Is The Age of the Web Tablet Finally Upon Us?

Tablet PCs have been around since the early '90s, and web tablet concept prototypes have been making the jump from cocktail napkins to white boards over the past 10 years with no real breakout hits as of yet. With rumors about a potential Apple iPad lighting up the Internet the past few weeks, is this really the dawn of a new age, or are we setting ourselves up for more disappointment as the web tablet solidifies itself as a perpetual good-in-theory-bad-in-practice product category?…

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IPTV Market Snapshot

After a slow start, IPTV, or Internet Protocol Television, has become established as a legitimate pay TV alternative to satellite and cable. Now that several IPTV operators have each attracted more than 2 million subscribers, IPTV has begun to attract the attention of media companies and advertisers that are keen to bring content to any screen that happens to be in the consumer’s hand. And therein lies the rub. Have we begun a period of fragmentation in which no single service provider owns the subscriber, or, just the opposite: Have technology advances made it possible for individual service providers to serve every screen via a unified service platform? Early indications are that both situations are likely to occur, as the largest operators deploy convergence and personalization tools, while consumers capture what’s missing via the Internet.…

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Real Networks Throws Haymaker With “TiVo for DVDs”

For the last 10 years, Real Networks has resembled a past-his-prime boxer. Ever since the Internet world said “thanks, but no thanks” to the company’s streaming formats and yes first to Windows Media, then to Flash, the Seattle-based Internet media pioneer has been taking wild swings in hopes of connecting a knockout punch. While the company has periodically landed glancing blows — as with its lawsuit and legal settlement against Microsoft — most of the time, it swings and misses. That has been reflected in its large losses in 2008 and languishing stock price. Real has recently thrown one last haymaker by opening up a potentially promising — and very risky — line of business.…

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On Twitter, Does Reciprocity Matter? It Depends.

Twitter is a kind of Rorschach test. Why you find (or don't find) it valuable depends on your motivations. Want to be center of attention? Try to gain followers no matter how similar your interests are. Own a business? Twitter is your online marketing channel for shoe-shoppers. You're an analyst? Twitter may be your new Google Reader.…

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Connected Consumer Wrap-up: Q1 2009

Despite the economic gloom, first quarter has been fairly positive for online video. A few companies have had to shut down, others have seen layoffs, but overall, the market appears to be embracing this new frontier in entertainment. Even the big networks (ABC, NBC, CBS), the stalwarts of oldteevee, are making inroads into newteevee. The remainder of 2009 promises just as many advances as have occurred over the past quarter.…

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Do Consumers Care Where Their Content Is Stored?

Reading Om's piece on Pogoplug this week, I started to think about how local network storage and cloud storage are becoming indistinguishable to the end user. While it's not technically cloud storage, Pogoplug allows you to placeshift by accessing your locally stored content through the cloud, making anywhere access to content much simpler.…

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Cisco Acquires Pure Digital

In March 2009, Cisco announced its intention to acquire Pure Digital, a manufacturer of low-cost digital video cameras. This note examines why Cisco would choose to acquire Pure Digital, a large departure from its past consumer-focused acquisitions.…

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Incumbents vs. Innovation: The Online Video Battle

Much in the way we saw (and continue to see) the big players in music struggle to stay ahead of technology innovators, incumbents in video entertainment are having a difficult time staying ahead of pesky upstarts like Boxee. This week, the freeware media center startup has found yet another way to sidestep maneuvers by Hulu to block its software from getting feeds of the NBC/News Corp. joint venture's highly desirable premium content. This shows a couple things: first, the continued ability to show Hulu and other premium content is really one of the core appeals of Boxee. Secondly, Boxee may be proving itself, even as it shows its resourcefulness as a company, to be too much of a tinkerer's solution for those of us who simply like to watch TV without much effort.…

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