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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

eHomeUpgrade | Top NBC Universal Content On Demand through DIRECTV for $0.99

eHomeUpgrade | Top NBC Universal Content On Demand through DIRECTV for $0.99Top NBC Universal Content On Demand through DIRECTV for $0.99
Category: Content Providers - November 07, 2005
By NEWS RELEASE [196 Reads]
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NBC Universal and DIRECTV, Inc., today announced a first of its kind agreement that will give consumers access to the top programs of NBC and its cable entertainment networks, USA, SCI FI and Bravo, within hours after they air, commercial free, for just 99 cents. The programs will be available on demand through the new DIRECTV Plus interactive DVR.

This multi-year agreement will give the primetime on demand rights to NBC Universal TV programs, such as "Law & Order: SVU," "Law & Order: CI," "The Office," "Monk," "Surface" and "Battlestar Galactica." The programs will be available until the following week's episode airs. NBC Universal's movies and TV events will also be available through DIRECTV Plus, and on pay-per-view (PPV).

"The way people are consuming content is changing," said David Zaslav, President, NBC Universal Cable. "Through this agreement with DIRECTV, consumers will be able to watch top NBC content on demand for just $0.99, when they want, without commercials. It's a huge sea change. This deal is the first of its kind and we value DIRECTV's partnership in rolling it out."

"We are thrilled to be able to make some of the best and most watched programs in all of television, both network and cable, even more readily available to viewers," said Jeff Zucker, President, NBC Universal Television Group. "We are extremely aware that viewers can't always watch these programs when they're originally scheduled, and this will give them far more control over when they're able to see these shows."

"DIRECTV and NBC are the first to offer viewers primetime programming on demand, and this agreement furthers DIRECTV's position as a technology and programming leader supporting our commitment to deliver the best television experience available anywhere," said Chase Carey, president and CEO, DIRECTV, Inc. "DVRs have fundamentally changed the way people watch television, giving viewers greater choice, control and convenience. We will take the DVR experience to new levels by offering the widest array of network primetime programming available on demand."

The DIRECTV Plus DVR will be available at retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City this month. DIRECTV Plus will be the most advanced DVR available with features such as 100 hours of recording capacity, interactive functionality, one-touch recording and Viewmarks, which enable viewers to mark favorite places in recorded programs and jump directly to them.

The NBC TV programs that are available are some of the highest rated shows on television. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" opened its seventh season on NBC with its highest season-premiere numbers ever. This season, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" is building on its "West Wing" lead-in by 52 percent in adults 18-49. "Surface" is averaging a 3.9 rating, 9 share in adults 18-49 and 8.0 million viewers this season to keep it a solid #2 in 18-49 in the competitive Monday 8-9 p.m. ET hour. "Battlestar Galactica" leads SCI FI Channel's high-powered Friday lineup, which consistently wins the night among all cable networks when the SCI FI schedule is in first-run. "Monk" was cable's #1 Friday series last summer and its July 8 season premiere was the #2 basic-cable original-series telecast of the entire third quarter. In its second season, "The Office" continues to deliver some of the most upscale audiences for any comedy on network television.

About NBC Universal
NBC Universal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.

About DIRECTV, Inc.
DIRECTV, Inc. is the nation's leading digital multichannel television service with more than 15 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone Design logo are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc. DIRECTV (NYSE: DTV) is a world-leading provider of digital multichannel television entertainment services. DIRECTV is approximately 34 percent owned by News Corporation.

Brighthand — HTC Preparing 4 GB Windows Mobile Phone

Brighthand — HTC Preparing 4 GB Windows Mobile PhoneHTC Preparing 4 GB Windows Mobile Phone
By Ed Hardy | Editor-in-Chief
Nov 8, 2005

Although many people like the idea of having gigabytes of storage capacity in their handheld or smartphone, quite a few of these people are nervous about having a miniature hard drive in a mobile device.

According to information that was leaked to, HTC is developing a Windows Mobile phone that will have 4 GB of solid-state Flash storage, not a microdrive.

This device, codenamed the HTC Muse, will clearly be focused on music, as it will also include an FM tuner and built-in stereo speakers.

HTC Muse It will even have a set of buttons on the front for controlling the Windows Media Player.

While it will, of course, also be capable of storing hours of video, users will have to watch it on a 240-by-240-pixel display.

This Pocket PC will have two cameras: one VGA and another 2.1 megapixel with flash.

The HTC Muse will supposedly run Windows Mobile 5.0 on a 416 MHz processor.

It will have 64 MB of ROM and 64 MB of RAM. If 4 GB of internal storage isn't enough, it will also have a microSD memory card slot.

Reportedly, it will support GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS, and possibly even HSDPA. This device will also include WiFi and Bluetooth.

The HTC Muse is expected to be out next summer for an undisclosed price. - Top Management of Microsoft in panic - visionary memos sent to Microsoft employees - Top Management of Microsoft in panic - visionary memos sent to Microsoft employeesTop Management of Microsoft in panic - visionary memos sent to Microsoft employees
November 09, 2005 [General]
While we were complaining here for several years already that Microsoft lacks innovativeness and thus is missing out on many major business opportunities, it looks like Bill Gates (de facto boss of Microsoft) and Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) have noticed it just now! Major changes at Microsoft coming! Read on!

