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Tech Talk Radio Show 21 of 2010
Transmission date: May 24, 2010
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Ep 21 of 2010
May 24, 2010

This past week has seen some great leaps forward in something Australians’ have been missing out on for some time, something the rest of the tech savvy world is now starting to take for granted – Video On Demand, or VOD as the 3 letter acronym will have it. On a very recent trip to the US, it was quiet evident that VOD is taken for granted on cable services throughout the US. For a couple of bucks, viewers can watch the latest cinema releases piped over the internet delivered straight to the TV. If you’re in for a pizza and movie night in California as I was recently, you’ll find the quality of image and sound much better than that of the food!

The lack of video or DVD hire shops in the states is testament to the success of Video on Demand. The only place you’ll find DVD and Bluray media is in the retail outlets where movies sell for sub $15 US. This is a taste of things to come in Australia, and, if you ran a Video Ezy or Blockbuster here, I’d be looking to diversify.

While browsing through the aisles of Best Buy in Mountain View a few weeks back, I was drawn to the incredibly low pricing of Sony’s PS3 game console – well compared to that of the same product in Australia. The Sony Playstation has been around for a while now and has really found a niche for itself in the market place, not only as a gaming console, but as a media centre for the living room, where basically everything from playing a video game to watching the latest Bluray release and now Video On Demand can be achieved with the one device. VOD which is now a reality here in Australia completes the trifecta.

Buying anything electrical from the US and bringing it back to Australia comes with risks, but the world really is becoming a global village and to my relief, the $250 US Playstation 3 worked here in Australia, just as it did in country where it was originally destined. Come on, how many of you have plugged 240 volts into the 120 volt socket, which I might add is clearly labeled 120 volts, only to be breathe a sigh of relief that the PS3 really does have a universal power supply. J Everything I’ve thrown at it has played flawlessly – well Blurays and games anyway, and now it seems that the US PS3 has taken a liking to Australia VOD offerings through Sony AND the ABC’s iView. Even my kids have discovered iView since the arrival of the PS3 and a quite content to watch their programs delayed and played straight to the Bravia at the flick of a switch.

As of last Thursday Australian PlayStation 3 owners finally caught up with the rest of the world with the PlayStation Network video store open for business, with downloadable full length movies available to those with a PS3.This brings the PS3 into line with Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, which already has a streaming video service available. Unlike Microsoft, who only offers rentals, Sony will give users options to either rent or buy movies. Movies can also be transferred to the PlayStation portable handheld device.

Pricing so far is slightly cheaper than purchasing a new DVD or Bluray with say a new run movie, 3 or 4 bucks cheaper than a disc. HD and SD versions are both available to purchase or rent with rentals will starting at $4. Purchased movies are downloaded to the PlayStation hard drive, where they can be viewed or transferred to a PSP. They also come wrapped in DRM, limiting playback of purchased movies to the PS3 or PSP. Adam Turner will have more on this in this week’s view from the couch. Movie data downloaded to the PS3 will be subject to your Internet download limits, but the good news is, if your ISP supports FREE iView, like mine does, you won’t mind the 1.2 GB download the kids put in the monthly usage on Saturday alone.  This is it folks – VOD is here in Oz. If you’ve been holding off to see what’s going to happen, now is the time to re evaluate the market. Keep away from ISP contracts like those of Telstra and Optus and keep your options open, as this will certainly start to push us towards the US model where we all you can eat broadband (limitless downloads) is the norm. The speed at which you consume is proportional to the price you pay! Bring it on!

This week on TTR

Adam Turner takes a look Video on Demand and Sony’s Playstation 3
Pakistan shuts down YouTube, Facebook
Google announced the new Chrome web store
Telstra takes Next G out to sea, and
Google takes Apps cloud to the enterprise