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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hulu Hoops

[edit 8-May-09: just a little hello to all of you visiting from yahoo finance : we'd love to have your input please feel free to comment, even if it's just a link to an external site. -bitflung]

In previous posts I've discussed the possible reasons for Hulu not yet being available on the VuNow PoD - or more accurately I've discussed what should NOT have been the reasons.

I made a mistake in that linked post: I assumed that "support for" the codec used by Hulu also implied "license to use" that codec. Looks like I was wrong.

In a comment on the post linked above, an anonymous reader pointed out an article (press release, actually) stating that Verismo Networks has just now licensed the VP6 codec required for playback of content from Hulu and other such sites.

Our own NC-Jay has also come across this information over at tvover.net.

What does this REALLY mean for us? Two things, really:
1. Hardware and firmware support for VP6 have existed for some time, but the codec wasn't yet licensed. That the codec is now fully licensed indicates an intent to use it - and I mean quickly. Otherwise why license it now? If you can wait this long, why not wait a little longer before spending the money? The simple, direct answer: because they intend to use it.

2. From the press release and form On2's own website we see claims that many sites distribute media encoded with the VP6 codec:
- Hulu
- New York Times
- CNN
- Vimeo
- Dailymotion
- Toudou
- 56.com
- "Hundreds of web video portals, user generated content, and social networking sites use VP6-based Flash for hundreds of millions of users worldwide"

Do you see what I see? Some of these sites have already been supported by the VuNow - such as Dailymotion. How? Either:
a) we've been watching content from these sites using an alternative source (similar to how the iphone can play only those youtube videos that have been converted to an alternate format).
-or-
b) Verismo was using VP6 all along, but has now amended their terms with On2, potentially only now migrating from an evaluation license to a full license. What might a full license bring that an evaluation license would not? Taking one step further into pure conjecture I'd say the HD capabilities of VP6-S really stand out as a feature you might prohibit in an evaluation license.


Conjecture, guess-work, and rumors - oh my!
So knowing that all of that is simply a set of possibilities to match the reality described in the press release, what can we really take away from it?

1. Verismo is still adding low level functionality to their devices
2. Low level support for Hulu appears to be complete (though I've said that before)
3. New high level functionality should be coming: either expanded content from existing sites, or new sites, or both

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