Earlier this week, YouTube added Close Caption to its features set. As lots of people around the planet, I've been waiting for it since months- not that I'm deaf myself (at least not according to my last check-up last June), but I like to think from the end-user side.
According to TechCrunch, "[this] will not only allow videos to appeal more directly to foreign audiences, but will give YouTube excellent data for searching videos and targeting ads to them."
Go to the YouTube to read the whole announcement :
Here at YouTube, we're always trying to find new ways to enrich your
viewing experience and to help video creators reach a wider audience.
As part of this goal, we've added a new captioning feature which allows
you to give viewers a deeper understanding of your video. Captions can
help people who would not otherwise understand the audio track to
follow along, especially those who speak other languages or who are
deaf and hard of hearing.
You can add captions to one of your videos by uploading a closed caption file using the "Captions and Subtitles" menu on the editing page. To add several captions to a video, simply upload multiple files. If you want to include foreign subtitles in multiple languages, upload a separate file for each language. There are over 120 languages to choose from and you can add any title you want for each caption. If a video includes captions, you can activate them by clicking the menu button located on the bottom right of the video player. Clicking this button will also allow viewers to choose which captions they want to see.
Some of our partners have already started using captions to offer you a better understanding of their videos (even with the audio turned off):
- BBC Worldwide: captions are provided in five different languages on this clip from Top Gear.
- CNET: tech product reviews from CNET's Crave blog.
- UC Berkeley: footage from the Opencast Project Open House.
- MIT: full lectures on subjects like Physics.
- Gonzodoga: English subtitles on this awesome Japanese animation.
We hope captions will serve to tighten the YouTube community by bringing together international users from different cultures.
We're excited to see what kinds of fun and creative uses for captions you'll be coming up with for your videos!
I read the TechCrunch article and the YouTube post twice : I haven't seen any mention of hearing impairment, whilst this Close Captioning system is the perfect tool to give access to videos to the deaf people, right ?
Then I googled "YouTube closed caption" (btw : I used Ubiquity for this : fast & easy): only three out of the ten sites on the first page are citing disabled people as the target users of this new feature. That's Media Bullseyes, CNet' Webware, and - no surprise, provided the name of the site : 4HearingLoss.
IMHO, that's really not much. Lucky Web 2.0 key players : they suffer no disease...
So-derle, the Green Fiber Evangelist' video collection got a huge success last week at the training I was delivering to a french telco. For the second time since a quarter of century, I haven't used a single slide as my fiber optics training materials but a web page.
The first time I used a navigator instead of M$ PowerPoint was back in 1996, when my friend Didier Boucher and myself were touring France to evangelize installers and end-users. By then, Netscape Navigator was our best companion, displaying the html pages I created with GoLive and the likes.
Last week, Firefox 3.0 beta and the amazing add-on PicLens were on the party. Thanks to the Internet. Means, thanks to the connection to the Internet. Because, unlike 12 years ago when all the html and jpeg files forming my presentations were on my Mac's hard-disk, today the whole stuff is... on the Cloud. YouTube, Picasaweb, Facebook, etc. : they're all online.
That's the bad thing when you're a connected guy like myself : you do rely a lot on the Internet. It strucked me the hard way this morning, when I was to go on the Green Fiber Evangelist blog to start the training session I'm delivering this week at a large install company : got no LAN connection to start with, hence no Internet connection, hence no online videos, hence no *live* training materials.
Then, the IT guy came to the rescue after lunch, to give me the IP address, DNS servers, proxy settings things to help my Mac go online. It worked, except for one little tiny detail : this company forbids some websites, among which... YouTube. Bye-bye the Green Fiber Evangelist blog (at least for the rest of the week here ;-)
This is kind of weird : a 6,000 employees firm who wants to penetrate the optical networks installation & maintenance business don't authorize ubiquitous access to the Net. By the way, only 600 (six hundred) people out of those 6,000 have an email address. 10%. Who don't even get access to the most popular websites in the world. As my dear former boss Robert is used to say : "there is room for improvement" !
Anyway, Accor hotels do provide free WiFi to their guests. So, thanks to Accor (and Orange), I'm posting this text from my hotel room. After an hour or so spent on downloading all the Green Fiber Evangelist videos on my Mac, with TubeTV.
That's the lesson of the day : never rely too much on the Net. Download vids and pics and copy them on a USB key before going to the customer. And start evangelize people : you need an internet connection to get on the Cloud ;-)
Why spend time on training course slides and notes design and edition, when everything you need is available on the Net ? Provided that people better remind images rather than text, YouTube is one of the new companions of the teachers, trainers, and instructors of all kind, together with Wikipedia and a few other Web 2.0 tools.
