February 15, 2010

Veoh Calling It Quits

Veoh, one of several well-funded start-ups that have tried and failed to cash in on the Web video boom, is finally calling it quits. The company let go of the remainder of its workforce yesterday, and sources say it plans on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in the near future.

Veoh, which started as YouTube-style site, has struggled for years to find a business model that works and has burned through $70 million in funding from name-brand investors like Goldman Sachs (GS), Time Warner (TWX), Intel’s (INTC) venture arm, Spark Capital and former Disney (DIS) CEO Michael Eisner.

You know, it's kinda sad that Veoh is going. Sure, it doesn't have the YouTube charm, but at least you don't have to be a YouTube Partner to upload videos over ten minutes. It's primarily where I go to watch Kamen Rider episodes. I even had my own account, even though I did nothing with it. Yet, I'm saddened by this. I don't know when it will close down, but I better finish Agito quickly :) Yes, I'm watching Agito, and it is AWESOME!

Ahem. That is all.


Solitary: You ever heard of this show? Well, if you haven't, I'll give you the basics.

Solitary is a reality show, but not one of those crappy ones you see on VH1. This one is unique. You see, nine people are brought, and one person is placed in a small room called a Pod. Their names have been replaced by Numbers, so whatever number pod you got, that was you're name. They are pretty much alone, with the exception of the A.I. known as Val. You see, the show is branded as a social experiment to test one's strength and skill. Seems pretty basic. But, the things that make the show shine are the Tests and Treatments.

In a test, players compete against each other (though unaware of how the other players are performing) in completing a task set by Val. These tasks are generally physically and mentally grueling, taking several hours to complete. For example, players may have to use a piece of exercise equipment a certain number of times to gain a portion of a brain teaser to be solved. There are often additional distractions that will occur during the Test, such as Val interjecting random facts to throw off counting. Val will inform players when they are correct but will wait until either all the players have finished or immunity from the upcoming Treatment, and in some cases has the ability to handicap another player in the upcoming Treatment, such as by making them perform an extra round before the other players start.

The "Treatment" phase is generally a more painful endurance exercise, such as sleeping on a bed of small rods, spinning quickly around in a chair, or "jumping" a heavy rope. Some Treatments are simply endurance tests with no set bounds, while other Treatments are broken into a number of rounds with increasingly more difficult goals to achieve. In the latter case, if a player cannot finish a round, they are sometimes given the opportunity to do a penalty round to catch up, though further exhausting that player. At any time during the Treatment, a player may hit the red button to quit the Treatment, at which point they no longer have to participate; they also may be forced to press the red button should they break any of the rules of the Treatment (in particular, if a contestant vomits during a Treatment where food items are being consumed, Val declares that "your body will have quit for you"). However, the first player to hit the red button during the treatment will be required to leave the show. The other players are not told when a player has left the Treatment, and generally the Treatment continues from the end of one show into the start of the next with the remaining players attempting to outlast the others. After a given amount of time or a number of rounds, Val will inform the remaining players the Treatment is over, allowing them to continue in the game. Shortly thereafter, Val will notify the remaining contestants as to which guest has been eliminated.

Now, whenever their are two people left, the final treatment is brutal. One of them was being locked up in a small box. One of them was staying on top of a hammock of chains. And in the end, the person who outlasts wins $50,000. That's nothing compared to other prizes, but hey, it's unique.

I love this show and I want everyone to check it out. You can view the first three seasons on Hulu.

As for the current season, they're not up for free yet. Probably due to the channel it airs on, Fox Reality Network, is closing down in March. You can view the episodes the day after the airing via iTunes or by Amazon.com video on demand. The Amazon stuff cost about $2 an episode. I'm just that desperate.

So, yeah. Check it out!