New Apple iPods = Lower MP3 Player Costs

The new recently announced Apple iPods have apparently caused some pretty standard price reductions on a variety of MP3 players from several vendors.

For instance, the advertised price at many stores in the US for the 30-GB Microsoft Zune Digital Media Player is now $199.99.  And the San Disk 8-GB Sansa e280R MP3 player is now coming in as low as $129.99.

The new iPods are definitely pretty feature rich and will have a premium price for a while.

The marketplace continues to be dominated by Apple, and that will probably not change anytime in the near future even with the price drop/rebate that Apple is doing with the iPhone.


New Lower Price Changes For MP3 Players

I continue to monitor the price changes in mainstream consumer advertisements for MP3 players. 

They haven't changed much in recent months until this week.

Some things I noticed:

  • Office Depot: SanDisk 2-GB c250 for $50 plus Archos 4-GB 104 for $100.
  • Circuit City: Creative Zen V Plus 4-GB for $100 plus Zune 30-GB for $230
  • Fry's: San Disk 2-GB C150 for $40 (after rebate) and RCA Lyra 5-GB for $50

It is my prediction that as per GB costs for Flash MP3 players gets below $25, and per GB costs for hard drive players get near $7 that more people currently not on the mobile digital media band wagon will have less of a financial reason to stay out of the game.

This should help generate more people looking for podcast content. What do you think?


Some Interesting Podcast Advertising News

According to Future Tense Podcast there are now two organizations that have recently started up to help define how future advertising should be integrated into downloaded media like audio and video podcasts.

The groups are:

There are some interesting related comments from Eric Rice and Podcast Brothers.  I think the concept is good and something that should be monitored for those interested in taking advertising for their new media content.

There is also a very interesting thread related to this topic called "How To For New Media Makers" that has some interesting ideas worth digging into.


RSS Troubleshooting - Feedburner, TypePad, Libysn

Since Monday (6/11) I have been troubleshooting an issue with the Jersey Boys Podcast RSS feed.  After posting the latest podcast I notice that iTunes was not picking up the file for download.  I use TypePad to host the blog/website, Feedburner to host the public RSS feed, and Libysn for the MP3s.  This is really the first major issue I've had with any of these services.

After doing some troubleshooting on Feedburner per suggestion from their help desk, I ran into a situation where now all the iTune tags went missing from all the podcasts in the feed.  This was causing players from Podtrac and Odeo to have issues also.  So, effectively I had no iTunes or podcast enclosure tags in my RSS feed.

At first it looked like there might be an issue with Libysn not returning the audio/mpeg tag to Feedburner in a timely manner, but I moved some files off Libsyn to make sure that wasn't the issue.  Neither Feedburner nor Libsyn could identify an issue on their end, and they were responsive and as helpful as possible.

So, I then did some digging on Typepad troubleshooting site, and noticed that they recommended that the feed you give out to podcast listeners be the website/rss.xml instead of website/atom.xml.  So I went into Feedburner and changed the URL, and things went back to they way you'd expect it.  The RSS feed now had iTunes and podcast enclosure tags!

So the Jersey Boys Podcast is now completely back online ... but it was a complicated troubleshooting experience that required a high level of expertise and flexibility. 


Pointers To New Wi-Fi Media Players

PC World for April 2007 had a round down of some current and near-future WI-FI enabled media players that competes with the Music Gremlin that I thought was interesting to note:

The article also noted that Microsoft Zune has limited Wi-Fi features that could be opened up for more functionality.


Tech Watch: Seagate DAVE

Seagate's Digital Audio and Video Experience (DAVE) looks like an interesting mobile media player  on paper.  You can get see a video demo over at Gizmodo.

Core features: wirelessly share media via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi; storage up to 20-GBs; form factor of 3.5-by-4.7-by-0.5-inches; and an estimated cost of $150.


Some Suggestions To Improve The Zune

On TWIT's Windows Weekly #17, Leo and Paul have a Q&A with David Caulton of the Microsoft Zune Team. It is a good podcast and after listening I came up with three things that Microsoft can do to promote the 'social' part of the Zune:

  1. Integrated and rich support for audio and video podcasts on the Zune, but also in Vista and Windows XP operating systems.
  2. Pick a partner like Star Bucks or Best Buy and create Zune media sharing outlets with Zune devices available from major content providers including citizen media to share from these outlets.
  3. Release a toolkit like their Robots Studio 1.0 toolkit that lets people share to Zune devices via PCs.  Even with the crummy DRM, there might be a way to setup a non-expiring DRM public key infrastructure so you could share even podcasts or other citizen generated content via this method.

Just some ideas ...


New Podcast Book In The Works - Tee Morris Enlists Talent

Tee Morris (sci-fi author with many podcast books and co-author of Podcasting for Dummies) is assembling voices (including several members of FriendsInTech.com) from all over the world for his latest podiobook production -- Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword (press).

The launch date for  the first installment of the Billibub Baddings podcast is St. Valentine‚Äôs Day, February 14, 2007.

The podcast is free and available on iTunes, Podcast Pickle, Yahoo! Podcasts, Podiobooks, and other podcast directories.