Here's a collection of videos I've put together for fiber optics training - most are in english, some are in french. Enjoy, and feel free to use. The playlist is available here.
I've revamped the Fiber On Demand blog. Was a matter of a few clicks only, thanks to Yahoo!Pipes (see the features in the previous post). Aggregating content from different sources onto a single web page has never been so easy.
Just missing a 3D/whirling/magnifying carousel, which will be available in a next release I guess.
French video sharing site DailyMotion is bidding for the French Soccer Premier League TV broadcast rights (actually, the VOD online magazine part) for seasons 2008 to 2012. The startup competes against medias giants Canal+, TF1 and France Télévisions, TV channels M6, Eurosport, and Direct8, but also against telcos Orange and SFR.
No matter the final decision by the League, the fact that a WebTV platform is offering its services shows how things are moving fast. Industry shake-up, you said ?...
See here for more details (link in french).
I'm currently testing the new Zattoo Beta application. Just blazingly simple.
Says the US startup' website homepage : "Zattoo is live TV on your PC - it's the football game as you chat, the news as you email, and your favorite soap as you pay your bills. Zattoo is also TV when you don't have a TV - it's the channels you want, when you want, where you want.".
Seriously speaking, Zattoo is the application lots of us were waiting for since a while : an easy way to watch free TV live channels on our computers.
Now, the question is : how will Zattoo make money, provided that the software is supposed to be free of charge ? The answer may be in the Partners page :
Zattoo's customers are end users: people who appreciate high-quality, quick-start, long-play video from multiple channels available on one browser. Broadcasters and advertisers are our business partners.
The ability of broadcasters to reach large audiences via the Internet has until now been limited by the unfavorable economics of Unicast, whereby for each additional audience member a broadcaster has had to incur additional cost. Zattoo solves this problem with our peer-to-peer distribution architecture, which allows broadcasters to reach ten times the audience with no additional infrastructure investment. For the cost of serving 10,000 users with Unicast, broadcasters can now serve 100,000 users with Zattoo.
Zattoo provides broadcasters with compelling competitive advantages beyond reducing operating cost. Zattoo gives broadcasters the technology to deliver streaming with vastly increased quality, reliability and unmatched video smoothness. Furthermore, Zattoo enriches the user experience by integrating compelling multimedia elements, thus making the Zattoo experience stickier than traditional TV.
Contact: Niklas Brambring, Content Acquisition Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Zattoo enables advertisers to leverage the most successful web-based advertising methods in combination with the best attributes of broadcast television "spots" by supporting banner ads, targeted text ads and video clips. Advertisers understand the inherent strengths and value propositions of each method and can make an educated investment to reach specific audiences. Furthermore, advertisements can be sourced from ad specialists and integrated without modification, leveraging de facto industry standards.
So, correct me if I'm wrong : Zattoo gets (or will get) revenues from both the channels broadcasters and the advertisers. I understand the earlier, but don't get the later one yet : does that mean we will experience complementary ads during the live program ? Such as embedded contextual advertising, for instance.
Think about the combination of a live transcription system (used in live captionning) together with customized/localized advertising content : you're watching the latest '24' episode (well, once the writers' s strike will be over ;-), Jack Bauer is driving the brand new Ford SUV, and boom, you see a beautiful ad banner urging you to call your local Ford dealer... That is the power of TV thru Internet : UCC "User Customized Content", as opposed to the UGC User Generated Content.
The question is : could Zattoo be the Next Big Thing ? When it's about watching live TV on a PC, probably yes. Is that what the people want (watching live TV on a PC), I don't know. On the one hand, some want a PC on their TV, on the other hand some want TV on their PC. The right answer is called something like "convergence", isn't ?
So, what do I Average Joe want ? I want Zattoo on the iPhone. I have VOD already (iTunes, YouTube), now I'd like to get live streaming too. Because I'd like to be able to watch Roland Garros live whilst Im' sitting in a High-Speed Train.
Last thing on Zattoo before a more deeper review some time later : the folks there seem to care about their users. As an example, I've received the invitation to download the beta in french, although the company is based in the US (as far as I understood on the 'About' page). The set-up is quite fast and simple too. Pretty neat stuff, Folks ! Keep going ;-)
To visit Zattoo : here.
The CES big circus has just started. If you can't make it to Las Vegas, you can still attend the show and get the whole flavor of it... on the Web.
See here, here, and here. Lesson : WebTV is the future. And the present, too, should you have a broadband access.
