Amazon introduced its streaming box April 2, dubbed Fire TV, a direct competitor to Apple TV and Roku.
The box, which will retail for $99, will feature Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus and more, as well as voice controls and an optional gaming controller.
More coverage in this week’s Zimedium Podcast.
Best Tech under $50
Google Chromecast $35
Roku LT $49
Blue Snowball Mic $49
Best Tech under $100
Apple TV $99
Netflix $95.88/year ($7.99/mo)
Amazon Prime $79/year
Best Tech under $150
Google Drive Storage $119/year 200GB ($9.99/mo)
Kindle Fire HD 7″ $139
Pebble Smartwatch $149
Bonus: Tech under $250
Samsung Chromebook $249
Zimedia’s Streaming Best Buys (price considered):
While Netflix was busy battling HBO over exclusive content and providing an increasingly valid reason to cut the cable-cord, Sony’s Crackle just kept building.
Adding content, signing advertisers and launching on an array of devices including Xbox 360, Roku, Sony Blu-ray players, Sony Internet-connected TVs, Android, iPhone, iPad and more.
Its time out of the spotlight paid off. Now it’s clear that Crackle, which launched in the summer of 2007, is a contender.
Opting for an ad-supported model — the lifeblood of terrestrial radio — Crackle is free on all devices. It’s a proven formula: Free service = more users. More users = more ad dollars. Great method for generating revenue and users.
Other ad-supported services: Terrestrial radio and now Pandora and Slacker, Facebook and websites (see those banner ads? They’re paying the bills.) All ad-supported.
Crackle’s fresh content and smooth interface makes it feel like mini-Netflix. Hundreds of movies, clips and made-for-TV content. Plus the only place away from DVD you’ll find Seinfeld, which features 10 new episodes episodes each month.
Movies, Clips and TV like Spider Man 3, Ghostbusters, 21, Pineapple Express, Year One, Talladega Nights, Cruel Intentions, Passengers, Joe Dirt, Vacancy, Stranger than Fiction, 8MM, Basic Instinct 2, TV shows like Seinfeld and News Radio.
Crackle reports nearly 300 movies. More than 100 TV shoes and around 50 original TV shows featuring made-for-Crackle content.
Sure the library’s not as vast as Netflix or even Amazon Instant Video, but it’s free and available on a growing number of devices.
Crackle is mysteriosly absent from PlayStation 3, even though Crackle itself is a Sony service. Crackle lists that it’s available on PS3, though only through the PlayStation web browser. It’s not currently available on PS3 in app-form.
Venture Beat reported today, however, that Sony is preparing to announce a new video service for PS3. Rumored to involve Internet channels or apps. (An idea we suggested more than a year ago.) The new service would likely include Crackle.
Some devices as of late now require the Crackle user to login with a username and passord. Which tells me Sony wants a more accurate count of users and active users for advertising.
Like Netflix or Hulu, Crackle users can add content to a queue or choose to subscribe to TV shows.
And its mobile and iPad versions are smooth and attractive.
Crackle’s almost ready for the big leagues. And its timing is near-perfect. Though it’s entering a crowded marketplace, not one has presented itself as a real Netflix competitor.
And I wouldn’t count anyone out.
MTV was like an underground movement led by rebels & rock stars.
The same thing is happening now with Web TV and streaming video; Though don’t expect to see a TV campaign pushing for it. At least not yet.
More than two years ago I cut cable and moved into the web TV world. What was a bit rocky at first is now a more intuitive TV experience than ever.
Technology can change a lot in two years. And not too long from today, our current Television format will seem archaic. The entire system is wrong.
Think about it: The network buys a show; it’s produced. It airs. Did you catch it? Nope? Well too bad it’s already aired. (And then networks wonder why first-run viewership is down, and then cancel the entire show.)
Web TV gives the shows a chance, gives users a chance to watch the content. Without force-feeding it down their throats. Because it’s on the user’s schedule, not the network’s.
But it’s almost crazy to think Netflix will topple the entire cable landscape. There is a more likely scenario.
Netflix and its future competitors will force cable and premium cable companies to overhaul the formula and its pricing structure.
Which will result in a Hulu-Plus-like TV experience.
I’m starting to believe the future of TV will be a mesh of live content and on-demand offerings. A show may still premier at 7pm EST, but it will be available on-demand after it’s aired.
Where will the content come from? A network? Or Netflix? Yes and yes. Netflix, or something like it, will still exist in 10 years. It’ll be the new HBO.
Comcast-like cable will be delivered via the Internet, featuring both live and on-demand programming. And the rates? Much lower. Greater value in the eye of the customer.
What sets Web, or streaming, TV apart is on-demand content. All access. Including full seasons of shows, from the first episode to the last.
What that means: more viewers for the content and the advertising. An almost unlimited shelf-life. But the ads within the content could be updated at any time.
Will this really happen? Well, Comcast began testing IPTV at MIT last year.
What it means for advertisers: proof. Like Google analytics TV.
A recent article from VentureBeat echoed my statements, also suggesting that a web-tv future would not only be more user friendly but would also make the current Nielson rating system obsolete. Allowing networks to evaluate not only viewership, but comments, likes, and other activity over a period of time.
As I’ve said all along, products, more info and purchases will be only a button-click away.
It’s a monumental time for TV. If cable is scared now, this could very well be the calm before the storm. They’ll be forced to change. Or fall into obscurity. Like a stagnant MySpace, ignorant to the startup that would become Facebook. Cable better adapt its structure and pricing soon, before subscriptions drop.
The MTV movement was iconic.
The commercials urged viewers to call their cable company and say they want their MTV.
Put to a catchy tune, it hit the airwaves. And it worked. We’re in a similar scenario with Web TV and streaming video. And the cable companies will again get calls.
Though this time the callers won’t be begging for MTV.
They’ll be calling to cancel.