Cable TV – Coming soon to a PC near you!

This is an interesting article relating to Comcast’s plans to move into the video space.

It seems the Cable companies are scared to death about being bypassed by online video delivery, so rather than sit idly by and watch their business evaporate, they will be trying to make a compelling offering, with the hopes that their subscribers will stay.

You don’t suppose a recording option will be a part of their offering, do you???

YouTube cracking down on download sites

Looks like programs like Replay Media Catcher will soon be the only way to download videos from YouTube. TechCrunch’s video download tool has recently been blocked by YouTube, and it’s likely they will start to block other sites.

Here’s the story:

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/13/youtube-kills-our-video-download-tool

What do YOU do about this? Use a PC-based download tool like Replay Media Catcher, which works free with YouTube. If you want the technical meat of why this will continue to work read on…

The way TechCrunch (and likely other sites) are being blocked is via the IP address of their servers. The server goes directly to the YouTube site, and pretends to be a web browser, and then figures out the download link. It’s easy for YouTube to write a script to block certain IP addresses.

The “client” approach (like Replay Media Catcher) cannot be foiled in this way, since the IP address for the download request comes from an individual user’s PC, and not a server. YouTube cannot tell the difference between your web browser, or a client running on your PC, since the IP address of the request is the same.

It will be interesting to see if YouTube continues to crack down on other sites.

Changes to Replay Media Catcher

As of January 28, 2009, new installations of Replay Media Catcher will no longer be able to record web sites that use Adobe Secure RTMP Measures.

We have resolved a dispute with Adobe Systems Incorporated, without admitting any wrongdoing or liability, by agreeing not to circumvent any Secure RTMP Measures developed by Adobe.

Our other high-quality web video recording product, Replay Video Capture, will continue to work with ANY site. And we will continue our quest to make the best possible streaming media recording tools for our customers to fully exercise their Fair Use rights to online media.

Fun with domain sellers

Occasionally, it’s good to take a break from talking about streaming media recording solutions. Here’s a story of something we encounter more often than you think.

Every once in a while, we get people with marginally valuable domain names to sell contacting us and asking for an excessive amount of money. Here’s one guy with a somewhat relevant three letter domain we had some fun with. (The domain name and author’s name have been changed).
“Bob” wrote:

Hi Bill,
We own site XYZ.com and were looking to sell it.
We would much rather sell it – previously we were entertaining offers in the high 5 figures – let me know your highest bid and maybe we can work something out.
Thanks
Bob

My reply:

Hi Bob –
Your site and domain will require a lot of work. Google says you have 1 outside link, and a 2 page rank for the home page, and your Alexa rank is 600,000+, which means you have very little traffic. If you were me, how would you justify a 5 figure price were I to present this to my partners?
Thanks,
Bill

Bob writes back:

Hi Bill,
It all comes down to supply and demand – we are only interested in getting the current market value.
eg. a similar 3 letter domain sold for $195,000 last week => MCC.com

See the link below:
http://www.dnjournal.com/domainsales.htm

In my opinion, XYZ.com is a much higher quality domain with much more potential…

Try searching XYZ vs MCC on google.com it generate results for 62,100,000
“Results 1 – 10 of about 62,100,000 for xyz. (0.05 seconds) ”

The XYZ.com domain is clearly more valuable than other simple 3 Letter dot com domains e.g. MCC.com
With the right promotion & development this domain can easily be turned into an 8 figure/year operation.
Due to the current economic situation, I would be willing to let it go for under $195,000 – but it must be a competitive offer…
Thanks
Bob

And my response:

BOB –
IMO, WTF? LOL
– BSD (CEO)

iPhone Media Downloads – is Apple Stupid, Evil, or Weak?

As a new owner of an iPhone, I am very happy with the whole experience. The device is great.
As a media geek, I’m finding it difficult to something basic. And Apple seems to be working against me. Here’s what’s frustrating:

I want to be able to update the media on my iPhone over-the-air. I want my Podcasts to be updated automatically, without having to sync with my PC. I also want to be able to email radio shows automatically recorded as MP3 files (using Replay A/V) to my iPhone, and then play them. (Think TiVo for the radio – on your phone!) For me, this would be the coolest. But no luck ๐Ÿ™

On the Podcast side, an app called Podcaster promised to do just that sort of thing, but was rejected from the Apple store for no apparent reason.

