Second large format IKEA Store in Egypt now open at Mall of Arabia    Arab Parliament supports Egypt-Sudan efforts to ensure water security    Egypt's Shoukry, UN Secretary-General discuss Ethiopia's Nile dam developments    UK calls on African countries to join UK-Egypt led Adaptation Action Coalition    CAF pres awaits appeal decision but path opens up for successor    Sisi, Burhan urge international efforts towards binding deal on GERD    Al-Sisi visits Sudan for first time after formation of new transitional government    Death toll in bombing in Somalia's capital rises to 20    World Bank approves $440 million for enhancing Egypt's railways    Saudi Arabia to lift most coronavirus-related curbs on Sunday: SPA    EXPLAINER: Why Ethiopia's deadly Tigray crisis is growing    Tennis: Djokovic confirms return to Tour at Miami Open    Live score: Ahly (Egypt) vs. AS Vita Club (DR Congo) (African Champions League)    Myanmar forces fire tear gas, stun grenades on protest as UN envoy calls for action    Egypt reports 579 new coronavirus cases; 45 deaths on Friday    61st Diyarna Exhibition: Showcasing Egyptian Handicrafts    Art House partners with Cultural Development Fund to present theatrical, musical shows    Egypt stresses necessity of launching 'serious' negotiation process to reach deal on GERD before flood season    Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine reiterate call for halting Israeli settlement activities    Messi serves as bright spot in Barcelona's disastrous season    Zamalek ready with striking force against Esperance Tunis    Egypt clubs protest Football Association decision to cover costs of COVID-19 tests    Yemen's Houthis fire missile at Saudi Aramco site in Jeddah    Planning Ministry prioritises Upper Egypt development under coherent, integrated programme    Egypt's National Council for Women launches awareness campaign on nutrition education    International Cooperation Ministry, AfDB sign development financing of €109m for rural Luxor sanitation services    Egypt on transformational path into regional energy trade centre: Petroleum Minister    Hassan Allam wins contract to manage, operate Grand Egyptian Museum    March: The month of celebrating women    Egypt launches ‘Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator' action plan    Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate midterm elections postponed to 19 March    Moody's completes periodic review of ratings of GIG Insurance – Egypt    Sudan keen to enhance cooperation with Egypt: Sudanese FM Al-Mahdi    Egypt improves ranking on Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom    A Happy Purrfect Rescue Story of 4 Cats in Thailand    Spotify competitor Anghami to become first Arab tech firm to list on Nasdaq, eyes plans for Egypt    Egypt's Zamalek arrive in Tunisia to face Esperance in CAF Champions League    Winston Churchill's Moroccan landscape painting owned by Angelina Jolie sells for $11.5M    Orascom Construction to build Magdi Yacoub Global Heart Centre    Respect for diversity    Huawei launches HUAWEI FreeLace Pro in Egypt with extra-long battery life and top-grade noise cancellation    Enhanced Labs signs Mr. Olympia 2020 "Big Ramy" And His Trainer Dennis James    1st hours of registration for coronavirus vaccine seen 7,000 Egyptians signing up: ministry    King Tutankhamun funerary mask is must-see tourist icon: The Telegraph    Egypt eyes gradual return for tourism after revenues fall to $4 bln in 2020    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    Coronavirus strikes Egypt's youth team as 17 players, coach test positive    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    

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SCI TECH SCENE: New websites aim for TV experience
Published in Daily News Egypt on 31 - 08 - 2007

