MediaWorks Delivers Better Video On Demand

MediaWorks has improved its video on demand service for TV3 and C4 shows but says it’s still too costly to stream them in HD.

“We offer 770 kilobytes as our top-quality stream, though we can go higher at any time,” MediaWorks’ director of interactive Siobhan McKenna told

But she says HD would be too expensive for users because it’s bandwidth-hungry. “When the ISP deals are in the market to support this, we’ll do it. We already have TV files in HD. And TV3 was the first broadcaster to offer HD in New Zealand.”

McKenna says the new H264 encoded streams deliver “better definition and a nicer picture” than previously (which was Flash in various bitrates).

But she stresses the VoD enhancements have more to do with loading speed than bit rates (because the service is hosted locally, connection is faster than peering arrangements that require going offshore).

While MediaWorks claims the upgraded video player offers a “TV-like experience” but with shorter ad breaks, even on a 24-inch computer screen the video falls well short of SD viewing on a TV display.

Moreover, while it allows you to catch up with series like The Good Wife, Glee, NCIS LA, Modern Family, Underbelly, RadiRadiRah or Bones immediately after their broadcast, why would you bother when they can be recorded in HD on TiVo or MySky HDi?

Because MediaWorks research shows 85% of on-demand viewing incrementally builds free-to-air viewing: 77% watch online because they missed the show on air, enabling them to keep up with it.

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