How can the industry work to solve this problem? Part of that solution is UltraViolet. As discussed in previous blogs, the concept is that someday I will have the same experience as the Apple ecosystem (buy a movie with the UltraViolet feature and have access to it from every device I own). The reality today is that none of my SmartTVs or connected devices (except my iPads and PCs/Macs) can stream content from Flixster, some have access to Vudu, but if I purchase on Blu-ray I can use "sneaker net" to carry the disc from room to room.
But perhaps more important than UV is a better connectivity approach to the digital living room itself. The challenge here is that DLNA is not enough. Assuming I have a pre-sorted directory on my PC where I can access that I am looking for is a bad assumption. The majority of SmartTV companies have been busy building their own proprietary approaches to solving this problem (with and without partners). Boxee is trying to solve this problem, but I think its focus on a 10-foot remote experience limits its capability to do so.
I think the best way for the consumer and for the device manufacturers to move forward is for the device manufacturers to focus (similar to LG) on exposing their devices via APIs to applications on tablets (second screens) and local (home movies) and over-the-top video services (Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon, VDIO, M-GO, etc). This allows Second Screen apps (think BuddyTV, Dijit) to deliver the "Simple" capability to control the large TV (1st screen) and deliver the selected TV show or movie to that 1st screen (or tune the channel), but also provides a more natural interface (2-foot remote, touch screen, virtual keyboard) for "Social" interaction, review of "Stimulating" content and "Discovery" of new content, and providing the "Seamless" delivery of the source of that content across services so that it can be delivered directly to the viewing screen. This then gives the consumer the capability to buy devices (Boxee, PS3, Xbox, Blu-ray players) and Smart TVs from different manufacturers and still have a robust alternative ecosystem that is similar in capability to Apple's.
And this approach is an urgent requirement for the industry because the consumer will not wait much longer to improve their own digital living rooms.
Let's face the facts. If the iPad tablet market share holds in the 90%+ range, consumers are going to start buying Apple TVs (Tim Cook described them as iPad accessories), which will obviate the need for SmartTVs and other devices almost entirely:
- removes the need for Blu-ray players since the Ultraviolet experience is built-in to iCloud for the Apple ecosystem
- removes the need for SmartTVs as Apple TV connects to HDMI
- removes the need for other devices for streaming services with Netflix, MLB.tv, etc, on the AppleTV product
- leaving only the home movie challenge which Apple then solves with their iMovie and iPhoto products.
If you don't believe this is urgent, check out my recent experience at home below:
I have had a frustrating last few weeks with my Apple Ecosystem at home (AppleTV, iTunes on a Windows PC as my main library, 4 iPads & 4 iPhones for a family of 4--by no means ordinary in penetration). Apple's latest 10.5x change to the iTunes software has a bug in it that requires you to turn off IPv6 in your network adapter of your Windows 64-bit PC (guess how long it took me to figure that out?).
So for those few weeks, I was forced to deal with the "average" digital living room in my attempts to share and watch content in my home. I am sure most Americans have 3-4 TVs in the house (so say the statistics) of different brands plus a gaming console or two and various connected Blu-ray players. In my house, we have a Boxee Box, an Xbox 360, a PS3, 3 "SmartTVs" (a Samsung TV, an LG TV, and Panasonic) and another connected LG Blu-ray player. We typically use Vudu to rent movies (better experience than Apple in Discovery and delivery in real-time) on the PS3 or Boxee, we watch "high end" TV on the Apple TV (series not yet available on Netflix or Hulu), and watch all other content either live or DVR'd from our AT&T U-verse or from iPads/other connected TVs/devices via Netflix or Hulu+.
What a mess.
Our digital living room experience at home a few weeks ago (and going forward since I fixed the IPv6 problem) was that for special movies and TV series, we would buy them, and they would download automatically into the main library where everyone in the family had access to them forever more from iPads or the Apple TV (using local delivery or the iCloud). Home movies that were already in .mp4 were also available to those devices.
During the "time of digital failure", I tried using the DLNA capabilities of the various devices including Boxee, PS3, and my TV-connected PC to watch home videos or non-DRM'd content (outside of Netflix and Hulu+). I think all of you probably already know how painful this was. Boxee is probably the best at being able to decode multiple formats of personal home video (Canon camcorder, Canon DSLR, iPhones, etc), but is difficult to use to browse and find content (as we shoot and store video). The PC which houses everything is just not built for a 10-foot remote experience (yes I have tried to font changes, I have a Logitech mini-keyboard, and even occasionally us LogMeIn from a laptop instead to control it).
