Archives For Industry

Supreme Court Halts Aereo’s Flight

Aereo Chromecast

Still waiting on a potentially fateful ruling from the Supreme Court, Aereo today announced Chromecast support for its Android app. That means that users with the service can cast Aereo video from an Android mobile device direct to an HD television via Google’s popular HDMI streaming stick. Aereo already works with Roku and Apple TV, but Chromecast is a super-cheap option for making your dumb TV smart enough to handle Internet video.

Direct from Aereo:

Aereo is now live on the Google Chromecast™ platform. The Aereo app for Android™ is available for download in the Google Play™ store. Subscribers can access Aereo’s antenna and DVR technology to record and watch live broadcast television using Google’s Chromecast™.

The Aereo news comes on the heels of another recent announcement of Chromecast support for WatchESPN. That earlier update has me considering whether or not to invest in upgrading my Roku. I had planned on it, but now with Chromecast compatibility, I don’t see a compelling reason to spend the money.

NFL Now Amazon Roku

Amazon and Roku are officially on board as distribution partners for the National Football League’s soon-to-be-launched digital network NFL Now. That’s good news if you’re a football fan because it means there will be a lot more ways to watch NFL Now when it debuts in August that don’t include maxing out your mobile data plan.

When NFL Now was first announced, the League highlighted Verizon as a partner (and later Microsoft and Yahoo), and the ability for consumers to download the Verizon NFL Mobile app for video viewing over the company’s LTE network. Verizon plans to stream NFL Now content using multicast technology. However, while multicast streaming should mitigate bandwidth concerns on Verizon’s side, it presumably won’t lessen the impact on subscribers’ data plans. A few hours of mobile TV watching could easily take you right over your data cap.

As a reminder, here’s how NFL Now will work… now on Kindle Fire TV, Kindle Fire, and the Roku platform: Continue Reading…

Verizon GreenWave FCC documentation

Verizon hasn’t been out of the home automation business for long, but it looks like the telco giant is already preparing to jump back in. According to FCC documents uncovered by Steve Donahue of FierceCable, Verizon appears to be preparing to launch a new FiOS gateway with an associated Zigbee home automation module. The FiOS Quantum Gateway goes by model number FiOS-G1100 and supports the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard along with the Zigbee and Z-Wave protocols. The module, meanwhile, is produced by GreenWave Reality, a California-based company that most recently made noise back at CES. GreenWave’s platform includes applications for energy management, connected lighting, and home monitoring, but CMO Nate Williams told me in January that it can support far more.

Williams has a history with Verizon, as he was previously CMO and head of business development for 4Home, the company that was acquired by Motorola, and that provided the technology basis for Verizon’s now-defunct Verizon Home Monitoring and Control service. Despite 4Home’s successful exit, the company’s platform did not survive the move first to Motorola, then Google, then Arris. GreenWave’s Home2Cloud platform appears to be doing better so far. The company is already profitable from an operational standpoint and has a major public customer in E.ON, one of Europe’s largest utility companies. Williams told me that GreenWave also has two US service provider customers, at least one of which is a cable, telco, or satellite operator. Verizon certainly fits that description. Continue Reading…

repeal-hybrid-tax

I’m not much of a letter writer (these days), but something about our former governor’s hybrid and electric vehicle tax rubbed me the wrong way. He argued that tax revenues were or would be down due to a reduction in gasoline purchases and these lost funds are necessary for ongoing road maintenance and whatnot. While that seems logical on the surface, the remedy struck me as punitive. And, if the state were concerned with equity, they’d tax owners by miles driven against vehicle weight – which probably provides a more direct correlation to road wear and tear. “Hybrid” also strikes me as an artificial, inelegant line in the sand… given my coworker who drives a hybrid Chevy Tahoe that is less fuel-efficient than say a gas-only Toyota Camry. Also, in something of a policy contradiction, early hybrid vehicles were granted HOV lane exemptions… which were indefinitely extended in 2012 by the very same administration.

The annual tax was originally proposed at an even $100 but, due to some sort of miscalculation, was later passed at $64 and went into effect last July. Amidst some noise, from folks such as myself, an effort to repeal the tax started working its way through the Virginia legislature earlier this year, Continue Reading…

There goes the Hopper: Dish agrees to limit ad skipping in Disney deal

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.