Daily Marauder


THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX, OR IN THIS CASE IN IT: BOXEE UNVEILED by Martha

THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX, OR IN THIS CASE IN IT: BOXEE UNVEILED

Guest Writer: Martha Rivera

A sold out crowd gathered at the Williamsburg Music Hall in Brooklyn, NY last night for the unveiling of the Boxee beta as well as to catch a glimpse of the highly anticipated Beta Box.

Launched in 2008, Boxee is software that aggregates media content from the web and your personal computer and streams it on your HD television. It searches web based content providers like YouTube, Netflix, MySpaceTV, Blip.TV, CBS.com, Revision3, flickr, and Pandora, among others and brings the content straight to your living room television. Missing still from the list of content providers is the online video site, Hulu. In addition to streaming web content, it also pulls media content from your own personal computer including your ITunes, personal videos and pictures. Boxee is an open source platform allowing users to create their own apps. To date, there are over 300.

“Our biggest challenge is distribution,” said Boxee CEO Avner Ronen.   The hurdle is getting cable affiliates and major content providers, like Hulu on board. At the core of the problem is fear of piracy and concern that the advertising is stripped from the content. However, Boxee pulls online content as is, which includes the advertising that is attached to it. Boxee also has the ability to track a host of analytics far outweighing television’s usage reporting. Ronen is hoping media companies and cable providers will become comfortable once they understand usage.

Four weeks ahead of its wide release at CES, Ronen introduced the beta software and Boxee Box, as well as announced the launch of 3 new apps: the hipster soft-core site Suicide Girls, the online gamer e-zine The Escapist and Clicker, TV guide, entertainment search engine and DVR all rolled into one.


Boxee Beta

Overall, Boxee Beta looks great and is much more user-friendly. The UI has been streamlined with a new layout. The menu, previously hidden, is now front and center. The home screen has been redesigned to feature the main menu, featured content, personal queue and the friend feed.

My favorite social networking feature is the ability to connect to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Any media that your friends or followers share with you will automatically populate on your queue. Too busy to watch videos at work? Don’t have the ability to watch video because you don’t have an office or are on the go? Another feature allows a viewer to send media assets to your queue so you can watch when you get home.

The search function has also been streamlined. Now users can search for movies, TV shows as well as local and online content at once. Boxee Beta populates all content from your computer as well as from any web source that works with Boxee. Of note, you can now mark content as “watched.” Better yet, the search function lets you omit “watched” content from the results.

Boxee focused specifically on TV shows in the Beta redesign. TV shows are now organized by season and episode. You can follow your favorite TV shows, and like Hulu, it will automatically populate your queue with new episodes.

Another new feature is the Global Menu. This menu is essentially the shortcuts screen. It provides quick access to predetermined shortcuts, favorite apps, history, and settings.

Other features include allowing users to interact with the apps without having to download them, a now playing button on every screen allowing easier navigation back to the player, a new Last.fm and flickr interface as well as a main background that changes based on the time of day.

As of this writing, 85% of Boxee’s 700,000 users use a Mac. However, Boxee Beta has not forgotten about its Windows’ friends. It will now run on Direct X, which will mean a better experience for the PC user.

Boxee Box by D-Link

The night also included the highly anticipated unveiling of the Boxee Box. Boxee partnered with D-Link, better known as the makers of wireless routers, to create the hardware. Astro Studios, the cutting edge designers behind products like the X-Box 360 and Nike, designed the sleek cube. This small black submerged cube will sit on top of the many boxes taking up space near your TV. The guys at Boxee hope that eventually you’ll do away with all those boxes and just use the Boxee Box.

The Boxee Box will retail at $200 and will be available for distribution sometime in 2Q10.

Why Boxee?

I’m a three-screen user. I watch TV, while surfing on my laptop, with my phone not far away. Having used the Alpha, I don’t know if I can give up my computer that easily. As I was navigating the web content on Boxee, I found my multi-tasking self wanting to toggle out of the screen to search the web while the video played. Because I was unfamiliar with the navigation, or more like because I’m a specific type of navigator, all of a sudden I felt trapped. According to Andrew Kippen, VP of Marketing, “Boxee is about fighting tradition. It’s streamlining your viewing experience by consolidating it all into one. Boxee is the tip of the iceberg for what’s possible.”