The experience was so painful, that we actually purchased a few movies on Vudu as an experiment (can't download to the iPad, but you can stream) and had another push on Boxee for home movies. Ultimately, it was the "stick" that drove me to fix the Home Sharing bug Apple created.
Despite steady growth in app downloads on Apple devices, music remains the primary activity for the average iTunes user, according to a new study from research firm NPD. However, the percentage of users who purchase music through iTunes has fallen since 2010, as has the percentage of users purchasing video content.
The iTunes platform attracts one in four U.S. Internet users (51 million people), an increase of three percent since last year, NPD says. More than half of all iTunes users (54 percent) have uploaded music to an iPod or listened to music on iTunes in the past three months, while 28 percent downloaded a free app (an increase of four percent over the prior year) and 16 percent paid to download an app (also up four percent).
The total number of U.S. consumers purchasing content from iTunes increased by one million people this year, and a larger percentage of those purchases came from app buyers. While 82 percent of iTunes content buyers purchased music and 31 percent purchased apps in 2010, just 75 percent of iTunes content buyers have purchased music in 2011, while 39 percent have purchased apps this year. iTunes video buyers, meanwhile, have declined by one percentage point to 19 percent this year.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs no reason the music or video industry should accept a loss of buyers, as device preferences change,‚ÄĚ says Russ Crupnick, NPD‚Äôs senior vice president and entertainment analyst. ‚ÄúThey have significant opportunities to foster discovery, engagement, and purchases using the tablet platform [namely the iPad].‚ÄĚ
NPD based its findings on 4,011 completed responses from a May 2011 survey of iTunes users age 13 and older.
While tablet computers are poised to be a top-selling product this holiday season, Apple has cut its fourth-quarter manufacturing orders for the iPad 2 by 25 percent, according to JPMorgan analysts (via Bloomberg). The move could signal preparations for holiday-season introduction of a third-generation iPad; or it could represent Apple‚Äôs revision of its iPad sales forecast as Amazon readies a rival tablet for market (via 9To5Mac).
Speculation abounds that Amazon will introduce a Kindle-branded device that will be competitively priced against other tablets, with a model featuring a 7-inch screen perhaps selling for $250 (via PC World). The device also may include membership in Amazon Prime, a service package that offers streaming movie and video rentals as well as unlimited two-day shipping on physical purchases from the online retailer.
Amazon and Walmart‚Äôs Vudu are taking a new tactic in their competition with Apple to establish themselves as entertainment providers to iPad users.
Amazon‚Äôs new Kindle Cloud Reader lets iPad users purchase and read Kindle e-books, while Vudu is bringing its Internet video-on-demand service to iPad users. Both of the new apps are accessed via Web browser, as opposed to being based on Apple‚Äôs iOS operating system. The difference, which should be invisible to iPad users, enables Amazon and Walmart to avoid having to pay Apple a cut of e-book and movie rental purchases, respectively (see the San Francisco Chronicle). The companies also remain free to update their apps as they see fit, whereas updates to native iOS apps are subject to Apple approval (via TechCrunch).
Vudu appears to be facing pushback from Disney, which is withholding availability of its films via the iPad app (via the Los Angeles Times). Also, playback on the iPad is limited to standard-definition only, “due to restrictions by content providers,” Vudu says.¬†Meanwhile, Amazon‚Äôs Kindle Cloud Reader currently lacks the magazines or other periodicals that are available for purchase within the Kindle app specifically designed for Apple‚Äôs iOS (via Wired).
Apple began selling its Lion upgrade to the OSX operating system as a $29.99 digital download from its App Store today, one day after the company announced that its iPad business has overtaken revenue from Mac computer sales.
During its third fiscal quarter, Apple sold 9.2 million iPads, worth $6 billion in revenue, while it sold 3.9 million Macs worth $5.1 billion in revenue (tables at¬†SplatF). Discussing the quarter‚Äôs results during an analyst call, Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook said that is was ‚Äúclear‚ÄĚ some of the company‚Äôs customers were purchasing iPads instead of new Mac computers. ‚ÄúBut what really excites us,‚ÄĚ claimed Cook, ‚Äúis more customers chose to buy an iPad than a Windows PC‚ÄĚ during the quarter (via Forbes).
