YouTube launches Live service for events

YouTube has started its new service "YouTube Live" to offer live streaming videos of concerts, sports and interviews to users. Consumers can use the new service, launched online at youtube.com/live, to watch shows or events streamed by the Google-owned operation's partners, who will be able to access the YouTube Live streaming platform to begin broadcasting content. The launch started with a "Digitour" performance by YouTube musicians. It is not the first time the online video company is showing live videos. The new Live platform would make live-streaming a standard practice. The company said that the new service is intended to be a platform for its partners to show live content to users. YouTube product manager Joshua Siegel and product marketing manager Christopher Hamilton said in a blog, "The goal is to provide thousands of partners with the capability to live stream from their channels in the months ahead."

Hulu Set for $500M in Revenue, 1M Hulu-Plus Subscribers

Hulu is doing well if you ask Jason Kilar, the CEO, who reported the Q1 stats for the online video service in a blog post on Monday. From the sounds of the post everything is unicorns and cotton candy over there in the rose-colored world of Huludise. Lots of good stats to show how healthy the company is and illustrate the jump up from the $263M they did last year which could spell I…P…O… Kilar stated the company is, "on pace to approach half a billion dollars in revenue in 2011." He also cited a 90% revenue growth in Q1 year-over-year. That's some pretty stiff growth. Considering how the company has been bouncing around on the comScore Top Ten video properties lists it's good to see they're on the up and up in the revenue department. They grew some 50% in regards to the number of advertisers they served. A stat I am frankly not all that impressed with. They do load up on ads already so I don't want them to think that's the continued way to go. No ads for Hulu Plus is going to be key to their continued success I think because they will continue to push ads on the subscribers to the point where people stop paying, and why wouldn't they when they can possibly get a lot of that Plus content that has ads for free elsewhere.

Toshiba promises Glasses free 3D TV within 12 months

Toshiba just unveiled a new line of 3D panel televisions that will – for the first time – be available outside of Japan. And here's the real kicker: They're promising that at least one of these models will be completely glasses-free. You hear that, 3D fans? Nothing weighing down your face. Just good ol', unencumbered TV watching plus an extra dimension. Details at this point are scant, but Toshiba didn't shy from talking up their other projects, notably a new line of Regza VL passive 3D TVs. Each one is said to come standard with four ReaID 3D glasses, and will be available in 42- and 47-inch sizes. No word on pricing yet. In Japan, 12- and 20-inch glasses-free 3D TVs are already available. The catch is they can only be watched from nine very specific angles, which--let's face it--is far from ideal, especially at such tiny sizes. But if Toshiba lives up to its promise and delivers a full-sized 3D TV the entire family can enjoy sans shades (they're saying April 2012, so cross your fingers), it may change the game enough to give 3D a fighting chance.

Dish Network acquiring Blockbuster for $228M

Dish Network Corp. said Wednesday that it won the auction for Blockbuster Inc. with a bid valued at $228 million in cash. As of Tuesday, the satellite TV company, billionaire investor Carl Icahn and a group of debt holders were the three remaining bidders for the Dallas movie-rental chain, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. Dish's bid was for $320 million, but the value decreases to $228 million after adjusting for available cash and inventory. "Blockbuster will complement our existing video offerings while presenting cross-marketing and service extension opportunities for Dish Network," said Tom Cullen, executive vice president of sales, marketing and programming for Dish Network, in a statement. Blockbuster is already a shadow of its former self. When the chain filed for bankruptcy protection, it was down to 3,000 stores, less than a third of the peak of 9,100 in 2004. There are about 2,400 currently open with plans to close about 700 more by mid-April. Blockbuster used to dominate the U.S. movie rental business. But it lost money for years as that business declined because customers shifted to Netflix Inc., video on demand and DVD rental kiosks. Dish, based in Englewood, Colo., expects to close the deal during the second quarter. The transaction needs bankruptcy court approval.

Netflix, Hulu Drive Big Jump in Over-the-top Media Server Market

Market research firm Infonetics Research earlier this month released its fourth quarter 2010 (4Q10) Cable, Satellite, IPTV, and OTT Set-Top Boxes and Subscribers market share and forecast report, now led by analyst Teresa Mastrangelo. ALYST NOTE "In the fourth quarter of 2010, we witnessed the dramatic growth of over-the-top services, as service providers and equipment vendors hit the 'sweet spot' for pricing. However, these services continue to complement pay TV rather than replace it. On a global basis, demand for set-top boxes continues to increase as more countries transition from analog to digital and more operators offer enhanced services such as high definition and DVR. We also are seeing increasing demand for hybrid set-top boxes, which leverage the existing broadcast infrastructure, but utilize the broadband connection to incorporate OTT content and increase interactivity and on-demand services," notes Teresa Mastrangelo, directing analyst for video (cable, satellite, IPTV video) at Infonetics Research.

