Archive for the ‘media’ Category
We knew it was coming, and now The New York Times has followed through on its promise to erect a paywall for online content, which means no more free news — kind of. Starting today in Canada and March 28th in the US, NYTimes.com will ask visitors reading more than 20 articles per month to pay for their info fix. The new plan offers monthly subscriptions of $15 with a smartphone app, $20 with tablet app, or $35 for complete digital access — subscribers with a physical subscription will be granted a full pass, except on e-readers. Further convoluting the pay structure, entry from sites like Twitter and Facebook won’t face the same restrictions, and access via Google is set at five free visits per day. Other news sources, including The Wall Street Journal, have already started charging for online content in the face of declining ad revenue, but this is certainly one of the most elaborate systems we’ve seen so far. The subscription plan was unleashed in Canada today, allowing the paper to iron out any kinks before hitting the US, which means you’ve got just under two weeks to hit NYTimes.com completely free — after that, prepare to be confused.
The smart cookies at the Social Science Research Council have spent three years researching media and software piracy in so-called emerging economies — countries like Brazil, Russia, India and Mexico — which has this past week resulted in a comprehensive report aimed at establishing the trends and causes of the unauthorized consumption of intellectual property. The major theme of the report is that ever more stringent enforcement of IP rights has proven ineffective in countering the growing tide of content piracy, and it is instead a problem of “global pricing” that needs to be tackled first. Content distributors’ primary concern is argued to be the protection of existing pricing structures in the honeypot nations of Western Europe and North America, which has resulted in prices in locales like Eastern Europe and South America being artificially inflated relative to the purchasing power of their population. Consequently, squeezed out of buying media the legal way, consumers have found themselves drawn to the, erm, grayer end of the market to sate their entertainment needs. There’s plenty more to this report, including a proposed solution to fixing these broken economics, but you’ll have to check out the links below for the full scoop.
Wait, this is just now happening? The Pew Project’s 2011 report on mobile devices’ effect on media was published this week; it’s a fascinating read from end to end that reveals a wild swing in the way we’ve gathered news and information as human beings over the past decade, but a couple stats really stand out. First off, the internet has finally overtaken newspapers as a news source, putting it behind just television — and we already know the writing’s on the wall there since the young ones are already preferring the web. And of those web-savvy, voracious consumers of information, some 47 percent are getting at least some of it on the go, either through their phone or tablet (like, say, Engadget’s lovely selection of mobile apps). Mass transit commuters have always been a haven for newspaper-toting businessfolk — but with iPads continuing to sell like hotcakes, not even the subway is safe from the tablet onslaught.
Using your Android phone as a remote is hardly new, but using it to actually send content to a TV-connected set-top box? Now that’s a novel concept. Skifta for Android has just become the first piece of software to be certified by the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) under its new Software Certification program, enabling any Android-based smartphone or tablet to stream onboard media to any DLNA source, including TVs, stereos, PCs and Sony’s PS3. It’s hard to say what kind of phone (and what kind of bandwidth) will be needed for this to actually be an enjoyable experience, but those curious to find out can download the app for free in the Android Marketplace… provided you’re using a device with Android 2.2 (Froyo) or higher, of course. Head on past the break for a explanatory video.
With Microsoft planning a move away from the HTPC space and a shift to Windows Media Center embedded products, perhaps the gang at Moovida is looking to take Redmond’s place in the home theater geek segment. The company has unleashed a beautiful new media browsing UI called ‘Immersed’ that’s powered by a 3D game engine, a fact which makes its media center brethren look dowdy in comparison. There is a steep price to pay for this digital eye candy, however, as the current version lacks the ability to stream content — so no Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube for you. Moovida’s software also packs an underlying desktop-optimized UI, ‘Core’, that provides automated media backup and cataloging, syncs your music and video with peripherals, and plays any non-DRM content known to man. Presently in beta, Moovida promises greater functionality in future releases and we can only hope that means streaming capability is coming soon, as in immediately.