By now you’ve probably heard us talk about Windows 7 here and there. You may already be aware that Windows 7 is Microsoft’s next major operating system and the predecessor to Windows Vista. If you weren’t, no need to fret. You can check out the official Windows 7 Web site for a rundown of what it is and what it offers. Once you do that, be sure to follow them on Twitter for regular updates on Windows 7 @MSWindows.
It’s no secret that online video is under the industry microscope more than ever, as consumers are exploring new ways to find TV content online and companies are searching for ideal business models in a rapidly changing TV landscape. Some key findings and analysis this week from Nielsen, and an article from the Silicon Alley Insider, raised some interesting points regarding consumer behaviors toward online video. Specifically, Nielsen’s measurement of the “most addictive Web video sites” showed Netflix taking the lead when it came to time spent per viewer, with a noteworthy 200+ minutes of viewership in February, while Hulu held the sixth spot (about 175 minutes per user). YouTube landed further down the list (less than 100 minutes per month) given its focus on shorter form content (though that may change down the road with their recent content deal).
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What’s the solution to generating more local media coverage of your favorite sports team if your hometown paper won’t? If you’re Travis Hair, then it’s starting a dedicated sports blog.
Naturally, Travis’s love for his favorite team, the Phoenix Coyotes, is extended on FiveForHowling.com. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, but like anyone else, he does have his opinions on certain topics, such as the trend of watching TV on your PC. Check out our Q&A with Travis below:
How come you chose to write about the Phoenix Coyotes?
Well, I’ve grown up here in Phoenix. Before the Coyotes moved here I was a fan of the Phoenix Roadrunners a minor league team here in town. Back in the day it was in the IHL but it’s still here, just in a different form. The Coyotes came here in 1996 I was instantly a fan, even if they had a funky looking logo. It’s been great for hockey in general as now local high schools have hockey teams, there are a lot more rinks around town and people see it as a sport. I started writing about them just last year because there just wasn’t any coverage of my team. The local paper would report on games here in town, but just little stories. Then when they were on the road the paper would just syndicate AP stories instead of sending a reporter with the team. I just wanted to get more information out there.
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Emerging Internet TV and online video sites, such as the latest venture from YouTube, continue to shake up the TV industry and underscore the increasing demand for the flexibility to enjoy content on various screens including the PC: a theme that has taken over this year’s NAB Show 2009. At the annual event, which kicked off today, major players in media, entertainment and communications have come together to explore innovative means for “delivering next generation of content across multiple platforms – from televisions, radios and computers to phones, the big screen and beyond.”
We’re on-site at the show this week to showcase our own strides in user adoption by revealing that more than 13 million people are consistently using Windows Media Center in a given month. This is a number that has grown steadily over the past year following multiple content additions we’ve discussed here on the blog, including the NBC Olympics on the Go service, MSNBC News portal and most recently the Sports Channel. If you haven’t had a chance to check these content features out and you’re a Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate user, we encourage you click the green button in the Start menu.
As further testament of mounting interest in TV on the PC, a 2008 survey sponsored by Microsoft and conducted by Nielsen, along with CBS Vision, reported that 73 percent of respondents were interested in watching TV on their computer. Are you one of them?
To keep up with all of the news and trends that are shaping the future of TV/video distribution, feel free to check out www.nabshow.com for more information. And don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know what you think.
We recently ventured outside of our cubicles (but couldn’t help filming inside the office too) to ask random passers-by how they watch TV. Is it on the PC? On the TV? What are the reasons behind their preference? See the resulting video montage below.
Not surprisingly, the answers varied greatly among each interviewee but there was a common point that recurred throughout: watching TV on your PC allows you to watch what you want, when you want it. Conversely, the point was made that watching longer length content such as movies (aka a sit-back experience) is more desirable on the TV. This is also something we pointed out not too long ago on our blog.
Do you have a preference for viewing your TV content? What are your reasons? The net is that there isn’t a right answer or justification, and that this discussion is going to get exponentially bigger as we continue to realize the continued convergence of the PC and the traditional TV down the road.
What’s a dream job for someone who’s worked in the corporate world most of their life? Perhaps it’s following one of your favorite NBA basketball teams and blogging about them for a living. Steve Perrin, a witty family man and an avid supporter of the L.A. Clippers (often overshadowed by the well-known L.A. Lakers) values the ability to share his thoughts and rally sports fans from all over to support his “underdog” home team. He also recently had the opportunity to attend our on-campus focus group session and blog about his personal experience with the Sports Channel and other aspects of Windows Media Center.
Prior to joining SB Nation’s ranks in September 2006, Steve was a CTO for Tickets.com and still takes on various consulting opportunities. Read on to hear more about his natural transition into sports blogging, how the DVR has changed his family life, and the three little words that would make his TV on the PC experience a slam dunk…
What compelled you to start Clips Nation and what do you enjoy most about sports blogging?
There are at least four factors that are significant in the creation of Clips Nation. (1) For some strange reason, I have an unhealthy interest in the Clippers. (2) I have strong opinions and a need to make those opinions known. (3) I like to write. (4) I have time to write. Let’s face it, blogs live at the intersection of those four things. For several years, I just wrote unsolicited and unwelcome emails about the Clippers to my friends. Little did I know that the blogosphere would suddenly appear just to satisfy my personal need for attention.