Ed. note : for a full coverage of CES'08, Robert Scoble has the list.
Post-Scriptum : I wonder if the folks at the Optical Society Of America are going to offer the live coverage of the forthcoming OFC-NFOEC exhibition in San Diego next month.
" Everyone's constantly on Twitter and Facebook and sending IMs and making videos of themselves talking while driving and having meetings and figuring out who's hot and who's not and who's raising money and who's flaming out and what's Google going to do next and has anyone know if MySpace is going to get on OpenSocial and some guy from Yelp just went to Digg or is it MetaCafe and I just heard Owen wrote something about Brian Lam and supposedly they're totally not talking now and Megan threw water at Ryan Block because Veronica didn't like something Valleywag wrote about her and did you see what Kara wrote about Arrington and then Arrington wrote something back and then Om weighed in and he said blah blah mwah mwah twitter twitter twitter ..."
An hilarious post from the marvelous yet fake Fake Steve Jobs about the so-stylish Robert Scoble (who, among other things, kept the whole Blogosphere up-to-date with his son' s birth a couple of months ago)
From tomorrow Thursday till Saturday, the 4 Screens European Festival is for European productions (reportages, reality-inspired fiction, documentaries and docu-dramas) that deal with contemporary society and real-life .
Interesting part : the Internet and Mobile competitions. The (Information) World is changing...
To attend the Festival
from without leaving home (or your desk ;-) : DailyMotion here.
During a recent business meeting, I had to explain what's a wiki to novices. I did it in 30 seconds. Here is a more detailled explanation, yet even more entertaining and efficient.
I'm pleased to announce the release of my new weblog : " Fiber On Demand ".
Fiber On Demand displays all videos related to the FTTH Fiber To The Home technology available on the Net.
The first version, aka "beta" as usual, do aggregate content from YouTube and GoogleVideo. The actual query looks for all the files tagged "FTTH", without any further operation but filtering non-unique items, the results being combined into one single RSS feed.
To create Fiber On Demand "Beta", I've used only two tools, beside the TypePad platform of course : Yahoo!Pipes and Feed2JS. Total time spent to put together the actual version : less than 60 minutes, including 10 minutes to build and test the pipe, 20 minutes to test several options to display the RSS feed on a TypePad' weblog, and 20 minutes to create the current design of Fiber On Demand.
To get started, here is a comprehensive list of useful ressources :
- Yahoo!Pipes Blog
- Some Template Tips & Tricks blog
- 5 cool ways to use Yahoo!Pipes
- Yahoo! Pipes: Unlocking the Data Web by Jeremy Zawodny
My "FTTH_videos" pipe is available here. Developed from scratch - means it's not a clone of an existing pipe. Just to prove how easy it is to build your own app, even if you haven't put your hands on C++ since years (myself : was in the mid 90's, when I were a registered NeXT Developer ;-)
The next revision of Fiber On Demand will : a) exclude french-speaking videos, b) sort the videos by location.
Also, I'll do my best to get embedded YouTube clips instead of vignettes.
Last but not least, I'm preparing another video blog, this one aimed at education on fiber optics technology. Stay tuned ;-)
post-scriptum : to go to Fiber On Demand, click on the link under "Blogging On Fibergeneration" in the right hand' sidebar.
UPDATE Aug. 27, 2007 : I will publish the step-by-step process in a future post (read : soon).
" Cisco found that American video websites currently transmit more data per month than the entire amount of traffic sent over the internet in 2000. " This, and much more, into the article written by Matt Chapman of the Australian online magazine ITNews.
For the Telecoms Industry, this is the best news since the downturn : Finally, there is a real need for bandwidth.
It's a given that telcos, cable TV operators, and the remaining carriers' s carriers will have to build lots of new long haul networks pretty soon, for the actual infrastructure will start showing off its limits.
Let the big guys deploy their FTTH networks here, the CableTV folks upgrade to DOCSIS 3.0 there. Then, watch them struggle with the first Internet black-out, and you will see how quickly those new long-distance infrastructures will show up. So wonderful time ahead for the Fiber Optics fellows ;-)
post-scriptum : You may also read the original article published by Ars Technica last week : " Report: Cable companies facing big bandwidth crunch ".
(Thanks Bruno for the heads up)
The famous/must-read/sometimes-hilarious/always-right-but-on-portugal-matters/almost-as-good-as-the-real-one Fake Steve Jobs gets it on the forthcoming revolution which will change the Television industry for ever.
