Experiences with DRM

August 13, 2008

Before the beginning of the MCDM program I didn’t have a very clear idea of what Digital Rights Management (DRM) was. I knew, however, that I had had a very unpleasant experience when I first got my iTouch. I had trouble with different music standards when I tried to transfer songs from my old mp3-player (Creative) to Apple’s fancy and nice device. Some of the music files would not appear on iTunes music list and there was no way to put them into my iPod. I also could not copy my boyfriend’s music because he had already used his five-computer licenses.

I had another experience with DRM in Brazil one year ago. My mom was having problems with her computer and asked my brother – a Microsoft developer, who lives in Seattle – to fix it. He was in Brazil at that time and he found out that he could not fix her computer because she was using a pirated copy of Windows XP! He had to call a friend and co-worker, who was in Redmond, to buy a license for my mom and ask him to give the key over the phone to validate Windows.

The last DRM-story is my boyfriend’s friend story. He used to download music from Napster, as did almost everyone when the program was in its best, most popular and illegal days. He downloaded music of different bands, including Metallica. Metallica had asked Napster’s managers to prohibit downloading their music and Napster responded that they could not be responsible for what people shared and downloaded on the network. The band then asked their fans to locate the users who were getting their music illegally. They did that, and they found my boyfriend’s friend. When he tried to use Napster, he read the following message “Banned by Metallica!”. He was not able to use the service until he found a document on the internet detailing the method Napster used to prevent him from accessing the network, and removed the files Napster had installed on his machine.


Brightcove: television on demand

August 7, 2008

My experience with BrightCove was mostly positive. Even though I had difficulty watching the channels yesterday from 9pm to 10:30pm, I woke up around 6:15am this morning and I had relatively easy access to all videos. I think for people who have Clearwire and other wireless “high-speed” Internet, Brightcove may not work well. When you arrive at home and have some time to watch programs is exactly the period when everyone else is also using the Internet. For people accustomed to push a button on a remote control and to watch a television show immediately, 20 minutes or more of delay is just not acceptable.     

 

The channel I chose on Brightcove was Animal Planet. I especially liked the menus on the upper part of the site, with specific topics like “Pet training”, “Pet trends”, “Explore by subject”, and others. “Explore by subject” is the most useful, in my opinion, because there are a variety of categories under that, such as “Wild Animals” and “Prehistoric Beasts and Legends”.

 

I think the audio quality was better than the video quality. When I enlarged the videos, I could see pixels and the expansion on dimensions was not very significant. If one expects a real television experience online, it might be a little frustrating. Moreover, I had to wait to buffer long videos, even when the Internet connection was good.

  

All videos had short ads before the beginning of the program. I think this might be the best way to gain revenue, but Brightcove administrators should match the ads with the theme or at least with the category of the television show. I watched a commercial for Tide before watching a family of meerkats trying to hunt for food, for example. The other way they monetize is offering DVD shows and video downloads, right under the video screen. I believe Brightcove could successfully offer products related to the video. For example, adding links to pet food or a pet shop under the videos on “Pet training” or linking sites such as Expedia under “Wild Animals” with a suggestion of a trip to Africa would be a good idea.    

 

I believe Brightcove is similar to the websites we will see in the future of online television. It has a variety of content, it is simple to use, it has a revenue stream (still based on the ads, but they might find something else) and it has good material. I personally will keep watching other Brightcove channels, but I will only try them during non-peak hours.


OneWorldTv

July 31, 2008

OneWorldTV represents the real sense of Internet community and global collective collaboration. It is a nonprofit website that shows videos related to worldwide environmental and social concerns, ranging from global warming to cancer, made by journalists, filmmakers, NGOs, and people engaged with a social cause.

Users can deliver 30-minute-length videos and there is no limitation on types of format. Documentaries, short-length videos, and also machinima can be uploaded. When I checked the website there was a machinima report on Global Warming, presented by a Second Life avatar.

OneWorldTV is a part of OneWorld.net, a portal that focuses attention on minorities, releasing independent media content. The portal is also an online community and it is sustained by NGOs, development-oriented news services, foundations, and research institutions.


A tumblelog

July 22, 2008

I have been a blogger for at least five years and I had no idea that new categories for blogs, such as the Projectionist, existed. The Projectionist is a tumblelog and, according to the savvy Wikipedia, it is “a variation of a blog that favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging”.

The Projectionist integrates writing and streaming media in a webpage. The website has links to major streaming media sites, like YouTube and Vimeo, and it also combines audio files (I opened them using QuickTime). The text is very short, usually consisting of citations, and the blog offers an interesting experience to its readers/watchers/listeners. While users listen to music, they can also read the quotations and navigate to its content and other links.

I personally liked that, but I think the page lacks writing. Sometimes, because of the quantity of media and links, it is difficult to understand what the author meant to communicate with the set posted.


Sevenload

July 14, 2008

Sevenload is a streaming media website that focus on video and photo sharing. I found two interesting features in this site: it offers content in five different languages and it allows users to present their own shows on the Sevenload channels.

Although YouTube also has videos in several languages, it is still uncommon to find other streaming media websites with this feature. Sevenload provides videos in English, Polish, German, Turkish and French. It is important to point out that these videos are not translated from a language to another- they are singular videos shown in only one language.

The other interesting characteristic is the “promotion of stars”. According to the website, there is no limit to upload content. Users can produce complete series or numerous episodes for Sevenload channels. There are distinct categories, such as Music, Comedy, Politics, and Sports, which producers can use to tag their work.


Metacafe.com: fast and amusing videos

July 1, 2008

Looking for entertaining short videos online without forgetting that you have more to do than just to be a computer-chair potato? Metacafe might be a good choice for you. The video sharing website is specialized in short-format videos and it has a “policy of joy” regarding content.

While other streaming media websites offer videos that can be 10 minutes long, the average of Metacafe video is only 90 seconds long. This feature prevents some technical and navigator crash related problems. The user clicks on the video and it instantaneously starts, avoiding the delay for uploading and even hastle of advertising. Points are scored by Metacafe in that it doesn’t mix the content information with bridal shower ads, as on MSNBC, New York Times, and others.

Besides, Metacafe has a clear policy of featuring only videos that “amaze, inspire and make viewers laugh”, according to its ‘About Us’. The website avoids hard news and videos that the company sees as potentially harmful to someone’s peace of mind, making of it a pure entertainment tool. I personally disagree with the idea that hard news cannot be entertaining, but that is another discussion. In other words, the positive side of its “policy of joy” is that it helps users to restrain their uncountable online video options.