For Those People Streaming Of a White Christmas

Elsewhere on the Online Video Daily page, you’ll find a link to a Wired article that gives brief and useful answers to the questions your parents or others might pepper you with during the holiday season. Thank God for that.

Every year my wife and I tend to spend at least four to five hours—at least—showing how some gizmo or another works and maybe an hour or so on our way home complaining about how one relative or another could improve their life if only he/she got with it.

The plain fact is that some of those conversations are complete baloney because, well, we’re not so up to date either. (To tell you the truth, I’ve saved that Wired Q &A  for me, not my hopelessly un-with it sisters.)

One of the things I’m noticing already in what is the blur of the holiday season is that streaming devices are now being talked about as suitable Christmas, gifts. I think Roku’s advertising campaign that suggests self-gifting Roku implicitly acknowledges the familiarity gap between the person who might want Roku, and the persons who might actually buy it for them. The solution: Buy it yourself.  Another hidden message. You, the unknowing, can buy this thing for your streaming-savant relatives with the firm belief it’s something they want. And you could be right.

On quite a few Websites, Google’s Chromecast is being touted as a great gift, and at $35 a pop it’s at a price point that makes it a gift that doesn’t hurt too much. It’s also simple—it verily screams simple—so it’s a good gift to give to people who don’t know what they’re doing. Gigaom created an audio gift-giving guide for which Chromecast is the base line and “connected pepper-spraying toys” is kind of the opposite extreme, though that’s a little bit of invented stretch.

The online content business seems to be just in its first days of creating comparisons between online services, which speaks to the kind of mass acceptance that also encourages more careful shopping. The very same Gigaom wonders why Netflix original programming is so much better than Hulu or Amazon originals. It’s a shaky proposition. (Amazon Prime’s “Alpha House” is great, for one.)  “House of Cards” without Kevin Spacey would have been thoroughly average. Of course, HOC was with Kevin Spacey, but my point (I hope) is clear:  It got lots of props and Emmy nominations based on star power, not absolute, mind-blowing overall quality.

It's kind of surprising that Amazon Prime isn't spending more money or energy promoting its unique proposition: Buy the online service, and get free delivery of stuff you buy from Amazon's wide emporium. That's a good deal at the right time for shoppers.

And in Britain, there’s a new service from TankTopTV, which, over there, will tell you which online services are offering the best deals on back-catalog episodes of popular series. That’s damn handy because it also compares that cost to the price of the box set for them too. Services like that bring price sensitivity to the masses, and that’s got to be a signal the masses want what’s being sold. Once you quit kicking the tires, you buy the car. That might be where the viewing public is right now.

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