Changes in American consumer behavior were on full display as most network shows had gruesome season debuts on Thursday. Glee was down 35% from last year. Grey’s Anatomy fell by 23%. Parenthood tied series low and is now getting barely 5 million viewers. Parks and Recreation had a disastrous start, getting beaten by the rerun of Agents of SHIELD. Parks and Recreation tumbled by 24% from last year’s premiere. The much-hyped Michael J. Fox Show is dead on arrival, debuting with lowest ratings for a Thursday fall comedy in the history of NBC. The bright point? The Big Bang Theory had a massive 5.6 rating in the 18-49 age demographic, up by double digits from last year. More →
Boxee will begin shipping its new Boxee Live TV tuners this week according to a post on the company’s blog. The new device is a dongle that provides Boxee Box owners with the ability to watch local broadcast TV stations. The Boxee Box accessory costs just $49.99 and it is likely best for those who have turned to Boxee to replace their cable television subscription, not those who are using it as a supplement. The Boxee Live TV tuner supports the following:
- Social Channel Listings – We’ll show you what’s on, what your friends are watching, and how many people total are watching a show as you flip through channels.
- Sharing – Share the traditional Boxee way on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr AND you can now passively share to Facebook using our Live TV Timeline App – turn sharing on and whatever you’re tuned into will post to your Facebook ticker automatically. It’s easy to switch off too so your friends don’t need to know about your addiction to HSN.
- Edit Channels - Quickly hide channels from your lineup that don’t speak your language or have pissed you off with bad programming decisions like taking Arrested Development off the air. Easily rename WNDHCTA 7.2 to NBC.
- All-In-One Interface – done watching a show on broadcast, easily jump into more episodes from the web. It’s the best of both worlds all on the same remote.
What’s taller than the Sears tower and lets you watch ESPN, MTV, and CNBC? A 1,700 foot tall broadcast antenna of course. What happens when something needs to be fixed, though? Not only does someone have to climb the tower, but because of some incomprehensible reason — it would slow the worker down — no safety devices are used. Check out this unbelievable video — we had a couple panic attacks just watching it. More →
Under the presumption that the video above didn’t use any 3G/WiFi vs EDGE trickery, Ustream.tv is apparently working on a mobile streaming application with some pretty phenomenal efficiency. No, the world probably doesn’t need another mobile streaming app / service combo – the big three, Qik, Flixwagon and Kyte, do a pretty good job of filling the need. Ustream.tv must have missed that memo however, because it is supposedly in the process of pushing its own solution out to market and from the looks of the demo video above, it might make a bit of a splash. We’ve pretty much tossed out the idea of mobile streaming in our congested area of the northeast; AT&T’s 3G is just too hammered and slow to even attempt it. Last time we tried Qik in fact, we built up a delay of over one minute (in about 90 seconds of recording) and just gave up. By moving the bulk of the transcoding process to the hardware however, Ustream.tv has supposedly reduced the amount of bandwidth needed for streaming video significantly. The only other info available for the time being is that the app is reportedly capable of streaming from the front or rear camera of handsets equipped with both, and that it does not support viewer-originated text chat like its competitors do. Lack of viewer chat is a bit of a bummer but then again, what’s the point if your viewers are commenting on something that you streamed three minutes earlier? Consider our interest piqued.
Barring the relatively annoying Sarah Austin / Flixwagon “controversy” of the past few days, no mobile streaming video service gets as much coverage as Qik. It seems like the Qik client fell into all the right hands early in its release as celwebrities all over the blogosphere fell in love. Despite the fact that Qik was in private beta, it seems like everyone managed to get their hands on it. Qik didn’t have the most features and it didn’t have the prettiest UI, but it had buzz and buzz is everything. Fast forward to today and Qik has continued to maintain much of its early momentum as it shows off a restyled website, new handset compatibility and the announcement that Qik is now available to the world as a public beta. No, the iPhone version isn’t quite ready for the public yet, but a handful of Windows Mobile handsets are now supported along with a variety of newer S60 handsets including the E66, E71, N78 and N96. So if you’ve been wanting to check out Qik but couldn’t find a version compatible with your phone, or you’re one of 12 people around the world who couldn’t find their way into the closed beta, hit the read link and you’ll be streaming in no time.
The mobile video broadcasting space is home to a pretty interesting fight right now. Ok, maybe fight isn’t the best choice of words, or perhaps it is. There are a few big boys when it comes to live interactive video feeds streaming from a mobile handset and they are continuously trying to outdo each other. Qik has the buzz generated by many high-profile celwebrity users, Kyte is the new kid on the block entering the space with an already-substantial user base from their existing web service, and Flixwagon is the well-funded video quality leader with an exciting feature set. With the latter, things just got a whole lot more interesting as Flixwagon has just announced a new client version that brings with it a host of functionality that its competitors will surely be interested in. Take a look:
- Share on Twitter and YouTube directly from phone: you can share individual videos on twitter and YouTube directly from your device, as well as customize the message or titles. All you need to do is add your Twitter or YouTube account details on Flixwagon.com, and then you can customize posts directly from your phone.
- Detailed sharing from device: on your device you can now easily choose which specific groups (friends, family, etc.) can access your video. Make sure you set up your contacts, groups, and alerts first on flixwagon.com and you can start sharing flix with them on the fly.
- Digital zoom-in and zoom-out.
- Post messages back to chat. You can send IM messages back to the video chat room, making chats around your video 2-way. This is especially useful when you want to respond to your viewers’ comments without interrupting the video or audio in the broadcast.
- Change title: you can now change the video title directly from the phone while broadcasting. This is great when the ‘right’ headline comes to you while you broadcast (and can help more viewers discover your broadcast while you’re still broadcasting live).
- Choose between delay or video quality: in the preferences section you can determine whether your broadcasts will be optimized for the shortest delay, or highest video quality.
Whew! The two things of particular interest to us are digital zoom and the ability to chat while broadcasting. There are plenty of times while streaming event coverage, observation etc where typing a response to an on-screen comment is much more appropriate than speaking a response. Flixwagon also announced a few tweaks to the website such as RSS feeds that help round off this round of improvements. Definitely worth looking into.