Wednesday, April 02, 2008
With video on demand supplied via the Internet in increasing demand, and with the technology getting better and better, there are an increasing number of companies offering their own versions of Internet video and video on demand. For example, the Apple TV provides a way to transfer video that's downloaded from Apple's iTunes online store to an HDTV using a wireless connection. Amazon's online video service, Unbox, has recently made it possible to transfer video downloads from a computer to a TiVo digital video recorder, and now some other players are getting into the action.
Sony is actually one of them. Sony is now offering what it calls the Bravia Internet Video Link. This device plugs into the back of a Sony Bravia HDTV and can connect directly to a cable based broadband Internet connection and stream a variety of video content directly to the TV. Right now not all of that video content is in high definition, but much of it is, and in the future, the hope is that all of it will be in High Def. One advantage the this service has is that all of the video is free.
The disadvantage of the Bravia Internet Video Link is that it's only compatible with Sony's Bravia High Definition Television sets. This could cause a decent amount of frustration and limit sales of the unit, but there's no doubt that the prospect of free high definition video content on an on demand basis will make it very attractive to a lot of people.
There's another new service that's not free, but it's much more versatile than the Bravia Internet Video Link. It's from BitTorrent and unlike the Sony set up, it's compatible with any HDTV. BitTorrent used to be a thorn in the side of the big movie studios because it made illegal video file sharing easy to do over the Internet. Now BitTorrent has gone legit and it's now offering a number of movies for download from major movie studios- this time with their permission. BitTorrent also offers music, video games, and TV shows for download- making its offerings much more wide than its competitors.
Another good thing about BitTorrent is that it provides High definition versions of TV shows if they're available as well as standard definition versions. The standard def versions of TV shows cost about two dollars to download while the high definition versions of the same TV shows cost about three.
In addition, BitTorrent provides competitive movie rentals. It will rent movies for between three and four dollars a piece. Unfortunately, like other online video rentals, you have to watch the movie within a month of downloading it and finish watching it within twenty four hours of starting it. While this is something of an annoyance for many users of the service, it's something that seems to have become the industry standard.
BitTorrent is more versatile than Sony's Bravia Internet Video Link in the sense that it's compatible with more different types of devices. For example, its downloads can be played on any computer running Windows Media Player 11, and any HDTV with Netgear Digital Entertainer set top box.