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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    chris (profile), 5 Mar 2009 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You are making the same mistake that Mike often makes in his posts: You are not thinking to the end of the process. Distribution (digital or otherwise) isn't the main cost in the content. So distribute it any way you like, you haven't changed the price of producing the content. Would you deny artists their right to profit from their work?

    and you are making the same mistake that all content producers make: the cost of production is fixed and has no impact on price.

    the market decides the price it will pay without regard for your fixed costs. you can't just make up numbers to charge and expect success. if you price yourself out of the market, you fail.

    the going rate for content online is nothing. you can either sell at that price and have a chance at succeeding or charge more and be guaranteed to fail.

    profit is a privilege, not a right. if you want to be guaranteed a profit, then don't make content, get a real job and put your money in a savings account.

    show business it risky, that's why everyone's parents tried to talk them out of doing it.

    a great way to increase profits is to cut your fixed costs. if a movie costs $200 million to produce and promote, then it has to do $200 million in sales to break even. cutting costs means the film has to do far less in sales to turn a profit.

    If nobody is paying for content, who can afford to produce it?

    there are plenty of people out there that give their content away and make money. penny arcade is a great example. new comics and other downloadable content every week for free, and they are not only able to make money, but they can raise and donate millions to charity every year.

    Right now you are getting your music and movie free ride on the torrents only because enough people are overpaying for the content in other ways.

    torrents give the market what it wants: decent quality, ultra low price, freedom, usability, and plenty of choice.

    if you want to make money provide something that the torrents can't: convenience, speed, longevity, etc.

    Your $1 a song price is in part because a large percentage of total sales are lost because people like you think that the music has not monetary value, and you have no interest in paying for it regardless of the price it is offered at.

    paying for songs? hell no. i won't pay for songs, movies, or plastic discs. i will, however, pay for merchandise. i have never purchased an mc frontalot or mc chris cd or a single track, but i have t-shirts for both. i have never purchased a penny arcade or megatokyo comic or book, but i have quite a few t-shirts. the same is true for linux and bsd software.

    digital distribution is only a method to ship the product, not the removal of cost to create it.

    no one gives a rat's ass about your costs. your costs are not anyone's problem but your own. no one cares how much it costs for GM to make a car, no one cares how much it costs mcdonald's to make a cheeseburger. all we care about is convenience, quality, and price.

    the sooner you figure out that fixed costs are your problem, and not the consumers', the sooner you will have a chance at succeeding.

    if you want to see people paying for access to free content, take a look at newsgroup services. the content is free, but people pay monthly fees to get it quickly and conveniently.

    i would pay for a service that helped me find quality digital content quickly AND recommended new content ala the netflix/amazon recommendation system AND kept me from being hassled by the content compaines. getting my internet access shut off due to a DMCA letter is an inconvenience, not a deterrent, since my provider just switches me back on again.

    When nobody pays for music anymore, there will be no more music produced of the current style and quality level.

    first off, the current style and quality is total crap.

    all the music i pirate is back catalog stuff that has been sold on probably two formats already and may or may not be available for sale anymore. those songs are paid for several times over.

    as for new music, i really only listen to independent and underground music that really isn't all that mainstream and most of the time the internet is the only way those artists can distribute and promote their music.

    the current state of popular music is dreadful. all the pop stars in the world could die in a fire and i wouldn't care in the slightest.

    when it comes to piracy of music, the labels have themselves to blame. they wanted everyone in the world to listen to and buy a small selection of music so they can save money on the manufacture and promotion of their stars.

    congratulations! good job! thanks to the record labels and radio conglomerates there are only 40 hit songs in circulation now. your generic music is universal now, which makes pirating it a breeze.

    why not inject a whole lot of variety into your pablum?

    why not diversify your offerings? why not make music that has cult followings rather than universal appeal? that seems to have worked for the grateful dead.

    if you can build a community or a cult around your acts, you are going to see more purchases of merchandise and tickets to events by fanatical fans.

    also, if the top40 or the itunes top100 was more like the top ten thousand or the top one million then it would be a lot harder for piracy to reach critical mass because of the sheer volume of music that was available.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.