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The September 9, 2006 Issue Provided by System Dynamics Inc.
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Briefly Noted: Updates, Observations and Trends

Each month, we collect miscellaneous happenings, studies, trends or observations you might have missed. This month's briefs include more indicators of video's transformation, statistics on hotel high-speed Internet and GPS metadata for digital photos.

Video's Continuing Transformation

We've all been watching as the video landscape morphs in front of our eyes. Here are a few more tidbits that show which way the wind is blowing.

TiVo has been viewed as the nemesis of network TV, but creative thinkers at CBS are trying to leverage the increasingly-accepted time-shifting technology. CBS announced it would promote a handful of its fall lineup shows directly to TiVo subscribers. The entire premiere of "the Class", will be available for viewing via the TiVo service one week before it premieres on CBS, as will brief clips of CBS's three other new series. ( www.tivo.com ) ( www.cbs.com )

BT Vision has launched a service to download videos to a personal computer as soon as titles are released on DVD. BT's digital distribution deals with Universal Pictures and NBC Universal let consumers download two digital files, one for use on a personal computer and another compressed for use on portable media players. Customers will also be mailed a DVD. When BT launches its next-generation TV services in the Autumn, content will also be available for purchase or rental on the BT Vision TV platform. ( www.bt.com/btvision ) ( www.universalpictures.com ) ( www.nbcuni.com )

Amazon has joined the video download party with a new product called "Amazon Unbox". They are selling downloadable movies and TV shows, including new releases and classic titles from major movie studios, plus TV shows from networks such as CBS, Fox, Comedy Central, PBS and MTV. ( www.amazon.com )

According to Jeff Baumgartner in Multichannel News and CED, TV Anywhere is a new service that targets Americans living abroad who want to keep up with U.S. entertainment, sports and news. The service will be offered via a client installed on a PC, or through an IP-based set-top box connected to the subscriber's TV. The technology will be based on the Akamai distribution platform to bring content closer to subscribers, and will use Microsoft's encoding and DRM. TV Anywhere plans to generate carriage deals directly with networks and broadcasters. [Virtual Digital Cable (VDC), which we wrote about a few months ago, is following a similar model.] ( www.tvanywhere.org ) ( www.akamai.com ) ( www.microsoft.com ) ( www.vdc.com )

Sprint has launched Sprint Movies, an on-demand pay-per-view video service that allows mobile phone users to watch films in their entirety or view chapters over time. The service, powered by mSpot, is distributed over Sprint's 1x EV-DO 3G network. Sprint has previously offered a monthly subscription movie service, but the on-demand service has higher profile movies. ( www.sprint.com ) ( www.mspot.com )

Texas Instruments, along with partners PacketVideo and Silicon & Software Systems, is looking beyond mobile broadcast TV and is showcasing mobile designs with PVR technology and picture-in-picture at the IBC Show in Amsterdam. ( www.ti.com ) ( www.packetvideo.com ) ( www.s3group.com )

Advertisers will spend money where the eyeballs are. With more viewing of Web video, spending on online video ads is now taking off; according to eMarketer, it is expected to increase to about $1.5 billion in 2009 from a projected $385 million in 2006. Google joined the party last month when they announced a trial with MTV in which Google inserts clips from MTV Networks into Google's AdSense targeted advertising system. MTV will sell the ads and the revenue will be split among MTV, Google and AdSense publishers. This means that the content/copyright owner is compensating each company or individual Web site owner who functions as a redistributor of their digital media -- a real shift in the paradigm. ( www.emarketer.com ) ( www.google.com ) ( (www.mtv.com )

US Hotel Broadband Statistics

According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association's 2006 Lodging Survey in ModernAgent.com, High-speed Internet, voice mail and subscription TV have all become nearly standard amenities at U.S. hotels. High-speed Internet access has grown from being offered at just 50% of hotels in 2004 to 89% of hotels in 2006; voicemail availability rose from 72% in 2004 to 86% in 2006; and cable or satellite offerings rose from 69% in 1990 to 99% in 2006. ( www.ahla.com ) ( www.modernagent.com )

Where and When Did I Take That Picture?

Sony has announced a GPS add-on for its digital cameras. The device can be worn on a belt or backpack and records location and time data every 15 seconds. The time on the device can be matched with the timestamp on the photo, and the exact location of the picture is added to the JPEG file's metadata, which will allow users to search photos by location. ( www.sony.com )