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Skinkers to provide live TV over the net

Joost or Slingbox killer?

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'We are definitely not taking on Joost'

"There's been a lot of confusion with people making two plus two equal 10," Berlucchi told the paper. "People call it a Joost killer, which is hilarious because the real title is 'trying to get television working over the Internet'. Microsoft would never do something like launching against Joost. They probably don't know what Joost is."

An unidentified person who said he was on the LiveStation development team posted the following on a blog:

"Unlike what some people are saying, we are definitely NOT TAKING ON Joost! We love Joost and think it's a great idea, but we are trying to do something different and complementary: we are trying to get live television on the computer. We believe that the user experience with streaming so far has never been really good enough. We hope to move the user experience a step forward and maybe to the point where people will look at LiveStation and think 'Wow, I can ACTUALLY watch this and keep it on my computer.' Thanks again for the support and interest but please don't go around shouting 'Microsoft is taking on Joost.' The correct slogan should be 'Skinkers is trying to get TV working on the computer!' and I can assure you, it is fun but very hard!"

In some respects, the Skinker technology and business plan looks more like a Slingbox killer than a Joost killer. Slingbox allows users to remotely view what is playing on their TV set at home via an internet connection.

Skinker does not appear to be intent on acquiring the rights to stream content on demand as Joost, Babelgum, and others are doing. Instead, the company seems to want to get content owners and distributors such as pay-TV services to use LiveStation to stream Silverlight-based video to PCs. That means consumers would not need a Slingbox to watch TV remotely from a PC (well it might if it involved a Pay TV service).

LiveStation is meant for live broadcasts, the company says, but, of course, there's no reason why it wouldn't be used to transmit video-ondemand if it turns out that it can, since the internet, DVRs, and VoD services are rapidly leading consumers away from "fixed time" TV viewing. Skinkers sees its technology being used by pay-TV services as a free or near-free add-on for delivering their shows and movies to PC users.

This article first ran in the current issue of The Online Reporter from Rider Research

Copyright © 2007, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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