TV on your PC opens up the curtains, Netflix comes to Windows

May 19, 2009

Netflix Tile in WMC UIThere are a lot of TV options out there, and consumers are increasingly having to jump from Web site to Web site to find their favorite shows, movies and sports that they frequently watch – all with a different experience each time. For some, this may mean remembering multiple URLs, opening multiple browser tabs, browser windows and even separate programs to get what they want. That’s why our goal is to make Windows Media Center the best place to experience TV on the PC, and one of the ways we’re doing this is to alleviate the need for getting your content from different places while offering a consistent experience.

Netflix UX in WMC_MoviesToday we’re happy to let you know that Netflix is now available in Windows Media Center, offering TV and movie lovers more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly on a PC with Windows. If you’re a Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate user and a Netflix subscriber, you can get started right away. Click on the green button, click on the Netflix tile under TV+Movies and begin streaming movies and TV shows instantly.

For a complete run down of the features and details, check out our nifty animated video below that gives you a complete overview of Netflix in Windows Media Center:

Netflix is the second recent content milestone in Windows Media Center, with the first being the Sports Channel, which offers a variety of interactive sports content from CBSSports.com, FOX Sports, MSNBC.com and more. Additionally, you may be aware that last fall, we announced the MSNBC News portal, which gives you the latest news, top stories, local weather and more. All of these offerings in Windows Media Center are aimed to bring your content into one place, and as we’ve showcased in previous posts, watching TV on the PC is becoming a preferred way to watch content. Take for example, a recent Forrester study which found that:

Cable and satellite providers reach roughly 100 million homes in the U.S., computer-based television viewing is growing, driven largely by adults ages 18 to 34 who like to watch content when and where they choose.

To further prove this point, we interviewed random Seattle locals to find out a) how they prefer to access their content, whether it’s through specific sites or via a one-stop shop location. Out of the dozens we approached, we hardly ran into anyone that didn’t watch TV on the PC, and as you might expect, the ones that wanted to share their thoughts had mixed answers. There might not be a universal preference for receiving content, because as the video demonstrates, people have preferences and a passion for how they watch TV on the PC. You can check out the video here:

If you’re interested in additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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Windows What? Windows 7?

April 29, 2009

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.

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Video is Here. Video is Everywhere.

April 27, 2009

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).
neilsen-graph2
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TV on the PC: Convenient for NHL Fans

April 21, 2009

hanzal-me-smallWhat’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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The Industry Meets Again This Week

April 20, 2009

nabEmerging 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.


Man on the Street – How do you watch TV?

April 8, 2009

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.


Living the Dream as an L.A. Clippers Fan

April 7, 2009

steve-perrin1What’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.

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