The Lion upgrade introduces iPad-inspired features to the PC interface; reviewing the performance of the OS as well as the digital installation procedure, The Wall Street Journal‚Äôs Walt Mossberg acknowledges Lion as a ‚Äúbig leap‚ÄĚ from Apple‚Äôs previous Snow Leopard OS. ‚ÄúIf you are willing to adjust,‚ÄĚ Mossberg says, ‚Äúit‚Äôs the best computer operating system out there.‚ÄĚ
More than one third of tablet computer owners (34%) already spend more time each day using their devices than they do watching TV, according to new research from¬†Google‚Äôs AdMob. The survey of some 1,400 tablet users reveals game playing to be the most common tablet activity, at 84% of respondents; more than half (51%) consume entertainment such as music or videos on their devices.
Among other findings on the nature of tablet use:¬†68% of tablet users spend at least 1 hour a day on their tablet, and¬†82% primarily use their tablet at home.
Time Warner Cable has asked a New York federal court to declare that the cable company is within its licensing rights to stream Viacom-owned TV channels to subscriber homes through a recently-released iPad app. The filing prompted Viacom to seek an injunction against the Time Warner Cable app from the same court.
In a statement, Time Warner Cable says the app has been downloaded 360,000 times since its March 15 debut. ‚ÄúWe have steadfastly maintained that we have the rights to allow our customers to view this programming in their homes, over our cable systems, without artificial limits on the screens they can use to do so, and we are asking the court to confirm our view,‚ÄĚ says Marc Lawrence-Apfelbaum, the company‚Äôs executive VP and general counsel.
In its own complaint, Viacom argues that it has historically negotiated licensing rights for particular technologies and devices. In offering streams of Viacom cable networks such as Comedy Central without negotiating a license, Time Warner Cable ‚Äúblatantly grabbed the rights that their competitors have negotiated in good faith to obtain,‚ÄĚ says Viacom spokeswoman Kelly McAndrew in a statement (via Bloomberg).
Time Warner Cable‚Äôs new live-TV iPad app oversteps the bounds of the company‚Äôs programming licenses with the likes of Viacom and Scripps Networks Interactive, cable channel owners argue, in what is shaping to be a new battle for position in the growing market for digital video distribution services.
The free¬†app lets customers of Time Warner Cable‚Äôs TV and broadband services stream 32 cable channels live to an iPad, but only within their homes and via the company‚Äôs own broadband network. It had garnered nearly 80,000 downloads as of Tuesday, according to the company (via The Wall Street Journal).
Time Warner Cable maintains that since usage of the app is limited to customers‚Äô homes and its own network, the company is within the parameters of its existing content licensing agreements. But some programmers see the situation differently. Scripps, whose channels include Food Network and HGTV (both offered via the app), ‚Äúhas not granted iPad video-streaming rights to any distributor and is actively addressing any misunderstandings on this issue,‚ÄĚ a company spokesman tells the Journal.
Some observers had been expecting Apple to announce Wednesday a refresh of the company‚Äôs cloud-based MobileMe service, complete with new digital music capabilities for its device users. But MobileMe received no mention at what proved to be Apple‚Äôs unveiling of a thinner, camera-enabled iPad. (Apple also announced a $100 price cut for its first-generation iPad models.)
PC World muses that a MobileMe upgrade may still be in the offing, perhaps arriving in tandem with Apple’s presumed fifth-generation iPhone this summer.
Less than a day after the¬†Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has commenced production of a second-generation iPad for release in the next couple of months, speculation is underway about the company‚Äôs plans for an ‚ÄúiPad 3‚ÄĚ in the early fall.
TechCrunch notes the rapid iPad follow-up could help Apple maintain its lead over competitors such as HP, whose TouchPad is expected this summer.¬†Daring Fireball reckons that September 2011 could see the release of a ‚Äúpro‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúHD‚ÄĚ version of an iPad 2 that would begin shipping in early April.
Producers of News Corp.‚Äôs The Daily acknowledged at a launch event in New York¬†that the new iPad-only publication ‚Äúis not an island‚ÄĚ: subscribers will be able to share links to articles via Twitter, Facebook, and email.
The Daily ‚ÄĒ with subscriptions priced at $0.99 a week, or $39.99 a year ‚ÄĒ launched today in Apple‚Äôs iPad app store. iPad owners can download a free copy at thedaily.com.
Event coverage at All Things Digital.