The Boxee Beta version seems much more straightforward. It’s easy-to-use features will allow users to not feel so (excuse the pun) boxed in. Then again, in this case, that’s what the creators of Boxee want you to do. Engage with the content within the box.

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BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY: MUPPETS STYLE by Marauder

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY: MUPPETS STYLE

Uploaded on November 23rd to mark the 18th anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death on November 24th, this video has amassed just under 5 million views in 4 days on YouTube alone. Impressive numbers to say the least.

In addition, it’s just really f-ing funny. Mama!!!

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THANKSGIVING JUST GOT A BIT MORE SOCIAL by Marauder

THANKSGIVING JUST GOT A BIT MORE SOCIAL

Making the Tasty Treats

The first year my mother tried to make a turkey, she apparently over-stuffed the bird and a turkey powder keg blew a hole through the oven door exploding precious white meat all over the wall of our kitchen. Being that I had heard this story on numerous occasions, my first attempt at bird making was very well planned.

Here are a few sites to help get you started using language even the most beginner chef can understand. As an added bonus, after several years of trial-and-error, the Marauder kitchen recommends sage butter (and lots of it) underneath the skin. Also, when attempting to brine, soaking a bird in the crisper overnight is probably not the best idea…

How-Tos:

Videos to impress the giblets out of your friends:

Amazing recipes itemized by course:

Wine Pairing

Gary Vaynerchuk from Wine Library TV offers 12 wine selections to pair with the bird, a somewhat more difficult wine-pairing item.


Giving Thanks

Tweetsgiving


Last year, Epic Change launched Tweetsgiving raising $11,000 for charity in 48 hours. Those donations were used to build a classroom in Tanzania. How’s that for giving thanks? This year, the bar has been raised to $100,000. While many are returning for their third plate of stuffing, Tweetsgiving will be raising awareness across social networks from YouTube to Twitter asking users what they are thankful for. Follow @tweetsgiving on Twitter and tweet about what you’re thankful for from now until the 27th using the hashtag “#tweetsgiving” at the end of your tweet.


Socialvibe

Socialvibe donates to charity by marketing brands such as Kraft, Timberland, and Powerbar. Every time a brand is successfully marketed, charity benefits. At first, I thought this sounded a little sleazy. But really, marketers scream for your attention on a daily basis. At least in this case, charities benefit somewhere along the line.

Download the Thanksgiving Feast App to play. Every time you add a meal to the table, a real meal is provided through the UN World Food Programme.


Setting the Mood: Best Thanksgiving Song


Sure, this song is old but no has yet to top Adam Sandler on the joys of Thanksgiving.


Talking Tryptophan

Yet again this year, you can get your thanks on via many of your favorite social networks.

Get real-time cooking advice from the Butterball team either on their Twitter feed or Facebook page.

What to do when mom locks herself in the bathroom because your 35-year old brother insists on making fart noises at the table? Butterball may not have the answer for that one…

Get your spirit on with 23,000 of your other friends on the Thanksgiving fan page.


Mobile App Fun

iHost: Thanksgiving

Developed by a Rhode Islander (big-ups to my home state), iHost helps you get organized from menu, shopping list to budget. Their most recent update supposedly added recipes from local Newport, RI chefs. A little Rhode Island flavor has come to southern California. Very nice.

Chef’s Timer

If you’ve cooked with your iPhone in tow, as I always do, you know the device only has one timer. In most situations, that works just fine. But, what about situations where you have three side dishes and a turkey crammed into your tiny NYC oven while your friends stare at your assortment of tiny snacks in disdain? Yup…there’s an app for that.


Thanksgiving = Football

For those of you who know me, you understand why this comes last in the list. I know next to nothing about football. I do know that the grunting emanating from living rooms countrywide leads me to believe that you all care. This year, the NFL is offering a central portal for all 3 Thanksgiving games.


