Pipe Dreams – My OTT Summary

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Netflix nabs a million UK subscribers, promises to ‘invest heavily’ to outbid Sky for movie rights

Why?

Netflix has set its sights on overseas expansion after capturing over 26 million subs in the US and Canada. In just 7 months they have managed to capture 1 million users in the UK, outpacing the growth of both Facebook and Twitter. With more successful content tie-ups and a very cost effective monthly subscription, they will be a real contender for video viewers and such aggressive expansion will seriously close any window operators might have had to capture the market.

The Punchline

I use NetFlix here in Thailand, granted with a bit of tweaking. For just $7/month I have access to a huge selection of movies and TV shows and don’t even bother with my 150 channel $100+ subscription to digital cable anymore. Even better, my Dad pays for the Canadian account I’m using.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/20/netflix-million-subscribers-movie-rights/

Apple Launches iTunes Store in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan & Nine Additional Countries in Asia Today

Why?

Apple is looking to expand globally and now offers sales of music, movies and TV shows via local accounts in 9 new countries. In most of these this includes sale of AppleTV. The best feature of all is iTunes Match that allows subscribers to store up to 25,000 songs in the cloud for a mere $25 USD per year. Using the service requires a scan of your music library followed by a matching process in which matched songs are replaced with better copies already in Apple’s cloud and non-matched songs are uploaded meaning you don’t lose any content. Best of all there are no DRM restrictions so even those CDs of MP3s you bought under the bridge will get uploaded. Although this news is a couple of months old, it is a great example of how fast OTT players are eating up potential markets for operator services.

The Punchline

How Apple managed to offer such a service so cheap with no DRM or licensing consequences is beyond me. The best part is any iOS, OSX or iTunes compatible device can log in to your account and stream or download your music, provided your operator’s “fair usage” policy doesn’t block you halfway through the month.

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/06/26Apple-Launches-iTunes-Store-in-Hong-Kong-Singapore-Taiwan-Nine-Additional-Countries-in-Asia-Today.html

LG’s Smart TV alliance grows, promises first cross-platform HDTV apps in September

Why?

Because Over The Top video will be a very lucrative market once we figure out the formula. Operators think they can play a role here but it’s unlikely due to the viewing habits of users now accustomed to sites like YouTube, NetFlix, Hulu, etc. So if TV manufacturers are focusing more on building the “intelligence” into the TV it may mean the death of STBs, and that means companies like Apple, Roku, Boxee will try to form partnerships or even start manufacturing their own TVs. After all, TVs are now a commodity and even Ikea is selling them. For reals!

The Punchline

Well it’s funny that LG’s alliance is pushing for open platform applications since the entire Internet is based on openness and virtually every cloud service is sitting on top of a well established web service framework. Most of the services integrated on TVs are simply accessed through a minimalistic web browser. For me, lack of content isn’t the issue, searching it is.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/28/lg-smart-tv-alliance-ifa-2012/

OnLive hits reset after being dragged down by expensive servers, confirms service will continue

Why?

Because cloud services are cool, right? Well for those who don’t know OnLive was attempting to sell monthly subscriptions to a cloud gaming solution that used massive cloud processing and storage to send real-time screen updates to a lightweight STB. They also extended their model to include office applications including a virtual desktop running Windows. It seems that even though cloud computing is essentially built on commoditised hardware, it still isn’t cheap enough for the scale someone like OnLive needs and they are effectively bankrupt.

The Punchline

It’s the first example of a heavily funded OTT company that is pushing the boundaries of traditional cloud computing in the gaming segment. Unfortunately they ran out of quarters.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/17/onlive-confirms/

How You’re Using Your iPad [INFOGRAPHIC]

Why?

Finally some real data on tablet usage. Turns out usage is exactly as expected with most users being male, surfing the net, and updating their Facebook status while annoying paying customers at coffee shops. 75% of users use their tablet while watching TV lending evidence that Project Glass may be on to something (i.e. using multiple screens at once). The data shows 67% using tablets for web browsing while only 13% use it for video. I assume this is a time based study rather than bandwidth consumption study. Also those numbers seem to indicate that they lump Internet video viewing such as YouTube in with web browsing.

The Punchline

My iPad hasn’t moved from my iCade machine so I can play classic 80s arcade games. Maintaining my high scores on Ms. Pacman and Burger Time is far more important to me than updating my Facebook status with another snapshot of food. Of note is that users were not asked if they used their tablets while in the middle of a conversation with friends.

http://mashable.com/2012/08/28/ipad-consumer-behaviors-infographic/

Isis mobile payment system primed for September launch, supported devices revealed

Why?

Everyone wants a piece of the mobile money market and there are so many players that it will be an incredibly confusing next 5 years. We have Visa, MasterCard and Amex in one corner, established banks in the other, innovative money players like PayPal, Square and Western Union, and of course the carriers. In the western world the market is very challenging but here in Asia where penetration of the first 3 technologies is very low, operators have a real opportunity if they jump on it soon. Given SIM penetration (which is really a credit facility whether prepaid or post paid) is near 100% it makes sense for operators to offer carrier billing so that users can use their credit to purchase virtual goods and even real items through eCommerce sites.

The Punchline

Mobile money is supposed to make our lives easier but it seems likely that we’ll have multiple accounts each with their own limitations. In the future I really hope we can use our mobile wallet as a direct deposit account when we tell our new employer how we’d like to get paid…assuming they don’t pay in beer of course.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/28/isis-mobile-payment-system-primed-for-september-launch-supporte/

Everything Everywhere signs 5-year deal with MasterCard for mobile payments

Why?

Carrier billing is heating up and those leading the pack are quickly finding partners. This is just one example that follows on Vodafone’s partnership with Visa. In a similar vein but different approach, Telefonica signed several partnerships with Microsoft, Blackberry, Google and Facebook to allow their subscribers to pay for virtual goods sold through partners’ app stores with their mobile load. The service is targeting emerging markets where credit card penetration is low. It seems that different models apply for different countries. Clearly the Visa/MasterCard route alone won’t address the issue faced by Telefonica in Latin America.

The Punchline

A friend of mine in Thailand bought an Android tablet even after agreeing iPad was better for her needs. The reason? She didn’t have a credit card and therefore couldn’t create an iTunes account to install applications. Maybe next time you get a mobile subscription “you’ll have to side with your card-provider of choice, too.”

http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/28/everything-everywhere-mastercard/

Samsung announces Drive Link, a car-friendly app with MirrorLink integration

Why?

Finally a new application of an existing technology. Smartphones have a virtually unlimited potential as simple portable compute power and Samsung is leveraging that to allow Android users to beam essential car services such as audio, calling, GPS, etc to systems inside the car.

The Punchline

Provided it keeps drivers eyes on the road this technology makes a lot of sense but will significantly impact sales of 10 disc trunk CD changers.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/28/samsung-drive-link-car-friendly-app/

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