It's an interesting attempt to circumvent the cable/satellite/over-air broadcast model entirely by using the internet in a new way, and it's great to see a new company innovating in the space. However, unless they sign on some pretty significant heavyweight content providers, they'll have a tough time luring customers with their current offerings (which seem too niche and not that extensive). They're also limited to DRM-laden Windows Media 9 video, so don't expect to be playing your own DVD backups captured as MPEGs anytime soon. [PVRblog]
OK - this 'could' be it. Major VC backing, decent range of content.
The key issues will be:
- content, content, content - maybe alittle eCommerce, and then MORE content
- and oh yah - did I say content - so what about video blogs? audio blogs? That's content and it's cheap.....
- can this box do more than just what they want it to do?
- how cheap will it be: both hardware and software (will they subsidize it's costs - like TiVO did?)
- does it work, is the UI as sexy as TiVO and how cleanly it integrates with the rest of my Tv world
Akimbo is one of the survivors from a wide range of players that wanted to ship something 'in this space'. They have been attempts at encoding video into the VHF signal, and all sorts of store it on the hard drive (download at night) scenarios.
But regardless of the technology, it's really a cultural issue. Will people sit and watch content - which is NOT from cable or satelite?
Akimbo's content is a nice start - but not enough to pay - what? 10$ a month? $20 a month? And how much for the box?
It's really been a battle of attrition in this 'digital TV space'. They certainly won't have a hard time finding a SHITLOAD of independent content - though. The video artists will go gah-gah about getting paid.
Billions have been spent on TV programming over the years - and it ALL should be available "on-demand". I just wonder of Hollywood goes for it.
Oh - oh yah. I wonder if Akimbo is paying off all the patent holders in this space - or if consider themselves yet another holder of 'valuable IP', like digital TV, TV on-demand, digital distribution of, vidoe thumbnails, strings of pearls timelines, EPGs, etc.
Update by Om Malik:
||Akimbo's IP TV.
Paid Content has an interesting piece about Akimbo, a new company that is launching today, with an IP TV service, centered around the TV rather than the PC.
This is how it works - the $199 Akimbo box is connected to your television/home entertainment center, and can also be plugged into your “high-speed Internet connection.” For $9.99 per month, plus additional premium options, users will be able to download up to 200 hours of content at a time onto the box. Initial content will include a lot of ‘specialty’ video—foreign films, educational content, sports events that aren’t available on satellite or cable, and adult content, reports Paid Content. The company has a partnership deal with CinemaNow for movie distribution.