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January 10, 2000 1:59 AM
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THE FUSE: iCrave Streaming Canadian Television, FreeDSL, and TiVo's Big Announcements

iCrave Streaming Canadian Television, FreeDSL, and TiVo's Big
Announcements

by Tim LaTorre/EB Insider


>> iCraveTV.com Continues Treading on Dangerous Ground

After upsetting the powerful National Football League by broadcasting games
to Canadians on the Internet without permission, Canadian ibroadcaster
iCraveTV.com announced this week that it plans to offer Canadian television
channels to the U.S. beginning in February. By operating in Canada, which
has no regulation of the Internet, the site is hoping to continue to
sidestep U.S. and Canadian copyright laws, which opponents have argued that
they are breaking. Even though U.S. law regulates the broadcasting of
television over the Internet, iCraveTV transmits U.S. signals on its site,
asking viewers to regulate themselves and certify that they are viewing from
Canada. The new service would work in the opposite direction, asking viewers
to certify that they are watching Canadian signals from the U.S.. Although
the parties offended have threatened to take the company to court, iCraveTV
has not been served with papers. The Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission
, Canada's version of the FCC, decided in May
that will not get involved with content issues on Web sites, fearing it
would limit growth. iCraveTV, which gets its revenue by selling advertising
placed above or beneath the viewing screen, has argued that their service
creates new opportunities and markets for everyone involved.


[For more information, visit:
http://www.icravetv.com.]


>> Broadband Digital Group Sets Broadband Free with FreeDSL

Extending the free Internet access movement into the broadband arena,
SoCal-based Broadband Digital Group (BDG) is planning to offer free,
advertising-supported DSL service called FreeDSL. Hoping to ignite consumer
broadband demand, the new venture faces the daunting task of creating a
traditionally expensive technical infrastructure while keeping up with the
pace of projected subscribers. In a recent CNET News article, BDG chief
executive Ryan Steelberg (who also started the companies AdForce and
AdSmart) stated that "this is the opportune time [to gain market share],
before the tidal wave breaks for the massive deployment of DSL". The move
places DSL leaders such as Excite@Home and Covad Communications, whose
business models depend on paid subscriptions, in a difficult situation. If
the FreeDSL service is a hit, they will be forced to follow suit or find new
ways to compete in the DSL market. FreeDSL officially launched on January
3rd, but DSL service won't be activated until April 1.


[For more information, visit:
http://www.freedsl.com.]



>> Tivo Steps Up to the Plate and Adds Internet and Video-on-Demand

This week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas proved a proper showcase
for two big announcements from digital video recorder (DVR) company TiVo
Inc.
. In the first deal, TiVo has signed an agreement with set-top box
software developer Liberate Technologies which will incorporate Liberate's
technology into the TiVo Personal Video Recorder system, adding Internet and
video-on-demand capabilities to its functions. In the second deal, video
rental chain Blockbuster Entertainment has signed with the company to
deliver content through the boxes. The excitement created by the
announcements was much needed, as they come after Microsoft's revelation in
December that it was entering the DVR market with its WebTV service and a
deal with satellite provider EchoStar. Both announcements show that TiVo has
recognized that it needs to move fast and make good friends if it wants to
grab a large market share.


[For more information, visit:
http://www.tivo.com.]



>> BRIEF BRIEFS: WindowsMedia.com Grows, RealNetworks and Yahoo!, and
Real's Streambox Suit

Internet research firm Media Metrix announced that visitors to Microsoft's WindowsMedia.com increased 909 percent from January to October . . .
Follow-up to last week's story on RealNetworks and Yahoo!. After weeks of speculation that the relationship had turned sour, Yahoo Broadcast announced
this week that it was extending Real's "preferred" streaming status on its
site . . . A U.S. District Court Judge decided not to rule now on whether or
not to grant RealNetworks a permanent injunction against Streambox.com,
maker of software products that convert Real files to other formats. The
court is expected to make a ruling later in the month.



THE FUSE is a weekly news column from EB Insider, a new publication focused
exclusively on the developing Web-based film and video industry. To read
this week's feature "As Net Fever Takes Hollywood, Web-based Development
Sites Make Their Mark
," visit: http://www.ebinsider.com

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