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Reminiscing about The Future of Online TV & Videos

How will we watch TV/Videos in the future?

These past several weeks I have ventured into the bright and luminescent world of online television and videos.

Surely names like Hulu, Youtube, Netflix, and now its newest opponent FloTV are worthy of mentioning.  I’ve done a little more researching than watching – and nevertheless, it’s been a little difficult, to say the least, as our class was deprived of using anything “Google” related as an experiment starting out this journey for Week One by our professor (Mushon).  So using YouTube was out of the question for the first week.

Therefore, I harnessed my energy and decided to research the phenomenon called “Hulu” and the environment of online media such as television and videos across alternative platforms on the computers or hand-held mobile devices…

Week Two consisted of further delving into the unfamiliar terrain of Hulu and one of its biggest, baddest competitors – YouTube (the shackles have been lifted-hooray!).  I decided to examine the online video landscape by comparing and contrasting Hulu & YouTube as two juxtaposing forces competing in a battle for the title of online media champion.  Some of the biggest proponents that fueled the debate/fight between the two contenders where as such:

Is it time to throw away that television?

  • YouTube is available internationally whereas Hulu is (as of now) restricted to the US.
  • Hulu offers a selection of high-quality videos of television videos and trailers from backing companies such as NBC, Comcast, and ABC whereas YouTube has a ‘gagillion’ lower quality videos ranging from self-produced to illegal uploads.
  • Similarly, paid advertisements are common in Hulu at the start of each video and can also be found embedded in YouTube videos.
  • They are both free.  However, Hulu is considering a premium payment plan that’s almost similar to the model used by the NYTimes online which could affect its users.  Youtube has always been free.

Right now, there’s also a lot to FURTHER consider like the NBC & Comcast merger that’s underway which would affect consumers in a negative way; streaming Hulu from your desktop through something like your BluRay Player, Boxee, or streaming Youtube through AppleTV creates an entire new way of watching TV through your computer ; YouTube’s future possibility with teaming up with CBS and Hollywood to offer longer streaming videos/movies; and even the big question of >> how does one prefer to watch TV/Videos/Movies: mobile device, phone, computer, or television???

Youtube KO's Hulu in 4th Round.  Will there be a rematch?

I’ve tried to say current with all the amazing sights I’ve seen along the way and even the newer attractions/considerations like FloTV and the iPad.  Yet, these are things that have steered my journey off course and have lead me to peer down the horizon of digital media in new directions.

So I would like to close with some food for thought about two things that could have, or better said, already have had vital impacts on this terrain of digital media (TV, videos, and movies).  Let’s consider them for a moment>>

FloTV really exploded on the scene utilizing the Superbowl as its stage to announce that it has arrived and that its going to make a splash in the online fight for television.  I mean, talk about a revolution, it’s not like portable television devices are something new but FloTV has really made a statement… or has it?    According to Wired,

But it’s a difficult sell. U.S. consumers so far have failed to jump on the mobile TV idea, even though it’s been around for years. Just about 1 percent of mobile users in the U.S. watch mobile TV.”

You can either buy the handheld device and/or subscribe through Verizon or AT&T to watch it through supported phones.  It’s been compared to as the “Kindle for Television”.  Taken from Wired, “We are not trying to make a choice for the consumer, we are trying to give them choices,” says Alice Kim, senior vice president of strategy & corporate development for FloTV. What this means, is that you can take watching television with you anywhere, anytime.  For more information, check out this link with product information and videos.  What’s interesting is that this seems to further personalize and customize the culture of community and social watching of the television into your own independent function, I mean, unless you want to sit there and share your $250 TV and paid subscription with a “freeloading friend”… But hey, that’s up to you and whoever’s paying the bill :)

Lastly, I will briefly mention the recent development of Apple’  iPad.  Right now, the iPad’s biggest criticism is that it doesn’t support Adobe’s Flash support.  This is pertinent because sites like Hulu and a large majority of internet video runs off of Flash.  It would be ideal if Hulu would run on something like the iPad.  More so, Hulu is in the process of developing an alternative version of HTML5 supported videos to circumvent the already Flash supported videos.  The combination of the iPad and Hulu could help Hulu to continue to flourish in the online video environment.

Online media and especially “how” people watch television and videos continue to change .  I believe that online media is becoming more personalized and customized to meet the individual needs and desires of the consumer.  What also fuels this environment is the economical choice and circumvention to view these media for free or for a price.  Things such as Tivo or DVR (Digital Video Recording) seem like a waste of cash when one can merely access these shows online anytime or anywhere with something like Hulu or Youtube.  As of now, sites like Hulu* and Youtube are free, whereas FloTV and Netflix require a paid subscription.  Furthermore, this choice of free viewing does not take into account the illegal ways to bypass copyright by downloading and viewing videos through a Bittorrent or other ways.  This calls into question the entire paradigm and the power of the Internet – its empowering public sphere that helps the individual to negotiate the hegemonic struggle against the corporations, their politics, their economics, and their stifling copyright laws that they wield in order to control the markets of production and consumption.  This dilemma calls into question the very nature of online media:

QUESTIONS:

-Are you willing to look for alternative measures and means to watching and consuming media e.g. , Hulu, AppleTV, Bittorrent, FloTV, etc?  How would you characterize the way in which you watch movies or TV?  Who do you think will dominate the battle for the online media market and how would you predict yourself adapting to the new ways of viewing media in the future?

