Microsoft Launch Messenger TV

Social Networking, Technology, The Interwebs No Comments »

Microsoft today launched their new Messenger TV service (Screen shots of which are here), an add-on to their popular MSN instant messaging service, allowing users to watch videos online whilst exchanging messages.

Through the Windows Live Messaging console these videos can then be easily shared amongst friends in your IM community, creating what is said to be a unique social experience and opening up an untapped advertising market.

The service will provide a range of TV clips several minutes in length, provided by companies such as UK based Channel 4. Channel 4 will provide clips of shows including Peep Show, Property Ladder, Father Ted and Shameless, whilst other content producers will include ITN, Reuters and National Geographic as well as record label EMI.

Other content tipped to be played on the service includes South Park and Pimp My Ride, as well as music videos from Kylie to Britney Spears. The service will run adverts ahead of the clip as well as an advertising banner throughout the duration of playback.

The service is initially being launched in 20 countries, many throughout Europe, which is home to 95 million Windows Messenger users. Microsoft has around 14 million monthly unique users of Windows Live Messenger in the UK alone. It will also launch in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Brazil, Canada and Mexico but not the United States.

“We see Windows Live Messenger as media in its own right, one that has been somewhat untapped as an opportunity,” – MSN UK exec producer Peter Bale.

Channel 4’s director of new media technology John Gisby commented on the deal with Microsoft.

“Our core audience is spending increasing amounts of time online and expects to be able to watch its favourite Channel 4 shows this way.”

John Mangelaars, the vice-president, EMEA, of consumer and online for Microsoft said “Online video has exploded in popularity over the last year, but to date it has been something people watch on their own. Messenger TV is set to change all that,”

The move by Microsoft comes less than a week after they pulled out of a long run take over approach for Yahoo, aimed primarily at its position in the online advertising market. This move certainly demonstrates the company’s eagerness to expand into that market.

Playstation 3 Overtakes Xbox360 in Europe

Gaming No Comments »

It has finally been confirmed the PlayStation 3 games console has overtaken Microsoft’s Xbox360 in sales in Europe according to figures released by Sony.

According to the Japanese manufacturer over five million units have been shifted across the continent and the PS3 has actually been outselling its rival since October.

“We have sold more PlayStation 3s throughout Europe than Xbox 360 even though they launched 16 months before us.” – Sony’s David Reeves

In the data released it was also stated that Sony has sold more than 12 million PSP handheld consoles and 48 million PlayStation 2 consoles throughout Europe.

Although Sony has successfully outsold Microsoft, Nintendo’s Wii console remains the dominant console in terms of sales. The Wii has sold over 25 millions units world wide.

The sales figures come after the PS3 console suffered a torrid initiation with users initially disappointed by early game titles coupled with stock problems, but as the console recovered it has managed to shift half of global unit sales throughout Europe.

“I think its fair to say that the first year of PS3 was a difficult one, there were some teething problems, and our customers were a little under whelmed by the range of titles that were available.” – SCE president and CEO

With all that behind them these figures suggest that the PS3 console will enable Sony to reclaim top spot as leading console manufacturer.

“I am very confident that after the 10-year lifecycle we will have the install base that we are looking for and that is obviously to be in the leadership position.” – Mr Hirai

It was also announced Sony are looking into disc free network gaming (http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/hirai-talks-about-playstation-future-360628 ) for future generations but admits that the global infrastructure in not yet in place to support such a concept.

Luka Modric to Spurs for £16.5 million

Football No Comments »

Without any football news The Shelf couldn’t quiet live up to its name, so today we discuss the new signing of Luka Modric from Dinamo Zagreb by Tottenham Hotspur.

Equalling their club record transfer fee set last summer when Darren Bent signed from Charlton, Tottenham have signed Croatian midfield play maker Luka Modric for a fee of £16.5 million on a six year deal that is subject to a work permit being granted.

