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Ken Novak's Weblog

daily link  Monday, May 16, 2005

Piracy is Good?  A long piece on a business model for BitTorrent "hyperdistribution" of video programming.  "Per capita, Australians are the most profligate downloaders of television programming in the entire world, followed closely by the British. While the Americans lag behind, they're still on the chart, in third place. The sea change has already taken place - undoubtedly sped along by the monopoly position of the commercial broadcasters, who, in many cases, act as barriers rather than conduits for television programs. If a commercial broadcaster doesn't show a program, or delays it for years, that's no longer of concern to television audiences: they'll just download it from the Internet. ..

As yet there are no viable economic models connecting the television producer directly to the audience. Industry pundits talk about audiovisual downloads through some system like Apple's iTunes Music Store, and perhaps we'll see something like this in the near future, but this works against the simple fact that people do not expect to pay for television programs. .. [Also, thanks to PVR's and fast forward,] 30-second ads are not a part of television's future. They're too easy to edit out of the viewing experience. ..

the "bug," the smallish, semi-transparent station ID which has become the constant on-screen companion to all television broadcasts [can carry an ad instead, as it does on some sports broadcasts today]. the technique is already in use, and advertisers understand its value. .. advertisers are ready for this. .. As the advertisement-as-interruption disappears, we will see a series of advertisements — perhaps running five minutes apiece — embedded into the programmme itself. This is easy to achieve technically, and will be palatable to most major advertisers.

if those advertisers are paying between $250,000 and $500,000 for thirty seconds of advertising (in the United States), just a handful of advertisements would cover hyperdistribution [BitTorrent] costs. It's a numbers game: if enough viewers watch a hyperdistributed television program, it is cheaper for advertisers to work with producers, and handle the distribution themselves. Furthermore, if the program is widely popular, it is far, far cheaper to do so. In other words, the higher your ratings, the cheaper the advertising. That's precisely the reverse of broadcast television, and one big reason that advertisers will find this model so appealing.

Although no formal surveys have been conducted, it's reasonable to assert that at least four percent of Australians, two percent of Britons, and one percent of Americans are already using broadband hyperdistribution to get some percentage of their TV programs. Based on my own research, I have found television downloading to be widespread among men 18 to 25 years old, precisely the demographic most coveted by advertisers."

  9:10:14 AM  permalink  

daily link  Friday, May 13, 2005

Motorola Debuts First Ever Nano Flat Screen: "Motorola Labs today unveiled a working 5-inch color video display prototype based on proprietary Carbon Nanotube (CNT) technology.. Optimized for a large screen High Definition Television (HDTV) that is less than 1-inch thick, this first-of-its kind NED 5-inch prototype harnesses the power of CNTs to fundamentally change the design and fabrication of flat panel displays.

The development of such a flat panel display is possible due to Motorola Labs Nano Emissive Display (NED) technology, a scalable method of growing CNTs directly on glass to enable an energy efficient design that excels at emitting electrons. ..

“Motorola’s NED technology is demonstrating full color video with good response time,” said Barry Young, VP and CFO of DisplaySearch, a leading flat panel display market research and consulting company. “And according to a detailed cost model analysis conducted by our firm, we estimate the manufactured cost for a 40-inch NED panel could be under $400.” 

Motorola’s proprietary CNT growth process provides excellent precision in designing and manipulating a material at its molecular level – enhancing specific characteristics – and, in the case of flat panel displays, producing high-definition images. .. Motorola’s industry-first working prototype demonstrates:

• Operational full color 5" video section of a 1280 x 720, 16:9, 42-inch HDTV
• High quality brightness
• Bright, vivid colors using standard Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) TV phosphors
• Display panel thickness of 3.3 millimeters (about 1/8th of an inch)
• Low cost display drive electronics (similar to LCD, much lower than Plasma)
• Display characteristics meet or exceed CRTs, such as fast response time, wide
viewing angle, wide operation temperature "

  10:52:02 PM  permalink  

LaserKey:  Nifty - a projection keyboard that communicates via Bluetooth to PDAs or smartphones.  Advertised at $129.  9:33:31 AM  permalink  

Interesting use for the Mac Mini:  "A few weeks ago I was visiting another one of my portfolio companies. They are in the process of rolling out the beta of their enterprise software product. But rather than risk any difficulties with download and installation, the company was shipping its beta as an appliance by simply loading the software onto the Unix shell of a mini and shipping the mini to its beta customers. Configuration of the beta at the customer premises then consisted of simply plugging in the power and the ethernet cable. Couldn't be easier.

Sure, I know that there are cheaper machines to be had running Linux on Intel processors. But the combined power, simplicity and beauty of the Mac mini can not be beat. I suspect we'll be seeing them popping up all over the place -- in the home and in the office -- in the coming months and quarters "

  9:10:58 AM  permalink  

daily link  Monday, May 09, 2005

Telepocalypse by Martin Geddes: The telecom earthquake: Ruminations on SIP and Skype.  The comments and trackbacks are also interesting.  I like the comparisons.  Skype's CEO says that if Skype were a spreadsheet, it wouldn't be VisiCalc or Excel, but Lotus 123 -- the first package that broke open the market to large numbers of users, but still short of the mainstream.  Similarly, a commenter regards Skype like AOL:  a mass-market closed garden, far larger than the niche players before it, but smaller than the ultimate, hopefully open, system.  See also VoIP and ENUM on the possible "death" (or at least, "burial") of SIP.  11:57:32 PM  permalink  

daily link  Friday, May 06, 2005

Hackers attack IT conference: Clever, nasty, and far too easy.  "Hackers infiltrated an IT exhibition last week and attacked delegates' computers with a new type of wireless attack. Security experts attending the Wireless LAN Event in London last Wedesday found that anonymous hackers in the crowd had created a Web site that looked like a genuine log-in page for a Wi-Fi network, but which actually sent 45 random viruses to computers that accessed it.

Spencer Parker, a director of technical solutions at AirDefense .. said that the hackers walked around the exhibition carrying a Linux-based laptop running software that turned it into a wireless access point. Initially, they labelled the hotspot "Free_Internet_Access", then "BTOpenzone" and then "T-Mobile".  .. . "It downloads 45 different randomly generated viruses, worms and keyloggers so antivirus software doesn't protect it. It doesn’t recognise the signatures." .. Parker, whose computer was infected by the attack, believes that the Web site was up for half an hour."

  1:45:58 PM  permalink  

Copyright 2005 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 11/24/2005; 11:36:16 PM.
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