Archives For Broadband

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.

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!)

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  July 27, 2013

A periodic roundup of relevant news… via our writings elsewhere:

sticknfind-sensor-with-radar-application

Sign of the Future: Sensors that Stick Everywhere
Lose your keys? Your cat? The TV remote? StickNFind has an app for that. Better yet, StickNFind has colorful sensors the size of a quarter, its own Bluetooth software stack, and a developer platform that could turn this crowd-funded Indiegogo product into a foundation piece for the coming “Internet of Things” revolution.

Comments on FCC Proceeding 13-177
Unlike recent TiVo and Samsung waiver requests, the EchoStar Channel Master K77 isn’t a CableCARD/cable device ­and isn’t saddled with the additional baggage of legacy MSO analog broadcasts and newly introduced market uncertainty due to recent Court and Commission rulings.

DISH Cuts NimbleTV to the Quick
NimbleTV is one of several startups trying to speed the progress of TV Everywhere. But Dish Network Corp. dealt a blow to the company earlier this month when it cut subscribers off from the TV source feeding the multi-screen video service.

Comcast Spreads Wi-Fi through Neighborhood Hotspots
Sitting dormant like sleeper cells, wireless routers in Comcast homes around the country will soon by recruited to activate a new Wi-Fi network. With the recent announcement of its neighborhood hotspot initiative, Comcast is preparing to split the wireless signal from home routers to create two parallel Wi-Fi access routes.