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Released Features

February 12, 2008

Widget Upgrades

We have made a few changes to the widget in preparation for our advertising partners that should be going live by March. These changes also improve some of the functions of the player and make several features more obvious. 

Information Screen
First, we have made a basic change in how we display channel and video information in the player. The transparency on the old screen made reading the descriptions difficult. We now pause the video while you view this information on a black background. 

Add to Widget/Channel
We have removed the subtract channel button and consolidated all functions into one button. By clicking the ‘+’ sign you are now taken to a menu that allows you to add or subtract a channel from a widget or create a new widget. By consolidating these functions we can remove some clutter from the guide pages and make these buttons bigger. These changes have also been applied to the creation of a channel. 

Save as Favorite
We have moved the favorite button to the bottom of the player and we are now storing the state of the player at the time the favorite is selected. So when you save either a channel or a video as favorite you are saving the channel as it appears in a widget or the video as it appears in a channel. 

Recommend Channel/Video
We have also moved these buttons down to the bottom of the player and we are storing the state of this recommendation. When another person receives this recommendation they will see it load up in the same player and the same channel where you originally sent the e-mail. 

Overlays
Most importantly, we have added 2 separate types of advertising units. The overlay is a simple advertisement that appears over the bottom quarter of whichever video is playing. These overlays can be clicked on to redirect you to a different site or can expand to cover the player area. These ad units can be served by any third party ad network. Expect to start seeing ads appear in select channels over the next month. 

Interstitials
We have inserted an 8 second break between each video clip. We have done this so that the underlying video can begin downloading which minimizes buffer on slower connections and so that we can identify the next video that will be playing. You will see this video identified using the same data as the Information screen described above. At the bottom of this screen is an interactive advertising unit that can scale to fill the entire skin area if a user decides to click on it. Within this advertisement we can play a long form video or promote a specific product. When the user is done interacting with this ad, they can minimize it and continue watching the channel. We think this unit strikes an appropriate balance between user control and advertiser value. These will roll out along with the overlays in select channels over the next month.

We will continue to evolve the player over time, but this represents a major revision and again, we would love the feedback@cozmomedia.com.

Feb 12, 2008 7:22:21 AM in Released Features | | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 29, 2008

Admin Improvements and Widget Customization

You may have noticed over the last couple of days that we have begun adding new features to the Widget Manager page. These changes will be finalized by the beginning of next week and include the following changes:

Bugs
We are resolving a number of bugs in the interface that prevented the easy management of channel lineups in a widget. The last of these major bugs should be eliminated when we deploy the final version next week.

Flow
We are changing the flow of both the widget manager and channel manager to make the process of creating both more manageable. When you create a new channel or widget you will only see each step appear in order. All steps will still appear if you are editing a channel or widget.

Widget Preview
We are adding preview buttons to allow you to more easily preview channels and widgets. The widget preview will also be moving to the bottom of the page so that a full size sample can be shown complete with any selected skins.

Widget Descriptions
We are adding widget descriptions, categories and tags which will allow others to find your widget at a later date. We will ultimately use this information to create an index of all available widgets so that others can find pre-built widgets they like and grab these widgets for embedding in their own sites.

Widget Customization
We are adding a new section to the widget creation process that allows you to change sizing, intro sequence, skins, background and font colors, language, and other options. You are able to see these changes as you make them in a live preview of your widget. We will be adding many more options to this customization step over the coming weeks, most of which will involve adding new branded skins, new skin formats, and new languages.

Channel Updates
We are going to update the Featured Channel list and continue to update this listing more frequently with fresh channels.

That’s about it. We are about to start working on some minor evolutions to the player as soon as we have finished rolling out the changes to the cozmo.tv site. If you have any issues, bugs, potential features that you would like to see, just send them to feedback@cozmomedia.com.

Jan 29, 2008 2:29:11 AM in Released Features | | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 23, 2007

Widget Updates

We’ve released some updates to the widget. We’re not quite finished yet. You’ll see the intro sequence is a bit different, but the most important differences are in the player controls and the channel/video selection.

First, the controls have now been consolidated and simplified. Rather than have the Back and Forward buttons at the top of the player, they are now next to the play/pause button in the master controller at the bottom of the player. We think this simplifies the control of the video and makes navigation within the channel much easier and more intuitive. 

Second, we have removed the ‘Channel’ and ‘Show’ sliders in favor of simply providing a ‘Channels’ and ‘Videos’ button at the top of the player. Clicking the Channel button takes you to a listing of all channels within the widget’s local network. Clicking ‘Videos’ takes you to a listing of all the videos within the channel you are currently watching. In the next week or so, we will be inserting a simple pop-up ‘Information’ screen that includes current channel and video information from a button in the bottom left hand corner of the player.

Third, navigating channels within the widget and videos within the channel should be easier. We have gotten rid of all the complex controls at the bottom of the player and opted for consistent navigation. Also, when you click on channel and video images, it will center that channel or image rather than instantly returning you to the player screen. This way you can ‘page’ through channels and videos faster. We have also moved the channel and video interaction buttons from the channel and video sliders into these pages. This makes the controls more obvious and also speeds the interaction with multiple channels and videos.

Finally, we are consolidating navigation between Featured, Popular, Favorites, Recent, and Created channels by moving them into the search screen. Before, search was hidden in the menu on the bottom left. The search screen is now more robust and provides more of a top level navigation theme. We hope this will make search within the widget considerably easier to use. This change should also be live within the next week or so along with some minor formatting changes in the pop-up menus and the addition of some new menus like ‘Delete Video from Channel’ and ‘Delete Channel from Widget’ which will become more useful as the people begin creating more channels and widgets outside of the cozmo.tv environment.

Anyway, we think the player is really coming together nicely.  It looks much cleaner and should be dramatically easier to use. Once we finish rolling in the remaining features we’ll start soliciting some feedback on how to tweak things. Oh, and we are aware of some bugs and we’re working on resolving them. The most frustrating has been the random skipping from video to video in a channel lineup. This has been a difficult bug to track down and is especially annoying when you are watching a great channel, but we’ll kill it and the rest of the issues as we re-factor the widget over the next month or so.

Aug 23, 2007 1:28:24 AM in Released Features | | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 01, 2007

New Website and Widget Creation

Well, the transition is finally complete. We just took down the old site and posted the new one tonight. There are still a few kinks to work out, but those will get finished today. They’re mostly just formatting issues anyway. As you can see we have removed the references to all the device integration and the TV, DVD and downloadable video listing data. This was a difficult decision, but like I said before, we must focus our attention on the biggest opportunity. I believe the CozmoTV widget is that opportunity.

We’ve actually embedded a CozmoTV widget right in the header of this blog. This is essentially a default CozmoTV widget that carries all of the Featured Channels of the CozmoTV site. Go ahead and play around with it a little. It should be pretty intuitive. If you want to create your own, you still have to go to http://cozmo.tv right now. Within the next month you’ll be able to grab the code for the above widget right within the widget without ever having to visit the CozmoTV site.

Create Creating a CozmoTV widget is easy. You simply select a channel and then click on the button that looks like an asterisk next to the Channel Menu when you are ready to start. You’ll then get a pop-up window that will guide you through the rest of the process. Once your widget has been created you can go ahead and embed it wherever widgets are welcome. Over the next month we’ll be integrating more directly with sites like MySpace so that you don’t have to mess with the code, but it works well right now as long as you’re comfortable with copying and pasting manually.

Add When you want to add channels to your widget, you simply click on the + button next to the Channel Menu and select the widget that you would like to add the channel to. You can also add a bunch of channels in bulk by going to the Widget Manager that can be accessed by selecting ‘Widget Manager’ under the Account Menu at the top of the page. Just pick the widget that you would like to edit and then select as many channels as you would like to add. You don’t have to do anything to the widget, it will update automatically the next time it is loaded on whatever page(s) you have embedded it on.

Try it out and give us some feedback. There are still some stability issues in the widget that need ironing out and the site needs to be streamlined a little, but it should all be pretty functional (for the most part;) Oh, and bear with us on the speed of the app. We need a new server badly, but until then we’re running very low on memory and don’t have the time to optimize…

Apr 1, 2007 11:11:35 PM in Released Features | | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)