Friday, July 31, 2009

Microsoft's MSN Video: Now everyone's playing catch-up

The launch of the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up television service in late 2007 has changed the way we view video on the internet. Web users who were used to watching short clips on sites such as YouTube could finally enjoy full-length episodes of their favourite television shows up to seven days after they were first broadcast. It put viewers in charge of their TV schedule, and pushed the whole idea of “on-demand” broadcasting into the public consciousness.

Fast forward two years and new lines are being drawn in the sand for a fresh battle in web TV. Since the demise of Project Kangaroo – which was designed to be a one-stop shop for catch-up television services, but fell foul of the Competition Commission – major broadcasters, including the BBC and ITV, have been exploring new ways of delivering branded content through one platform.

In the United States, Hulu offers a similar kind of “television portal”, aggregating content from several broadcasters and allowing people to watch their favourite shows online, on demand. Hulu is in advanced talks to launch its service this side of the Atlantic.

So it’s no surprise that traditional technology companies are looking at new ways to get involved with video on-demand.

Microsoft, better known for its computer operating systems and Xbox 360 video games consoles, is launching a new online TV player, which will allow web users to watch full-length episodes of old television shows on their computer, for free. Among shows you can expect to see are: Shameless, The Young Ones, Peep Show, League of Gentleman, Hustle, Harry Enfield’s TV Show, How to Look Good Naked, and Derren Brown Mind Control.

The service, called MSN Video, is being pioneered by Ashley Highfield, vice-president of consumer and online services at Microsoft – and the former BBC executive who helped to launch the iPlayer.

Highfield says that around 300 hours of programming will be available when the site goes live within the next week, with shows drawn from the BBC’s archives and the back catalogue of a major independent producer, All3Media. The site will be in beta, or “testing”, for around six months, before gearing up for a full-scale launch. At that point, Highfield hopes to have other broadcasters on board, including ITV and Channel 4.

“We want to be a one-stop shop for the best British content – the ultimate aggregator,” he explains.

The deal Microsoft has struck with the BBC does not clash with anything the iPlayer offers – for instance, you could watch the first two series of Hustle on MSN Video, but only view the most recent episodes on iPlayer. The shows are free because they contain advertisements, before and after each episode, and in the middle. Microsoft is confident consumers will not find this annoying because they realise there is a “value exchange” – in other words, if you know you are getting something free, you will tolerate ads.

But why do people need a “one-stop” shop for TV content online, when individual broadcasters already offer their own on-demand platforms, such as 4oD and iPlayer?

Highfield argues that there is room for both “aggregators”, like Microsoft, who draw together content from multiple sources, and the broadcasters themselves. “You will always get some people who want to visit the host websites because they love the 360 degree experience and to be fully immersed in a show’s environment,” he says. “However, there will be others who want to get everything in one place.”

Highfield wants to put some “clear blue water” between MSN Video and “all other web TV offerings out there”. That could be easier said than done, though. He acknowledges that seeming “cool” can make or break new web products. Hulu, which has had success in the US with its quirky advertising, clever branding, and huge library of television shows, could provide stiff competition when it launches in the UK.

Microsoft, though, is confident that its vast reach, and presence on a variety of platforms, including email, instant-messaging, web browsing and search, will make the new video site a success. The company is also striving to make the site as easy to use as possible.

“We are really proud of the user interface,” says Rob Crossen, business manager for MSN Video. “It’s really simple, which makes it a more televisual experience.”

Creating a “televisual experience” will be important for Microsoft. Highfield says he is already thinking about how the player could be rolled out across Microsoft’s Xbox 360 games console, its Windows Mobile range of phones, and even piped directly to your TV via internet-enabled televisions.

In time, and with enough broadcasters on board, the portal could become a hub for web TV.

Emma Barnett, Technology and Digital Media Correspondent

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Swine flu alert for pregnant women

Expectant mothers will be urged to avoid unnecessary journeys and crowds, with experts suggesting that they do not travel on trains and the London Underground at peak times.

Parents will be advised to keep babies away from crowds, while pregnant women will also be encouraged to limit the movements of their other children, so they do not bring the virus home.

The warnings come amid increasing concern that pregnant women and young children are among the groups most at risk from swine flu.

So far, more than 650 people have been taken to hospital with the virus in England, including more than 200 children. Under-fives have been three times more likely than older patients to be taken to hospital. In Scotland, 44 people have been taken to hospital, while 11 have been treated in Welsh hospitals. At least 146 cases have been recorded in Ireland.

Officially, there have been 29 British deaths involving swine flu, including four children and two mothers who died shortly after giving birth.

All except one – six-year-old Chloe Buckley, who died 10 days ago in west London — were known to have been suffering from underlying health problems.

Pregnant women are at increased risk of contracting any infection because their immunity is suppressed to ensure that their body does not reject their baby.

Experts believe that most cases of swine flu would not harm the mother or foetus, but rare cases could lead to premature labour or miscarriage or cause birth defects.

In Australia, where 11 expectant women with swine flu are in intensive care, pregnant women have been urged to stay at home when possible, and to wear face masks when they do go out.

Mask-wearing is not part of Britain’s strategy because it is thought to do little to reduce the spread of disease and encourages complacency against more useful measures, such as regular hand-washing.

The new guidance, to be published on the National Health Service website,, and circulated via parenting forums, will alert parents and pregnant women to recommendations that have been drawn up by the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Senior figures from both organisations said that while significant changes in lifestyle, to avoid crowds and public transport, might not be realistic for all pregnant women and parents with babies, individuals should be made aware of the risks.

Sue Macdonald, from the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Pregnant women have got a strong instinct to protect their baby, but we have to be realistic about the kinds of adjustments people can make. If they normally have to travel on the Tube or on crowded trains in rush hour they might be better to come in later or earlier, but of course it is difficult to avoid crowds entirely. This is about being sensible and being aware of the risks."

The advice states that the simplest way to reduce the risk of contracting swine flu is regular hand-washing, especially after journeys

In separate guidance, pregnant GPs and community nurses have been told that they should not see patients with suspected swine flu.

The Government has decided against advising women to delay pregnancy until the swine flu pandemic has passed, even though such a recommendation was contained in previous plans.

The number of people off work with symptoms of flu more than doubled last week, according to figures compiled for The Sunday Telegraph. On Friday , about 177,000 people were absent with flu-like symptoms, compared with 80,000 the week before.

Aaron Ross, the chief executive of FirstCare, an absence management company that carried out the survey of 1,000 companies, said businesses should offer home working to staff who are most vulnerable to swine flu.

laura telegraph

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Award Lagi Dari Andy

Ini adalah award dari andy gokil sekali selama2nya baru bisa posting sekarang huhuhuhu

Put these awards into your blog
1. Tag 2 millions or 400 millions bloggers
2. Links those friends
3. Tell them about these awards
4. Share this links to others and to whom these awards tag

1. Five things found in my bag:

2. Five things found in my purse:

3. Five favourite things in my room:
waduw penting ga si... yang pasti laptop

4. Five things I always wanted to do:
dapetin pekerjaan secepatnya...

5. Five things I currently into:
apa artinya ya?iya ya ndi apa artinya

6. The person who inspired you now is:
Bokap ma Nyokap

7. Punya handphone?

8. Merk + tipe handphone?
nokia E63

9. Choice: Banyak terisi untuk apa memorinya? biasa aja kek hape2 lainnya

10. Ada fitur koneksi Bluetooth?
ya adalah ....

Yang mendapatkan award ini adalah.