Archive for the ‘Video & Web 2.0 Convergence’ Category
While my brain is unusually active on ideas, I rarely write them down. Back in May in my post The Dell Dilemma – I wrote about how Dell needs to innovate. At that time I had an idea to propose, I never got around to writing about it. The idea can be best expressed by the seeing what this Litl startup has done. Dell needs to innovate their PC and Notebook lineup to better compete with HP. John Gruber of Daring Fireball makes very good arguments on why PC companies need to out of the box innovation here and here – and gives example of what Litl has done.
For now, Dell is trying to mimic IBM and HP with the acquisition of Perot Systems to compete with them. I think that is, culturally, a much more difficult move for Dell, not to mention it is not their core competency.
Dell should learn from Litl or may be even acquire them and come out with dual function notebook or webbook. I would, though, enhance the Litl platform in the following ways:
1. A Dual-Mode machine = PC + Media Player
2. Install a Android-based OS (or may be even Ubuntu Karmic!) – increase the PC functionality on the current design of Litl
3. Make it a dual boot OR rather a dual-mode machine by providing a “dock” that has the HDMI connections to the TV
4. When the machine is docked, it would work as a Entertainment Netbook (the SW would switch upon docking)
5. Bundle a nice remote with the package (and of course the Dock)
5. License Boxee software and have it pre-loaded on the Book
6. When Undocked – it works like a PC with support for Google Docs or Open Office
Future editions could bundle the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook support to make it work like an e-Reader. The bottomline, though, is that Dell’s operational and supply chain expertise could bring down the cost of manufacturing and marketing and introduce a new category in the Computing Market.
There are longer-term fears that DirecTV’s lack of a physical line into homes will ultimately prove a hindrance as more people watch TV on the Web, a claim the company dismisses. For now, not having a physical infrastructure is considered an advantage.
The cable providers have to deal with losing market share in TV customers, while the telecom companies are losing traditional landline customers. DirecTV doesn’t have a legacy business, and only has to worry about TV, which is benefiting from more consumers staying home.
The cable providers and telcos offering video are threatened to some degree by online video. NetFlix has also reported increased subscriptions because of their streaming service. The MSOs are deploying metered broadband t counter the threat.
DirecTV and Dish Network may be a in a position to distinguish themselves by combining their DBS service with Video On Demand & Online Video over Broadband connections. The bandwidth challenges being faced today are two-fold:
1. Cable Providers have a challenge with the amount of bandwidth available to them on their cable plants.
2. Metering on the DOCSIS (which uses a different frequency range compared to Broadcast in cable plants) by the MSOs or just plain lack of decent bandwidth
With a hybrid service offering described above DirecTV may be poised to be a bigger threat to the cable providers (and also to Telcos with Wired Video solutions) and a great consumer platform!
Disclaimer: I do not have DirecTV or Dish service at my home, neither do I own stock as of this posting and I am not working on any project related to DirecTV and Dish Networks.
A bit of context before I outline my idea on what Digg should do –
In the last 18 to 24 months, my role involved working with Service Providers to provide them with TV/Video Solutions (primarily for Telcos with IPTV on DSL Networks) all over the world and a common theme in many of these conversations & projects were the request/requirements for the following features:
- Voting Systems (Mechanism to use the Remote Control to vote in shows e.g. selecting or scoring the couple in “Dancing with the Stars”)
- Sharing (Mechanism to share opinions/thoughts/likes on shows in real-time with Friends & Family)
- Rating (Mechanism to collect consumer watching stats)
- Recommendation (Using meta-data collected and pushing recommendations back to the consumer)
Today’s (i.e. released in the last 12 months or so) TV-connected devices especially Set Top Boxes (STBs) support Web 2.0 frameworks built into them allowing Video to converge the Web Services & Applications.
It is then natural to gravitate towards using de-facto and popular Web 2.0 services rather than inventing proprietary methods to address the above features. It makes business sense to use Digg or similar services for implementing the value-added services listed above. Simply speaking use the Digg API and applications on the devices – a Poll or Score widget can be overlaid on the video. The remote is then used to “Digg” shows.
This certainly do-able, I have personally implemented Twitter & Flickr Apps on couple of the platforms. The Twitter app was used to showcase how can consumers share what they are watching with their followers! A further and more important point of evidence is to look at the services being introduced by Verizon FiOS – they recently announced widgets and a developer program. AT&T U-Verse powered by Microsoft Mediaroom is another example of making Digg and other web services available on the TV.
To the point being made by Om in his post – services such as Digg have to innovate by spreading to other platforms, and getting onto the TV platform may make sense!