Premium Service

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Premium Service

New postby marwatk on Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:04 pm

Hi all,

So, there are a lot of things that the BB doesn't handle well with regard to media. Off the top of my head there are these issues:

*Can't alter playback speed
*Can't normalize audio
*Can't play back all formats
*Not all servers support chunking for OTA downloading

An idea I've been toying around with is a 'premium' podtrapper service that would reencode audio and video podcasts on my server before pulling them down to your device. You could set things like playback speed, volume adjustments, resolution, etc inside PodTrapper, which would send that data over to my server instead of the podcast's server, my server would then request it on your behalf, re-encode it, and serve it back to you with full chunking (and even more robust downloading since I could add another layer of protection in the requests).

This would take a LOT of bandwidth, though, so it would likely come with a monthly fee. On the plus side, it would open up pretty much any format to any device, since I could re-encode just about anything to whatever format your device can play.

Before I went off and implemented it, I wanted to get an idea of what kind of interest there would be in such a service.

Thoughts?

-Marcus
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Re: Premium Service

New postby dougp01 on Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:48 pm

Hi Marcus,

An interesting idea. Do you have any idea of what your virtual BW needs would be?

Here's what I see could happen.
1) PT premium user requests podcast from original site and records URL
2) PT server notified and PT premium user shows conversion in progress
3) PT server grabs file and converts to most compatible format for BBs
4) PT server notifies PT user app, download is ready at a new URL
5) When download is verified, PT server checks for other PT users that may want this cast
6) If no other PT users need the file, purge.
7) If others do need the file, hold for N days?
8) This entire process could be automated.

BTW, most compatible format can also mean reducing audio bit rates.
When I worked for AT&T, we all knew voice grade only needs 2kHz for
decent audio clarity. If BB can playback at less than 192 kbps then do it.

Video podcast would be a similar story but resizing for various BB screen
sizes could be a bit thorny.

Also, I've had great success using the freeware media converter "Super".
Not sure if it has command-line options.


All the best, Doug
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Re: Premium Service

New postby arkolbus on Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:02 am

I'm interested, if only for the normalization and standardization of video. Of course, it depends on cost. Any thoughts on how you would price this?
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Re: Premium Service

New postby Tripper_ on Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:02 am

My old sansa player with rockbox installed could do a couple of these features. Altering playback speed was especially nice with some audio books. But being able to change playback speed on the fly "in real time" was what I liked. That way you could dial it in. I know this isn't currently possible on the blackberry. I would rather do the re-encode on my own computer.

Why not come out with a new version of podtrapper. Maybe with an updated gui, theme support (or just a way to change colors), fully implemented bookmarks and charge for the upgrade. I would be willing to pay an upgrade charge for the new version. I know this has been discussed before but podtrapper is easily worth an increase in price to $15-$20.
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Re: Premium Service

New postby marwatk on Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:50 pm

arkolbus wrote:Any thoughts on how you would price this?


No :) Thoughts?

Tripper_ wrote:Why not come out with a new version of podtrapper. Maybe with an updated gui, theme support (or just a way to change colors), fully implemented bookmarks and charge for the upgrade. I would be willing to pay an upgrade charge for the new version. I know this has been discussed before but podtrapper is easily worth an increase in price to $15-$20.


Not really worried about the money aspect (though it would be a perk), more that I get asked about it A LOT. Mostly the video format thing and the speed thing. Normalization I get asked about, but not as much as the other two. BUT, the only way I can implement them is to do the backend processing myself, which wouldn't be cheap in either CPU time or bandwidth, so I'd have to recover it somehow.

-Marcus
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Re: Premium Service

New postby arkolbus on Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:13 pm

marwatk wrote:
arkolbus wrote:Any thoughts on how you would price this?


No :) Thoughts?

Seems like you coud do a pay-as-you-go model (pay by the MB) or do it as a subscription service. I'm not sure what the economics are like on your side, but I wouldn't want to pay more than a couple bucks a month.

You could save a lot of unnecessary bandwidth by allowing the user to be selective about what feeds get routed through you.
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Re: Premium Service

New postby tnt118 on Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:35 pm

Neat idea, as there are some video podcasts I haven't had any luck watching yet on my BB.

I'm making some assumptions here, so tell me if this is way off-base. I figure there is a good bit more bandwidth involved in your server downloading a podcast, than in the stream to a users blackberry?

And if that's the case, perhaps there's a logic to your hosting a handful of the most popular podcasts for users, i.e. download and convert once, and that's then available for multiple people, at less total bandwidth to you?

So I could see almost a netflix type thing, where people are charged a nominal fee for this "library", and then alternately a nominal fee for a custom request. Personally, as much as I'd love this service, I don't see myself being able to justify more than $1 - $1.50 per month towards something like this.

Or, in a completely different direction, maybe you could accept donations (or charge an outright fee) towards a specific podcast, and then for a length of time that podcast is made available to everyone.

I know bandwidth isn't cheap, I'm just trying to think of a few things that might lessen the load a little, because as cool as this sounds, I'm not sure how many people you'd find with expendable income for something like this.

==========================

Actually, I just had another thought. I've used Orb quite a bit to transcode streams and video files, to stream to the blackberry. Maybe an option is to write a program that runs on a users PC, like Orb, downloads the podcast (I know you already have a PC download program for syncing, right?), but then tie in a way for PodTrapper to retrieve the converted file from a users own PC. For that, I'd probably pay another $15 or so for.
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