What I really enjoy about it is the community. I have active members of my community from all over the world – the UK, Argentina, Peru, Australia, Italy, Germany – the only known Clippers fan in all of Sweden is a Citizen of Clips Nation. How cool is that?
You mentioned becoming a die-hard Clips fan in the early 90s. What has been your most memorable TV moment for the team?
The Clippers are on TV? Whoa, I’ll have to check that out.
Sadly, given that we’re talking about the Clippers here, the most memorable moments tend to be sad memories. Even when they made the playoffs, I tend to remember the elimination losses to the Jazz and the Rockets back in the day, or the Raja Bell three that tied game 5 in Phoenix in 2006, or Shaun Livingston’s knee injury (there’s something I’ll never forget no matter how much I wish I could). I suppose this all says something about the psychology of Clipper fans.
As we mentioned a few weeks ago, we invited a group of sports bloggers to Microsoft for a Windows Media Center focus group to talk about their sports viewing habits and to hear their feedback on the sports viewing experiences in Windows Media Center.
A few of the participants this week shared their thoughts on their visit, Windows Media Center and the future of TV:
Pacific Northwest blogger and Portland Trailblazer enthusiast, Ian Thackaberry, posted on his blog, Thacknet, that when he originally thought of Windows Media Center, he assumed it to be just a hub to store music and photos, but now, through content details and new features, it is “working to bridge the gap between the Internet and the Television.”
If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably seen that the TV/PC convergence topic Ian mentioned is hot and buzz-worthy. As we -content enthusiasts- look for different and innovative ways to watch our favorite shows, games and movies, we’re interested in see what’s next for TV on the PC enthusiasts.
Steve Perrin, aka Clipper Steve, also wrote about his “Trip to Seattle to watch TV” on his SB Nation blog, Clips Nation. Steve talked about his first encounter with the TV/PC phenomenon and questioned whether it was necessary to rely on both as they ideally had the same functions. He also noted his reliance on his DVR and the “harrowing” experience that followed after the DVR broke and he was forced to watch everything in real time. He noted that one of the good things about Windows Media Center is that “in theory I could rewind and record and do all those cool DVR things to my heart’s content.”
What are your thoughts on the buzz around the convergence of the TV and the PC? We’re curious to hear your thoughts on what’s next.
Upon moving to Denver, Jon Woods recognized a lack of online support for the University of Colorado Buffaloes. He suited up for the challenge and eventually launched The Ralphie Report, where he covers all things related to the local collegiate football team and has even had the opportunity to break a highly-anticipated recruitment story. His ongoing involvement in the fan community helped spread awareness of the blog in its infancy last summer, and quickly led to a thriving forum for Buffalo fanatics everywhere to discuss top prospects, share memorable videos, size up the competition and more.
It’s this passion for building a community that compelled Jon to the sports blogging arena, where he found a niche as a valuable driving force to excite the local Denver sports community and generate a digital groundswell. Check out his thoughts on the TV on Your PC movement and hopes for the upcoming season…
Tell us a bit about your favorite aspects of sports blogging and how The Ralphie Report was born.
It gives fans a previously non-existent forum to interact with like-minded sports fans all over the world. People are passionate about sports and many fans have very insightful, interesting and just plain funny opinions and ideas about sports and these blogs give people a place to share and receive feedback that they otherwise wouldn’t get.
In his post, Joel also inserted a self-created YouTube video which walks readers through the main features of the Sports Channel, including the interactive brackets. Something people who haven’t used the Sports Channel might find useful.
One suggestion Joel made in his post was adding more content to Windows Media Center from sites such as Hulu, ESPN, etc. We’re on the same page.
When it comes to content, Microsoft is always looking include more of it into Windows Media Center, with recent additions like the Sports Channel and the MSNBC News application being just the tip of the iceberg, the story only gets better with Windows 7. I
Additionally, if you have the Windows 7 beta you can check out Windows Media Center and the integrated broadband/broadcast Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) that aggregates both broadband and broadcast content. This will give you a good idea of where we’re headed.
If you’ve used the Sports Channel application, what are your thoughts? If you haven’t, then we encourage you to check it out. Just click on the green button in Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate.
Windows Media Center once again hosted “The Pitch”- a local event that brings about bloggers, reporters and news enthusiasts to talk about a common topic: the media!
The event was hosted by Jason Preston of Eat Sleep Publish and created a discussion around new business models for news and new media. The recent restructure of the Seattle PI, definetely makes this a very hot topic among. Our very own Ben Reed, Senior Product Manager for Windows Media Center at Microsoft, participated in a panel with Hanson Hosein, Director of the Master of Communication in Digital Media at the University of Washington and local tech blogger and radio host, Brian Westbrook. The three led a discussion around new business models for journalism. Although it wasn’t directly related to the newspapers, Ben’s statistics on the increase in online video usage showcased the rapid changes in changes of TV viewing habits. As newspapers become digital and they beef up their video capabilities, online video will be part of the mix and we foresee that they will face the same monetization questions with video than with print.
Several attendees of The Pitch emphasized the importance and success businesses have when focusing on “customization” and “experience” for the consumer. The discussion often times switched between personalization within devices and then different applications that give consumers the best technology experience they are looking for, these platforms maybe provide the solution to new busienss models to sustain journalism. Hanson reinforced that for any business model, one must incorporate multi-media strategy as statistics and studies prove that we are engaging and living more digitally.