has Hulu.com freaking out.

Let’s be honest here: If Hulu.com was making money (excuse me, profit) streaming Dollhouse in HD with remnant advertising from the Ad Council, they’d be streaming it any which way they can. But they aren’t making money (profit) from this. And they won’t make money (profit) from this for a long time. As cool as Hulu is (and I luvs me the Hulu), the model is flawed in so many ways.

Which means, like all good Internet properties that aren’t making a profit, they have to focus on being a “destination” or “portal” that you hope to sell to someone some day. Of course, the owners of Hulu.com won’t be selling it so, … the “destination” lie is their only, really, viable option.

Hulu did a lot of things “right.” The embed options launched a whole bunch of viral goodness and they’ve quickly become a destination and a source. Sure, they’re still losing money, but they’re doing it in bigger numbers now – so we can pay them more attention.

Being a source makes them no money and gets them no unique visitors. Remember, they’re losing money on each and every stream (I dare you to prove me otherwise) – so losing money on a stream on Boxee’s box just doesn’t make “sense” to a Web 1.0 or 2.0 model.

So, they told Boxee to stop.

And they told TV.com to stop.

And they’ll continue to lose money.

And TV will continue to get worse.

And New Media will continue to fill the holes created by old media.

And I’ll either set the EyeTV to tape Dollhouse or I might buy a wireless keyboard with a mouse to run Hulu from directly – annoyed at this property every time I do.

Take that to your shareholders.

As a side note, one must contrast what Hulu is doing to what Revision3 is doing. One wants you on their terms – the other is thrilled to have you on your terms.

Which one do you think will “win” in the end?

Will Somebody Please Explain The Model Here?

Sunday night was the new 24 telemovie. I pondered recording it but I knew it would probably be on Hulu (via Boxee thank you very much) in under 24 hours (pun intended).

And it was.

And I enjoyed it while doing a little work Monday night. Nothing like streaming television, on your terms, with just a commercial per break.

This new media thing is starting to “take off.”

iTunes is offering the download of the 24 telemovie for $14.99 ($19.99 if you want HD).

Mind you, this is the same iTunes that sells 24 Episodes at $1.99 each. This was two episodes of 24. This normally retails for $3.98.

The DVD is $15.99 at Amazon and Best Buy.

The Amazon Video On Demand Service is selling it for $9.99.

When I watched it (again, less than 24 hours after it aired), I noted that not only were there PSAs in a few of the commercial slots (btw, Hulu doesn’t get paid for PSAs, that’s what PSAs are), but a few of the commercial slots were, well commercial less. It was liking watching the DVD.

And by the way, the commercials they did show were for an online project that started last September. I’ll bet you this is remnant advertising purchased extremely cheap.

In short, The $15 DVD is being streamed for free. Yes, I know the DVD contains a bunch of extra stuff (hey who doesn’t want cut video of Jack Bauer running around in the forest?). Yes, I realize there are DVD sales as a piece of the revenue pie but so is that whole advertising model that Hulu can’t seem to make work.

If you’re reading this in America (or have some clever proxies in place), you can enjoy the show embedded below (how many paying commercials to you count in this $15 DVD):

Hulu can’t be making anyone money.

I appreciate their desire to have a single commercial per break and I’ll enjoy the ride as long as it goes here but … streaming ain’t cheap (they’re evening doing it in HD now) and they’ve got nothing to show me that they have a long term plan – or that advertisers are actually buying into this. See, when advertisers “buy into” a concept, you see their add “buys” – that’s where the term comes from. You’ll see an occasional product on Hulu and there are some $$ coming in but getting me what I want on my terms is costing them less than they’re making in the deal.

There seems to be a really silly obsession with streaming at all costs. It’s expensive, bandwidth intensive, and darn it, isn’t making the sales they keep promising it will.

Downloads, not streaming, is the future of media delivery. It’s cheaper – much cheaper – and always ends with a better experience (for the customer at least).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

But then again, they’re giving CEOs bailouts for making much dumber moves.

If we want to get anywhere in this industry, we need to do what makes sense, not what’s sexy.

Or are we all just waiting for the bailout?

Boxee.TV – 7 Things I’d Change

I am a HUGE fan of Boxee.TV right now. It has changed the face of my home entertainment center and my strategy for 2009 in some pretty major ways, but that isn’t what I want to talk about here.

As I mentioned in the last Blog post, I bought a new MacBook Pro yesterday (and not for the reasons Mike suggested). I’m finding more and more that the Apple angle on life, etc., is more to who I am and that, really, Windows is just another program for me to run on my Mac.

But that, funny enough, isn’t the topic of this post either.

At my home entertainment center, you’ll see an Apple TV. I’ve loved her for a long time and have done everything I can through that device. I’ve loved her through Hulu and Netflix online despite, well, you know.

Then along came Boxee. She’s installed on my Apple TV.

My Apple TV just hit puberty – I always saw her potential, she’s just now showing it to me.

One sub $200 box gives me television, movies, pay per view, streaming, music, Internet Radio, etc. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am.

But, Boxee.TV ain’t perfect (she’s closer than anything else I’ve seen). Here, not that you asked, is what I’d change:

  • I’d put together a master database of all shows, Podcasts, etc. in one space so you don’t have to know that “The Unit” is under CBS while “24” is a Hulu property (let alone, where in the heck to find Ask A Ninja). If we’re really going to “kill” the networks, let’s KILL ‘EM.
  • I’d have some option between “your friends know nothing about what you watch” and “you friends know EVERYTHING you watch.” Some people don’t want the world knowing about their Hannah Montana addiction.
  • Add a very simple “across the room” email and RSS experience to the program. A simple ticker of your latest email at the bottom of the screen while you’re watching a show could be really fun too.
  • Let us change the background image (I know they’re working on that).
  • Let users “subscribe” to individuals and find out not just the last 6 things that all your friends did – but their entire history as well. Suggest some thoughts leaders in different spaces too.
  • Let content producers produce “channel” options on Boxee. For example, I decide I’m a big fan of Ask A Ninja, I click a button and now the “Ask A Ninja Channel” is there right next to the other Internet video options.
  • Produce a $99 box that runs Boxee.

Played with Boxee yet? Your thoughts?