MediaMall PlayLater Serves as DVR for Online Video

  • MediaMall, the group behind the popular PlayOn media software, announced this week a closed beta of an online service that allows users to record online video for later viewing (including offline).
  • PlayLater works similarly to a DVR, allowing “recording” of online video from sites such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and major networks.
  • Early reporting suggests playback of DRM protected files only on approved programs running on PC (using Windows Media Player), Android, iOS, Google TV, game systems, etc.
  • PlayLater is expected to eventually be available for $5/month, or $50/year.
  • CrunchGear reports: “Believe it or not, the term DVR is actually appropriate here. I’ve used the service and it actually records the programming and wraps the video file in a DRM-laced .plv container that’s only playable on approved programs.”

Google Launches WDYL.com: What Do You Love?

  • Google quietly launched WDYL.com this week, a new site that presents search results across 20 different products/widgets on one page.
  • The acronym asks the question: “What do you love?”
  • WDYL.com was launched without fanfare or marketing, and while little more is known about it at this time, a box at the bottom of each search result suggests: “More coming soon.”
  • According to TechCrunch: “The most striking thing about the new site is that it seems pretty well designed — not always a given with Google.”

SMPTE Conference: The Need for Science Education in 3D Production

  • SMPTE recently held its 3D Conference for Media and Entertainment in New York City.
  • One significant outcome resulted from scientists who are studying how the brain processes visual images.
  • They suggest that Hollywood needs an improved academic understanding of stereoscopic 3D to avoid making viewers uncomfortable.
  • It was recommended that content creators and vision scientists get together to evaluate different demographics, 2D-to-3D conversion, potential harmful effects, eye fatigue and much more.
  • “The problem is that we’re looking at this from a top down perspective instead from the bottom up. With HDTV, it took us more than 20 years to get the science right. Here [with 3D] we’re starting with the screen and working backwards. That doesn’t seem right,” suggested Joseph Flaherty, senior VP of technology at the CBS Network.

Social Networker MySpace to Be Sold to California Ad Agency

  • News Corp. is in the process of selling once-popular social networking site MySpace to Specific Media, an Irvine-based ad network.
  • The cash and stock deal is reportedly valued at $35 million — a mere 6 percent of the $580 million News Corp. paid for the site in 2005 (although News Corp. claims it made back its investment earlier from a Google ad deal).
  • The one-time leading social networking destination, MySpace was decimated by the global popularity of Facebook.
  • Specific Media is expected to return MySpace to its music roots as a location to discover new bands and songs.
  • The sale comes in the same week that Google announces its own new networking service, designed to directly challenge Facebook for dominance in the space.
  • Facebook is presently valued at more than $70 billion.

News Affiliate Surprised by Top-Selling Murder Trial App

  • WESH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Orlando, launched a 99-cent iPhone app for updates in the Casey Anthony trial (involving the Florida mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter).
  • The app recently reached the #1 spot in paid iPhone news apps, and is currently holding the #2 position.
  • The app features liveblog, breaking updates, court documents, photos, video recaps, courtroom footage and packages produced by the station.
  • A major surprise has been the public interest in more than 20,000 pages of court documents.
  • Since the app is targeting national and international audiences, the branding focuses on Hearst Television (not the local TV station).

Hauppauge Broadway Box Delivers Live TV to iPhone and iPad

  • Hauppauge Digital is expected to release its $199 “Broadway” box by late July or early August.
  • The device enables viewers to use Wi-Fi signals to watch TV on mobile devices or via a Web browser.
  • It features a multi-format TV receiver that can tune QAM digital and ATSC over-the-air SD and HD channels.
  • Broadway operates much like the Slingbox device, but without an extra fee for mobile viewing.
  • The box currently works only with Apple’s mobile devices (iOS 3 or higher), but can be used with both Mac and Windows PCs.

Microsoft and Nielsen Measure Cross-Platform Engagement

  • Microsoft’s ad division has created a research partnership with Nielsen dubbed the Television Online Effect program.
  • The project’s primary goal is to better learn how consumers are influenced by TV and the Web in terms of engagement with marketing messages.
  • The research, which begins in August, will use Nielsen’s TV/Internet Fusion panel and customized research Microsoft will develop.
  • The pilot will initially launch with entertainment advertisers, but will most likely expand in the future.
  • “If advertisers are looking to capture food enthusiasts for the launch of a new cooking show or networks are looking to drive Moms to primetime programming, they can leverage our exciting new service,” commented Microsoft’s Joslyn Moore in a blog post.