InternetTV station for teens Kazados.tv is live since a few hours. Have a look here. Warning : french speaking only (not text caption ;-)
French TV production firm 2T Productions (well, the site still under construction as of today 05/
25 26/07) is to launch kazados.tv its first television channel next week. As the iCTO, I have had the chance to participate to the adventure for a while. Kazados.tv is supposed to be the very first InternetTV station for Teenagers, made by Teenagers.
When I started working with 2T Productions as advisor in late January this year, the WebTV or InternetTV * world was still in its infancy. Kazados was one the of very few projects aimed at real TV ** experience : live streaming, as opposed to the classic progressive download technic used by the YouTubes, the vPods, and the likes. Launch your web browser, go to kazados.tv, and boom, you watch TV. You get the idea.
Based on a UGC User-Generated-Content concept, Kazados is also run by seasoned medias professionals, from producers to directors and journalists, all featuring 10 to 20 years of presence in the Television/Radio/Press industry. That means the audience will be watching contents which will be moderated by people used to create and broadcast TV programs, whilst the teens willing to create their own programs will get help from professional journalists and producers. Doesn't look like usual YouTube stuff, right ?...
We spent most of February and March to find out the best solution for the technical infrastructure : basically speaking, 2T is a ' Content ' provider, not a Web hosting/broadcasting platform.
So, we have investigated several options, from creating 2T's own infrastructure from scratch to calling on established firms - ooops, read : existing startups - offering Video Publishing platform and services. The first option wasn't the ideal one for a company a) based in France and b) targeting a french speaking audience : investors putting money into the so-called Web 2.0 arena are mostly based in the US, and it's hard to convince them with a french-only project. Plus, I prefer integrate an existing solution rather than reinventing the wheel (at least as long it's not about creating a true
disruptive proposition disruption ;-)
So, 2T decided to go for the second option : collaborate with an existing firm. Enter ipercast, a multimedia services provider based in Paris, vPod, the famous startup lead by Rodrigo Sepulveda Schulz, Gilles Babinet' Eyeka, and a few other smaller players. Issue #1 : those very talented and smart guys still didn't get it. They all offer Progressive Download and/or VOD Video-On-Demand services, whilst Kazados is a real television channel, meaning it's broadcasting a live video stream. On top, kazados.tv is a full-Flash website, featuring Flash video files. Hosting it onto their respective platforms wasn't an easy task, requiring too much development work for their sw teams in regards of the tight schedule.
In the meantime, we took a look outside the french borders. Democracy was an interesting option, but the folks out there seemed to be too busy to answer my calls properly. Nevertheless, the concept is interesting. Then came Joost, which we couldn't test on time for the launch of kazados.tv next week. Veodia, which is an outstanding platform for real professionals, was just starting when we had to take a decision, and Mogulus, which seems to be the perfect solution to test new online TV concepts, was operating in private beta.
Finally, at the end of April, 2T decided to partner with the Britany-based TV production firm VO-Productions, which do internetTV since a while. That's why I'm no longer in charge of the launch of kazados.tv, by the way : most of the time, merging two projects together means you need only one project manager. In the business, 1 plus 1 often equals 1 ;-)
However, over the last month the landscape has changed quite dramatically. InternetTV and UGC become mainstream, see the numerous recent announcements. Justin.tv is the hot stuff at the moment. Always surprising to see what teenagers are watching on television, no matter it's on the Net or not !
Last, I wish kazados.tv would have been made of mixercast, vPod, and Joost for all the user interface stuff, Mogulus for the features set, and Veodia for the flexibility.
I also wish someone will soon come with a solution for live text caption for disabled people : those among the population who can't hear properly can't certainly not jump on the WebTV bandwagon. Plus, once you can insert text caption, you can also insert text translation. See the video below for a better understanding (joke).
More info on Flash Video here and here (Adobe' DevCenter is a fantastic source for self-training), and video webcasting technologies here.
Chris Tew of WebTVWire does a tremendous job watching the internetTV trends, read for instance " Online Video No Threat to Television says YouTube " here.
Chris has published a very detailled review of Mogulus here.
Another great source of information is Broadcast Yourself Live On The Web: Best Tools To Create Your Own Live Web TV - A Mini-Guide written by Michael Pick of MasterNewMedia : a must read.
* I still don't know how to say, because the two words are in use today to describe the very same thing : watch a TV channel on the Web. See dictionary here for more details, and read the impressive list of internetTV services already available.
** I'm not talking about those RealTV things.
contents contains material which can offend some people. DO NOT WATCH IF YOU ARE IN THE OFFICE ;-)