We have invitations for the closed alpha of Knocka. Read the end to get yours.
I don't care for the content on the new video site Knocka. But I really like the concept.
Knocka is an Internet television network. It has "channels" of streaming content. Unlike video sharing sites like YouTube, users can't randomly select videos to play when they wish (except clips they've already seen in a stream), nor can they embed Knocka vids in other sites. Kncoka is a destination site, not a media library.
But even though Knocka can be watched in passive mode, like television, interactivity and community are a big part of the Knocka equation. Viewers can text chat with each other in a window under a running show, and can engage in person-to-person Webcam video chats with their friends. And content is chosen through a combination of user voting and editorial oversight. On the current alpha site, users can vote on clips that play in the channels, and the voting will affect the rotation of a show: Good vote, more plays; bad votes, less. Eventually, Knocka will let its users further upstream in the editorial process. It will let users vote on videos in the submissions bin to help decide what makes it into the channels themselves.
At the moment, content is coming from some existing producers, like Aniboom and Rocketboom, as well as from users. All content is being funneled into just three channels: Music, Extreme Sports, and "Kandy," aka the lingerie channel. (There's also an overview channel.) More channels will launch soon.
Knocka puts glitzy and loud promos and graphics around the videos, making each video stream feel like an MTV production. The Web interface is also very good. It offers a decent amount of social interaction without getting in the way.
While I really like the Web interface and the concept, I found a lot of the videos on the service just plain crude. But that's only my opinion, and I'm not the target demographic. Knocka, currently, is aiming for a much younger viewer than me, with aspirations to launch channels for different audiences later.
Also coming soon, CEO Nir Erlich told me, are more live video features, like live shows that put audience members in the middle of the streams. Erlich thinks that it will be easier to pull viewers into these live shows than it will to grab people to watch the live streams on sites like uStream and Operator11. Or, I suppose, Justin.tv.
Erlich says Knocka is about, "Moving from an unlimited number of channels to a limited number. But structured." It's an old-fashioned concept, more reminiscent of television channels from the 1950s and '60s than what we currently think of as a modern video service that tries to offer everything to everybody. Knocka is not the only video site based on focus over quantity, though. There's Current, a higher-brow content and video company that is also trying to put social engineering on video consumption, and there's Mania TV, another show-based video service.
I found Knocka's social interface intuitive and fun. I complained about the rotten videos and voted them down, but I had a good time doing so. This is a very intriguing video platform.
In a slight departure from my regular tone here on The Digital Home, I wanted to share an experience with you that has helped me regain my love for old video games and force me to reconsider my thoughts on what video gaming should be.
And although it wasn't one of the most welcome consoles in the history of video games, I truly enjoyed my Sega Dreamcast. Was it perfect? Certainly not. After all, this is a console that was advanced when it came out and disgustingly obsolete once the Playstation 2 hit store shelves just one year later.
But for all of its bad (can you say Sega's awful business practices?), the Sega Dreamcast was one of the greatest consoles of all-time.
Success in this business isn't always measured in sales and revenue, sometimes it's measured in what it does for the average person. And while Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo left Sega in their wake, the Dreamcast provided an experience that acted as the forerunner to many of the consoles we enjoy today.
Simply put, the Sega Dreamcast was great when it was released on 9/9/99 (in the US) and I'm a firm believer that Sega should release Dreamcast 2 on 9/9/09.… Read more
The response to my post last week about how to convert digital photo collections to DVD slide shows was a resounding, "Whatever. How can I grab a screenshot from a video or DVD?"
Who knew that the number of would-be "screencappers" was so legion? Regardless, I'm your humble servant, and your wish is generally my command.
First off, for image screen captures of digital video files, I highly recommend VLC Media Player. I know I mention the free media player quite a bit, but it's still the cream of the freeware video crop for me due to its light footprint and flexibility.… Read more
Despite what Apple loyalists may think, iTunes needs NBC Universal more than the network needs iTunes, according to a report issued by Forrester Research.
As NBC shows such as The Office and Heroes began disappearing from iTunes over the weekend, James McQuivey, a Forrester analyst, warned Apple executives that it was in their best interest to "win NBC back."
In the report issued Monday, McQuivey asked what good it is equipping iPods with video monitors if there isn't any video to watch. The way McQuivey sees it, NBC Universal is the clear winner in the feud between … Read more
Today marks an important milestone in Web video. Hulu, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite online video sites, has started to add high-definition videos to its site. The most recent release of Adobe Flash Player added support for streaming HD, using H.264 encoding.
Hulu's HD Gallery is a little bit limited right now, only offering nine HD movie trailers, but we can assume that Hulu will probably be adding HD versions of other content in the future. Noticeably absent from the HD offering is the ability to embed the video in another Web page, which is a killer feature of Hulu, in my opinion.
Hulu is serving up its HD video in 1,280x720 and requires some beefy system specifications, including a 2.5 Mbps Internet connection. Hulu has a whole lot going for it right now, and it will only get better as the company signs more networks and studios. The embed feature is really great and it makes it easy (and legal!) to serve up your favorite shows on your Web site. For your viewing pleasure, I'm going to leave you with one of my personal favorites.
There's no shortage of video-to-iPhone converters on the market, but these two freeware contenders do a more-than-decent job of making individual files iPhone-ready. Don't expect much interface gloss or batch conversion with either. However, both apps quickly produce workable iPhone videos without much fuss.
Free Video to iPhone Converter tells it like it is. The rough 'n' ready app takes up minimal screen space and memory. Browsing for links and converting quickly is easy, since there aren't too many additional tabs or buttons where you can get lost. There is, however, a useful function for trimming videos … Read more
Are you a fan of Instructables or SuTree? Looking for a place with just science-related items? SciVee is a site for video clips of science experiments and processes that might be just up your alley. The service originally opened up to the public in late August but today is unveiling a newer, updated look with some new features to help users find and interact with content.
At its heart, the site has been designed with scientists (both established and fledgling) in mind, and according to an article yesterday by the Associated Press, creator Phil Bourne launched the site as a … Read more
Now that the deal between Vivendi and Activision has been officially announced, it looks like the former will take two-thirds control in the popular developer and be able to compete more effectively against the video game industry's de facto big shot--EA.
And while the $1.7 billion will allow Vivendi to become a more "complete" organization that can offer a wide array of games for people on all platforms, I just can't see how this will benefit any consumers.
Sure, the merger between Vivendi and Activision will finally create a competitor for the behemoth that is EA and with Activision's current streak of 74 percent growth since 2003 as compared to EA's paltry 25 percent, it's certainly possible that the former could overtake the latter in terms of size within the next decade.
But is an environment where two major video game developers control a significant stake of the market really beneficial to consumers? Unfortunately, the answer is no.… Read more