More than three quarters of iPad owners (76%) use their iPads at least five days a week, while 55% of owners use the device everyday, according to Knowledge Networks. But these users are largely bringing a ‚Äúfree Internet‚ÄĚ mindset to the iPad, with only a small portion of users willing to pay for content.
The research firm‚Äôs recent survey of 205 iPad owners and users shows a preference of an ad-supported model for content access over a pay model by nearly a 6-to-1 ratio. Additionally, six of the seven top reported iPad activities are familiar ones such as web surfing and email.
Some 70% of iPad users have read an e-book on the device, while 61% have read an electronic magazine or journal, and 51% have watched network TV programs. Yet only 13% of iPad users would be willing to pay extra for an iPad-friendly version of a print magazine or TV show that they already pay for in its conventional format (i.e., a magazine or pay-TV subscription).
Users who watch TV episodes or movies on their iPads most often learn about the content from branded apps created by services such as Netflix, SlingBox, or YouTube. Word-of-mouth comes in second in the Knowledge Networks survey, ahead of TV networks‚Äô own apps and Apple‚Äôs iTunes store.
Comcast says¬†it plans to roll out a “play now” feature to its Xfinity iPad app in the coming weeks, enabling pay-TV subscribers to watch nearly 3,000 hours of on-demand content (release here).
According to the cable operator, app users will be able to watch TV shows or movies on demand either at home or on the go, including anywhere there is a wireless connection. Comcast plans to add more titles to the app’s VOD library in the months ahead, and bring the same functionality and content to Android-powered tablet devices later this year.
The company released its Xfinity iPad app this past¬†November.
This year‚Äôs CES will find major consumer electronics brands introducing tablet devices ‚ÄĒ or reintroducing them, as the New York Times notes. The difference in 2011 is that two operating systems ‚ÄĒ Google‚Äôs Android and Microsoft‚Äôs Windows ‚ÄĒ are poised for launch.
As with previous CES outings, Apple will be the elephant in the trade event‚Äôs demo rooms and exhibit booths. It also remains to be seen how the market for tablets (and entertainment/media apps for tablet screens) will take shape. If consumer enthusiasm is there, it could parallel the market for smartphones, in which Apple‚Äôs iPhone is engaged in a bona fide rivalry with Motorola‚Äôs Droid and other devices. But with Apple‚Äôs iPad having established a commanding lead over would-be competitors in 2010, the tablet market already resembles digital music players, which CES exhibitors spent years doggedly pursuing with iPod also-rans.
As it turns out, Apple didn‚Äôt have much of a surprise in store for those who closely watch the digital space ‚ÄĒ but it‚Äôs good news nevertheless.
At long last, the Beatles have arrived at iTunes. Shoppers can purchase individual tracks ($1.29 each), albums ($12.99 each), or the band‚Äôs entire collected output ($149.99). The latter set contains the same material as record label EMI marketed last year in mono and stereo CD editions, both of which are still widely available.
The digital albums are exclusive to iTunes through some time in 2011, an EMI spokesman tells All Things D.
Without the Beatles (and a handful of other legacy acts), the iTunes store was incomplete. Sure, the notion of ‚Äúcompletism‚ÄĚ has evolved from 2004, when Apple introduced the digital-boxed-set concept as part of its pivotal iPod marketing partnership with U2. As any fan of the Netflix or Pandora Radio apps for iPhone/iPad would agree, today‚Äôs entertainment services want to be more complete in the breadth and depth of content they offer.
But consumer takeup of such access-oriented services is not mutually exclusive with their continuing desire to own copies of their favorite movies or music.
Today‚Äôs Apple announcement, then, is essentially in furtherance of increasing availability. And you know that can‚Äôt be bad.
The first version of Comcast‚Äôs Xfinity TV app will be available free to subscribers via Apple‚Äôs App Store this week, as the cable operator plans similar apps for Android devices and BlackBerry smartphones. For now, paidContent points out, the TV-everywhere app functions more as a programming guide and remote DVR controller than mobile video player. Comcast states that TV and movie viewing capabilities will come to the app in December, though it declined to specify content partners.
Announcing its fiscal fourth-quarter results yesterday, Apple said it sold 4.19 million iPads for the three months ended Sept. 25, 2010. The sales figure represented a shortcoming for some Wall Street analysts, who were looking for Apple to move as many as 5 million iPads during the quarter. But few attribute the discrepancy to lingering supply issues or slack demand.
