Oh Look, Another Set-top Box For Streaming Movies

from the heard-this-one-before,-I-think dept

One tech idea that simply won't go away is the set-top box for streaming movies. It's been tried plenty of times before (Netflix, Vudu, Akimbo, Moviebeam, and more) with little success, thanks to technical problems, poor content, bad business models, or some combination of all of them. Each iteration takes a slightly different tack, but the end result usually ends up the same: the dedicated set-top boxes go out with a whimper. Now, there's yet another one coming out, called ZillionTV, with its own take on things. It's the same basic idea: you hook the box up to your TV and your broadband connection, then use it to stream video content. The business model's a little different, though: it will be sold in partnership with ISPs, and users will be able to choose between pay-per-view content without ads, and ad-supported video, including both films and network TV shows. The usual bugbears seem to apply, including worries about the streaming quality and lack of a wide range of content. The ad-supported model, which will be based on targeting ads to users by tracking their viewing habits and other data, is interesting, though TiVo was playing around in a similar space a few years ago and their efforts seem to have gone quiet. What's a bit odd, though, is that the company says the box will cost $100, because "consumers didn't respond as well to free." That's puzzling -- especially if the company really hopes to make its money from advertising. In any case, we definitely won't hold our breath to see if ZillionTV can succeed where so many others have failed.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2009 @ 4:54am


    It's really quite funny to see the unrealistic expectations created by the whole "free" marketing schemes out there.

    Actually the reason I don't use torrent sites is due to hassle. It's a hassle for me to obtain torrents. I have an SD TV and the cpu hooked to it is simply a pain to look at. I guess I could set up a system to auto-download the shows I want, but again, hassle. Maybe I could download it on my laptop and ftp it? But hassle.

    Or I can watch a minute or two of commercials on hulu. The subscription feature keeps up with what shows I like. I setup one icon shortcut to the hulu queue and I'm all set.

    So that's the difference in business models. Torrents are a hassle for me, streams with advertising aren't. I look at the ads I watch as buying convenience my wife can use. It's nice if they pay for the content too.

    I'm also open to having ads in my content. Suddenly, torrents are free advertising, and the fact that a show gets downloaded 1,000,000 times is a credit and not a negative.

    You see my job isn't figuring out how to monetize my attention. My job is to demand things be as cheap, convenient, and high quality as they can be. If we don't demand that, then the population is wasting time and money on inefficiency.

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