Thursday, October 06, 2005

Video over the Internet
(from the September 14, 2005 post at

If you are interested in either the Akimbo PVR to receive quality video streams through the Internet or the Slingbox to to "place shift" their own content over the Internet, you might want to check out Maury Wright and Matthew Miller at the EDN's Digital Den.

"... assuming some form of a home network, the products and services won't bust the bank. Remaining obstacles include distributing digital video in a home, the rather narrow choice of Internet content, and, of course, the business models involved. Still, our evaluation suggests that digital video is in the nascent stage and will still offer designers and entrepreneurs many opportunities in the future."

Unlike TiVo or DVR's, which records from a broadcast source, subscribers instruct Akimbo to get the desired content, and then watch it later. A 30-minute show can take only a few minutes to arrive by means of a cable modem. Akimbo is selling its Internet PVR for $100, including three free months of service (normally, $10 per month).

"Still, to survive, Akimbo may need to tweak its business model. It provides much of its content on a pay-per-view basis on top of the $10-per-month subscription fee. Perhaps an extra charge for adult content is legitimate if the company feels it must offer such programming. But subscribers interested in subjects from wine to golf are likely to feel that they are being nickel-and-dimed to death."

With Slingbox, you are able to watch or listen to anything available on your home TV or stereo from any high-speed Internet connected device anywhere in the world. So, if you are staying in a hotel in Los Angeles but want to see your beloved Yankees airing on YES back in New York, it is still possible to view what airs on your TV back home. This is known as place shifting.

"In all [EDN test] cases, it [was] best to view the video stream as a relatively small window. At one-quarter to one-third of a 19-in. display set to 1024×768-pixel resolution, the video quality looks good. ... Overall, the Slingbox experience was positive, but the company could do so much more with just slightly better software."
Read their review for more in-depth information.

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