Signed from Dinamo Zagreb Luka Modric was born in 1985, and at the ripe age of 23 Spurs certainly have the best six years of his career yet to come. For his former club he last year picked up a parallel award with the premier leagues ‘Player of the Year’.

More accustomed to a central midfield role Modric had been playing in a wide left position for his former club showing a versatility that is much needed at the Lane.

Internationally Modric has represented Croatia at under 17, 19 and 21 levels and now figures as an integral part of Slaven Bilic Croatian plans. Playing along side Arsenals Eduardo, Portsmouth’s Niko Kranjcar and Vedren Corluka of Manchester City, Modric is one of a crop of talented young playing emerging in the Croatian national team.

The national team qualified for the European Championships by topping their qualification group Croatia also played a helping hand in ending England’s Euro 2008 qualification, beating them twice including a 3-2 victory at Wembley in the final qualification game.

Due to appear in Group B alongside hosts Austria, tournament favourites Germany and Poland the international credentials of Modric will be put to the test, and the Euro finals could well prove a looking glass as to what to expect form him in the Premier League next season.

Yahoo Launches SiteAdvisor in SERPS

search, The Interwebs No Comments »

Yahoo has implemented technology into it search facility that will provide a warning for users if they are about to click onto a site that hosts viruses, spyware or spam.

Using SiteAdvisor from McAfee Yahoo will warn users via a SearchScan facility of potentially risky sites. The SearchScan facility will be in place as default to produce on screen alerts to its users.

“Our goal is to protect users by allowing them to make a more informed decision about the sites they visit,” said Yahoo’s Priyank Garg.

The tool that is being introduced as a free embedded tool which will warn users of three types of security risks, browser exploits, dangerous downloads and unsolicited emails.

The facility went live today and an example error warning can be seen with a search for ‘free music’ with a red explanation mark highlighting potentially hazardous sites.

By teaming up with McAfee Yahoo are trying to calm fears from users who accidentally click on wrong links in search results.

“Yahoo users have clearly told us that among the most important concerns for them are all these lurking threats on the Internet,” said Priyank Garg, director of product management for Yahoo’s search division. “They know the damage they can do but they don’t know how to protect themselves.

The add on demonstrates Yahoo’s plan to grab a bigger proportion of the search market amid a recent financial slump after a takeover bid from Microsoft was withdrawn seeing shares slump by 15%.

BBC iPlayer Available on Virgin TV

Technology, TV & Film 1 Comment »

In the latest move to expand to expand the reach of the BBC’s iPlayer , the publicly funded corporation has signed an agreement with Virgin Media that will see its service available on TV.

As a result of the deal a soft launched version of the service was launched this morning by Virgin Media. Currently the service is only available through the red button when viewing BBC1, however there are plans to add it to Virgin’s programme guide for direct access.

Customers of Virgin Media will be able to use the service to catch up on the past weeks programmes without the need to download any content or playing software.

The deal is expected to be available for 3.5 million Virgin Media customers who can each view up to 350 hours of free TV programmes that have been aired over the previous seven days.

Virgin Media’s content chief Malcolm Wall said of the deal

“The enormous success of iPlayer online has demonstrated the desire TV viewers have for viewing quality programmes at a time that suits them, and now it’s available from the comfort of the living room. Virgin Media is proud to be working with the BBC to continue to lead this revolution in TV viewing.”

The BBC’s director of future media and technology echoed statements made when the player struck a deal with games manufacturer Nintendo to enable the service to be played on the Wii, in a step to bring the service from PC’s into users living rooms.

“We have always envisaged [the] BBC iPlayer on a TV platform and in the living room. By working with Virgin Media, this ambition has been realised. This partnership takes us a step closer to transforming the way our audiences watch TV.”

Other deals over the past year have seen the iPlayer become accessible on the iPhone and iPod Touch, and the PS3 is also widely tipped to jump on board, with a download for the Apple Mac also planned.

“Where technically feasible our ambition is to bring iPlayer to as many platforms as possible” said another BBC spokes person

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