Tag Archive | "streaming"

Netflix Shares Under Pressure After LVLT/GLBC Merger

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Shares of Netflix (NFLX) are down 2.9% at $228.11 in midday trading on  concerns that the merger between Level 3 (LVLT) and Global Crossing (GLBC) will hurt the movie streaming company.

Akamai Technologies (AKAM) and Limelight Networks (LLNW) typically compete with Level 3 to supply Netflix with elements of their streaming services.

Analysts say the acquisition of Global Crossing by Level 3 will lead to market consolidation, which could potentially give it more pricing power to pass on to consumers. This would, in turn, hit Netflix’s margins.

Netflix shares are down 3% at $227.94.

Akamai shares are down 2.6% at $36.38.

Limelight shares are down 2.6% at $7.11.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Netflix: Google’s YouTube A ‘Substantial’ Threat, Says Wedge

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Following Google’s (GOOG) announcement this morning it will integrate “live streaming” capabilities into its YouTube video service, Wedge Partners analyst Martin Pyykkonen today writes that professional content partnerships for YouTube could be a threat to Netflix (NFLX), in fact a “substantial” threat, in his view.

While original content produced for the Web still has to prove its appeal, writes Pyykkonen, “we think the primary opportunity for GOOG is to license professional content which can be monetized through streaming subscriptions and/or advertising supported online distribution.”

Pyykkonen thinks YouTube could “acquire the streaming rights (even if non-exclusive) to a substantial portion of recent film/TV programming assets.”

With 144 million unique visitors at YouTube in the US, as of February, writes Pyykkonen, YouTube’s biggest immediate advantage over Netflix is broad distribution across not only PCs but also mobile phones, tablets, IP-enabled TVs, and other devices.

“Unlike other streaming video competitors, YouTube is on nearly every device platform on which NFLX is running today,” observes Pyykkonen. “We believe that it is this platform distribution in particular that gives GOOG a significant leg up on the competition vs. NFLX. Time will tell how aggressive GOOG will be in competing with NFLX, but we think the threat is substantial.”

Netflix shares today are up $2.28, or 1%, at $236.24.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Broadcom offers cheap motion-based gaming for set-top boxes

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Broadcom has teamed up with Chinese firm 3DiJoy to support its system for motion-sensing gaming on set-top boxes, enabling users to play games in their living room with little extra hardware costs.

The companies are billing the system as an inexpensive way to add gaming to an existing set-top box.Broadcom’s set-top box chips will integrate Bluetooth wireless network technology that can connect to a gesture-based remote control with Shanghai-based 3DiJoy’s motion-sensing technology.

The technology paves the way for motion-sensing game systems to spread far beyond the game console to ordinary set-top boxes that handle functions such as digital video recording or cable TV access. That in turn could lead to a much larger market for video games in places where people can’t afford or aren’t allowed to buy game machines. In China, for instance, game consoles are still banned.

Broadcom is the leader in chips for set-top boxes. The company makes a BCM7231 IP STB system-on-a-chip device that can
power a set-top. That chip will integrate a Bluetooth wireless gaming solution that can connect with a motion-sensing remote (pictured) that uses 3DiJoy’s technology.That system could work with games downloaded into a set-top via the internet.

The Broadcom chip can run 3D graphics-based games that use the OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics standard.The system is being targeted at users in the U.S., Latin America, Central America, and China, said Li Hsu, chief executive of 3DiJoy. Dan Marotta, executive vice president of Broadcom’s communications group, said that service providers can now add new revenue-generating entertainment services to their existing set-top box services.

The companies are showing the solution this week at a couple of trade shows: the China Content Broadcasting Network Exhibition in Beijing and the IP&TV World Forum in London.The system can be used for both video games and educational apps. Other apps such as search and audio streaming can also be added easily to a system using the Broadcom and 3DiJoy solutions.

China’s internet protocol TV (video delivered via web) market has more than 8 million subscribers and it could grow to more than 12 million in 2011, according to market researcher Streaming Media Network.The 3DiJoy system competes directly
with the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360, and the Sony PlayStation Move. Kinect-like technology will also be available soon on PCs.

