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Like/Don’t Like: Online Video
Thursday, November 15, 2007 | posted by Mike

First off, let me thank everyone who sent along D.C. dining recommendations, either in the comments or via e-mail. I will undoubtedly be making a number of trips down there, so I’ll get around to all of your ideas at some point. I ended up at Ben’s Chili Bowl. A chili-dog with smoky, spicy chili and a nicely crisped skin – it was very, very good.

The conference itself (related to the day job) was interesting enough. During the continental breakfast, I was drinking my coffee and looking out the eighth-floor window at the driving rain falling on the Potomac and the Kennedy Center when two things occurred to me:

  1. Walking to the nearest Metro station without an umbrella is going to really suck.
  2. It’s time for another installment of Like/Don’t Like.

Considering our experience on TVFF and in the day job, we like to think that we know a little bit about the InterGoogle and the myriad ways that it can be used to repackage, reuse and optimize the value of content that companies, media outlets and other organizations are creating. And one of the things we’ve always loved is on-demand replays of programs on network Web sites…a service that (along with Netflix) got me all caught up on Heroes. You may have heard a thing or two about this kind of service in the news lately. It’s one of the reasons you haven’t had a new episode of The Daily Show in the past two weeks.

Like: Despite this unfortunate byproduct, we very much like the fact that the Food Network has begun making episodes of some of their shows available online. Full episodes and select bonus clips of The Next Iron Chef were the first to go up, a fantastic idea when you consider how a person could easily get caught up if they were either late joining the party or if they happened to miss an episode or two. And, of course, this is only going to become a better resource as more and more programs become available.

Don’t Like: But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that we don’t like the interface for the player. These days, you can’t be online for more than a few minutes before coming across a Flash-based video player (e.g. YouTube or the episode viewer on NBC.com). They’re very user-friendly and work well with their surrounding Web pages, even if embedded on a third-party site. The main issues with the Food Network version are that accidentally mousing-over the dropdown menu above the player causes a disconnection that puts you back at the beginning of the chapter. Normally, this wouldn’t be too big a problem because you could use the little slider to “fast forward” to the spot you left off. Except…there’s no slider.

Look, I feel like a little bit of a jerk bringing this up because I’m thrilled with the direction they’re going. But that kind of functionality will be absolutely necessary when they start putting recipe-based shows online and you can’t remember if you heard “tablespoon” or “teaspoon.”



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