JP Morgan‚Äôs Mark Moskowitz notes that the nominal disappointment was due to ‚Äúelevated‚ÄĚ investor expectations after the tablet‚Äôs strong start in April (via Apple Insider). Adds Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner: ‚ÄúNotwithstanding the short-term vicissitudes of the expectations game, Apple clearly has a winner on its hands….We continue to expect an extremely strong December quarter from the devices thanks to a combination of holiday seasonality; channel expansion in the U.S. (Walmart, Target, AT&T, Verizon), and international distribution beyond [the iPad‚Äôs] current 27-country footprint.‚ÄĚ
Meanwhile, Apple ‚ÄĒ which posted a net profit of $4.31 billion in its most recent quarter ‚ÄĒ ¬†said that it is sitting on more than $50 billion in cash and investments. Accordingly, analysts such as Gleacher & Co.’s Brian Marshall looks for the company to make a large acquisition, possibly in the digital media distribution space (via Bloomberg).
‚ÄĘ The iTunes Store topped $1 billion in revenue during the quarter, sequentially flat with previous quarters.
‚ÄĘ Jobs said that Apple has sold some 250,000 Apple TVs since the company relaunched the device in early September (via¬†NewTeeVee).
Recent deals to market the iPad in Verizon and AT&T stores, as well as in mass merchants such as Walmart and Target, position the Apple device to be a top holiday seller, opines GigaOm‚Äôs Om Malik. That certainly would spell good things for developers and distributors of apps and other digital content leading into 2011.
GigaOM estimates some 8 million tablets will ship to retail in 2010, with iPad units comprising a majority of those shipments (about 6 million units). But GigaOm notes that other analysts have set even higher expectations for Apple: UBS Research, for example, expects the company to sell 4.5 million iPads in thr fourth quarter of this year alone.
Apple is expected to reveal new iPad sales figures on Monday during its quarterly earnings report (via Reuters). Apple sold 3.3 million iPads between its April launch and the June closing of its second quarter; analysts are looking for the company to have sold as many as 5 million more during Q3.
Confirming earlier speculation, Walmart tells the Wall Street Journal that it will begin selling Apple‚Äôs iPad in reportedly hundreds of stores Oct. 15. The mass merchant, which also will sell iPads on Walmart.com for in-store pickup, will stock iPads in more than 2,300 stores by mid-November.
The Journal notes that the Walmart‚Äôs netting of the iPad ahead of the holidays represents something of a ‚Äúcoup‚ÄĚ for the retailer, which sat out from selling previous hit Apple devices like the iPod for ‚Äúmany months‚ÄĚ after their launch. The iPad has been available at Best Buy outlets, as well as Apple‚Äôs own stores, since April; Target stores began carrying the device this month.
Walmart will offer no discount, however, on the iPad‚Äôs pricing (the base model costs $499).
With the iPad on the shelves of three big-box retailers, physical media may have to make more room for digital entertainment in holiday-season sales circulars.
Industry expectations over 3D home entertainment and media tablets such as Apple‚Äôs iPad are approaching their respective peaks, according to a new ‚Äúhype cycle‚ÄĚ forecast by marketing research firm Gartner.
The forecast (via CNET) plots the emerging technologies ‚ÄĒ along with a host of others, such as private cloud computing ‚ÄĒ on a modified sine wave curve of industry expectations over time. After reaching the ‚Äúpeak of inflated expectations,‚ÄĚ new technologies are generally cast into a ‚Äútrough of disillusionment‚ÄĚ from both consumers and prospective industry participants before ascending a ‚Äúslope of enlightenment‚ÄĚ and prospering on a ‚Äúplateau of productivity,‚ÄĚ Gartner says.
Technologies generally survive the correction of expectations; Gartner estimates both 3D home displays and media tablets are two to five years away from mass adoption.
More on the research firm‚Äôs methodology here.
Over the last decade, physical media boosters grew fond of referring to the DVD player as the fastest selling product in consumer electronics history (excepting cell phones). But as Bernstein Research notes, Apple‚Äôs iPad has far outpaced the DVD player‚Äôs early sales figures, with no signs of slowing down.
Apple sold three million iPads during the device‚Äôs first 80 days of availability, and currently sells 4.5 million units per quarter Bernstein Research says (via CNBC‚Äôs Fast Money). Obviously, the 350,000 DVD players sold during the format‚Äôs soft launch in 1997 are of no comparison; it took roughly three years for the DVD player installed-base to cross the 10 million unit mark.
