I admit, I was a bit harsh on ZillionTV in my previous post. I based my report on a limited amount of information – essentially, the press release and the Web site – both of which left a lot of room for interpretation.
Shortly after that item posted I heard from ZillionTV and had a nice long chat with CEO Mitch Berman and Senior VP Mike Catalano.
“You made us look like the Sheriff of Nottingham, but we’re really Robin Hood,” says Berman.
The former HBO exec says he and Catalano built ZillionTV to serve consumers by trying to break the logjam of rights management and “availability windows” that makes video on demand so damned frustrating. But the only way to make it palatable to content owners (aka, Hollywood) was to ensure that everyone got a piece of the action — hence the targeted advertising model.
“If we can create a balance where everyone gets something out of it, ultimately consumers will win,” he says. “We’re acting as a bridge representing the consumer point of view to [Hollywood], so we can get as close as we can to doing the kinds of things people want to do.”
Berman also says the quality of the service is far superior to Netflix Watch Instantly and other streaming video services. LATimes.com’s Jon Healy had the benefit of seeing ZillionTV in action. Here’s what he had to say about the quality:
I watched a bit of ZillionTV in Berman’s office in Santa Monica, and the images were quite impressive. Seconds after programs were selected, they began playing in what looked to me like DVD quality — a welcome contrast to the delays inflicted by Hulu and Netflix’s streaming services. … Just as impressive was the motion-sensitive remote control, which enabled Berman to select items simply by pointing at the right spot on the screen and clicking.
A few other corrections and elaborations….
For the rest of this post see my Computerworld blog, Culture Crash.
Image of Errol Flynn as Robin Hood (not to be confused with Mitch Berman) found on Snarkerati.