Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, May 01, 2021

Sezmi is an upstart pay-TV service that’s pitching itself as something close to a one-stop video-entertainment hub for the household:

Sezmi’s system takes some explaining. At its heart is a TV set-top box that receives video content in three different ways. Two are available through other means: digital over-the-air local broadcasts, the kind that are available to anyone with a digital TV and a rabbit-ear antenna; and Internet downloads through the home’s broadband connection.

The third delivery method would be unique to Sezmi. It plans to have local TV stations use vacant portions of their airwaves to transmit basic cable channels like Nickelodeon and Discovery. Given the limited spectrum available, the stations won’t be able to transmit a full lineup, and only some of it will be in high definition. Sezmi plans to mitigate that by having stations send out the most-watched shows and have the set-top boxes save them on their hard drives, making them available for viewing on demand.

Some noise is being made about this three-pronged delivery system being overly complex. My sense is that it doesn’t matter how complicated it is, as long as it works. Consumers aren’t going to care how it all comes together; all that’ll count is that it pipes in the content that people want, and at a competitive price.

The company is on the right track in branding itself as “TV 2.0″, as that conveys an expansion of standard cable or satellite. It should take that messaging one step further with a simple value proposition that goes something like: “Local, cable, and VOD — plus YouTube. All on one screen. Sezmi.”

In a sense, Sezmi would be a TV provider that’s media-agnostic. You wouldn’t have to switch from one screen (television) to another (computer monitor) to consume all manner of video content — you’d access it all from your remote control. That’s crucial in achieving the long-anticipated melding of television and Web:

In general, Sezmi’s attitude toward Web content is to integrate it seamlessly into the overall universe. Individual repositories or “zones” of Web video, such as YouTube, can create their own XML Sezmi page. In a demonstration of the technology, a local news page was organized in a basic layout of weather, news, traffic, and featured stories, with a video box in the lower right-hand corner and additional data to the top right.

Of course, the tricky part will be getting the infrastructure and carriage in place. Sezmi is building limited content agreements and presenting itself as an ideal partner for regional ISPs and telecom providers, but it’s got to have a presentable channel/content lineup to offer up. And even then, it won’t be easy:

The company faces a lot of competition. Apple TV is going to be more attractive now that it can get movies on the same day as they go on sale as DVDs. Vudu also has a lot of movies on demand available. Tivo’s Series 3 box can appeal to high-definition video junkies. AT&T is rolling out its DSL-based IPTV service nationwide, promising interactivity and movies on demand. And Digeo will have its Moxi boxes out later this year as well. It’s a crowded market and Sezmi will need big partners or a big advertising budget to overcome all the noise.

In the face of this, Sezmi has all the signs of being a short-lived attempt at next-stage television. It could be fun to watch anyway, especially as elements of its approach influence the rest of the industry.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/01/2021 10:55:53 PM
Category: Internet, TV, Tech
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play on
The above picture of the L Line Bedford Avenue platform harp-playing performance artist is re-presented here as an anonymous favor to an anonymous poster on Subway Crush:

Some weekends I see you playing a giant ass harp at the Bedford stop and I think to myself “holy shit that is a huge harp!” A girl with that dedication is someone I need to get to know. I never wanted to interrupt your playing, but would love to grab some coffee or a drink sometime. I’ll even help you carry your harp! Get in touch!

Looks like she’s managed to strum somebody’s heartstrings. If this helps you get her digits, brother, then you’re welcome.

I was at that Bedford stop just this past Friday — a rare personal excursion into Brooklyn. Ms. Harp was nowhere to be seen; I guess she’s got a weekends-only engagement.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/01/2021 02:47:31 PM
Category: Internet, New Yorkin'
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