As of this week, the iPad is available at Target stores and on Amazon.com (via third-party sellers), in addition to Best Buy outlets and Apple‚Äôs own storefronts. Fortune muses that the device may find a place on Walmart shelves next.
In a move that appears to give developers the green light to build games and other apps for the iPhone and iPad in Adobe‚Äôs Flash, Apple says it is relaxing its restrictions on app development tools for its mobile operating system, iOS.
The announcement seems to clear the way for companies to convert Flash programs into iOS apps ‚ÄĒ something that Apple previously prohibited. The remaining restriction is that apps cannot download code, Apple said in a statement.
Apple continues to ban the Flash player from its iPhone and iPad, with CEO Steve Jobs having claimed that the otherwise ubiquitous technology compromises device performance and security. Users of iPhones and iPads still are not able to view Flash videos from the Internet.
Teradata’s Colleen Quinn springs for a top-of-the-line iPad and mulls the ramifications of the app economy that the tablet device drives. “The real power of the app in all its incarnations isn‚Äôt limited it being vehicle to create ad inventory or drive new forms of consumer engagement,” she writes. ¬†”The shift is transformational ‚ÄĒ and the power, at the core, is the ability to aggregate deep data and deliver optimized and targeted services through the user‚Äôs preferred platform.” Read more at Quinn’s blog here.
A fiction author who has self-published more than three dozen titles on various e-book platforms claims on his blog that his sales on Amazon‚Äôs Kindle store outstrip sales on Apple‚Äôs iBooks by a 60 to 1 ratio.
TechCrunch speculates that author J.A. Konrath‚Äôs experience may be qualified by the fact that he has had more time to build a following with Kindle users than with iPad buyers; Apple only launched its iBook marketplace in April. But the anecdotal sales disparity stands in contrast to Apple‚Äôs claim that it grabbed a 22% share of major publishers‚Äô e-book sales in the two months following the iPad‚Äôs launch (via TNW).
Time Inc.’s¬†People magazine released its weeks-delayed iPad app on Thursday, even as it reportedly continues to meet with photo agencies over a prospective cut of revenues from the emerging digital platform.
The free app enables users to purchase the magazine’s digital edition for $3.99 per week. Subscribers to People’s print edition, meanwhile, can receive the iPad versions for free.
Sources familiar with the app’s development tell¬†Advertising Age that completion of a subscription verification mechanism, not negotiations with photo agencies (as originally reported by the Hollywood Reporter), stalled the launch of the digital magazine.
According to an update at the Hollywood Reporter’s website, People is scheduled to meet with photo agencies later today. But a magazine spokeswoman tells the Reporter that it has rights to use the contested paparazzi photos under its current contracts.
Verizon demonstrated an iPad app for its FiOS TV customers yesterday, at the home of company CIO Shaygan Kheradpir. CNET reports that the live-streaming app ‚ÄĒ which is expected to debut next year, once negotiations with broadcasters are completed ‚Äď ‚Äúset[s] the stage for true ‚ÄėTV everywhere‚Äô viewing.‚ÄĚ But as John Paczkowski of the Wall Street Journal’s All Things D¬†points out, all the FiOS iPad app really will provide is a second TV screen inside the home.
‚ÄúWhen you take it outside the home,‚ÄĚ Verizon tells the Wall Street Journal, ‚Äúthose are really different discussions‚ÄĚ with rightsholders.
Subscription television operators from Comcast and Time Warner Cable to Verizon Communications are looking to compete with the likes of Netflix on the iPad, with plans to release apps of their own, the Wall Street Journal reports. The operators‚Äô various apps will offer subscribers access to select movies and TV shows for little or no additional fee. At least seven of the country‚Äôs 10 largest pay-TV operators are in the process of developing tablet computer apps, the Journal says.
During an earnings call this week, the New York region cable provider said it plans to launch Internet video applications that enable subscribers to view programming on devices such as Apple‚Äôs iPad and smartphones. However, premium content will only be accessible on mobile devices within the customer‚Äôs own residence, Light Reading reports. Engadget muses on whether the planned limitations to access are the result of a technical hurdle, prospective legal issues, or a simple business decision on Cablevision‚Äôs part.
Sonic Solutions is teaming with DRM provider Widevine to provide retailers using Sonic‚Äôs RoxioNow platform the opportunity to offer streaming movie services for a range of mobile devices, from iPads and iPhones to Android handsets and Blackberries.
