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Summary:

A Seattle startup founded by RealNetworks alums launched today, promising to halve the cost of distributing movies online. The company, GridNetworks, is hoping to sign up content distributors and set-top boxes, and already has a few customers using its distributed network, a command-and-control form of P2P […]

A Seattle startup founded by RealNetworks alums launched today, promising to halve the cost of distributing movies online. The company, GridNetworks, is hoping to sign up content distributors and set-top boxes, and already has a few customers using its distributed network, a command-and-control form of P2P that clusters all the bits well enough to do streaming.

GridNetworks requires download of its (Window-only, for now) player. In our tests high-quality video streamed quite fast, without jerks or annoying pauses for buffering. The company says it can deliver a 1.2GB movie at a cost of 25 to 50 cents, and it will handle packaging, pricing, geographic distribution, release windows, and all the messy stuff involved with selling movies.

We met up with GridNetworks co-founder and VP of sales and marketing Bo Wandell at Digital Hollywood last week. He and CEO Jeff Payne had previously collaborated on Spry’s “Internet-In-A-Box” way back in 1995. Payne was recently at network appliance maker Bivio Networks. For the new company, the two have raised $500,000 in angel funding and have built a team of 15 employees — nothing on the scale of competitor Kontiki, which was bought for $62 million by VeriSign after raising $46.5 million and signing customers such as Sky, AOL, and the BBC. GridNetworks’ first deployed customer is online video store ReelTime Rentals, which launched in September. It is also in trials with some web-based television channels for gaming and healthy living.

We think instant gratification for online movie-watchers is a big opportunity. The P2P sector has been quiet recently, but hopefully companies like GridNetworks and the highly anticipated the Venice Project can bring the energy back.

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  1. Here comes the wave…of P2P Streamers including us at http://www.gridfold.com. I don’t know who’s going to win…I hope it’s us. I know who loses…TV.

  2. These guys will fail just like all the other P2P players who are trying to stream broadcast quality over the net – it may look good to a handful of users but as soon as they attempt to scale – they will fall flat on their faces.

  3. Thank you for those remarkable words of encouragement from us all in the P2P streaming sector :)

    Perhaps you should look at GridNetworks customers ReelTime Rentals (www.reeltime.com), and the soft beta site for GW Channel (www.gwchannel.tv) and make a more educated statement ;)

    Newell
    Chief Architect, GridNetworks, Inc

  4. Who needs streaming movies? Streaming makes a lot of sense for short content — in fact the shorter the content, the more sense streaming makes. For 90+ minute movies, you pretty much have to block the time out in advance for watching. The Netflix qeue model is the best fit here. So that is the real issue for online movie distribution; how do you stand against the USPS on cost and delivery time?

  5. Reid Hastings has stated that Netflix is going to adress the concept of downloadable rentals on thier next earnings call and with companies like Gridnetworks ,LX Systems (Wurld Media),and Joltid (Kazza,Skype,Venice) entering the movie rental space and DivX going public you have many comapnies that can service Netflix .

    Mark Cuban also owns Red Swoosh so expect him to use that technology for his me download/VOD service .

  6. REELTIME.COM is a major success so far for p2p FULL-LENGTH movie watching, through GridNetworks…

    Go there and preview the site, Join and watch some movies and TV Shows, they are adding content and signing more movie deals every month !!!!

    Did I mention you can BUY stock in REELTIME ? Traded as RLTR on the pink sheets currently

    I am a holder of shares and a subscriber to REELTIME.COM

    The future is VERY BRIGHT !!!!

    Dr. Phil M

  7. Grid Networks Merges With Global Media Services Thursday, April 16, 2009

    [...] Networks Merges With Global Media Services Grid Networks, a Seattle-based peer-to-peer content delivery technology startup that’s raised more than $10 million in funding from Comcast Interactive Capital, Cisco Systems and Panorama [...]

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