How do you prefer to watch TV/Videos???

Travelogue 2: Facebook vs MySpace! Updated 2/7/10

I have been reading a lot of press on social communities recently because I take a very cautionary step when engaging socially on Facebook. It could just be paranoia or simply wanting to be too private but at times I feel like Facebook might have a hidden agenda.

After completing the assigned readings for this week, my view on Privacy become even WORSE. By worse I mean, I don’t want to engage in any sort of online activity unless it is necessary for school or work.

It took me literally, 2 years to create a MySpace account because I was pestered by friends and kept hearing stories and I almost felt like I missing out on something very important on conversations.

So now I look back and say, well, what happened to My Space. Is it still around? Facebook has engaged in what they are calling the “Technology Lock In.” Technology lock-in basically means “the idea that the more a society adopts a certain technology, the more unlikely users are to switch. ” So for someone like myself, I probably will never switch back to MySpace because it doesn’t meet my needs or fit my current lifestyle socially.

Basically, I would like to explore the beginning of this social phenomena.

  1. How did MySpace start? Quick Bio on MySpace
  2. What secret ingredient did they possess to make themselves so successful?
  3. Where did they go? What did they do wrong? Where are they now?
  4. Facebook – Who are they? Quick Bio on Facebook
  5. Where did they come from?
  6. What are they doing right?
  7. How much are they worth?

An interesting video on MySpace vs Facebook (has a mild technical perspective)

YouTube Preview Image

I am open to constructive criticism, ideas, or paths of travel you suggest for this travelogue.

Mainly, I would like to travel the path from MySpace to Facebook, but also add a touch of the Privacy issues we were learning this week during our Google Challenge. I’ve always wanted to explore the demise and rise of these two groups. I would like to stay away from Twitter because in my own perspective it doesn’t have all the functionalities that these two sites do, and its use and purpose are much different.

February 7, 2010

Today I would like to discuss the difference in layouts between MySpace and Facebook.

What I have I have learned about this new media environment, or “SNS” Social Networking Site is that the design or “layout” is very crucial to acquiring specific types of users.

First I would like to analyse the Facebook layout – I found a very helpful image as you can see below. Due to the terms and conditions of Facebook, you MUST have a profile photo (or else they will pester you to upload on) and it must be  a photo of you, and not a Doppleganger :) The user has the following abilities on Facebook:

  1. Update their status
  2. Upload a current photo
  3. Apply for network membership (location – which they plan to remove)

I also found a site that outlines the limitations to Facebook, click here for more info.

MySpace layout is a bit more complicated but their is good reason for this. I personally don’t find the design to be very appealing because it is cluttered on their home page.

Clay Shirky brings up a great point during his lecture, “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, “

His example of Bronze Beta and the simplistic design of it was successful. Also, because the group, had a collective nature, it was held together by the affection for one another. The saavy mood of no design, it wasn’t about the technology, it was about the content, more features would have been a distraction.

But as for the user  in “MYSPACE” themselves, users have the ability to express themselves by implementing code and changing their background images, adding music, basically implementing their own personal feel and personality into their pages. It is a great tool for those who don’t have the knowledge to build their own website and use the social networking site to express themselves.

The MySpace Profiles has the following:

  1. Friends
  2. Profile Picture
  3. Age
  4. Date of Last Login
  5. Mood
  6. Online or Not

A lot of celebrities, more specifically artists in the music industry promote themselves on MySpace due to the creative freedom the site provides. Several celebrities also have fan pages on Facebook, but find the limitations to the layout restrict their expression they want to broadcast to their fans. Facebook is a great communication tool in order to actually speak to those who you thought would never gain a chance to. MySpace allows users to connect creatively with their favorite artists. By posting things on their pages other than text…

  • Your Friends List, and the posts made by your friends and photo albums. You have the ability to control what is being seen by certain groups of people. You would be surprised to find how many cyberstalkers or lurkers are ou their roaming through your page. danah boyd actually put this into perspective for me by stating
  • “Abstract While it is common to face strangers in public life, our eyes provide a good sense of who can overhear our expressions. In mediated publics, not only are lurkers invisible, but persistence, searchability, and replicability introduce audiences that were never present at the time when the expression was created.

    I was wondering if any of the classmates had any input as to what type of questions could be asked as far as this topic is concerned or should I travel onto another platform – or relate these SNSes to issues that have erupted in the news (ie: use of facebook profiles in trials, twitter activity, etc.. Any constructive criticism, will be greatly appreciated.