The companies expect retailers to roll out new device support this holiday season.
The Widevine platform is deployed by major Internet content services and large cable, satellite, and telecommunication companies launching over-the-top and TV Everywhere strategies. RoxioNow powers streaming services from retailers such as Best Buy and Kmart, with support built into consumer electronics from the likes of Dell, Haier, and Panasonic.
In other news, Sonic reported a narrower net loss for its most recent quarter (ended June 30), with its RoxioNow business driving growth.
Steve Levitan, co-creator and executive producer of ABC‚Äôs hit series ‚ÄúModern Family,‚ÄĚ recently grumbled that the broadcaster was making it ‚Äútoo easy‚ÄĚ for viewers to watch episodes online, a medium not yet taken into account by ratings services. Levitan tells the Hollywood Reporter that roughly 2 million people watch ‚ÄúModern Family‚ÄĚ online, an audience that would make the comedy ‚Äúa top three show‚ÄĚ if it was included with DVR and live broadcast viewers.
Ironically, ‚ÄúModern Family‚ÄĚ delivered an episode that was essentially a 30-minute (unpaid) product placement for Apple‚Äôs iPad ahead of the tablet‚Äôs launch in April.
Apple says it recorded sales of 8.4 million iPhones during its third quarter, a year-over-year unit increase of 61%. The iPhone 4, launched three days before the end of the quarter, accounted for 1.7 million units of that total, as MarketWatch reports. Analyst concerns that consumers would hold off on iPhone purchases until the release of the new model appear to have been unfounded.
Apple also began selling iPads during the quarter: total device sales topped 3.27 million units. Meanwhile, iPod sales declined 8% during the quarter to 9.41 million units.
In its earnings call yesterday, Apple executives insisted that they did not create supply shortages of the iPad and iPhone 4 to generate buzz ‚Äď but that in any event, the¬† supply problems were good ones to have. More at¬†paidContent.
Following its launch of the iPad in nine international territories this past weekend, Apple says sales of the device have topped two million units. The iPad, which launched in the U.S. April 3, will be available in nine more countries in July. Apple
Sources tell the New York Post that NBC Universal and Time Warner are among ‚Äúseveral‚ÄĚ media companies who are refusing to reformat their digital video libraries to accommodate Apple‚Äôs iPad. Apple continues to eschew Adobe‚Äôs Flash technology for ‚Äúopen standards like HTML 5.‚ÄĚ The battle may be just beginning, with PC makers readying touchscreen tablet devices and Google developing its own Internet TV tuner software. By the New York Post
‚ÄúWe anticipate being able to have the iPad later this year,‚ÄĚ Gary Severson, SVP of Entertainment for Wal-Mart‚Äôs U.S. stores, tells Business Week. No specifics from the mass merchant (or from Apple), but suffice to say, a wider retail rollout of the iPad could bring with it a broader marketing push for digital entertainment distribution models. So far, the device has sold more than 1 million units exclusively from Apple Stores and select Best Buy outlets. By BusinessWeek
The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are deciding which government agency will launch a preliminary antitrust inquiry into Apple‚Äôs new policy of requiring app developers to use the company‚Äôs own programming tools. Critics of the policy, according to the New York Post, say that Apple effectively stifles competition by making it too difficult for content companies to develop for multiple platforms. By the New York Post
‚ÄúOne million iPads in 28 days ‚ÄĒ that‚Äôs less than half of the 74 days it took to achieve this milestone with iPhone,‚ÄĚ Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in an April 30 statement. The company adds that demand for the device continues to exceed supply. With Apple launching the iPad internationally later this month, initial sales forecasts by analysts are now looking conservative. By All Things Digital
Mozaik Multimedia‚Äôs MovieBuddy and !Content technology enables consumers to use their iPad or iPhone, in addition to a standard remote control, to shop for products or share content related to a video program while they watch the program on their home screen. The company, which is holding private demonstrations of the technology at NAB in Las Vegas this week, plans the launch of a MovieBuddy app on iTunes together with the release of !Content-enabled titles in the near future. Via Business Wire
Less than a week after Apple introduced the iPad, the company‚Äôs App Store already offers roughly 2,400 applications optimized exclusively for the unit, according to a new report issued by app store analytics firm Distimo. Games represent 35 percent of all iPad titles, followed by the Entertainment and Education categories. However, Distimo notes that games and entertainment apps are more popular on the iPhone than on the iPad. The two categories make up 70 percent of the most popular iPhone apps, compared to 40 percent on the iPad. By FierceMobileContent
Apple says it sold some 300,000 iPads in the U.S. as of midnight Saturday, April 3. In addition, iPad users downloaded more than one million apps from Apple‚Äôs App Store and more than 250,000 ebooks from the company‚Äôs iBookstore during the first day.
