Archives For Broadband

verizon-symmetry

As my two year subscription comes to an end, Verizon is courting me with free HBO and an upcoming boost in FiOS upload speeds to match download numbers:

Dear Customer: Thank You! The free speed upgrade is part of Verizon’s continuing commitment to recognize customers for their loyalty. Customer upgrades to equalized download and upload speeds will continue throughout the fall, starting with customers enrolled in My Rewards+ or who join the program now. When completed, more than 95 percent of existing FiOS customers will enjoy the upgrade equalizing their Internet download and upload speeds.

comcastic

Both Comcast and Verizon are good homes for TiVo owners. Yet, my FiOS Internet remains cap-free (compared to Comcast’s indecision on the matter) and I’m permitted to stream HBO GO via Roku – factors that led me to Verizon in the first place. Of course, Comcast isn’t ready to give up on my business having enabled TiVo Xfinity On Demand across their footprint, with a slightly better channel lineup, and weekly mailers offering attractive promotional rates (including a $200 gift card). But do I really want to go to the hassle of making a change … in light of Verizon’s Slingbox-loving upload increase? Hm.

youtube-rating

Following in the footsteps of Netflix, YouTube has just launched their Video Quality Report to rate, and possibly shame, broadband providers as the net neutrality and peering debate boils over. In my ‘hood, Verizon performs admirably, with its worst showing 8PM – 11PM with 93% of streams coming thru in high def, whereas the Comcast Xfinity service performs slightly worse across the board, bottoming out at 89% HD 8PM – 10PM. Granted, Comcast offers lower tiers of service than Verizon (as I discovered from my mother’s originally, painfully slow broadband connection… that we upgraded.) Historically, I’ve had YouTube buffering annoyances on FiOS at both my former and current locations, but that seems to have been sorted at some point – and I doubt it was ever about bandwidth, rather it was most likely in how the traffic was being handled. Google must agree as they currently rate Verizon’s regional fiber performance as YouTube HD Verified:

Users on YouTube HD Verified networks should expect smooth playback on YouTube most of the time, even when watching videos in high definition (720p).

dishworld While DISH may have acquiesced on the ad skipping front, in return they have inked one of the very first deals to offer “live” programming via the Internet:

The extensive and expanded distribution agreement grants DISH rights to stream cleared linear and video-on-demand content from the ABC-owned broadcast stations, ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2, as part of an Internet delivered, IP-based multichannel offering.

Of course there’s no telling when DISH might launch a web television service and certainly others (Verizon, Sony) are pursuing similar. But this represents the first time a major content provider has indicated publicly that they’re willing to play ball. So the sea change begins.

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.

It's (All Gonna Be) Comcastic!

Dave Zatz —  February 13, 2014

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.

webos-iads

The strength of webOS is also its weakness in regards to ads. While most smart TVs bury their apps in submenus, with these sets, the UI is front and center and every activity is an “app” – including accessing live TV, settings, etc. Meaning, advertising may permeate the webOS and television viewing experience. Am I being overly sensitive (to Truvia and McDonalds) or is this a deal breaker?

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.