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Television Media The Internet

ZillionTV Offers On-Demand Streaming TV Box, But Only Via ISPs 57

MojoKid writes "Similar to Roku and Vudu, ZillionTV relies on a set-top box that attaches to your TV. The ZillionTV Device connects to your home router via a wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection. It requires a broadband connection that is at least 2.7Mbps or faster. ZillionTV claims that it will have 15,000 titles available by the end of this year from content providers, including 'Disney, 20th Century Fox Television, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.' While Roku and Vudu are essentially available to anyone who has a broadband Internet connection and who is willing to purchase a device, ZillionTV will not be quite as easy to get. Instead of making the device and service directly available to consumers, ZillionTV will only be available (at least initially) through Internet service providers."
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ZillionTV Offers On-Demand Streaming TV Box, But Only Via ISPs

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday March 05, 2009 @02:57PM (#27080691)
    Please God, tell me it's not too late for me to invest in your company!
    • Please God, tell me it's not too late for me to invest in your company!

      Wait... God has a company? What's he doing in the content distribution business?

      • Isn't that what God is all about? You know, intellectual property. I heard he's not really into the physical possessions thing. Or was that Jesus?

      • It is part of a PR stunt to boost his own popularity. Unfortunately it was already destined to die before it was born.

  • Brilliant (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Thursday March 05, 2009 @02:58PM (#27080707) Homepage Journal

    It's a box, and you connect it to the internet via a router, and you can watch movies and stuff on it.

    I never even dreamed such a thing could exist!

    • You know, if you told me three years ago that such a device would ever be available, I would have scoffed at your futurist notions. It's amazing to think just how much pirate sites like TV-links have accomplished since then.

      The day of revelation came for me when my (decidedly non-techie) friends started using TV-links and sites like it, en-masse. I was quite stunned. Not at the concept, but at the uptake. I should have learned from bit-torrent not to underestimate the common user, but I did it again. The up

      • To counter your anecdote I've never met another person who's worked out how to hack an xbox and put XBMC on it... that's pretty a pretty techie thing to do. The most complex thing a non techie does sometimes is view programmes with their browser on iplayer, and that's a *long* way from being a primary source of viewing. The younger ones are able to figure out bittorrent but download limits make downloading video over it unfeasable anyway.

        Set top boxes that played IP TV have been mainstream for ages - the

  • What ISPs? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fotbr ( 855184 ) on Thursday March 05, 2009 @02:58PM (#27080717) Journal

    AT&T and Verizon are already pushing their own variety of IPTV.

    The cable companies would rather you watch tv using their existing services (timewarner cable / comcast / etc)

    Are there any big ISPs left that would even try to use this "ZillionTV" box as a way to get new customers or to get more money from their existing customers?

    • Just wait 'til you find out what they will be charging for this thing... They may very well offer it as an add-on to existing cable subscribers, because nothing makes a content provider happier than tacking an extra $70 to your monthly bill for multiple copies of the exact same content.

    • Actually the cable companies are scrambling to find something just like this to stay alive. They understand that they cannot compete with free streaming like hulu.com. They are actively trying to lock content providers into exclusive deals so they can sell a set-top box just like this.

      So I think they will have interested customers in Comcast, Charter, and Time Warner.

    • The cable companies would rather you watch tv using their existing services

      But you don't say why. They don't want you to have ala carte service for programming. They'd much rather sell you a package which includes two channels you do want and sixteen in a language you don't understand. They make significantly more money this way. Sure you get on-demand with them, but only because you've bought into their service packages.

      • I'm sure what you say is true, but I'm sure they also realize that 1000s of subscribers streaming Mbit/s will pretty soon eat their network (for everyone, not just the streamers). They see the need for control as well as the need for money grabbing.

        Streaming will soon crap out if the network gets bogged down enough to drop packets, and that means to work well, streaming needs to be prioritized and that means bye-bye net neutrality.

        What would you do if this were your private company's network and you wante

        • Exactly. They realize this which is why they want to control the various kinds of media that come across, who they're coming from, how fast the throughput is, etc. They *know* that they're fast becoming out maneuverable from the common lay person--this is what net neutrality is all about: returning control back into their hands.

    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      Are there any big ISPs left that would even try to use this "ZillionTV" box as a way to get new customers or to get more money from their existing customers?

      Small, local ISPs that aren't owned by large corps?

      Most of them have small service areas numbering in the thousands, but they probably serve a few million people combined in the States.

      • by fotbr ( 855184 )

        Thus my question was "what big ISPs".

        In my area, there's ultimately two residential ISPs to choose from. Time-Warner Cable and AT&T. Sure, there's other companies, but they're just re-selling service from those two at higher rates, and with all the TWC or AT&T baggage (caps, throttling, ever-changing-without-notice ToSs) still attached.

        • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

          And if this company could hit up all of those small ones, it would be pretty damn good, wouldn't it? It's a viable strategy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EdIII ( 1114411 ) *

      You've missed the point. I submitted this article already, but they used another one with a different summary (which kinda sucks) and is probably why.

      This is subscription free. Unlike Tivo and ReplayTV you are not paying a monthly subscription to use any of the apps on the device. Anybody can create a distribution channel on the device.

