The Best Streaming and Online Video News Stories This Week

I'm working on placing speakers for the East show, so I'm a bit behind on blogging this week, but there have been a lot of really interesting news stories over the past few days. Here's what I've found most interesting and I've tried to highlight ones that didn't get picked up as much and might have been missed by mainstream outlets.

  • Reed Hastings on Netflix's Recent Rise and Fall : Still bloodied by one of the worst self-inflicted corporate disasters in recent memory—last year’s $12 billion wipeout—Netflix C.E.O. Reed Hastings remains adamant about his goal: moving from red envelopes to streaming video. With Hollywood hailing his vision and needing his business, Netflix has started to rebound. But not everyone is sold. –
  • Google: Please Don’t Kill Video on the Web: Yesterday, Microsoft filed a formal competition law complaint with the European Commission (EC) against Motorola Mobility and Google. You probably take for granted that you can view videos on your smartphone, tablet, PC, or DVD/Blu-ray player and connect to the Internet without being tied to a cable. That works because the industry came together years ago to define common technical standards that every firm can use to build compatible products for video and Wi-Fi. Motorola and all the other firms that contributed to these standards also made a promise to one another: that if they had any patents essential to the standards, they would make their patents available on fair and reasonable terms, and would not use them to block competitors from shipping their products. Motorola has broken its promise. –
  • Ex-Apple Man Streams Flash Onto the iPad: On Wednesday, OnLive unveiled a new version of OnLive Desktop — an iPad application that lets users access a virtual Windows desktop and Windows applications housed on servers in the proverbial cloud — and this new version includes a browser equipped with Adobe Flash. Famously, Apple doesn’t allow the Flash player to run locally on the iPad, but OnLive is offering a way around the restriction. –
  • Google Releases Fifth Generation VP8 Hardware Encoder: The fifth generation of the widely adopted H1 hardware encoder for VP8, internally known as “Evergreen”, has become available for licensing. In particular, Google has enabled temporal and spatial scalability for VP8 video coding, a valuable feature for live streaming, multi-way video conferencing and security applications. To their knowledge, there are no companies offering H.264/SVC (scalable video coding) hardware encoders for chipset manufacturers at the moment. With this release, VP8 now offers scalable coding at the hardware level. –
  • Why TV Isn't Free (And Never Really Will Be): Every other month or so it seems, I read another article on TechCrunch or some other fast breaking tech site that showcases a company like Aereo (formerly Bamboom) that has just launched their idea to deliver live over-the-air TV to your computer, through the cloud, over a dime size antenna, blah blah blah. While I applaud any amount of entrepreneurship, regardless of its shortsightedness, their powers and ingenuity would be best used on something else. But what most consumers (and by most I mean well over 90%) don’t realize is how the business of TV works. –
  • Google, Microsoft, and Netflix's HTML video copy protection proposal draws criticism from Mozilla and W3C: A new Web standard proposal authored by Google, Microsoft, and Netflix seeks to bring copy protection mechanisms to the Web. The Encrypted Media Extensions draft defines a framework for enabling the playback of protected media content in the Web browser. The proposal is controversial and has raised concern among some parties that are participating in the standards process. In a discussion on the W3C HTML mailing list, critics questioned whether the proposed framework would really provide the level of security demanded by content providers. –
  • Adobe and Google Partnering for Flash Player on Linux: As discussed in the just released Adobe roadmap for the Flash runtimes, Adobe has been working closely with Google to develop a single modern API for hosting plugins within the browser (one which could replace the current Netscape plugin API being used by the Flash Player). Because of this work, Adobe has been able to partner with Google in providing a “Pepper” implementation of Flash Player for all x86/64 platforms supported by the Google Chrome browser. Google will begin distributing this new Pepper-based Flash Player as part of Chrome on all platforms, including Linux, later this year. –
  • Starz Movies Leaving Netflix, Prioritizing Your Instant Queue: At the end of this month, the agreement for Starz supplied content on Netflix Instant video streaming expires. Last year, Netflix and Starz were not able to negotiate an extension to keep Starz original series and movies on Netflix streaming. That means that just over 840 movies that are currently on Netflix streaming will no longer be available come March 1st. –
  • Forget the Amazon Kindle Fire, the BB PlayBook is now the best low cost tablet: Thanks in large part to the success of the Amazon Kindle Fire, the Android tablet market is finally heating up and starting to impact Apple iPad market share. With the new OS 2.0 update available for the BB PlayBook, people should seriously consider one for $199 instead of the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire if they are looking for more of a tablet than an ebook reader. –
  • Flash roadmap reveals new features, improved GPU support, lack of retirement plans: Flash for mobile may just be a spectator at its own wake at this point, but the desktop browser plug-in is still alive and (reasonably) well. In fact, Adobe has a host of plans for its flagship multimedia platform, as outlined in its 2012 roadmap. It all starts with 11.2, which should be landing sooner, rather than later, with support for right and left mouse clicks, multithreaded video decoding and improved GPU acceleration support. That will be followed by Cyril and Dolores, which will also expand the list of hardware-accelerated video cards, as well as improve overall performance and add a few welcome tweaks, like supporting keyboard input in full screen mode. –
  • Half of Internet TVs Aren't Connected: Internet TVs have been available for several years, but sales have been taking off just in the past year. Still, only about half of the people who buy the sets are using the devices' Internet capabilities. And Internet TVs aren't yet an alternative to cable. Just 3% of subscribers are planning to drop their cable or satellite services, according to a recent study. –
  • Video Streaming standards coming with MPEG-DASH: Over 50 key industry leaders have launched an initiative to promote a standard video delivery format based on MPEG-DASH (ISO/IEC 23009) that will help reduce video delivery fragmentation to enable broadcasters and video publishers to bring more video online. The MPEG-DASH promoters group will help demonstrate and drive industry adoption towards a video streaming format standard profile called DASH-264. DASH-264 profile is based on the same fMP4 (Part 12) foundation that both Adobe and Microsoft have developed Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) and Microsoft Smooth Streaming on. –

I will try to publish a list like this every week and all of these stories come from my Twitter feed. So if you want to see what I am reading in real-time, follow me on Twitter (@DanRayburn).