Archives For Broadband

According to Buzzfeed, tomorrow YouTube TV will expand it’s over-the-top television service to include Turner channels — and, beyond the requisite CNN, basketball fans can now call YouTube TV home with the addition of TBS and TNT. But, wait, there’s more — NBA League Pass will be available as an add-on. Less interesting, to me anyway, is the inclusion of original YouTube Red content. I get YouTube needs to pump their own stuff, but hopefully they’re continuing to work top-shelf programming deals and will be able to soon offer Scripps channels of HGTV, Food, and Travel. Given the incoming $5 price hike from $35 to $40, let’s hope so. In any event, YouTube TV remains one of the more interesting and compelling OTT aggregators given a generous 6 accounts and unlimited DVR capacity.

2016 was the year of the mesh network, with WiFi routers finally breaking free of the commoditized hardware doldrums, and eero ruled the roost (although they didn’t actually serve up a true ‘mesh’ from the get-go) despite some fierce competition from Netgear Orbi. Beyond mesh, eero also successfully emphasized ease-of-use — although what some found simple, others found simplistic. While I’ve had to run my trio in bridge mode for the better part of a year, initial configuration was ridiculously simple and it’s largely been set-and-forget, with stellar throughput available from all corners of our home(s)… other than a transitory perfect storm of events that briefly took me down last December. And now, after 30 software updates since launch, the company is back with new hardware and claims of an even better experience…

Founder and CEO Nick Weaver tells me the second generation eero effectively doubles the performance of the original, in terms of bandwidth and range, largely due to re-engineering the antenna array and moving to triband radios. Whereas the original eero featured identical, interchangeable pods, the new eero system consists of the traditional (iconic?) eero base station and new Beacon satellite units, that take a page from Ubiquiti (and countless painful network extenders), going with a compact, wire-free outlet mount. However, if you appreciate Ethernet connectivity throughout the home, to accessorize (as I do) or for a more robust wired backhaul, all eero models of both generations are mix and match.

Other fun facts: The eero Beacon contains an ambient light sensor and dimmable nightlight (that many of us will simply disable) and the traditionally-shaped eero is powered via a USB-C cable. In our chat, Weaver repeatedly mentioned the home as an operating system, emphasized in practice via forward-looking Thread integration for IoT and an upcoming eero Plus service (with application provider framework) that kicks off with a beefed up proxy to protect against malware and provide enhanced parental controls.  Continue Reading…

netflix-fastBeyond their monthly ISP Speed Index ratings and hot on the heels of the recently introduced mobile app bandwidth configurator, Netflix appears poised to launch “Fast” – an online service and app functionality to provide customers even more insight into their connections and streaming video potential.

From Netflix’s newly filed USPTO trademark application:

  • Downloadable computer software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user’s Internet connection
  • Providing a website featuring non-downloadable software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user’s Internet connection

Seeya, SpeedTest.net?

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  April 22, 2016

A periodic roundup of relevant news…

google-cast

I’ve been alerted that Google Cast technology will be hitting existing Google Fiber television hardware in the very near future… making subscriber’s “cable” TV set-top boxes that much more interesting, as tons of over-the-top Internet audio and video apps become available, via smartphone control, in a far more efficient manner than, say, TiVo’s approach of negotiating development of individual apps like HBO GO. Beyond my trusted source, additional evidence can be found in this Chromecast code snippet, referencing the “Google fiber remote,” and from some beta testers who look to have prematurely spilled the beans.

Unlock The Box?

Dave Zatz —  March 22, 2016

After years of fits and starts, we finally find ourselves on the cusp of a CableCARD successor as the FCC has proposed the pay television industry “unlock the box”– providing customers broader access to programming via hardware and experiences of their choosing.

As a long-time industry observer, I’ve found much of the press coverage unsatisfying – marred by a lack of situational awareness and heavily influenced by lobbying groups on all sides. Sadly, as a blog hobbyist (with a new baby), I can’t give you the polished 4000 words this topic demands. But I can provide one man’s rough yet somewhat educated and largely unbiased opinion, both textually below and via the new LPX Show podcast embedded right here – along with my pals Brad Linder and Mari Silbey.

A Very Brief Primer Continue Reading…

Pioneering Internet streaming service Sling TV has unveiled their upcoming interface refresh from CES. And our pal Brad Linder went hands on. Beyond recent guide presentation updates, the thrust of this transition is functional — with personalization taking center stage.

A new MyTV dashboard collates content you’ve previously flagged as Favorites, Recommended content based on viewership, and any On Demand programming you may have left in progress – so you can pick it up at another time or from another device. Further, On Now is a new customized guide presentation based on what you generally watch and when you watch it. Beyond these changes, Sling has also realized the UI does not need to be consistent amongst devices — what works on a touchscreen up close may not be suitable from a leanback experience. Not to mention navigation conventions vary by platform, say Xbox One versus Roku.

While the new approach does seem compelling and more interactive, at least in regards to Sling’s target millennial audience, it’s likely too visually rich and complex for my mom… who owns two Roku TVs and doesn’t particularly care for Comcast. Perhaps a future update could incorporate a slimmed down, “lite” mode with a more traditional presentation to expand Sling TV’s demographic to include seniors. In any event, Sling expects the multi-platform rollout to commence later this quarter.