Broadcom, based in Irvine, Calif., had 2010 revenue of $6.8 billion.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Netflix: Yes, Zediva Swamped On NYT Review

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Yes, the streaming video service that David Pogue wrote about in The New York Times today is indeed swamped, it would appear: Zediva.com says on its Web site it is not taking anymore signups for the moment as its “registration is temporarily full.”

Pogue writes today that the company is an attractive alternative to Netflix (NFLX) and other streaming video. Instead of negotiating rights to stream movies as Netflix does, the company simply buys tons of copies of the latest DVDs and puts them online, and lets its users pull the video feed from those discs over the Internet.

Netflix shares today are up $2.17, or 1%, at $216.01.

Netflix alternative Zediva rents DVDs playing off servers in its own data center. The site was slammed Thursday following a NY Times review.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

TokBox raises $12M to jam Skype into your web browser

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TokBox, a provider of streaming video conferencing over the web, announced today that it has raised $12 million in a third round of funding and is launching a new set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to embed video conferencing in any web site.

The new APIs kill the need to launch a standalone application like Skype or a web application to host a video conference. Any developer can now embed up to 20 participants in a video conference directly into a web page. They can have many more people watching the conversations as well. TokBox is launching the new APIs at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco tomorrow.

Using TokBox for something like a speed dating website seems like an obvious application, but there’s another potential giant target — enterprise teleconferencing. Collaboration technology is already incredibly fragmented and in dire need of consolidation. Releasing a teleconferencing API that can be dropped into a site like Yammer — a Facebook for businesses — could prove to be a huge boon for businesses that have employees strewn across the country.

“People are always invited to go to silo destination sites for video conferencing, and that’s just not the real world,” said Micky O’Brien, vice president of marketing for TokBox. “They want to engage with others around an activity, and they want to do it immediately.”

Once video is captured from a web-enabled camera, it’s sent over to the TokBox servers and compressed. It’s then streamed to people viewing a website with Flash. While the streaming technology is handled by Flash for now, the APIs are already prepared in a way that TokBox can shift over to HTML5 once the technology is ready, O’Brien said.

To change major settings of a video conference in a website, a TokBox user will have to go back to the source code of the web page. So they can’t make any significant changes on the fly. But the APIs will allow TokBox users to do things like move around and scale video conferencing windows. TokBox users can also choose to chat with only a select group of people, like Facebook friends. Their conference can’t be viewed by anyone else, so if users need to have a private conversation they can do so.

With this third round of funding, led by DAG Ventures, TokBox has raised a total of $26.4 million. Existing investors Bain Capital and Sequoia Capital also participated in the most recent fundraising round. TokBox is based in San Francisco, Calif. and was founded in 2007.

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Hulu preparing for $300M IPO to hold ground against Netflix and company?

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Broadcast content streaming site Hulu may be preparing for an IPO to raise as much as $300 million with Morgan Stanley as the primary underwriter, according to a report from Reuters.

The additional funding could be used to pay for new content sources like deals with broadcast networks. Google and Apple are entering the living room with Google TV and the revamped Apple TV. They’ll both features movie and show rentals. And Netflix is already a heavy-hitter in the streaming video marketplace. So it’s becoming a bit of a crowded market for streaming premium content.

Hulu is a free, ad-supported way for viewers to watch content from several of the largest broadcast networks online. It already streams content from broadcast networks Fox, NBC and ABC, and CBS may soon join the pack based on some comments from the CEO Leslie Moonves last month.

Hulu Plus, announced earlier this year, will offer additional content (such as older shows) in HD to mobile devices, video game consoles and smart TVs as well. Hulu unveiled the premium service in June of this year. Hulu Plus, which will cost users $9.99 a month, is currently in “preview” mode with a limited number of users, and an official launch date for the service has not been released yet.

Hulu was founded in 2007 as a joint venture between News Corp, Disney, NBC Universal and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners. The Reuters report places a $2 billion value on the video streaming service — a value the New York Times had reported earlier in August when more rumors of a Hulu IPO this fall surfaced.