GigaOm notes that in comparison, Apple sold just over 250,000 iPhones during the first weekend the device became available in July 2007. In July 2008, when the 3G iPhone first launched, Apple sold 1 million of those phones the first weekend, and owners downloaded 10 million apps from what was then a four-day-old App Store. That makes for an average of 10 apps per phone as compared with 3.3 apps per owner for the iPad. By GigaOm
The majority of magazines and newspapers for the iPad are downloaded through iTunes, the channel to purchase music, movies, books and other entertainment for the iPhone and iPad. The more than 125 million iTunes account holders can order iPad periodicals with just a few taps on a screen, instead of pulling out their credit cards and signing into multiple Web accounts.
But even as they polish up their iPad offerings, some publishers have been trying to band together to create their own payment systems and strategies to circumvent iTunes‚Äô grip on sales of digital content. By The Wall Street Journal
Television networks are taking sharply different approaches to the iPad. One network, ABC, has readied a fully functional app for the eagerly awaited Apple tablet. Another, NBC, has ditched its plans to stream full television episodes onto the device. By The New York Times
Apple has reportedly approved the official Netflix app for the iPad, which will be available in the App Store starting April 3. The iPad app will work as part of an unlimited Netflix membership, and will let users sync movies on their tablets with where they left off on their computers. By PC World
Analysts at JP Morgan assert that much like music and video games, e-books have the potential to reach over 25 percent digital penetration. This in turn means a sizable market for more than one player. The Wall Street investment bank notes Amazon‚Äôs success in digital music retail: ‚Äúdespite (a) Apple‚Äôs 4-year head start in MP3 sales and (b) Apple‚Äôs dominance in devices, we estimate Amazon had [roughly] 10% of the digital music market by the end of ‚Äô09. We estimate that, even if Amazon‚Äôs eBooks market share dips to 30%, it could still drive [about] $900M in incremental revenue as eBook penetration grows.‚ÄĚ By GigaOM
According to a Morgan Stanley analyst, Apple‚Äôs manufacturing partners now expect to ship 2.5 million iPads between March and May, considerably ahead of the firm‚Äôs previous estimate of 750,000 for the June quarter. By All Things Digital
Amazon announced that more than 450,000 Kindle books would be available through its Kindle app for the iPad, when Apple‚Äôs tablet arrives on April 3. The app will automatically synchronize the last page a user reads on other compatible devices, such as iPhones or Kindle e-readers. By PC World
The Wi-Fi version of the iPad will launch in the United States on April 3, followed by the Wi-Fi + 3G edition later in the month. Additionally, both versions will hit Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K. in late April. Starting March 12, consumers can preorder both the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models from Apple’s online store or reserve a Wi-Fi version to pick up on April 3 at any Apple retail store. By CNET
‚ÄúMy expectation is that there‚Äôs not going to be a lot of people out there looking for another subscription,‚ÄĚ AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said at a Morgan Stanley event on March 2. ‚ÄúWe think it‚Äôs going to be a largely WiFi-driven product.‚ÄĚ by paidContent
Since Apple announced plans to sell digital books on its forthcoming iPad, it has been cast as something of a savior of the publishing industry for allowing e-book prices to go above the $9.99 that Amazon charges for e-books on its Kindle device, a price that publishers say is too low to sustain their business. But as more details come to light of the actual negotiations between Apple and publishers, it appears that Apple left room to sell some of the most popular books at a discount. By The New York Times
According to tech shopper site Retrevo, 48% of consumers had heard rumors of the iPad one week before its Jan. 27 unveiling. At the time, 61% said they would not be interested in buying such a product. That number increased to 70% in the wake of Apple‚Äôs announcement, even as awareness of the product increased to 82%. By Retrevo
Many online video sites have been experimenting with a new video format, called HTML5. Unlike Flash, which is a downloaded piece of software that can interact with a computer‚Äôs operating system, HTML5 works directly in a Web browser. And although this new video format does not work in all browsers, it will allow iPhone and iPad users to enjoy more Web-based video content. By The New York Times