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Archive for December, 2007

synctvLet’s see, I slept for 7 hours; it’s a new day and an announcement of yet another start up in the internet video space.  This seems like a daily ritual. 

The newest is Sync TV, a spin off from consumer electronics company Pioneer, which launched a beta download service.

The audio and video quality of the TV shows is comparable or superior to the same show on DVD.  SyncTV will provide HD programming across some of the different channels and will also have programming available in discreet 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus, giving you the “home theater” experience.  They allow you a great deal of flexibility in how you play back the TV shows you download. You can play back shows on up to five ‘home’ devices which mean PCs/Macs now and other home entertainment devices in the future (read portable players). 

That’s the good news.  The bad news is yet another DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology for the consumer to try and get their head around.  Sync TV is using an open-standard DRM called Marlin.  Yet another group of top electronics manufacturers joining forces to develop a standard for content management and protection.  Marlin is also referred to as “OMArlin” because it supposedly bridges between the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) DRM v.2.0 and the Marlin DRM standards.  Does anyone care, outside the companies involved?  Not really.  Consumers might agree that content protection is a good idea but, they just want to play their stuff on all their devices. And they want everything to be cheaper, too. 

It’s another set of companies trying to protect what they see as their intellectual property and make money. You could make the claim as the same motive as Microsoft, Apple, RealNetworks and others in the DRM struggle.  The marketing spin tries to convince us that DRM is intended to make it easy for us to buy content and share it, without being encumbered by content protection schemes.   But, adding Marlin to this mix will be yet another failed attempt to create a DRM “standard”.   

What I do find interesting with Sync TV and all the regulatory noise about bundled programming, is the fact that users can subscribe a-la-carte for a variety of programs they want to watch. Each channel costs about $2 each per month, and currently there are four subscription channels available. Showtime is the foundation partner with promise of more.  

The Sync TV launch underscores the two worlds that now exist–the heavily regulated telecoms and broadcasting sectors and the almost entirely unregulated internet channel.  

Where do you think most of the innovation is?

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rogerpollockI’m following up on a previous post about David Oringulph (Legend Homes) doing an interview in the Oregonian where he states:  There’s really nothing wrong with the housing market from the standpoint of economics….”. 

I really took an exception to his line of thinking and was in complete disagreement of his “feel sorry for me” attitude.   And as if helping prove my point… 

Fast forward 45 days and now the “big-box” builder Roger Pollock (Buena Vista Homes – pictured right) is sending out letters to past clients who bought a home from his company about the MEGA house auction planned for December 15-16th, to the likes the Portland Metro area has never seen.  Sure this type of action is the norm in Las Vegas or the burbs of Phoenix, but here in River City? 

This may well be the largest riches-to-rags story on the planet.  In the Fall of 2006 Buena Vista Homes was hailed (largely self-promotion) as the largest home builder in Oregon having “pulled down” 303 permits in the first 10months.  In addition, “Builder Magazine” named Buena Vista the fastest growing builder in the United States with an amazing growth rate of 162.47 percent. Now we’re seeing the “signs” of over building and developers are panicked to sell anything maybe David Oringulph would like to retract his “the media is the problem” statement? 

Then came “THE LETTER”pollock_letter  Imagine getting a letter from Roger Pollock telling you they have decided to auction the remaining homes in your cul-d-sac and the starting bid is going to be $189k less than what you just paid 6 months ago.  WTF?!! 

Is there no shame from these predatory builders?  How do they ignore customer service, relationships with past clients, further driving prices down and exacerbate the home bubble mentality in an already bleeding market?  This is going to be fascinating to watch.

UPDATE (DEC 17th): Auction sold 141 homes at a total of $65 million in sales over the 2-day period.  Average per home is nearly $461K.  None of the Bend homes were auctioned.  So, is Pollock a Marketing Genius or were people drawn-to-the-light?  

And does he really know how to party like a “Rock Star”?    

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itunes cardsI don’t know about you, but I’m bummed over the end of the Starbucks and iTunes music promotion which ended last month.  The promotion ran October 2nd and ended November 7th to be exact, but every time I go to Starbucks I can’t help but look for the little “redeem-me-now” credit sized cards. Maybe I’m in a need deprivation state of mind?   

I remember first learning about the promotion where I get a free, new song every day in Starbucks. It made my morning stop so much more pleasant.  The first artist was Dylan and included other greats such as Gloria Estefan, Dave Matthews, John Mayer and many more.  Personally, I thought this was a great combination of two awesome products, coffee and music, brought to me by folks who know how to pamper my whims and do it so well, “Bucks” and “Mac”.  I don’t have an exact count on the total number of artists, but I collected 31 of those little redeemable cards and punched in 100’s of alpha-numerical characters to obtain the music goods.  How many did you collect?

But, don’t worry about my Apple/Starbuck-withdrawal-syndrome (ASWS).  I continue to frequent the place and now find myself trying to resist the urge to buy a CD every time I get a latte!  Maybe that was the intent…everytime I sip a latte I think of a song?!

 Hey don’t forget — you have until the end of December to redeem all those Song-of-the-Day cards.

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