While investor calls generally bore us, Netflix dropped quite the bombshell this afternoon:
This quarter we will launch the first MVPD integrations in the U.S. As we did in Europe, we will start with U.S. MVPDs that use the TiVo set-top box and try to extend to non-TiVo devices after that. From an MVPD point-of-view, they would rather have consumers use Netflix through the MVPD box and remote control than have consumers become accustomed to watching video from a smart TV or Internet TV device remote control.
So many possible angles to explore here… RCN is arguably TiVo’s most aggressive US partner, one that previously expressed interest in offering Netflix, and Suddenlink recently polled subscribers regarding the possibility of a Netflix addition. Then we’ve got the whole peering dealio with cable/broadband providers like Comcast to ponder. And, of course, finally is the elephant-in-the-room premise that Netflix had been a cable competitor (although many of us here subscribe to both). Yowza!
As the story goes, CableCARD support has deteriorated since the FCC inadvertently relaxed the requirement last year. Indeed, Tim Gibbons reached out this weekend regarding his inability to tune Fargo … and ignorance (at best) or deception (worst case) from Time Warner Cable’s first line phone support agent. What makes this especially ironic (or depressing) is Tim’s role in the cable television industry. If the producer of Curb Your Enthusiasm can’t keep his TiVo’s CableCARD going, what hope do the rest of us have?
Beyond public shaming, we currently have a rare and unique opportunity to influence the FCC as they evaluate Big Cable’s push to end CableCARD … without having identified a successor. But you better fire up those word processors post-haste as today, April 21st, is the deadline. Hit this FCC link, click Reply To Comments, and make sure you reference Proceeding Number 14-16. For comparative purposes, you can review previously submitted comments here.
Tim’s TWC transcription follows: Continue Reading…
Yesterday’s news, today! While we patiently await smartphone search from our Rokus, two notable updates worth sharing slipped my radar late last year. First, the originally anemic “USB Media Browser” has steadily improved as it evolved from a private app into a Roku-branded initiative… now featuring DLNA support, in addition to the new “Media Player” label. Next, the formerly free Plex channel has implemented a one-time $4.99 fee. Fortunately, those of us who’d previously installed the channel have been grandfathered and Plex provides new users a free 30 day trial – so folks can see for themselves how useful it is in handling our digital media libraries ahead of a purchase.