On the Radio show side, Replay A/V is able to send me emails with links to download radio shows automatically recorded by my home PC. I was hoping to be able to send myself radio shows to listen to on my iPhone. But alas, Safari is “unable to download” files from these links. (The links are generated by YouSendIt, which is integrated into Replay A/V).

So, here are my theories:

Stupidity: Is Apple so dumb as to disallow significant over-the-air media transfers for no good reason?

Evil: Is Apple disabling this capability in order to enable their own service?

Weak: Is Apple being bullied by AT&T to disallow too much 3G data traffic? (Another app that let you use your iPhone as a laptop modem was also killed by Apple.)

This is also puzzling given the Pandora player, which is also a media downloader, and works great on the iPhone. There’s no way Apple could kill the Pandora app though, as it would create a huge outrage.
These uncertainties should be troubling to anyone seriously considering developing media enabled apps for the iPhone. And the authoritarian, opaque, random policies behind the app store really need to end, otherwise all the development talent will go to Android or some other truly open platform, the coolness of the iPhone notwithstanding.

Article on Downloading Amazon VOD Videos

Technology often moves faster than the news! Here’s an example:

We were featured in an article done by Reuters on September 26, mentioning how Replay Media Catcher was able to download movies from Amazon’s new VOD (Video on Demand) service.

Apparently, Amazon was asked for comment, and shortly before the article hit the wires, they had updated their system, making Replay Media Catcher (for now anyway) unable to record. Other aspects in the article are still valid though, but Amazon was a particularly big part of the story.

Nevertheless, there are other ways to record from Amazon — we recommend WM Capture. As this is a real-time high-quality recorder that works by capturing videos directly off of your PC’s screen, there’s no way it can be blocked.
The other interesting thing is how the story got going in the first place, which we’re still trying to figure out. Stay tuned!

Nice review of Applian’s products

I usually don’t blog back on any reviews of our products, but It’s My Take had a nice personal touch I couldn’t resist mentioning.

The money quote:

We should all be grateful to companies like Applian for bringing technology and culture to our doorsteps. These are truly creative and innovative people who still produce a real product, the kind of people who had made this country great. Compared to the parasites on Wall Street, whose only motivation seems to be greed and who are quickly bringing us to our destruction, they’re like a beacon of light. We’re powerless, I’m afraid, when it comes to repairing our economic foundations. Thanks to Applian Technologies, however โ€“ and all such โ€“ there is a means of escape.
May they all survive!

Pandora may be going dark

This article in Ars Technica does a nice job illustrating the demise of Pandora may be just days away. The problem is with the royalty fees they are being asked to pay, in contrast to what broadcast radio pays (nothing) and satellite radio pays (about half). The music business needs a big restructuring, as it’s a sad day when cool services like Pandora go belly up, especially when they have revenues of $25 million(!).
Read the entire article to learn more.

We’ve been Slashdotted!

An article about Applian, Replay Media Catcher and RTMPE protocol recently was posted on Slashdot. While much of it is a spirited debate about DRM, there is an inaccuracy that we need to clear up. Some of the posters seem to think that we are breaking Adobe’s encryption in this latest version, which is false. The content we download is actually unencrypted.
It looks like this was a stopgap solution by Adobe. It appears Adobe made a technical tradeoff between continuing to support their existing ad insertion technology, and fully encrypting their content. There are a lot of really talented engineers at Adobe – I just don’t think they have yet built a DMCA compatible system due to time constraints. Their Flash Video server technology is really well done, and after a major re-architecting, they will probably discover a better balance between ad serving and encryption.
As far as the DRM issue goes: never, ever redistribute anything you’ve recorded without the express written consent of the content owner. Recordings are always for your personal use only. Applian’s intent is not to encourage customers to violate copyright laws.

iPhone and Remote iTunes

Apple Insider has an article about a new Apple (AAPL) patent filing regarding iPhones accessing iTunes libraries from anywhere. The gist is that your desktop PC can have all your media (songs, videos, Podcasts, and more) on it, and your phone would be able to download and play anything from your desktop PC.
This would be a huge bonus for Replay A/V users. Imagine having your favorite radio shows recorded on a PC at home, imported to iTunes automatically, and available for listening wherever you are. This can be done now with the YouSendIt plug-in we provide (as you can email yourself recorded files automatically), but this mechanism would be much slicker.
Go Apple!