Cyberlink, a company known best for its PowerDVD software, is due to expand its online services and current products in 2008, as it plugs its retail products into the recent social trend running through the internet. We spoke with company representatives earlier today about what's due for release next week at CES and in the next few months, and we got some interesting insights...
PowerDVD is due for its yearly incremental update to version 8, which will be made available through retail in Q2 and OEM in Q3 (OEM typically counts for around 85 percent of Cyberlink's business). The company was keeping very quiet about specifics of new features, which will be announced at CES next week, but it did tell bit-tech
that it was aiming to launch version 8 in cooperation with a new online service that utilises social networking, called MoovieLive (yes, with two Os).
You don't have to own PowerDVD 8 to use MoovieLive though - it will be free to sign up and use, but the MoovieLive service will be heavily integrated into PowerDVD 8 and will offer far greater features for these "premium" users. The service will feature a database that will (at first offer to) automatically add extra meta-data and "other multimedia" for the user when they watch a movie using PowerDVD 8. It'll also (optionally) upload data about the movies you watch to your MoovieLive profile (you might want to be careful about "late night" viewing), so other users/friends on the service can see what you watch and recommend you alternatives you might enjoy.
There are other facilities like this on the net - Facebook has certain plugins and that's undoubtedly very
popular, and there's the IMBD message boards, but nothing really quite as specific and directly associated into the social linking and cataloguing.
Unfortunately there will be no Media Centre plug-in for PowerDVD 8, it's either still bought as a stand alone product or reserved for certain OEM partnerships.
Cyberlink is going down this route because it feels the need to differentiate itself from the other (free) players or CE devises, and to leverage the unique connectivity a PC as a key feature. In addition to this online service, there will be an update to Cyberlink Live
which we saw just after it launched last year. This currently has 200k TV shows and four million media files being (remotely) viewed, although Cyberlink didn't give specifics of actual people
signed up to the service. We were told that "Version 2" will be launched in March and will offer an updated feature set.
Finally, there will be an update to PowerDirector software (again in the next few months), where authors of video will be able to choose from a range of user uploaded and shared themes to expand the availability of content, instead of paying for extra content packs, as well as the ability to search popular websites like Flickr in order to get new backgrounds and themes for their work. This does however throw up some issues about crediting the owner of the work, or potential copyright infringement if the video/DVD is then sold commercially.
Do you think MoovieLive will be a hit and generate a new online community, or is it just another company trying to jump on the "social networking" bandwagon, relying too much on user generated content for its own gain? Let us know your thoughts, in the forums