Archives For Cord Cutting

All about bundling vs à la carte, content selection, and fees.

Aereo Just Can’t Let Go

Dave Zatz —  March 11, 2015 — 7 Comments

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Poor Aereo. Despite the clear risks in their business followed by a resounding Supreme Court defeat, the corporate remnants and creditors aren’t prepared to simply cut their losses and move on. Has this new litigation precluded TiVo from acquiring certain assets… or will it merely tarnish them? From NASDAQ:

The already contentious bankruptcy of defunct TV-streaming service Aereo Inc. turned even more so this week with the filing of a lawsuit accusing major broadcasters of chilling the bidding in an asset sale intended to raise money for Aereo’s creditors. The suit, filed Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, says the broadcasters “have aggressively pursued litigation strategies that are objectively baseless” and served no purpose other than to hurt Aereo.

HBO GO | NOW | Later

Dave Zatz —  March 10, 2015 — 17 Comments

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While the Apple Watch was announced for a second time this week, one of the more fascinating aspects of the 90 minute press event was Apple TV-centric. And the three-year old streaming hardware sees an immediate price drop from $99 to $69, undercutting both the Roku 3 and Amazon Fire TV. Despite the discount, I’d still recommend the Roku 3 to most given a much larger app catalog and their unbeatable universal search. Yet, the dynamics may shift … for a bit, anyway.

Beyond the highly compelling Airplay and iTunes integration, for those deep into Apple, HBO NOW will be an exclusive Apple TV offering when it launches in April for $15/month. Unlike HBO GO, the streaming service bundled with many cable and satellite providers, HBO NOW will be available to anyone with an Apple product and an Internet connection. I’d strongly suspected the foreshadowed service would launch exclusively with ISPs to largely preserve the status quo. But HBO is moving forward with a clearly agnostic, tho still strategic, approach… that may yet involve our Internet providers: Continue Reading…

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Prior to totally revamping their Roku interface, and bringing Amazon Fire TV and Google Nexus Playing into the mix, Tablo gave existing customers a nice little update with version 2.1.24. Previously, you had to blindly FF or RW using the Roku app and/or web player. With this enhancement, you’re now able to see a thumbnail preview while invoking these actions. It’s a small change yes, but something I find highly useful.

You can read more about the update on Tablo’s blog here. Tablo is still expected to release the new app versions for Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Nexus Player by the end of this month. Also, the new Tablo Metro is available for preorder in the US that was announced back at 2015 CES.

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Aereo, the innovative yet ultimately criminal television provider buried by the establishment, had an extremely poor showing in bankruptcy liquidation this week — netting a mere $2m. And, without TiVo’s participation, the numbers would have been halved. It appears the same, single source of unknown allegiance notified a number of outlets the details of TiVo’s haul includes both the Aereo name and customer list (which may not be all that impressive). As a TiVo spokesperson said yesterday, “We have OTA products and see some value in these assets.”

Indeed, since last summer, TiVo’s attempted to capitalize on Aereo’s buzz …and their demise. However, while we do believe there is a growing market of cord cutters interested in advanced television solutions, TiVo still isn’t Aereo – which had unmatched pricing and convenience with their decentralized and hardware-agnostic approach. Having said, that we can certainly envision a scenario where the TiVo Roamio OTA DVR ($50, $15/mo) becomes “Aereo by TiVo” … especially should they repackage it in something other than the reused base Roamio enclosure, which I assume is planned. But to more closely replicate Aereo’s Slingbox-esque functionality, they’ll need to directly integrate stream functionality to this hardware… or resume manufacturing the no-longer-available TiVo Stream accessory. And a Roku or Chromecast client wouldn’t hurt.

TiVo Coming To FiOS*

Dave Zatz —  February 26, 2015 — 21 Comments

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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…

The OTA Flatenna Showdown

Dave Zatz —  February 7, 2015 — 23 Comments

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As many contemplate cutting the cord for basic, yet high-definition television viewing, or to perhaps augment cable with advanced over-the-air capabilities, as we’ve done with Tablo, finding a great antenna is paramount. Most are probably best served by roof-top or attic placement, yet it’s the least practical for a variety of reasons. While Mohu may have pioneered the “flatenna” several others have joined the fray. And I reached out to a few players in this space that have kindly provided their least obtrusive indoor antenna offerings for an OTA receptivity showdown. Which will wear the crown of best indoor antenna?

Comparing antennas is an exceedingly difficult task, as our individual locations in relation to the broadcast towers obviously vary in terms of distance and interference (either within the home or the environment). Not to mention, different stations around the country broadcast with differing strengths and frequencies. To make matters even more complex, not all tuners are not created equal — meaning the televisions, over-the-air DVRs, and other devices we each possess will have varying degrees of reception. So your mileage will absolutely vary from mine. Most small, indoor antennas are rated for receptivity in the 25-35 mile range, but those that are offered with amplification can be extended to 50ish.

Continue Reading…