Archives For Broadband

Comcastic TV Broadband Venn Diagram

There are so many implications to the proposed Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable that it’s a little hard to stay focused on one angle. However, I do want to interject something into the argument that the deal is all about the expansion of broadband. While that’s true, it’s also a simplistic statement. Why? Because broadband is all about TV right now. Think about it. What is driving the ridiculous growth of Internet traffic? It’s video. And what major video source is in the process of shifting to IP delivery? Television. You can’t tease out one side of the business from the other when the financial considerations of both are so intensely intertwined – from how networks are upgraded, to how bandwidth gets allocated, to how service packages are created.

There is one thing I think we’ll have to pay a lot more attention to going forward, and that’s how the major operators (including Comcast-Biggest-Cable-Company-of-All-Time-Warner) decide how to divide up their total delivery capacity between public Internet service and their own managed IP services. To be sure, ISPs depend on being able to market higher Internet speeds and cheaper prices to keep customers (at least in some markets), but I wonder whether in the future there will be less incentive to make public Internet services high-performing if cable companies can make more money from their own managed IP offerings.

comcastic

Charter had been looking to tie up the country’s second largest cable operator, but #1 Comcast has swooped in with a $45 billion agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable. The deal will be closely scrutinized by federal regulators, but at least one pundit expects minimal push back given their largely distinct areas of operation. However, that simplistic analysis overlooks Comcast’s identity as a media entity along with dramatically increased negotiating power when it comes to retransmission and licensing (in both directions). Further, Public Knowledge has concerns in relation to such a large percent of Americas relying on a single entity for their voice and data services. Having said all that, TWC isn’t a great cable company for TiVo owners and a Comcast infrastructure would be a significant improvement. Assuming we’re still using TiVo after the years required to close the deal, remove the punitive content restrictions, and retrofit those head-ends.

webos-mcdonalds

LG’s re-ignition of webOS as a fresh, fun, and spry smart television platform has been generating a lot of buzz here at CES. Indeed, in my limited exposure, it looks quite nice. But it’s not all about us… as a major component of LG’s webOS strategy revolves around interactive advertising. Continue Reading…

rcn2go

Lo and behold, the TiVo-powered RCN2Go video portal appears to have soft launched for RCN cable customers. While details remain sparse, RCN TiVo subscribers now have access to an “exclusive preview” that features “hundreds of shows” — and, ultimately, all RCN subscribers will receive access at a later date, albeit without TiVo-specific DVR management capabilities. Unlike many mobile offerings, RCN2GO is not limited to one’s home network and you can conceivably “watch anywhere” … assuming you have a laptop or computer available as this feature set isn’t (yet?) integrated into TiVo’s mobile apps. For more details on TiVo’s TV Everywhere offering (to cable providers) and an exclusive video sneak peek of the portal in action, head on over to our earlier coverage.

By way of TechCrunch, we learn that Target is posed to launch an UltraViolet-compatible online video store. Presumably “Target Ticket” is a collaboration with someone skilled in the space or even a branded white label product and, beyond the web screenshots, the Android and iOS apps are sure to follow. As to why, well let’s just say it’s part of a broader and questionable virtual land grab (right, Toys R Us?)… and ZNF readers will continue to have the vast majority of our Internet video-on-demand needs met by Amazon and Apple, maybe even Walmart’s Vudu. Not to mention this incoming a la carte service poses no threat to the all-you-can-eat Netflix.

WatchESPN iPad app with Live Toolbar
Remember when ESPN’s Damon Philips promised a summer update for the WatchESPN app? Well, it was no lie. The company released an upgraded version of the app today for all iOS users, and added an extra bonus for iPad owners with the launch of the ESPN Live Toolbar feature.

According to the app store, the new toolbar includes:

- Live TV Lineup: See what’s on ESPN’s networks and switch to additional ESPN programming without exiting the video.
- Scores: Follow additional games while watching your game on ESPN. Launch video highlights at the conclusion of an event (where available).
- Top Videos: Watch multiple things at once! Keep up with the latest news and highlights right alongside the live ESPN programming you’re watching. Rotate your device while watching two videos.

ESPN’s not done either. In the preview demo we got back at The Cable Show in June, Mr. Phillips said more feature updates would follow the initial upgrade. In the future, for example, users will be able to create preferences in the app to get select information and video clips from specific sports team queued up in the toolbar.

In other good news, ESPN programming that airs on ABC will now also be included within the WatchESPN app. AND, the company has made the app free to college students and military personnel. Brilliant.

slacker-shades

Since Al Gore invented the Internet, Mari and I have been Slacker fans. Unlike Pandora which generates playlists based on musical properties and whatnot, Slacker has taken a more radio-based approach in streaming professionally programmed genre stations. And was one of the first to implement offline playback. Beyond the massive redesign, 2013 also ushers in a new army of “Slacktivists” – Slacker’s top 1% of listeners… who they intend to reward and mobilize as brand ambassadors. Via the CEO’s email blast:

In the coming months we’ll be hooking you up with limited edition Slacker gear, access to new content before anyone else, and a ton of exclusive perks. Stay tuned for more details in the weeks ahead. It’s free and you don’t need to do anything…just enjoy the benefits of being a Slacktivist with our gratitude! On the flip side, it’s not just about you listening to us. It’s about us listening to you. Email me any time

(Thanks Tim!)