AT&T Unveils Usage-Based Pricing

AT&T Unveils Usage-Based Pricing

As Todd Spangler wrote in Multichannel News [subscription required], “It might be the beginning of the end for the all-you-can-eat broadband buffet”, as AT&T announced usage-based pricing last week for its DSL and U-verse customers. According to Multichannel [this link free], Sanford Bernstein senior analyst Craig Moffett says that this move may provide “air cover” for large U.S. cable operators to do the same. As more users are watching “over-the-top” video services instead of just web-surfing on their broadband connections, cable systems financial models are eing stressed.

Comcast, Cox and Charter cable systems already have usage caps on their broadband services and Canada’s Rogers moved to consumption-based broadband pricing several years ago. Time Warner, however met with customer resistance when it experimented in 2009 with usage-based pricing on some of its systems.

So what does this all mean for the average couch potato? Well if you were expecting to cut your cable service from the SuperOptimal Platimum Tier to Basic Cable and watch all your shows on Hulu Plus, your broadband provider just might have something else in mind.

UPDATE: Netflix Cuts Data Use on Canada Streaming Service [and the techie details from BGR.]

Net Wit: Why Neutrality Matters

Net Wit: Why Neutrality Matters

John Ueland for TIME

In an article in the September 6th issue of Time Magazine, Joel Stein makes the case against net neutrality by arguing that limited bandwidth needs to be allocated fairly. He says that is why your cell phone company “allows 911 calls through first, phone calls second, instant messages next and Web searches last.”

Allocating bandwidth is fine if you are an over-the-air broadcaster or cell phone company where there is limited (government licensed) spectrum. But let’s think about where most of us get our home internet service. Unless you are stealing it from your neighbor’s unencrypted router, chances are you are getting it from your cable company – which is also in the business of selling you pricey “silver” and “gold” packages of pay-tv channels.

What happens if you and a majority of the people in your franchise area begin watching True Blood, Dexter and Rescue Me by downloading them from Bit-Torrent? You and your neighbors cancel your high cost cable packages and opt for the basic package plus internet service. Watch your cable companies revenue decline while bandwidth usage goes up, making it harder for them to stream “on-demand” movies to those people who are still stupid enough to pay for them. How do you think that will make your cable company feel about net neutrality? Just Google “tiered service“.

Smaller Cable Nets Squeezed Out?

Smaller Cable Nets Squeezed Out?

An interesting post from NewTeeVee on how smaller cable networks may be forced off systems as they devote more money and bandwidth to the bigfoot “must carry” networks such as those from Disney, NBCU, TimeWarner and Discovery. The post discusses how AT&T U-verse let its contract with Crown Media to lapse on September 1st.

Disney and NBCU are a double threat as they also own over-the-air stations that are must-carry as per FCC regulations.

H.264 vs VP8

H.264 vs VP8

mpegla_logo_sqMPEG LA fired another salvo in the H.264 vs VP8 war today by announcing that it will continue to offer a royalty-free license for their AVC/H.264 codec patents to sites that offer free video streams to consumers. Implied, but not specifically stated due to the legalese involved is that the license will be in perpetuity.

NewTeeVee suggests that this is in response to the growing acceptance of WebM, the open-source set of standards backed by Google and soon to supported by Firefox 4.

(Thanks to philiphodgetts.com.)

OTA B’casters Won’t Waive Big Sticks

OTA B’casters Won’t Waive Big Sticks

towerIn comments filed with the FCC’s Broadband Task Force on January 27th, the NAB and the Association For Maximum Service Television (MSTV) said that a proposal from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the wireless trade industry association (CTIA) to free-up additional spectrum was unacceptable.

The proposal calls for over-the-air broadcasters to transition from today’s high power single transmitter DTV infrastructure to one based on multiple DTS single-frequency network transmitters. The NAB and  MSTV filing said the plan would create loss of service to viewers resulting from increased coverage gaps and interference.

READ THE ENTIRE BROADCAST ENGINEERING ARTICLE HERE

Comcast – Your 3D Source ?

Comcast – Your 3D Source ?

243825-new_line_the_final_destination150

Comcast SVP Derek Harrar wants you to know that Comcast, not DirecTV, will be the place to go for 3D TV content in 2010 according to this article from Multichannel News. (And this press release.) Harrar said that Comcast lead they way with Hannah Montana: The Movie in 2008 and followed-up with My Bloody ValentineJonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience and Coraline, all offered in the anaglyph 3D format.

Second 3-D Truck Underway

Second 3-D Truck Underway

Bio-pic-200All Mobile Video has announced that it will build a 3-D HD remote truck utilizing Sony gear. The only other 3-D truck is NEP’s Supershooter 3D, which will be used to broadcast the Feb. 25th Harlem Globetrotters game on ESPN.

The All Mobile Video unit will incorporate 3D camera rigs from 3ality Digital, while NEP’s truck uses 3D HD camera rigs from PACE.

Mobile DTV – Too Little, Too Late?

Mobile DTV – Too Little, Too Late?

Samsung Moment

Receiving a big send-off from manufacturers at this week’s CES, free mobile digital television could either be part of broadcast TV’s salvation, or a non-starter. With so many under-30′s used to watching on their computers or downloading to their portable devices, mobile DTV may only be a big hit in soccer mom’s minivans.