Watching video online in small, fuzzy boxes is heading the way of rabbit ears.
Some highly anticipated websites are being modeled on making the experience of watching video online more like watching television. These sites rely on software that enlarges the interface so that it fills your computer screen - from edge to edge.
This new wave of applications is led by Joost and includes VeohTV and Babelgum. Though all are in beta (testing) phases, the hype has been mounting - leading many to claim the next big advance in online video is imminent.
The distribution problem is starting to get solved by many different people, but the experience of online video is still very poor, said Veoh founder Dmitry Shapiro. Companies like Veoh and Joost are trying to create a more TV-like experience for viewers.
Of course, YouTube, which Google Inc. bought for $1.76 billion last November, is the site that braved the online video path. Though YouTube offers the option of a full-screen mode, video is typically watched in a smaller box that can be embedded in other sites.
These new sites, all of which are ad-supported and transmit video with peer-to-peer technology, are seeking to move beyond YouTube by improving video quality, attracting professionally produced content and expanding the viewing experience - which is to say: to be more like TV.
Babelgum s slogan is: TV experience, internet substance. Veoh touts: VeohTV makes watching internet as simple as watching television. Joost simply states: The new way of watching TV.
Each of the three work nearly the same way. You download the application from the respective website. When that s finished, you have a desktop icon that will launch the application. It then fills your screen with an on-demand-style choice of videos arranged in near broadcast-quality channels.
Joost - founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom (the founders of the internet telephone company Skype and the music-sharing service Kazaa) - says it has created enough buzz to attract 1 million beta users.
Joost s strategy has been to sign deals with major content providers, making copyright lawsuits unlikely. (YouTube, on the other hand, is being sued by Viacom Inc. for more than $1 billion.) It has inked deals with Viacom, CBS, CNN, the NHL, Sony and others.
The early stages of video content on the internet was a lot of user-generated stuff, stuff like my grandmother and her cat, said Joost CEO Mike Volpi. What we re trying to do is evolve that experience into something that the viewer doesn t view just out of interest, but actually builds an affinity with that particular programming content.
Volpi notes users won t watch long-format video on a postage stamp-size thing. But altering viewing habits to watch more than 5-minute clips even on a full-screen application may be difficult.
A poll conducted last September by The Associated Press and Time Warner Inc. s AOL found that only one in five online video viewers have watched or downloaded a full-length movie or TV show.
James McQuivey, a TV and media technology analyst for Forrester Research, believes people will grow more accustomed to long-form material as it becomes easier to download it.
But he cautions that Joost is an evolutionary step, not a revolutionary one.
If there s anything that Joost does, it moves the ball forward, said McQuivey. It tells people that the TV and the PC are not two separate worlds. But as long as we re still mimicking the TV on the PC, we re failing to appreciate the value of combining those two worlds.
Babelgum bears many similarities to Joost, but is primarily focused on video from independent producers, rather than mainstream sources, said co-founder and CEO Valerio Zingarelli.
Zingarelli said Babelgum also plans to embed its platform in set-top boxes by the end of 2008, which would make its content viewable on traditional TV sets. Apple offers such a box for video purchased on iTunes, and more video companies are expected to follow suit.
Veoh has both a YouTube-like site at and VeohTV, which Shapiro called a video browser. Though VeohTV is pursing deals with the major TV networks and many Hollywood studios, its approach is to cull all the internet s free video in one place - like Google for video, said Shapiro. It also allows viewers to record video like a DVR.
Veoh even took the pre-emptive step of recently suing Universal Music to bar it from taking legal action against Veoh. Many content providers would prefer its material to be shown on its own platform, where it controls the surrounding advertising.
For the consumer to try to figure out where to find video that they re interested in and navigate their interfaces becomes extremely difficult, said Shapiro.
The internet and television are increasingly being portrayed as on a collision course, the two destined to fuse within 10-20 years when TV could become just another form of high-speed data. But those visions remain relatively far in the future. Online video is still in its infancy, Shapiro said.
People are just starting to discover it and understand it, Shapiro said.
Joost, Babelgum and Veoh have several heavyweights to compete with, including Microsoft s LiveStation, Apple TV and the recently unveiled Hulu, a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp.
The analyst McQuivey doubts YouTube should be worried because its interactivity has created a social kind of viewing.
Joost, in particular, hopes to accomplish something that similarly fosters discussion among viewers. Volpi says Joost will blend the viewing experience with real-time water-cooler conversation.
Joost plans to become available to the public before the end of the year, Babelgum is planning to launch in March, and Shapiro expects to keep VeohTV in beta no longer than a year from now. Associated Press

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