From Marauder’s home to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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MOBILE by Marauder
November 10, 2009, 3:45 PM
Filed under: WIRELESS | Tags: , , , , , , ,

MOBILE

Now that in-app purchasing has been live for a few weeks in the iTunes App Store, and Apple is now ranking the top-grossing apps, whether they start out as free or paid, we have some initial data on what kinds of apps are pulling in the most money from in-app purchases. (In-app purchases allow apps to offer a free version and then make money by requiring consumers to pay for additional features or content). Today, Distimo put out a report (download it here ) which breaks down the top 40 grossing in-app purchasing titles by category. Games, social networking, and Book apps are doing the best job upselling consumers from free apps to paid enhancements. Music, news, and finance apps, not so much. (Techcrunch11/10)

In App Purchases iPhone

Today’s announced deal to by mobile ad startup AdMob for $750 million is Google’s largest acquisition since its $3.1 billion purchase of DoubleClick in March, 2008, and its third-largest ever after the $1.65 billion YouTube acquisition in 2006. (Techcrunch11/10)

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Thumbs up, thumbs down comedy site Funny or Die has launched a channel on YouTube showcasing some of its most popular star-studded videos and Co-Founders Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have agreed to curate its initial selections. For instance, check out The Daily Show‘s Rob Corddry exploration of homophobia, “Rob Corddry Has A Broner.” (Cynopsis 11/6)

Here’s my question to you: does this help drive traffic to Funny or Die where they make the lion share of their revenue OR hurt the site by driving eyeballs elsewhere? Comment below and weigh in.

Funny or Die You Tube Channel

eBay has just announced that it has reached a settlement with the founders of Skype, clearing the way for the sale of the Internet communication company to a consortium formed by private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. (Techcrunch11/6)


Newser, the news aggregator founded by Michael Wolff and Patrick Spain, is for “people who can’t get what they want from their newspaper,” says a newly posted “6 Myths About Newser” page on the site. “If newspapers want to stay alive, they have to adapt to the Web.” (Iwantmedia11/6, Newser)

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MOBILE MOVIES ON THE GO: MSPOT by Marauder
October 20, 2009, 7:52 PM
Filed under: Feature | Tags: , , , , , , ,

MOBILE MOVIES ON THE GO: MSPOT

mspot

Just launched about a month ago now, mSpot allows consumers the opportunity to watch movies on 30 phones domestically. Interested in taking in Zach and Miri Make a Porno? Now, you can introduce your fellow train mates to comedy nudity as well. Incidentally speaking, this was the movie playing when mSpot was demoed to me. Currently, over 350 movies are available on the service and a few TV shows as well.

The business model:

I had the opportunity to sit down with Darren Tsui , CEO of mSpot, today at Digital Hollywood LA. The service in available both in a rental and monthly subscription model ($4.99/movie and $9.99/month for 4 movies). When asked why the service wasn’t available in an unlimited monthly Netflix type of model, Tsui responded that this model wasn’t compatible with the way studios make money on their content.

I questioned viewers’ desire to watch full length movies on a cell phone. Tsui responded that this was more of a challenge two years ago but not at this point. Of the audience using the service, consumers tend to rent rather than subscribing via the monthly model.

The competion:

The other players in this space include iTunes, and possibly if rumors are true and you know they are, the Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix apps to come. mSpot attempts to differentiate itself from iTunes with a streaming content model. “People don’t plan when they want to watch something,” Tsui tells me. In essence, iTunes requires some forethought to download the content in advance whereas mSpot is available on the go. That said, clearly iTunes has its advantages in its ability to allow viewers to watch on planes, subways, and anywhere else where cell service isn’t available…like the panel rooms at Digital Hollywood.

To come:

Currently the service is only available as a mobile website but applications are sure to come.

Marauder Weigh-In:

I continue to wonder how many people will truly watch full length movies on any type of mobile service…only because I would never do such a thing if offered the option between my laptop and my phone. That said, I’m not a parent and I clearly see the advantages that this platform offers the parental units.

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

A concert by U2 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California on Sunday will be streamed live on YouTube. The stream will be accessible in 16 countries. The Google-owned video site says that the concert will be archived and available for later viewing, with overlay advertising. (LA Times 10/20)

Click below for U2’s YouTube channel.

U2 Live

I’m still not sure if the Twitter stream is the right place to be for advertising, but with the way the company set out to make it easy for developers to build upon their platform with open APIs, it’s no wonder so many ad networks have sprung up since it got started. Its massive growth and the fact that the San Francisco startup is a media and celebrity darling probably helped in that regard, too. (Techcrunch10/20)

Google is going to make a lot of frequent flyers, and Virgin America, happy this holiday season. As a gift to people who fly on Virgin America’s WiFi-equipped planes, Google will be footing the bill

http://i.ixnp.com/images/v6.12/t.giffor everybody on board between November 10, 2009, and January 15, 2010. (Techcrunch10/20)

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