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Apple To Stream Tomorrow’s Launch; PC Users Aren’t Invited

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Apple (AAPL) will provide a live feed of its product launch taking place at 10 a.m. tomorrow in San Francisco.
But not everyone is going to be able to see it. Here’s what Apple is saying:
Apple will broadcast its September 1 event online using Apple’s industry-leading HTTP Live Streaming, which is [...]

Article courtesy of BARRONS.com: Tech Trader Daily

Should Yahoo Buy Part Of Hulu?

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Here’s a fun idea for a Friday, courtesy of Stifel Nicolas analyst Jordan Rohan: Maybe Yahoo (YHOO) ought to buy a “considerable stake” in the streaming video site Hulu, which is now reportedly mulling an initial public offering.
“Public reports suggest that Hulu is considering a public offering with a $2 [...]

Article courtesy of BARRONS.com: Tech Trader Daily

Tapping Disney, Elemental raises $7.5M as it shoots for mastery of web video processing

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Elemental Technologies has raised $7.5 million from Disney’s Steamboat Ventures as it expands in the market for web video processing hardware.

Portland, Ore.-based Elemental makes video processing servers with graphics chips that can handle non-graphics tasks; in that sense, its servers are different from those that use only Intel-based microprocessors. The hardware is specially suited for streaming live high-definition video over the web or improving video images so that they can be played in crystal clear quality. That’s what drew in Disney’s Steamboat Ventures. Disney’s properties such as ABC (whose iPad app is pictured below) have to stream high-quality video across the web. Now those Disney divisions are using Elemental’s technology to help slash costs and improve web video quality.

Web users have an insatiable appetite for video, either concerts streamed live in HD quality, or funny YouTube videos that are shared by the millions. Cisco estimates that video traffic will be 90 percent of all internet traffic by 2012, particularly as computers, TVs and cell phones get web connected.

Existing investors General Catalyst and Voyager Capital also participated in the funding. Steamboat managing director Scott Hilleboe will join Elemental’s board.

Elemental will use the money to expand in the U.S. and internationally. It makes Elemental Live, which processes live video, as well as Elemental Server, which processes hosted videos.

Elemental writes software that harnesses the massively parallel processing capabilities of off-the-shelf graphics chips from Nvidia. For the past few years, Nvidia has been including non-graphics processing technology in its graphics chips under the name CUDA. Elemental exploits that technology, allowing it to process video by using a combination of graphics and microprocessor computation, instead of just microprocessors alone. The Elemental Live servers tap Nvidia’s latest Fermi graphics chips, which have 480 parallel processors.

The Elemental Live servers can do “adaptive bit-rate streaming.” That means that when it is broadcasting a video stream to the Internet, it sends out a bunch of redundant streams. If the viewing party, such as a consumer watching a live basketball game video feed, has a connection problem with one video stream, Elemental will switch to a different stream to make sure that the video arrives at the consumer’s computer without a hiccup. In doing so, it will lower the quality of the video slightly to ensure that you receive continuous video. Only a graphics chip with multiple processors can handle that kind of multiple stream processing, said Sam Blackman, chief executive of Elemental.

To take a recent example, at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Akamai Technologies, a content-delivery network, reported that it was transferring 374 gigabits per second of live video for more than 30 concurrent events. NBC served an estimated 45 million video streams — and still generated lots of complaints.

Elemental was formed in August 2006 by a team of former engineers at chip maker Pixelworks in Oregon. It previously raised $7.1 million from Nvidia, Voyager Capital, General Catalyst Partners and angels.

Elemental has 30 employees and is hiring. Customers include News-Press & Gazette Broadcasting, a media company in St. Joseph, Mo., ABC, CBS Interactive, and Time Warner. Blackman said that many more customers are in the pipeline. Worldwide, the streaming media market is valued at roughly $1.2 billion. Rivals include Cisco, Motorola, Digital Rapids, Spinnaker and Harmonic.

The company previously created video encoding product Elemental Server, used for post-production video work. And in 2008, Elemental launched its Badaboom Media Converter software to convert video so that it could be transferred quickly from a computer to an iPod and other mobile devices. The company also launched an accelerator product for Adobe’s editing software. Now it’s taking the core technology that made its consumer technologies possible and is making it available to enterprises.

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