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Summary:

So Veoh’s raising of a big $26 million and above round now makes more sense, or at least we know what their plans and hopes are: it is launc…

veohplayerchannelsSo Veoh’s raising of a big $26 million and above round now makes more sense, or at least we know what their plans and hopes are: it is launching VeohTV, an ambitious and slightly controversial attempt at trying to bring TV-like lean-back (I would say more Media Center like than TV) experience. For now the service has launched as invitation beta only.

This comes as PEHub reported last week that the Michael Eisner-backed company raised $26 million in its third round funding, with Goldman Sachs led the deal, and was joined by return backers like Spark Capital and Shelter Capital Partners. My understanding is that the round may include more investors, perhaps strategics. More after the jump

Anyway, to the service: VeohTV is positioned as a video browser, meaning it can pull in video feeds from other sites, Veoh CEO Dmitry Shapiro explained to me last week in a demo of the service. The downloadable player, for example, can pull in videos from ABC.com, without ABC’s own player (and without ABC’s permission), and be played in Veoh’s player. This could be controversial as content companies may want to keep their own branding and player experience. Shapiro says the player is akin to a browser which displays text…this one searches and displays videos. It organizes these videos in channels, as the picture on the right shows, attempting to mirror a TV IPG. There are other things like organizing favorites, search and browse from other sites within the player, widgets to be embedded in the player experience, and other features. It will also save videos from sites that allow downloading, for instance video podcasts and others.

Shapiro said they have been talking to content companies, and would probably be cutting deals with some of them soon. It will sell ads within the IPG and create more branded experiences for companies that have a deal with it.

Will this work? Well, this is convenient, for sure, and a guide with full screen experience is a familiar experience. For now, it is Veoh’s “let’s-throw-everything-in-this-and-see-what-sticks” phase with this idea. It is a more random way to develop a service, than say Joost, since the Veoh player/guide is only as good as the content out there (and quality as good as the quality out there as well), and I’m sure there are ways in which media companies can restrict the playing experience outside of their own branded players. In Joost case, it is a closed ecosystem, while VeohTV lives off the open Internet.

Then others, some with more brand visibility than Veoh, could jump into the fray. One such (not necessarily bigger though), is Blinkx, which B2.0 reports is working on a similar P2P client called Blinkx Broadband TV, that will show full-screen videos from Web video sites that it already indexes along with targeted ads.

  1. this is good idea but is obviously asking for trouble in a number of ways. one everyone might forget? gemstar, particularly if they plan on selling ads w/in the guide.

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  2. <a href="http://www.last100.com/2007/06/20/veohtv-has-joost-in-its-sights/">Over at last100</a>, I’ve posted my thoughts on VeohTV, picking up on the company’s plans to get its software into a set-top-box, <a href="http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/veohtv_launches.php">as reported by Read/WriteWeb</a>:

    …we’re hearing more and more about software-based online TV solutions harbouring plans to get their services into a dedicated set-top-box, rather than relying on the PC. Joost has hinted at this direction, and recently we’ve reported on BitTorrent’s Software Developer Kit for set-top-boxes and other Internet devices, along with DivX’s work on a media streaming box. And let’s not forget Apple who have put a stripped down version of their desktop OS into the AppleTV so that it can act as a media extender for streaming iTunes content onto a TV, as well as, more recently, connect directly to YouTube.

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  3. Yet again the hype continues. I am sure everyone wants to have movies and television programming stream through their broadband pipes.
    Yet so far none of the solutions offer the quality that a regular HD broadcast offers or that of a DVD offers.
    The society is being numbed and dumbed into accepting crappy quality, in terms of the image size on a mobile phone/personal DVR or on a small 3X4 screen on a computer. When will people stop hyping such crappy solutions and demand something that is comparable to what they are used to.
    If such solutions are being touted as the wave of the future then I guess the cost of procuring money to fund such enterprises is very low and thus we see a plethora of such offerings.
    My experience so far has left me shaking my head at the quality of these services.
    Maybe I need to accept seeing Mission Impossible on a 3 inch screen and feel good.

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  4. Ronald Lester Sunday, June 24, 2007

    VEOH ARE BIG PIRATES AND SHAME ON YOU FOR NOT USING CONTENT LEGITIMATELY. BETWEEN YOU AND YOUTUBE YOU'VE GOT PIRATING MADE!!!

    VEOH = PIRATE

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  5. @ Ronald Lester

    If something is already public on the internet, and intended to be viewed by anybody online, how come using a browser that filters everything except for videos is pirating? You have got to be a Microsoft fanboy, maybe you think that firefox is pirating too, showing all internet content without any licencing.

    And stop typing with CAPS, its ridiculus and makes you look dumb.

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