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Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 6, 2015 — 9 Comments

xfinity-voice-remote

Comcast Announces new Xfinity remote with voice control
You don’t have to learn a new language or speak like a robot. Just press the blue button, say what you want to watch and it appears on screen. It’s easy, just like watching TV should be.

JetBlue to Offer Amazon Prime Members Free Wi-Fi to Stream Video
Amazon is taking to the skies in its battle with Netflix: The e-commerce giant announced a deal with JetBlue, under which Prime members will have free, unlimited access to in-flight Wi-Fi — fast enough to stream video right to their seats.

TiVo Survey Indicates Majority of OTA Cord Cutters Come From Satellite
TiVo Inc., a leader in monetizing over the air signals for operators, today released the findings of an in-depth survey of Over The Air (OTA) TV consumers revealing that a materially higher percentage of cord cutters are coming from former satellite TV service subscribers.

Cable companies want you to pay twice for On Demand with Hulu Plus deal
In another sign that operators are increasingly willing to bring over-the-top streaming services directly to their subscribers, Hulu has announced that it has reached agreements with five multichannel operators to offer Hulu’s subscription streaming service to their customers.

verizon-bundles

I’m failry certain we’ll never get to à la carte cable. Certainly not in the next several years… given the current content hegemony that requires channels on certain tiers and/or bundling of multiple properties. Having said that, industry has taken notice as consumers look to exert more control over their content choices and seek more value from their entertainment expenditures. And Verizon announced a new permutation of FiOS… that, interestingly, most closely resembles Sling TV.

Double play plans start at $55/month with both existing or new Verizon FiOS customers choosing the data speeds they want, including the base 34 Custom HD channel lineup, with the possibility to add “channel packs” for $10/pop. Triple play, for voice, is also an option. The new plans do not require a 2-year agreement, as so many other FiOS packages do, but the most interesting aspect is, of course, the ability to more finely tune the stations you receive. Continue Reading…

TiVo Coming To FiOS*

Dave Zatz —  February 26, 2015

frontier-tivo

TiVo has announced a “strategic relationship” with Frontier. And their first phase is quite unique. Whereas TiVo’s prior provider partnerships have exclusively powered cable television solutions, Frontier will be marketing the Roamio OTA to their Internet customers mid-year:

The new partnership will enable Frontier’s high-speed Internet customers to enjoy a consistent TV experience spanning major broadcast channels and over the top (OTT) content via TiVo’s unified cloud-based service, a whole-home gateway DVR, TiVo Mini, TiVo Stream. Multi-screen and remote scheduling functionality will be available through TiVo Web, iOS and Android mobile applications. Frontier customers with high-speed Internet service will enjoy an all-in-one DVR, a broad line-up of over-the-top applications, and a variety of top-tier streaming video services via a high-quality streaming solution.

While Frontier isn’t the first telco/cableco to hedge go after cord cutters and cord nevers with video services (see Cox, Cablevision), they will be the first to offer an over-the-air DVR for subscribers to record broadcast programming, like NBC and CBS, in conjunction with online services like Netflix. With an established customer base, TiVo presumably expects fewer marketing challenges than moving DVRs thru retail along with Frontier obviously anticipating a new revenue stream. Pricing details haven’t yet been released, so we can’t provide a comparison to a retail-acquired Roamio that currently runs $50 for hardware, along with an ongoing $15 monthly fee. Irrespective of cost, install assistance, etc it’s a forward thinking approach… that may not move the needle much for either company – at least not in 2015. Enter the more compelling second phase of this relationship. Continue Reading…

Some people, for example, believe probably incorrectly that we are on a path to interplanetary teleportation. Should we include the estimated bandwidth for that as well?

-FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly

dishworld-espn-beta

As expected, DISH is nearly ready to unveil an over-the-top Internet video streaming subscription service in hopes of displacing your current cable provider or appealing to the growing legion of cord cutters. And now, via Reddit, it seems the service will repurpose “DishWorld” branding (versus going with “NuTV“) and beta recruitment has begun.

As one of our most valued DishWorld customers, we want to give you an exclusive opportunity to try the next genertion of DishWorld before anyone else!

Soon, we’ll be announcing a new English language entertainment service, which features the best of live TV, like ESPN, TNT, TBS, Disney Channel, Food Network and so much more.

Before it’s revealed to the public, we want you to try it at no additional cost on your Roku 3 until February 3, 2015! We’ll even remove it from your account afterwards, so you will not get billed for this service.

Continue Reading…

Staying Connected On The Go

Dave Zatz —  December 18, 2014

Since first adding a Palm V modem to my tech arsenal about 15 years ago to access Mindspring dial-up email on business travel, I’ve remained Internet-connected when mobile (and have even used “mobile” connectivity to power the home). The last few years, I’ve done my best to stay off public WiFi — the level of exposure and ease of interception exceeds my comfort levels. I wouldn’t say I’m paranoid and it’s not like I dabble in state secrets, but I’d rather not make my personal data any more accessible than it probably is. (Remember that time someone tweeted as me via Southwest Air WiFi?) Not to mention, those wireless networks (free or otherwise) often don’t perform so well – either by (poor or upsell) design or due to saturation.

With that in mind, I’ve been a huge fan of mobile phone tethering — which was fully ensconced within my workflow by 2006, when I kept my laptop online via a USB-connected 3G Sprint PPC-6700 while riding Amtrak to a NYC eventContinue Reading…

fios-bonus

As the story goes, I renewed Verizon FiOS services in August after several years of stellar performance (at two addresses) and in light of the potential disruption an Xfinity install might bring along with Comcast’s ongoing HBO GO Roku blockade. After Tech of the Hub received a pretty fantabulous FiOS renewal offer that effectively comps two years of premium channels, including HBO and Showtime, I popped into my account to see if renewing our two-year contract just 4 months in might yield similar goodness. And, indeed, I had the option to re-up my exact same bundle… for even less money. At only $75/mo for 50/50Mbps Internet, plus a healthy selection of cable television content and the all locals (without an aerial antenna), it’s extremely hard to consider cutting the cord.