Robert Freeman's whole Media, Business and Technology thing. Sorted.

Archive for December 2006

Illegal P2P still better than legit alternatives

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Have a quick glance at this news release from NPD a home video market research company.  Basically, illegal filesharing is around 4 times more popular than paying for downloads.

No surprise there, and Ryan Paul has a good summary of why this continues to be the case:

  • More choice of content
  • No rights management restrictions on use
  • Higher technical quality

Written by Robert

30 December, 2006 at 8:35 am

Happy Christmas + New Year best wishes

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A bit late with the Christmas greetings, but I’m a long way from London at the moment and a long way from broadband.  I’d forgotten quite how slow a dial-up connection can be … it gives you time to really think about what you want to write.

Anyway good reader, best wishes for 2007 from me.  I hope you’ll continue to check in with my blog every now and again.



Written by Robert

27 December, 2006 at 8:29 pm

Posted in General

MPEG-2 based ENG is dying

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If you’re thinking of buying an HDV camera, read this first!

MPEG-2 video compression is coming up to being twenty years old, although it has its origins in research going back into the 1970s.

The vast majority of digital TV systems use MPEG-2, chiefly satellite and terrestrial, though many cable systems use it too. MPEG-2 has seen most success as a distribution technology.

However, then along comes HDV format, with cameras such as Sony’s Z1, and we need to find a way to fit a high-definition picture into standard-definition bandwidth. Step forward MPEG-2, now used as an origination technology. Why? Because it’s a mature technology, well understood and cheap to implement.

Trouble is, it’s not terrible good at recording high-def pictures.

MPEG-4 is now being used as a more efficient distribution technology, France is the pioneer for DTT, and camcorder manufacturers already have the AVCHD specification for recording high-def pictures in MPEG-4.

In fact, it may be news to you that the first AVCHD cameras are already out, released quietly onto the consumer market.

Whilst the initial release of HDV camcorders have been popular with news broadcasters, I would go further than Tore Nordahl and say that it’s only a matter of time before tapeless AVCHD cameras replace the MPEG-2 versions forever.

Written by Robert

21 December, 2006 at 8:36 pm

Posted in Media, Technology

Shackled music doesn’t sell and hurts the planet

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I can feel the floor jumping to the legions of anti-DRMers doing the ‘I told you so’ dance. Andrew Orlowski suggests DRM ‘may be entering its final days‘, because CD sales are down, but online music sales (which are shackled with digital rights management) aren’t growing either.

I would never buy music which I couldn’t freely listen to on any one of the devices I have which can play audio files, but I was always a little worried that many consumers wouldn’t realise they could not do this, until after the music industry had shackled every music file everywhere.

Perhaps the stagnant sales of shacked music means many people do realise this already.  Brilliant!

Incidentally, don’t forget that the extra load DRM unlocking puts on music players significantly reduces the battery life.  Hence saying no to DRM also goes a little way to saving the environment.

Written by Robert

13 December, 2006 at 6:48 pm

Posted in Media, Technology

BSkyB and Google announce alliance

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Two industry giants are going to work together – expect great interest from other media.

Here’s the text of the news release which has been sent out today.


Sky is going to create a user generated content portal for viewers to upload video, including video from mobile phones, powered by Google. (think You Tube)

Sky will offer webmail. (think Gmail, but with a address)

Google will provide the advertising around all of it.

Written by Robert

6 December, 2006 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Business, Convergence, Media

Beautiful Maths: So much time lost to Line Rider!

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A colleague at work introduced me to Line Rider.  His son is hooked.  And now, so am I.  My grasp of physics was always weak, so my little sledge man always crashes miserably.

But now I’ve discovered some extremely talented Line Riders and they post their brilliant creations on You Tube!  This is undoutedly the most complex I’ve seen.  And this is some of the most beautiful mathematics I’ve seen ever.

How much time must this take?

Watching this stuff, is for me (who can’t do it) far more interesting than doing it myself, as these people are geniuses.

Written by Robert

4 December, 2006 at 7:37 pm

Posted in Fun, Software

Google divides – will it conquer?

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I’ve so far resisted from writing anything about Copiepresse’s disagreement with Google, because I just didn’t understand it.

Like Courtney Heard, I though it was absurd not to take advantage of all all that free traffic. Why would anyone in the right mind not want to be searchable on Google? (In an in-depth and thoughtful article, Danny Sullivan goes so far as to call the secretary general of Copiepresse a hypocrite!)

This is the best full interview with Copiepresse I’ve read so far (I like the bit where Margaret Boribon accuses Google of lying about the the circumstances of the first court judgement).

Copiepresse took Google to court, and won, over the inclusion of some Belgian publications in

Google appealed on the basis that Copiepresse could have just asked not to be included, and everyone could have been saved the trouble of going to court.

That Copiepresse never did this, makes its objective fairly clear. Copiepresse sees the hundreds of millions of dollars being vacuumed up by Google, and it wants some.

Copiepresse has now said it will be talking to MSN and Yahoo about the issue of linking and copyright.

Last week, a new twist. Google has reached a deal, no details forthcoming, with photography and imagery rights groups. These two organisations have withdrawn from the Copiepresse legal action.

Add to this, Google’s new scheme to extend the availability of newspaper advertising, with an interface for smaller companies to buy newspaper ad space. Many publishers must find this troubling. They want the additional revenue, but the way it’s coming to them puts Google in an even more powerful position.

Can’t live with it, can’t live without it?

Written by Robert

2 December, 2006 at 4:49 pm