Monday, 26 November 2012

Online Entertainment

Online Entertainment
Online social entertainment blends entertaining interactive functionality and content including live video streaming, video chat communications, multi-player gaming, music and videos streaming, with social networking service such as social graph management, forums, reviews, ratings, and geo-location options. It is the foundation for a more immersive, interactive, enriching and engaging content consumption experience through social channels.  Social entertainment is distinct from social networking websites in that the former is based fundamentally on immersive engaging experiences with functionality, content and people, while the latter is based primarily on building and maintaining relationships with other users. Typically, social entertainment is defined by the individual sites dedicated to a particular type of entertainment experience incorporating basic social networking services.

Online Television and Radio    
TV and Radio catch up services such as BBC iPlayer, 4od and ITV Player have changed the way people watch TV and listen to radio. In this day and age more people tend to wait for TV shows to get onto the online catch up sites before they watch them as it is much more convenient for them to watch it whenever they want to. This eliminates the need to watch programmes as they are aired on TV. It is an extremely useful service for everyone to use and allows anyone to catch up on TV no matter what programmes they watch. The graph below shows how the amount of requests on these sites has grown over the last 2 years.

The best thing about these services is that they do not require a television; you can simply use and device with an internet connection to access them.  The other great thing is that as long as you are only watching the programmes after they have been broadcast then you do not need a TV license to do so. This is a brilliant advantage to the service and makes it practical for students at university. However you do need a TV license if you are watching TV programmes as they are broadcast live. There are disadvantages with this service such as the possibility of using illegal unofficial sites that may give you a virus. Another disadvantage is that if you own an old computer downloading the software needed to run some of these programmes can slow your computer down drastically. I always use these catch up services to watch programmes that I have missed and find it especially useful if I forget to record a programme as it is always available to watch.

Advantages of Online Television and Radio
·         It is a little more convenient- as you can watch or listen to the TV programme or radio station whenever you want.
·         Don’t have to worry about missing the shows you want to watch as they will constantly be there on the internet.
·         Also the internet may show things online which you may not receive on normal television or radio- this means you would receive more than you would have expected.
·         You can watch TV online at any time of the day or night

Disadvantages of Online Television and Radio
·         The main disadvantage of online television and radio would be that you would need an internet constantly for using these facilities.
·         This is quite expensive to obtain, therefore may put people off of doing it.
·         It also takes up internet bandwidth. Some TV programs are geographically restricted, if you view from official sites. Other sites are illegal and can come and go. Illegal sites can put you at risk of viruses and malware.
·         Some online TV channels might not work on certain computers or may involve an instalment of a programme that may be unwanted

I personally do use online television but not really radio. I tend to stick to the websites which are more reliable like: BBC iPlayer , 4OD and ITV Player, and not any others. I do this because I am very much aware of the effect viruses and malware can have on my computer. Therefore I would not want to put it at risk of this.

Online Music
Online music services are available to everyone that has internet access and there is a huge market including some of the leaders of the market iTunes, Spotify and YouTube. All of these services allow music playback although in different ways. Spotify is a free music streaming service with over 15million songs for the customer to choose from. It is possible to search through a range of different elements as well as create playlists of your favourite songs. The free version of the service is supported by visual and radio advertising; however it is possible to purchase the “Unlimited” service that is ad-free and allows unlimited plays of every song for £4.99 a month or even better the “Premium” service for £9.99 a month – the more expensive service offers everything that the unlimited service offers with the option to use the service on mobile devices such as iPhone and Blackberry. All these different options mean Spotify is suitable for everyone. Advantages of this service are that the free version allows you to listen to any song for free and could help to eliminate piracy. However the disadvantages of this service are that you do not own the song unless you pay to download it. Also it costs to pay for the “Premium” service allowing you to take the music anywhere. This means you still have to download songs in order to have them on your iPod or other device. I enjoy using Spotify as it is easy to use and means I do not have to spend loads of money on downloading songs every week or so, however I would prefer it if it was possible to have it on your mobile phone without having to pay money for it.   

The iTunes Store is a music download service. It was the original music download service although competitors such as Amazon and Tesco have rivalled the prices charged by the Apple run company to gain some of the custom. It allows you to download almost any song with a growing catalogue of over 18,000,000 songs there is not much that you cannot find – this is obviously an advantage of the service. In October 2011 the store experienced its 16billionth downloaded song. An advantage of the service is that it is cheaper to download a song than to go to the shop and buy the CD. It also means you can buy one song off an album in most cases instead of buying every song. A disadvantage of the service is that you have to download the iTunes software in order to buy songs through the iTunes store. Another disadvantage is that in order to use the songs you have brought your computer must be verified however you are only allowed to verify a certain amount of computers so you are limited to the amount of places you can play the music. I use iTunes when I want to download music however the prices are expensive so I try not to use it too much.

YouTube has become a regular part of everyday life for many people and is one of the most used entertainment services worldwide. It is a service that allows you to upload, view and share videos.  Enough material for 115,000 full length films is uploaded each week. This said the quality of these videos it not really at the same standards as feature length films. YouTube can give opportunities to people wishing to share their talents with the world whether it is as a singer, dancer, photographer, or film director. Justin Bieber was discovered through YouTube videos he posted and it was from there that he became the international superstar that he is today. This shows as well as YouTube being a great source of entertainment it can also be a great platform to your talents or views out to the world. The entertainment on YouTube can be found in a huge range of ways from video blogs to comedy videos. It is a diverse, multi lingual source of entertainment and in a completely different league to most entertainment sources. An advantage of this service is that it is completely free to use and you can have unlimited use of the service. Another advantage is that there are loads of videos to choose from and enough material to keep you entertained for ages. This can also be seen as a disadvantage as it is difficult to find something worth watching, so unless you know what exactly you are looking for you can end up spending ages looking for something decent to watch. I have posted videos before however not very often – the service is easy to use and it takes you step by step through the upload process. I use YouTube for watching music videos though you cannot make playlists easily so I use Spotify on more occasions. 

