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GalleryPlayer Unveils HD Art

Nov 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

An new high-definition video content service aims to turn flat-screen TVs into works of art.
The service, called GalleryPlayer, offers thousands of scrolling HD-quality images licensed from museums and photo collections. National Geographic, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Time-Life, Workman Publishing and about 40 other institutions are on board as content providers.
“People enjoy watching the imagery for background at parties and events, or for just relaxing,” said Rusty Citron, VP of marketing for GalleryPlayer. “Whether it’s Japanese woodprints or National Geographic or Impressionistic art … the Mona Lisa looks as good on your TV as it does in the Louvre.”
GalleryPlayer has been available in an online download-to-own trial format for the past year. The service is about to take a major leap forward this month by announcing its first video-on-demand agreement with a major cable operator.
Until now, GalleryPlayer has been offered in an iTunes-like business model. Users can purchase the HD images through Galleryplayer.com for 99 cents per image, or $24.99 for a collection. To view the images on an HDTV, the user connects his PC to his TV set. Last June, Panasonic also started offering GalleryPlayer images on its Web site.
“Cable operators love it … it helps prevent churn because it’s so unique and compelling,” Mr. Citron said. “This is a new use for television. People are not watching GalleryPlayer as much as using GalleryPlayer.”
The on-demand plans are part of the private company’s three-pronged distribution strategy: Online downloads, ad-supported or subscription-based cable VOD and hi-def DVDs. In 2007, the service plans to release Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs of its content.
GalleryPlayer takes advantage of the flat-panel aesthetic, which has inspired owners to hang flat-screen TVs as if they were paintings. Some owners put their screens in traditional art spaces, such as over a fireplace mantel, and purchase custom frames for the set.
Mr. Citron said the service initially faced a hurdle with gaining access to images. Posters are a significant source of revenue for art owners. Distribution of a near-perfect digital impression of a painting caused some concern among rights holders that GalleryPlayer could cannibalize poster sales. GalleryPlayer built in Digital Rights Management protection into the system to keep the images from being misused.
Though classic art is the most unique offering of the service, it’s by no means the only content. GalleryPlayer also offers collections such as “Space Spectacular” (photos from NASA and the Hubble Space Team), “Serene Beaches” (from travel photographers) and “World’s Most Lovable Dogs” (photographer Rachael Hale’s canine images).
This article is part of TVWeek.com’s High Definition newsletter, a weekly source of breaking HD news, articles and interviews written by Senior Reporter James Hibberd.

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