Note: scroll down to yesterday's post for my impressions of the Palm Pre and review of Up. Consider this a continuation of that post - I'm not covering today's stories.
The Future of Hulu
There's not a whole lot really exciting stories from last week. just a bunch of little ones (not counting the Pre). There was a lot going on at E3, but I think too much for me to effectively condense down here. I was actually pretty impressed by G4's coverage.
What I want to start out with here is that Chief Digital Officer of Hulu has stated that he envisions premium subscription content on Hulu in the future. I guess this isn't really a huge shocker, but I find a couple of things really funny about this. It seems to somewhat parallel TV as we know it today where it started out low quality, free, and to a limited audience (black and white broadcast television vs. beta Hulu), then we got color TVs (compare to Hulu in HD), and now we're approaching what we know as cable TV today: content that costs you a bit extra.
The question is: will people pay? How deep is Hulu's market penetration? I think it's inevitable for this to happen, and I think that it's going to involve some messy interference from the cable companies. It may even result in breaking net neutrality to provide higher speed access to premium Hulu subscribers. Ultimately, if it's cheaper than what people pay for cable right now and it becomes available on more set top boxes (like Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand already are), I think it'll definitely do well. You could even rope in more subscribers by providing Hulu content readily available on multiple mobile platforms (aside from just the iPhone).
I think this is where the future of television is. Not necessarily in just Hulu, but online on-demand content. Just look at the Xbox 360. They announced a number of improvements at E3 to make your Xbox the center of your home entertainment experience, right down to having TV available on demand. Times are definitely changing, and the bar is constantly being raised as far as what entertains us - I'm excited to see what comes out of it all in the next 5 years. I mean can you imagine that just 3 years ago there was no such thing as an iPhone and now it's hard to enter a room without seeing a smartphone?
Google Wave and Squared
I briefly touched on Google Wave last week but didn't have time to watch the 60+ minute presentation that Google had put together on it. Mashable was kind enough to condense it down into its 6 key features, and it actually looks like a pretty awesome platform. I imagine that they'll try to integrate it with Android - can you imagine being away from work but still being able to collaborate in a meeting with your colleagues no matter where you are with this?
The real big Google story coming out of last week (there has to be at least one each week) was Google Squared, which allows you to get your search results in a spreadsheet format. This allows you to work with your results much like you would an Excel spreadsheet and may have been intended to help research into linked data. It's probably not a big deal to the average person, but definitely not a bad addition.
The next version of the popular HDMI cable, 1.4, was revealed last week and should be available to device manufacturers next month so that we can start seeing cables and compatible products using them as early as next summer. I love HDMI because it's just one simple cable to handle your high definition video and audio, and it's easily affordable. 1.4 will support 3D, an audio return channel (think microphones), an ethernet channel (for Internet connectivity), higher resolution (up to 4 times that of 1080p), a system for automotive HD content delivery, and mnicro-HDMI connectors. The downside of all this is that it'll result in 5 types of cables instead of today's single type of HDMI, which gives way to manufacturers (like Monster) for confusing customers and charging higher prices for cables that don't cost more to make. I'm definitely disappointd in that decision, but I can appreciate how difficult putting together an international standard like this can be so I just hope that it ends up being as cool as it sounds right now.
Digging for Ads
Digg announced that they're planning to roll out an advertising system that takes the concepts of supply and demand further using the concept behind Digg: charging advertisers more money for ads that are dugg higher by people as being more interesting. I'm really impressed by this idea - they've taken an audience that is really anti-advertising and are trying to engage them in ads with an interface they already understand and enjoy. Facebook has played around with this, but I think that they bombard their users with changes and experiments so often that no one really cared.
I'm running out of juice here (very exhausting day), but I have a bunch of quick stories that are worth mentioning (pared down from an even longer list!).
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