YouTube vs. Spotify
What is YouTube?
YouTube is a non-profit based website that allows video clips to be uploaded and then shared and streamed by millions worldwide; also being a default app on iPhones. YouTube has been the starting point of many singing careers and helped others gain a name for them; good or bad. When signing up to an account you can then subscribe to other peoples 'channels' and therefore can find their videos very easily. YouTube was created by the PayPal employers in 2005 and was then sold to Google Inc. in 2006 for 1.65 billion dollars; since then YouTube has become popular worldwide. But why? Since the laws of the computer misuse act came about in 1990 the copying of music has become harder and the access to music even worse; unless bought on CD. YouTube is therefore the saviour of music as it allows people to stream songs and can even help the music industry as it can be used as a promoter and prompter for a single to be bought.

What is Spotify?
Spotify is also a website for streaming music, but differently to YouTube, Spotify is a program download rather than online website. It is free to download and uses email and password as a login to the software. It isn't a video website but is an mp3 streamer containing thousands of different albums on and a wide range of genres. It was created in 2008 and now can be loaded on to iPhone as an app, great for sharing music online. Spotify has a free version which offers limited streaming but also has two other paid versions of £4.99 a month or £9.99 a month, these offers things such as unlimited streaming and no advertisements. Spotify is great for musical enjoyment at home.

Which is the best?
I have to sway with the majority of people and choose YouTube as the favourite simply because it offers the most entertainment with documentary, music, DVD trailers, and personal uploads and much more.

Advantages of Online Music
·         Provides quick and instant listening.
·         You do not have to pay to listen to song on Spotify or YouTube.
·         A lot more practical for everyday life, as you will not have every single song you love on a CD.
·         These services are there 24/7.

Disadvantages of Online Music
·         You still need an internet connection to use the online music facilities- which in the long run is expensive.
·         Uses up quite a big chunk of internet bandwidth.
·         Opens up your computer to viruses, malware etc.
·         Some software may have to be downloaded in order to use the facilities; this may not be wanted by some computer users.

I do personally use several online music facilities. But the main ones I stick to are YouTube, Spotify and iTunes. This I because they are such well-known companies that it is extremely unlikely that I will become prone to viruses and malware from using them. If I did somehow get virus threats on my computer from using these sites, then my ‘AVG 2012 security’ would tell me immediately and try to rectify the problem.

Online Gaming    
Online Gaming is popular worldwide and games such as World of Warcraft and Second Life have become addictions to millions of people. Some people play games online occasionally for entertainment, others can get addicted and lead their lives by the games. Second Life is a virtual online world that allows you to have a complete life online with the option to socialise as well as other things; it even has its own economy with real currency! For some people this second life can become reality and they can spend all their real money buying the money in Second Life and buying additional downloads to the game. It allows people to interact with others and also gives the opportunities for those who are socially awkward to be someone they are not normally which is an advantage however for the same reason it is so easy to be someone you’re not that it could be a security risk therefore a disadvantage. Many could also argue that games like these are potentially unhealthy as people could become too absorbed by them, this is again a disadvantage.  This is particularly true if people invest a lot of money into games such as these by buying the additional features. However it is possible to make money from games like Second Life – a woman who played the game set up a virtual shop selling clothes for people to buy for their avatars and ended up leaving her job to fully concentrate on the business she had created through the game as it meant she was making four times her original salary. The good thing is games such as these don’t just offer entertainment but can help the economy and offer more jobs. I have never used online games like this although I can see why they would be popular.

Advantages of Online Gaming
·         They improve your decision making skills.
·         Develop problem solving skills
·         Increase you creativity levels
·         Increase your social/ interaction skills

Disadvantages of Online Gaming
·         Online gaming can become an extremely desired and significant component in one’s life. In such scenarios, the individual affected will often neglect his/her professional, educational and personal obligations overall. As a result, the individual undergoes a change in his/her overall attitude towards daily experiences.
·         Online gaming can also instil aggressive characteristics in children and teenagers who frequently associate themselves with violent internet gaming. Youngsters can develop negative attitudes towards their general surroundings. As a result they may undergo difficulty in maintaining positive relationships overall.

I do personally use online gaming as a hobby; as a break from school work. It is a good way for me to relax and enjoy some time by myself. I don’t however spend excessive amounts of time playing online games as I feel my education prioritises over video games.  

Piracy is a serious problem when it comes to online entertainment such as music and movies. It is an illegal activity but that does not stop millions of people in the UK alone repeatedly doing it. It seems almost impossible to stamp out piracy however hard anybody tries. When piracy occurs people are not paying for the things they are downloading and it is pretty much stealing, you may as well walk into a shop and steal it. However because it is all online it seems people become immoral and do not realise what they’re doing. It is said to cost the music and film industries millions of pounds every year and means the people creating the entertainment do not get paid for it. This could lead to films and music not being made – after all there seems no point if people are not making a living from it. This is a major disadvantage to all online entertainment services. However services such as iTunes and Spotify are helping to give an alternative to piracy, which is a definite benefit of these particular services. Adverts are often played on Spotify reminding you that piracy is wrong. In cinemas they now also have adverts that explain the consequences of piracy and thank you for paying to come to watch the film. These adverts are a positive thing and should help reduce and eliminate piracy. 

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