Lately Steve and Bill have promoted Ray Ozzie to a position of CTO - Chief Technical Officer. With this catchy name and visionary statements something should be changing now at Microsoft. After all many companies with disruptive technologies and already implemented ideas, have managed to beat Microsoft: Google is offering server side e-mail and increasingly more and more functionality on the server making Windows XP and MS Office totally irrelevant, Skype has managed to dwarf any efforts of Microsot in Voice over IP (VoIP) area and RIM Blackberry overtaken push email market practically eliminating the need for MS Exchange Server.

Now once again Microsoft is playing catch-up game - i.e. trying to release the same products as competition but 2-3 years after they did that. However such primitive catch-up strategy may not be enough because adversaries this time are much more agile in the past.

To motivate troops (i.e. Microsoft employees) both Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie have sent out memos to employees (click their names in this sentence to see these memos).

While Bill Gates once again completely fails to mention (or even to understand) mobility in his memo, Ray Ozzie indeed refers to Windows Mobile issues, here are some quotes:

While we’ve led with great capabilities in Messenger & Communicator, it was Skype, not us, who made VoIP broadly popular and created a new category. We have long understood the importance of mobile messaging scenarios and have made significant investment in device software, yet only now are we surpassing the Blackberry.


Entertainment & Devices Division

a. CONNECTED ENTERTAINMENT - How can XBox Live benefit from interconnection with other services assets, such as PC-based and mobile-based IM and VoIP? How might both the PC and XBox mutually benefit from a common marketplace? Might PC users act as spectators/participants in XBox games, and vice-versa?

b. GRASSROOTS MOBILE SERVICES – How might the Windows Mobile device experience be transformed by for consumers by connection to a services infrastructure – in particular one enabled by RTC-based unified communications? How might unmediated connection to a rich services infrastructure transform mobile phones into a mass market messaging, media and commerce phenomenon?

c. DEVICE/SERVICE FUSION – What new devices might emerge if we envision hardware/software/service fusion? What new kinds of devices might be enabled by the presence of a service?

As you can see above Ozzie is pushing deeper integration of services with products. In other words: not just selling stand alone products but binding them better with server side services.

Conclusion: while it is still difficult to predict what will be influence of these major changes at Microsoft on Windows Mobile platform and products, probably integration of VoIP into Windows Mobile version of MSN Messenger will occur and Pocket MSN will be extended to cover more services.

Generally we think that these changes can only bring good results for Windows Mobile, however still Microsoft lacks any vision for clearing the situation with MVP program - still many unworthy people get this title while many worthy community contributors are blocked. One final example that Microsoft's MVP program is broken is David Ciccone, who was running Dave's iPAQ website for many years (not just news but huge forum part too) and has contributed to Windows Mobile community thousand times more than many existing MVPs. Microsoft however continued to deny him MVP title and yesterday he closed his Windows Mobile community site and moved to generic one - Mobility Today. Yes, changes are coming at Microsoft, but these changes are not deep enough yet. Microsoft must try harder!

CBS 46 Atlanta - CBS, NBC to Offer TV Shows for 99 Cents

CBS 46 Atlanta - CBS, NBC to Offer TV Shows for 99 CentsCBS, NBC to Offer TV Shows for 99 Cents
Nov 8, 2005, 09:11 AM

NEW YORK (AP) -- CBS and NBC have announced deals to offer replays of prime-time programs for 99 cents per episode, shifting television toward a sales model that gained popularity with downloaded music.

CBS is teaming up with Comcast Corp. and NBC with satellite operator DirecTV to offer the on-demand replays.

NBC Universal will offer commercial-free episodes of "Law & Order: SVU" and other shows to subscribers of DirecTV Group Inc. who use the satellite company's new digital video recorder.

Comcast's on-demand customers in some markets will be able to view "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "NCIS," "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" at their convenience.

Terms of the deals, which were announced Monday, were not disclosed.

"This is an incredibly exciting evolution for CBS and network television - video on demand is the next frontier for our industry," CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves said of the deal with Philadelphia-based Comcast, the nation's largest cable systems operator. CBS, which is owned by Viacom Inc., announced last week it would stream episodes of its show "Threshold" over

The Walt Disney Co.'s ABC network offers downloads of several programs, including "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost," for $1.99 each via iTunes software from Apple Computer Inc.

Less than three years ago, Apple helped spur the explosion of legally downloaded music with its iTunes Music Store and iPod portable players - the latest versions of which now play video.

Comcast's service will be available starting in January to customers in markets with a CBS owned-and-operated television station, which includes the nation's seven largest media markets. The episodes will be available as early as midnight following a broadcast and will include commercials.

The DirecTV agreement includes shows that air on NBC, USA, Bravo and the Sci-Fi Channel, including "The Office" and "Monk." Episodes of the shows will remain available for one week after their broadcast. NBC Universal is a unit of General Electric Co.

DirecTV, which is based in El Segundo, Calif., and controlled by the media conglomerate News Corp., began shipping its new DVR this week. The device uses interactive software from NDS Group Ltd., another News Corp. unit, and is designed to transition the company from dependence on similar devices made by TiVo Inc.

"We are talking to the other networks and hope to reach similar agreements soon," DirecTV spokesman Robert Marsocci said Monday.

The new DirecTV DVR comes with a hard drive that holds 160 hours of programming. One hundred hours are available for subscribers to record and store programs. The remaining 60 hours will be used by DirecTV to download programs that can be viewed on demand for an extra fee.