Topcon IP-S2 Lite System Creates Panoramic Maps in 3D

  • Topcon’s IP-S2 Lite system — unveiled at Tokyo’s recent 3D & Virtual Reality Expo — creates 3D video footage that can be analyzed and augmented with virtual objects.
  • Topcon’s road condition evaluation system features a 360-degree camera, GPS and inclinometer.
  • The system also measures height, distance and surface area within individual frames in order to insert computer-generated images and to construct maps of disaster-stricken regions.
  • Japan’s Geospatial Information Authority used the technology after this year’s earthquakes to map coastal areas, providing helpful visuals of the damage.
  • The report includes a 2-minute video demo.

Companies use Facebook Credits as Incentives with ifeelgoods Help

  • Facebook “Credits” began as a means of purchasing virtual goods for social games, and then were used as a tool for other digital goods such as movies.
  • Companies are now leveraging Credits in a new way — to attract consumers to their brands via the social network.
  • The ifeelgoods platform helps retailers provide consumers with Facebook Credits, which can then be used for tasks including: “liking the retailer on Facebook, signing up for an email distribution list, making a purchase, checking into a location or answering a survey.”
  • The company suggests that Credits may be more effective than offering a coupon or discount code, “because consumers like to believe they are receiving something, especially if they know they don’t have to make a purchase.”
  • Facebook users can then post related information to their wall (ifeelgoods claims consumers are willing to share this information 60 to 70 percent of the time).
  • Ifeelgoods has raised $6.5 million in capital.

DIY Revolution: Beginner’s Guide to 3D Printing

  • Digital Trends offers this thorough introduction/overview to 3D printing for those interested in bringing “rapid prototyping from the factory floor to your desktop.”
  • Whether you are a hobbyist or professional designer, learn the various cost-effective approaches to producing physical models with today’s 3D printers.
  • The article includes details regarding an array of recommended software and hardware choices, coverage of the latest trends, a quick video demo, helpful links and more.
  • “In 20-30 years, it may even be possible to print just about any custom object – your own toothbrush, a new faucet for the kitchen sink, or a new dashboard for your Buick. We’re in the same phase with 3D printing that Steve Jobs was in when he designed the basic components of the Apple computer in his garage.”

New MoviePass App Brings Netflix Model to Theaters

  • A new service called MoviePass is offering unlimited movie viewing in participating theaters for a fee of $50/month.
  • Access to 3D and IMAX movies will involve a $3 surcharge.
  • Using an HTML5 app, subscribers will be able to search for a film, check show times and purchase digital tickets.
  • A $30 “limited pass” offering is reportedly also being planned.
  • The service will launch its beta test in San Francisco this weekend.

American Express and Foursquare Offer Special Deals

  • American Express and Foursquare have announced their new national partnership that will offer special deals to cardholders when they “check in” via their cellphone at participating stores and restaurants.
  • Early participants will include Sports Authority, clothing retailer H&M, along with New York restaurants such as Union Square Cafe and Blue Smoke.
  • A test run in March at the South By Southwest festival indicated those with access to special deals spent 20 percent more than those without access.
  • Amex hopes the partnership will attract a younger tech-savvy demographic: “We don’t tend to skew under 35. We hope this will help us stay relevant to younger customers.”

PayPal Will Process $3 Billion in Mobile Payments for 2011

  • PayPal’s new 2011 estimate for mobile payment processing of $3 billion is twice what the company estimated last year.
  • The $3 billion is divided into two categories: 1) individuals using Paypal’s mobile app to transfer money to each other, and 2) people completing purchases on mobile online commerce sites.
  • The PayPal online payments service (owned by eBay) has 8 million users and is processing up to $10 million/day in mobile total payment volume.
  • PayPal’s competitors include Google Wallet, Square and credit card companies.

Microsoft Launches New Cloud Version of Office

  • Steve Ballmer will launch Office 365 this week: “a combination of communication, collaboration and productivity software delivered via the Internet” that Microsoft refers to as the “next generation cloud service.”
  • The company is hosting a launch event in New York to celebrate the suite’s debut.
  • Office 365 joins a crowded field including Google Docs and VMware’s Zimbra email, but WSJ suggests its biggest competitor might be itself: “The company now needs to convince those computer users, estimated at about one billion, to switch to Office in the cloud without disrupting the legacy version that is financing the transition.”
  • Businesses will be able to buy only the cloud services they need such as email for $2/month or Office for $27/month.
  • Large corporate clients will be allowed to use the service for free until license agreements are renewed.

New App from Samsung Offers Streaming 3D Content

  • Samsung announced that the Explore 3D app on its SmartHub-connected TV interface is now offering free streaming 3D content.
  • The app is streaming 3D movie trailers, music videos, educational content and full programs from Wealth TV.
  • The company says Explore 3D will provide access to paid 3D content later this year, including feature films, shorts, and documentaries.
  • The app is powered by Rovi and includes its Cloud-based metadata and RoxioNow platform.

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