Would the global trade come to a standstill as supply chain crisis worsens?    EBRD vice president heads delegation to Egypt to discuss new country strategy    The unvaccinated prohibited from entry to Egypt state institutions starting December 1    Egypt, Cyprus sign deal for electricity grid link    Russia to lift COVID restrictions on flights to Egypt's Red Sea resorts on Nov. 9    Egypt, Greece ink deal for first subsea power link between Europe and Africa    Egypt hosts regional conference of EU refugee agency EASO    SCOHRE sparks discussion on harm reduction, tobacco control    Egypt to receive first of six high-trains from Spain's Talgo in mid-November    Egypt's iron and steel exports jump 197% in 8 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Over 100 officials resign from Tunisia's main Islamist party    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egyptian court bans use of mosques for political purposes    Brazil calls up 8 EPL players for World Cup qualifying    Refugees in fear as sentiment turns against them in Turkey    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Sisi calls on House, Senate to commence second legislative sessions on 3, 5 October    Huawei Technologies has invested $10 mln over 5 years in innovation centres in Egypt    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    Qa'a play showing at Lycee El Horreya Theatre, Alexandria is a must go    Orange Egypt Introduces Amazon Prime Video    Tokyo Olympics: Cautious opening ceremony, shy start for Egyptians in competitions    Mallawi Museum in Upper Egypt holds recycling workshop for children during Eid Al-Adha    Egypt keen on stable tax policies to attract more investors: Finance Minister    Sudan declares state of emergency as water goes beyond Merowe Dam capacity    Niagara Falls illuminated in Egyptian flag to mark 23 July Revolution anniversary    Capital flows into EM keep recovering after March 2020 slump: Central Bank of Egypt    1 child orphaned every 12 seconds due to COVID-19-associated death: World Bank    Egypt, Japanese Olympic Committee discuss boosting sports cooperation    US emphasises AU's role in mediating Ethiopian damdispute    Ethiopia ready to resume dam talks with no legally binding agreements: Ethiopian official    Sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Egypt's Abu Qir bay yields new archaeological treasures    New films, concerts, and destinations for Eid Al-Adha holidays    Egypt, Oman discuss enhancing bilateral economic, investment relations    Al Ahly v Kaizer Chiefs: Cairo giants eye 10th CAF Champions League title    Tunisia hopes to have a UN role in resolving Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    

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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 Veoh.com 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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