Archives For Satellite TV

By way of the TiVo Community and an FCC filing, we learn that TiVo has petitioned the powers that be for access to customers of a combined AT&T and DirecTV – should the merger be approved (now with NFL in the bag). And they do make a compelling argument… including drawing a clever parallel to Ma Bell (which is entirely unrelated to the current entity in anything other than name).

Any FCC action approving the merger of the leading DBS MVPD and the leading IPTV MVPD must require that the merged company comply meaningfully and effectively with existing law, including Section 629’s obligation to support commercial competitive devices.

If the merger is allowed, the merged company, in addition to being the largest MVPD, will be the only MVPD to supply programming and services via both direct satellite and wired transmissions. With its national scope, the new AT&T will in certain respects resemble the original AT&T system — a system that was required to open its network to device competition under the Commission

Further, TiVo doesn’t pull any punches in regards to DirecTV, leading us to wonder if their current partnership has soured in some way. TiVo has previously indicated discontent in regards to DTV’s decision to develop and deploy the prior TiVo experience…

TiVo’s experience with DIRECTV has shown that technical access to programming has not been a stumbling block to the use of retail devices. Device competition has been constrained, instead, by DIRECTV’s business objective of controlling the relevant device market, in a manner contrary to the intent of Section 629 and Commission regulations.

DISH Hops onto PS3 with $7/Mo Virtual Joey App

AT&T To Acquire DirecTV

Dave Zatz —  May 19, 2014

As widely rumored, AT&T has formally announced their intention to purchase DirecTV for $95/share.

This purchase price implies a total equity value of $48.5 billion and a total transaction value of $67.1 billion, including DIRECTV’s net debt.

While this transaction, should it be approved, would result in one of the largest pay television providers, I see it largely as a defensive maneuver on AT&T’s part in an industry where they should be on the offensive with more forward thinking plays as linear television looks to contract. Further, it’ll be interesting to see how DirecTV’s negotiations with the NFL evolve given new ownership, with deeper pockets and potentially broader distribution potential … and if they are granted exclusive rights.

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

wireless-joey-fcc

The DISH Network Wireless Joey, unveiled at CES, is one step closer to release having just passed thru the FCC. The Echostar-produced Hopper extender hums with 802.11/a/n/ac to handle those high def streams of live and recorded content, without requiring a coaxial connection. Those with 802.11g networks need not apply. Via the filing, we also learn the Wireless Joey will ship with an RF remote – meaning a more sprightly response and the ability to hide WJ in a cabinet or behind your television. While I prefer DISH’s whole-home solution over TiVo’s, due to unrestricted placeshifting and Android support, I’m not quite motivated enough to switch providers given an ongoing reliance on Comcast or Verizon for broadband services. And despite TiVo’s recent layoffs and new emphasis on cloud services for cable providers, like Jason Nealis of RCN, I too hope they have a little more hardware left in them and pine for a similarly specced wireless TiVo Mini.

super-wireless-joey

While DISH’s CES press conference remains 24 hours away, the missing pieces have somewhat clarified since we first began tracking a refreshed DISH Hopper and “Super Joey” — which passed through the FCC in November. Of course, the DISH Hopper (with Sling) is the award winning satellite TV DVR, that acts as a hub to Joey extenders. And DISH’s 2014 show message is all about expanding those whole-home Joey capabilities. From recent press outreach:

DISH will be showing new ways for viewers to enjoy their favorite channels with the award-winning Hopper HD DVR, to address family channel conflict, cabling issues, and to control clutter. Continue Reading…

dish-anywhere

DISH Anywhere Android and iOS apps have both been updated to expand their Sling Hopper capabilities from mere streaming to also include DVR recording downloads. Now the functionality isn’t new, but consolidating down from three apps to two is a good move – and one we’ve seen from a variety of service providers (like Verizon) who have finally realized less is more. By comparison, TiVo provides remote control, guide, streaming, and offloading in a single (iOS) app. Also worth mentioning, unlike retail Slingboxes, DISH Hopper apps are provided free of charge. And, despite upcoming service fee increases, the DISH Hopper, with integrated placeshifting and commercial skip, remains one of the most compelling set-tops on the market.

Sirius XM Raising Rates In 2014

Dave Zatz —  December 18, 2013

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It’s that time of year. No, not holiday shopping. Rather, annual rate increase notices. And, next up is Sirius XM, who just hit me with a letter that indicates my online streaming add-on will increase from $3.50/mo to $4/mo. A fifty cent increase is pretty insignificant, yet these sorts of notifications may motivate folks such as myself to examine our usage scenarios and competing offerings. As it turns out, I mostly listen to Sirius XM in the car and would probably get more phone, tablet, Sonos enjoyment by re-upping with a more customizable Internet Radio service like Slacker… for the same $4. (It also looks like my satellite rate will eventually go up, but not quite yet as I agreed to an annual package.)