Best Buy Beefing Up Web, Downsizing Stores

Best Buy is rebalancing its channel strategy to address market share gains by online retailers, including Amazon.com. In the process, the company is dramatically expanding its online-only assortment, is promising to price those products aggressively, and has begun shrinking the footprint of some of its big-box stores as they come off lease. The chain has also not ruled out the possibility of closing some of its larger locations outright. In a fourth-quarter earnings call last month, co-Americas president Mike Vitelli said Best Buy will offer "very aggressive" pricing on a much broader online-only assortment to improve its price perception with customers. The move is designed to help counter mobile price-comparison technologies, which can put in-store stock at a disadvantage because price checks don't reflect value-added promotions like extended financing, loyalty program discounts and bundled offers, he said. The low web pricing will be achieved through a combination of supplier fulfillment, two-step distribution and Best Buy-owned inventory, he said. Still, CEO Brian Dunn stressed the importance of maintaining a brick-and-mortar presence to differentiate Best Buy from online-only competitors. Stores allow in-person consultations, provide a convenient pickup option for ecommerce orders, and will give the company a competitive advantage should tax policy favoring e-tail-only merchants change.

Artists, Music, Audiences Change - Labels Find it Tough

Seems like half the shows on TV are about rising musicians/singers.  But ask the MPAA (music folks) and their industry is breathing its last chest rattling breath.

Classic Home Toys #26

Only a couple of years after the adoption of the familiar orange and white icon for RSS feeds, social  networking sites such as Facebook, my Space, and Twitter began to grow in popularity.  In fact, many RSS software sites stopped updating their software around 2007 and although some sites still provide inks to the feed,   RSS is barely ever mentioned anymore.  Some sites still display the icon, but  no longer provide an updated feed.

Content Insider # 172 -- Marketing You Don't Manage

If you went to/read about SXSW (check Wikipedia) you saw that folks were doing everything for word of mouth (WOM) buzz.  They'll do it all the time, every time.  Big secret though?   Those folks don't have one iota of control over WOM! Nope that belongs to the people we're feeding the messages to.  You know "them."   Problem is they can turn on you in a heartbeat and gawd it ain't pretty.  When that happens it's damage control and you try to save the vital parts...that's when you call the PR folks to blame...not us, them! It can be "managed if you know how to prepare, what to do, when to do it...and you have blind faith!!!!

Content Insider #170 - Usage Trends

If you were one of the fortunate few who got his/her iPad 2 lord it over the other folks who are waiting for ...something else.  Of course they and you also carry around your smartphone, notebook, other mobile devices.  They're too important not to be without...and the information they hold.  Good thing is all that data, content you're creating doesn't make the things weigh any more except when you have to get a few external hard drives to carry it all.  Who knew you just had to have 8-10 four drawer filing cabinets of stuff with you but...you do.  Could put all the content at home but that's getting pretty full.  Could put it in the cloud but that's a little scarey.  All storage people can say is thank you for creating, storing, sharing.

Content Insider #171 -- The Game Is On

We may have worked with Atari for over six years back in the real gaming system days but we never really had a long attention span -- long enough to play the games.  We knew people who slept under their desks and lived on Coke/Twinkies when it was crash n burn to get games out.  Folks still do but now they're talking serious money.  So serious we people buy virtual goods/stuff with real money.  Times have changed but the attraction of games hasn't.  The games are more realistic, more immersive and more valuable.  Serious men, women, boys, girls play them...serious men, women develop them...seriously there's a new breed of casual games !!!!

Digital to Analog Audio Conversion

Computers use a binary counting method that allows them to work with very large numbers - and the size of this number depends on how many bits they have.  In the case of most recordings, 16 bits are used to count.  In the case of the PS DAC, 32 bits are possible.  So all that happens is the analog music signal goes into a digital counting device and the musical energy is converted to numbers - bigger numbers for higher levels and smaller numbers for lower levels of music.

EHX 2011 Tradeshow Report

This year EHX took place from March 17 - 19 in Orlando Florida.  As usual EHX had exhibitors from a broad range of AV companies.   HomeToys has reached out to companies from across the industry for a peek at some of the new products that will be showcased this year.  Below is a compilation of some great new products that should be an interest to you. As usual HomeToys.com will be a great place to post your company news and keep up to date.

Home Security System Installation and considerations:

With 20 years in the Consumer Electronics space, David pioneered wireless LAN for home use in partnership with Linksys, rotating storage for portable electronics at Cornice, and is most recently a founder and chief marketing officer of BOCS Inc , the manufacturer of a new whole home A/V distribution system for retrofit applications Part 1 of 2 - Click Here

How a Data Driven Process Can Help Streamline a System Integration Company

In today's challenging market, System Integrators have to wear multiple hats more than ever in order to complete projects that meet and exceed their client's expectations.  Many of the phases of a System Integration project tend to overlap and as the lines blur, productivity and profitability can depreciate.

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Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Smart Bulbs are out there and they can do far more then just provide light. Speakers, projectors, wi-fi extenders and more. The standard light socket that is wired up and ready to go in nearly every home in North America is now providing an easy and affordable option for home owners and renters alike to enter into the world of the "Smart Home". Here is a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options out there, and this list is just the beginning. In this ongoing article we hope to continue to add to and grow this list, so stay tuned!