(Photo: Samsung Moment Android powered phone to be used in testing Mobile DTV in Baltimore and Washington D.C.)

3-D Networks

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3-D Networks

With announcements this week from ESPN, Discovery and Direct-TV, it looks like 2010 will usher in the era of 3-D TV telecasts. (At least until everyone has a 20 megabit per second internet connection.)

Start saving for that $2,000.00 $3,500.00 3-D set !

(Click on thumbnail for link to complete New York Times graphic.)

Related:
Cnet wrap-up.
Broadcasting & Cable: 3D Reality Sets In

Networks Could Ditch Free TV

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Networks Could Ditch Free TV

Free Broadcasters In Peril

… screams the headline in the “ink on paper” version of the story in today’s Newsday. (Page A34)

AP Business Writer Andrew Vanacore quotes Rupert Murdoch saying “(programming) can no longer be supported solely by advertising revenues.”

The article touches on how the networks are attempting to boost their revenues from retransmission fees and possibly by ditching their OTA affiliates and becoming dual revenue stream cable nets.

(Newsday’s on-line version carries the wire version headline. And the on-line versions are longer than the print version.)

DVR, Once TV’s Mortal Foe, Helps Ratings

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DVR, Once TV’s Mortal Foe, Helps Ratings

DVR
According to Nielsen, 46 percent of viewers 18 to 49 years old for all four (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) networks taken together are watching the commercials during (DVR) playback, up slightly from last year.”

According to this New York Times article, “… those passive viewers are watching in numbers big enough to turn… some middling successes (“How I Met Your Mother” on CBS) into healthier profit centers, and some seemingly endangered shows (“Heroes” on NBC) into possible survivors.”

© 2009 The New York Times Company

Kliavkoff Out But Not Down

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Kliavkoff Out But Not Down

George Kliavkoff may be leaving his post as NBCU’s Chief Digital Officer, but he is certainly not down on the potential for a customized digital experience to be a magnet for ad dollars when the economy rebounds. Kliavkoff spoke at the monthly NY:MIEG breakfast this morning.

Pandora Meets Genius

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Pandora Meets Genius

In the past week I was talking to someone about what would happen if you
came home and found that your DVR was filled with shows similar in genre
to what you had already recorded. Sort of Amazon meets Genius meets
Pandora. In the October issue of Broadcast
Engineering,
Craig Birkmaier discusses locally caching content. It
would be interesting if your DVR could hunt out content not only on
cable (like TiVo) but on the web as well. But the article concludes by
raising the issue about what happens to this model if content owners can
buy preferential placement (think Ad Words). What would happen if you
came home and your DVR was filled with episodes of The O’Reilly Factor
and Make Money On eBay ?

Endangered Species ?

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Endangered Species ?

Showrunners know who watches their show, brand managers know who buys their product. So why in this day of product integration do you need ad agencies as the go between? Some thoughts from Brian Reich, (coauthor of Media Rules).
[iTunes link to clip here, then select podcast with release date of 9/8/08.]

(Thanks to Bill Sobel for this.)

Fanfare™ and TakeTV™

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Fanfare™ and TakeTV™

Had lunch today with my favorite industry shmoozer
and one of the things we discussed was TakeTV™ (a small media player you
connect to your TV) and the possibility of additional product
announcements at CES. Read the original Press Release here.

And the Fanfare™ website (where you download the contentent) is here.

P2P with Skinkers and LiveStation

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P2P with Skinkers and LiveStation

I just don’t get why Peer-to-Peer is a great way of distributing TV-like
content. It’s just like having your windows open with no screens during
the summer. Sure you get that cool breeze of fast downloaded video, but
you let all those bloodsucking mosquitoes in. Akamai and Limelight get
paid for hosting files. Is what you download worth providing other
people with free hosting, your internet ‘pipe’ and the wear and tear on
your computer?

Behind The Curve

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Behind The Curve

I used to be ahead of the curve.(My shop probably had the first non Post
House AVID in NYC in December 1989.)

You know you’re behind the curve when the stuff you’re researching
becomes the gist of an article in Time Magazine: "Hacking
Toward Happinees
." It’s no fun being over 50 in a time where
technology comes at you faster and faster.

TV vs Video

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TV vs Video

Here’s a comment that sums it all up:

Jake
Wolf
said (as
a comment
to a Blog Entry that Jeff
Jarvis posted
):

"TV is made by deep pocketed networks who pay for FCC
licenses and come into homes via radio waves or wires. Video is
what individuals have control over and they can get it from any source
they want."

Jeff Jarvis started by saying:

"She [Amanda Congdon] said she didn’t want her stuff called TV; she said
it’s something new, it’s a video blog. I argued, in turn, that the
definition of TV is up for grabs and that she should grab it…"

I don’t think Amanda should grab anything. We (individuals) must now do
everthing we can to own Video, before the Googles of the
world buy up all the YouTubes of the world and commericalize it, just
like they did to the Internet. Of cousre, we the people may
already have lost the battle, as this
OpEd piece
in the San Jose Mercury News tells us.

Broadband Media: From Network to Networked

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Categories: Broadcast 2.0

Broadband Media: From Network to Networked

Here’s a blog post I missed the first time through. Peter Cervieri posted this
video
of Herb Granath in a firside chat with Shelly Plamer. Scroll
down past the Flash player and read the text summary, if you’d prefer. (I
hate talking heads myself. I can read faster than I can watch.)