Tag Archives: streaming video

From Vimeo to Periscope. Do we really need another video app?

The War for Eyeballs

First, there was Vimeo, the first video sharing website.

Vimeo allowed users to upload, share and search for videos online, and life was good.

Then there was YouTube.

YouTube gave us our fill of all the videos we could no longer see on cable or broadcast TV, all with a quick search.

Vevo popped up after that.

Vevo was a great alternative to YouTube because it had higher quality videos, without all the associated riffraff of user generated content.

Suddenly UStream appeared, and not only could you watch video replays, but you could tap into live video streams.

Couldn’t be there, but want to experience it live?

UStream let you do just that.

We had achieved video Nirvana.

Not to be left out of the fray, Facebook offered its own native video player, giving its millions of users an easy way to upload and share videos on its platform.

All of your low res, hi def, canned or live streaming video options were covered.

Right?

Apparently not.

Because then came SnapChat with it’s expiring videos.

Wait, that’s a thing?

And then Meerkat, the app that lets you broadcast yourself doing whatever to whoever wants to tune in.

And finally (and I say “finally” loosely) Periscope, which let you do the same thing.

So, what’s with all the video apps and services?

Well, video is a big thing.

No, I’m not talking about the bandwidth it requires.

I’m talking about the appetite folks have for it.

And they money that can be made.

Think about it.

Instagram has added video, so that its not just still photos anymore.

YouTube now offers “premium” channels.

Content companies, like HBO, are cutting ties with Cable companies and offering their content directly to consumers through apps and consoles.

Netflix and Hulu let you watch television and movies on the go.

Virtually everywhere you look – elevators, cabs, subways, planes, trains – video is offered.

And regular people are getting in on the action.

“YouTubers” is a thing.

Shooting a video of a melee and yelling “WorldStar!” is a thing.

People try to make “viral” videos as a way of getting their 15 minutes.

Folks earn bookoo bucks as YouTube broadcasters, creating often funny, niche content, attracting tens of thousands of viewers, and earning income as well.

Buzzfeed, FunnyOrDie, College Humor and many others’ business models are built exclusively off producing and marketing video content.

So while I think the current ‘fight’ between the creators of apps like Periscope and Meerkat is stupid, because…well just because, there is clearly an insatiable appetite for virtually any kind of video.

Have you ever watched a sensory video – the kind that’s supposed to give you tingles just by watching?

I digress.

To answer the question posed in the title of this post, “do we really need another video app?”

No. We don’t.

Are Meerkat or Periscope the last of the video apps we’ve seen?

No. Not by a long shot.

There’s a war for eyeballs currently being waged.

With billions of dollars to be made.

And folks out here seeking fame by turning their cameras on and streaming themselves doing whatever.

And with all of our shiny, powerful, always-on mobile devices clutched in our collective sweaty palms, we’re all in the crosshairs.

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Filed under mobile, opinion

Apple TV, Roku, watch your backs. There’s a new dongle in town. Chromecast.

Chromecast dongle

One of my colleagues, Salvador Risk (not his real name), is an avowed Google fanatic.

Google Glass, Chromebook, Jellybean. If Google makes it, he lauds it.

Invariably, whenever there’s a Google announcement or milestone, he shoots a link over IM for us to check out.

It was he who recommended that we watch the hellacious Google 1/0 2013.

My eyes are still bleeding.

We usually mock him for being so devout a disciple.

Yesterday was no exception.

You see yesterday, in his typical zeal, he shot us a link for some new innocuous Google product.

Followed by the statement (and I quote) “i so want this” (lowercase “i” and all).

Of course, we mocked him mercilessly, once again.

Who the heck would want “this” stupid thing?

“This” is another attempt by Google to stick it’s tentacles where they don’t belong.

“This” (we opined) would go the way of many of Google’s other lame-brained, ill-fated, poorly executed schemes.

What was “this”?

“This” was Chromecast.

What the heck is Chromecast, you ask?

Well it’s a dongle which will allow you to stream content from your phone, tablet or laptop, directly to your TV.

Simply plug Chromecast into an HDMI port of your HDTV, and voila! You’re streaming.

Chromecast in your TV

Even though the Chromecast dongle isn’t available yet (it’s available for pre-order in the Google Play store), it’s already making waves.

Why all the commotion, you ask?

For one, it’s not a box.

It’s a…dongle.

Unlike other set top box makers, like Apple and Roku (among the more recognizable names in the game), Chromecast won’t take up any space on your TV stand.

It’s just a simple fob that plugs in discretely to your TV.

Which means no power cords or HDMI cables.

With Chromecast, there’s nothing to hide, tuck away or get tangled in.

Actually, there is a little cord, which plugs into a micro USB port in the top of the dongle…but it’s not a big cord.

Second, you don’t need a remote control.

Virtually every other set top box is manipulated by some additional piece of hardware.

But not with Chromebook.

Your Android, iPhone or tablet device serves as your remote.

Third, Chromecast provide much of the same utility of other set top boxes.

Like Apple TV and Roku, Chromecast lets you grab content from Netflix and YouTube.

But they also let you access content from your Google Play account (like iTunes/iPhoto) and the Chrome browser.

But wait! That’s not all.

Lest you think that Chromecast is just some dumb portal that simply lets you stream what’s on your device to your TV, Google claims that Chromecast will also automatically update apps.

And if they’re going after Apple and Roku, I can see the available list of options growing in short order.

Finally, and more (or most) importantly, there’s the cost.

Chromecast is only $35.

That’s way below Apple’s $99 price point.

And significantly less than Roku’s $49.99 streaming player.

In the final analysis, even though we were originally ribbing Salvator (not his real name) mercilessly for his blind allegiance to Google, we had to concede that he was really onto something.

Call me gullible (and a nerd), but I’m kinda excited for the release of Chromecast.

As someone who rocks with Apple TV, I’m interested to see how Chromecast stacks up.

Anyway, nerdfest over.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled life.

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Filed under technology