      ISP's are going to offer the device initially for a small rental fee, just like any other set top box. However, there is talk of the device being for sale directly to con

  • Just get Mythtv (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Thursday March 05, 2009 @03:01PM (#27080751)
    If you like to tinker, you can have all of the content on one box and the way you want it with no strings. TV, cable, satellite, internet, everything.
    • All with a UI on par with the Philips CD-i.

      MythTV is great in theory, but in practice I wouldn't deal with it unless you really need a DVR. For streaming video, get XBMC or get in line for the Boxee beta; they offer vastly superior interfaces.

      • by Dan667 ( 564390 )
        That is a lot of sugar coating. XBMC is pretty, but it is just a simple frontend for multimedia files. You cannot program mythtv. You do not get features like automatic commercial skip when watching tv (in like, no need to press a remote button). And XBMC is pretty well known as is Boxee for having lots of bugs, and I would rather be watching content than rebooting my box.
    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      If you like to tinker

      Have you seen this site's masthead?

      BTW, a tinker is what they called an engineer before there were engines. The name came from the sound of them tapping the metal to get it exactly right. Tink, tink, tink.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      If you want to tinker less, Honestly get a XBMC live cd and call it done. I utterly love MythTV for a Recorder but it sucks horribly at being a media center.

      XBMC live is no effort with a Nvidia 8800GT video card and a Windows Media center remote kit. all done, point it at your NAS full of violently copyright infringed movies and start watching in all your tv's glory. I helped a friend who never installed an OS in his life set one up in 2 hours. Even Mythbuntu takes 4 hours of dinking to get it's recor

      • by Pope ( 17780 )

        Mythbuntu took me 6 hours of drinking, and I STILL didn't have a working install at the end of it.

        Maybe next time I'll buy a tuner card...

        • by smoker2 ( 750216 )
          Try Mythdora [mythdora.com]. My card was supported, but the remote was proprietary which made it a pain. That was a year ago, the last builds have added support for my proprietary remote. Nice simple install (except the myth bit).

          (also, buy a tuner card) :p
      • by Jon_S ( 15368 )

        Supposedly the whole MythTV UI is undergoing a huge rewrite for the next release to address this very issue (http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/users/357815)

        In the meantime, do what I do, run mythtv, but add a menu item to launch Boxee when you want to watch streaming media or stored files. Works great (except when Boxee's alpha-level code doesn't).

    • Well if you're not going to get cable, satellite then MythTV loses 90% of it's effectiveness.

      And if you're going to go with just internet I would suggest XBMC+rtorrent+pytvshows.

      IF you don't have a TV, then MythTV seems really useless.

  • Rebrand the box before it's too late!

    I suggest DuDu.

  • by IamGarageGuy 2 ( 687655 ) on Thursday March 05, 2009 @03:07PM (#27080839) Journal
    I currently have a broadband connection but have a cap on the total bandwidth for the month. How do they propose getting around this problem which it appears just about everyone has. What happens when I get cut off in the middle of the month for excessive use?
    • step 2 ????
      step 3 profit! (for the companies involved, not you, good little consumer, you)

    • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday March 05, 2009 @03:31PM (#27081189) Homepage

      And you've just underlined one of the many reasons why the ISPs want in on this thing. They get to double-dip, as not only will they charge you a monthly fee for the receiver, but they will bill you for the bandwidth too!

    • No, not everyone has that problem, only ISPs owned by cable providers or media-producing companies have that problem (granted, those couple of players have the largest market share of the broadband market, but if you convince enough of your friends -- it doesn't necessarily have to remain that way for too long).

      For me for instance, I still have unlimited DSL, but instead of decreasing my service, or capping it, my ISP has only been increasing my speed as the technology improved (without extra charge each t

      • And a friend of mine, he's been getting outrageous speeds, faster than cable and faster than DSL, through radio signals...


    • by jtgd ( 807477 )
      I should think that if this were coming from the ISP itself, and thus no data ever travels from The Internet, then it should not count as part of your capped bandwidth.
  • Instead of selling only to ISPs wouldn't it make more sense to offer this service to anyone who had the bandwidth? A larger potential customer base = larger customer base. (in a perfect world)
  • Why exactly will Comcast help this company sell this device? Don't think so. DOA with the ISP only model.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      It would mean Comcast could offer on demand without having to host everything like they do now.

      In effect, there customers get the same thing, and there cost to do business go down.

  • It requires a broadband connection that is at least 2.7Mbps or faster

    My broadband connection is at least 2.7 or slower. Can I still has streaming TV?

  • ...ISPs are the new cable companies? Great. Just Great. :-(

  • I knew I shouldn't have dropped my ISP, and hooked up my computer directly to the Internet Backbone!

    Just look at what I can't watch now, without an "Internet Service Provider".

  • 1) Housing the content locally doesn't involve sending jitter sensitive material across the net.

    2) It doesn't tax their OC3 or whatever to the net, all the bandwidth is consumed locally across their switch or router, which can probably handle it.

    3) QOS becomes really easy

    4) They know exactly how much bandwidth you have and for the non-super geeks out there they don't have to explain this.

    5) It becomes an added benefit to subscribing to so and so's ISP

    6) It increases revenue to the ISP a

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire