QUIBI - Turnstyle technology

Being promoted for 18 - 44 year olds and mobile only. Interesting concept, 10-minute videos with auto-format between portrait and landscape mobile only. Just another short-lived idea?

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Looks exhausting. Their quick pitch is that they allow the user to supposedly enjoy content the fullest regardless of phone orientation. But I watched some of their CES keynote and in practice, it seems like the content dictates when the user should switch between portrait/landscape. To me it looks like they’re trying to “silicon valley-ify” the old “pan-and-scan” method of cramming content onto lesser displays. Some big names behind the company though.

From a Meg Whitman interview, she explained their intent would be for creators to film/edit their content in both portrait/landscape. Quibi then streams both but the one not being used is compressed based on orientation using the phone’s gyroscope. Claim is, this delivers a seamless experience switching between portrait/landscape.

In their CES keynote some of the demo reels were setup so when the onscreen character was using their phone, the user could change to portrait orientation and they’d see the onscreen character’s phone screen. So sure, the user can decide which orientation they want, but ultimately they’ll probably be missing out on some content.

The technology is interesting though. Could be useful in a more conventional application, like a motor racing broadcast with multiple in-car cameras.

Didn’t we already learn from the angles features of DVDs (which I believe were mostly only dreamt up to support porn to be honest) that people don’t want interaction with content? They want to disable their brain and sit there and absorb the content. Also, unless this new old concept is big with porn, it probably won’t get traction. (Or at least that is the popular belief about what pushes adoption of new formats and technologies.)

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