Google ChromeCast — Fabulous product or fabulous demo?

chromecastYesterday Google announced a product called ChromeCast — a $35 HDMI dongle that’s essentially YouTube’s answer to Apple TV. While the event was more Googlish than Applesque (the venue was too small, the screens were too small, the presenters weren’t polished, and as a result the laughs and applause didn’t come) the product itself was astonishing — or appeared to be.

The press today picked-up on the most obvious headline item in the announcement — the $35 selling price which drops to $11 if you factor in three months of free Netflix per dongle even for existing Netflix customers. That’s Google attaching an $8 bill to every ChromeCast — something Apple would never do.

But […]

Silicon Valley conquers Hollywood, part 3 — think small, not big

Some readers of my last column in this series seem to think it was just about the movie business but it wasn’t. It was about the recorded entertainment industry, which includes movies, broadcast and cable television, video games, and derivative works. It’s just that the movie business — like the mainframe computer business — learned these lessons first and so offers fine examples.

Whether from Silicon Valley or Seattle, technology companies see video entertainment as a rich market to be absorbed. How can Hollywood resist? The tech companies have all the money. Between them Amazon, Apple, Google, Intel and Microsoft have $300 billion in cash and no debt — enough capital to buy anything. Apple all by itself could buy the entire entertainment industry, though […]

Muhammad v. YouTube

Update — From reader comments below it sounds like many people think I am advocating some specific behavior from either YouTube or President Obama. That’s not true. I’m not proposing that either DO anything. I’m  just explaining what I believe is happening and why, which is pretty much all I ever do around here if you haven’t noticed. I’m neither trying to hobble the First Amendment nor take any political or religious stand whatsoever. If people think I am doing ether, well they aren’t reading very carefully at all, because it simply isn’t in there. So settle down, everyone. 

Moving on to any readers who […]

YouTube’s Olympian Recovery

I had a surreal experience yesterday driving here in Sonoma County. My Bluetooth speakerphone rang and it was YouTube calling. How many people get calls from YouTube? The message was simple: I’d written a column critical of YouTube’s live Olympic coverage and they wanted me to try again.

“We’ve made a few changes,” said the voice on the other end of the line.

“What changes?” I asked.

“Just try it,” the voice said.

And so I did. And YouTube was correct.

The service is better for live streaming the Olympics. I can now reliably connect at 720p on a computer that couldn’t do better than 360p before. It’s still not perfect with occasional stutters and 1080p is still […]

YouTube might be the best place to watch the Olympics (if it doesn’t break)

Update at 7:00PM Saturday – It’s the speed of the PC. A dual-core 2-GHz iMac is jerky while a 2-GHz four-core I7 Mac Mini runs fine. A 2.4-GHz AMD four-core PC running Windows 7 Professional runs fine, too.  But I can’t watch the Olympics on a 2 GHz iMac, a 2 GHz Mac Mini, or my mid-2010 MacBook Pro (also 2-GHz). All three computers have two cores and are at their max RAM. Yes, I can slow down the connection, but anything above 360p clearly has problems (240p is best) and this on a 25 mbps Internet connection. Understand that in each case I’m starting with the resolution setting on “auto,” so […]