There was some significant news at the end of last week that will affect/restrict the breadth of music you can listen in the future.
Archive for June, 2002
RealNetworks yesterday opened the European version of their paid-for content network, RealOne SuperPass. The US equivalent, launched in December 2001, has become a significant contributer to their income.
UK cable company Telewest have announced the wide availability of their 1Mb Internet service, following its Scottish trial. Costs vary between £35 and £40 a month. As with all of these services with large sounding performance numbers, I’d be interested to read their Service Level Agreement (SLA) to see if this performance is in any way guaranteed.
Some clever characters have written a media player for the Xbox. Currently running videos on DivX 3 & 4, it will soon have MP3 and Windows Media capabilities as well. This kind of thing has been on the Dreamcast for a while by bedroom developers, and given the supposed ease of development of the Xbox, I would have thought it’s something Microsoft would want to encourage. Apparently they’re trying to take legal action to stop it.
Boeing Connexion announced a three month trial starting in February 2003 with British Airways to provide the non-coach class passengers with Internet access directly from their own laptops and the ability to what streamed video and live TV in their seats. The service to the plane can receive at up to 20Mb/s and transmit at 1Mb/s but this is clearly shared with everyone on-board. It is thought that the charge for the service will be around £20 per flight.
A further move by Liberty sees them gaining additional control over Telewest, this time indirectly. Liberty already owns 25% of Telewest stock and by allegedly buying Telewest’s bonds (debts) not only will they be able to strongly oppose decision they don’t like but they’re buying it at a 40% discount. Another smart move by John Malone’s company.
AOL today announced their UK broadband service at 1p short of £35/month. Not only does it cost the consumer £5 more than most of the other offerings, but as they are based outside the EU, they won’t be liable for VAT, so they will pocket the 17.5% extra. AOL defend the higher price by saying there’s going to be some content exclusive for their users. Clearly the whole package will make them considerably more margin per user.
You may remember Movie88.com from last year, you could log on to the Taiwan-based site and play complete Hollywood movies for around US$1. The Hollywood studios got upset about this and leaned heavily on the Taiwanese Government to get them shut down, which the were successful in doing in February this year.
Only a day after the FCC published its First Report & Order about the public use of UWB (Ultra-Wide Band), XtremeSpectrum announce that they will comply with all items. Very fast work?, or more the fact that they’ve been working with/lobbying the authorities in this area for the last 2-3 years and therefore had a very strong idea what was going to be coming. They feel the manufacturers that will be using their UWB chipset could have their products in the stores this xmas – giving everyone up to 100Mb of very-local wireless access – Bluetooth on speed if you like.
The US general public probably don’t currently know who the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group (BPDG) , or in fact they may never know, but one thing is for sure – if the BPDG’s recently drafted proposal is taken up, the public’s understanding of TV shows and their ability of record them will change for ever.