Vid-Biz: Magnify, Tremor, Spinal Tap

Magnify.net Raises $500K; new funding comes from previous investors, brings total amount raised to less than $3 million. (paidContent)

Two Execs Leave Tremor Media; co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Andrew Reis and co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Jesse Chenard depart the video ad network to pursue startup opportunities. (MediaPost)

Smell the Glove, Apple to Produce Original Spinal Tap Content; first original short film from iTunes reunites the aging mock rockers. (Tubefilter)

ESPN Bans its Workforce from Twittering Sports News; supposed internal memo from the network says “If ESPN.com opts not to post sports related social media content created by ESPN talent, you are not permitted to report, speculate, discuss or give any opinions on sports related topics or personalities on your personal platforms(.)” (CNET)

Study: Out of Home Video Reached 155 Million Americans Last Month; video displays in retail locations, grocery stores, gas stations and more are becoming ubiquitous. (MediaWeek)


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Vid-Biz: Schmidt, Netflix, YouTube

Eric Schmidt Resigns from Apple’s Board; move comes as the two companies increasingly compete head-to-head in multiple sectors. (GigaOM)

Report: Netflix Coming to iPhone/Touch and the Wii? Multichannel’s unnamed industry source says you’ll be able to watch on additional devices (though probably only over WiFi). (Multichannel News) Meanwhile, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said there is no magic number that would trigger the company offering a streaming-only solution, and that the company is still focused on its hybrid strategy. (Video Business)

YouTube Gets Into Local News; video site wants to work with news outlets to deliver (and monetize) News Near You content, but local stations aren’t sure if hooking up with Google is really in their best interest. (The New York times)

Real-Time Animation Starting to Transform TV Production; the ability to create graphics and animation on the fly helps with visualization during green-screen shooting. (Variety)

WGA to Rep CBS New Media Writers; 15 news, promo and sports writers creating content for CBS in the LA area joing up with the scribe’s union. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Add Some Asparagus to Your YouTube Video; CollegeHumor gives you the secret codes to spice up any YouTube clip. (via Mashable)


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What the Heck Is Going on With Apple TV?

Apple, during its quarterly earnings call yesterday, didn’t bring up its stepchild set-top box, the Apple TV. For those who follow the video industry, this is more of a predictable disappointment than a shocker. But as the video world evolves all around it, Apple appears to be stuck on pause, rather than fast-forwarding us into a television experience of the future. What gives?

AppleQ3

The company has a history of relegating the Apple TV to the kids’ table, referring to it as a “hobby,” or not referring to it at all, as it did yesterday during its second-quarter conference call. But time isn’t on Apple’s side, and if it wants to be a player in this space, it needs to do something. Consider:

  • Microsoft, ironically, is becoming a true innovator in the living room. The company associated with boring PCs isn’t just using its Xbox game console as a gateway onto people’s TVs, it’s busting down the door with new social viewing features, social media integration and 1080p HD streaming.
  • Netflix and Amazon continue to strike deals with multiple consumer electronics partners, putting their services on just about every net-connected Blu-ray and TV out there. (And who knows, the two might merge to form one gigantic VOD Voltron-like service!)
  • Hulu and the cable companies will offer a one-two punch of putting TV shows from the broadcast and cable networks online. Granted, there will be windowing issues and you’ll need a cable subscription for some of that content, but these options greatly expand a viewer’s VOD choices at any one time.

But we still won’t count Apple out entirely. Michael Wolf over at our GigaOM Pro service (subscription required) recently outlined some new directions Apple could take with the Apple TV, including a shift towards gaming and apps and tighter integration with other Apple products, like the iPhone or a web pad.

What do you think is going on with the Apple TV? Do you have one? Do you use it? What does it need?


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Review Round-Up: iPhone 3G S Offers Improvements, But Nothing Revolutionary

Some of the first reviews have started to trickle in on the new Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPhone coming out this Friday. Above and beyond the consensus seems to be that the 3G S upgrades will be nice, but it’s nothing that will blow your socks off. Instead, the software update — which everyone can start downloading today — is much more important in terms of new features, especially since it’s accessible to all. Here’s a look at what the technology reviewers are saying: WSJ’s Walt Mossberg: “I don