US Broadband’s new reality: slowing growth

There are more than 80 million broadband subscribers in the US, a sign that the market is getting saturated. It is not a surprise that the growth of new broadband subscribers has started to slow. So far this year, we have seen 200,000 fewer new additions.

Hey DSL, it is time for good-bye

AT&T is going all-in on IP – the Internet Protocol, and cutting the cord with its past. Instead, it will push newer, faster broadband via a hybrid of fiber-and-copper technologies. And what that means is end of the line for classic DSL. Nothing wrong with it.

What’s on TV? Online videos of course!

The growing sales of Internet connected televisions and DVD players has helped bolster the demand for online video content. One would think that it would be new content, but that’s not the case. People want to watch movies and other broadcast fare, a study shows.

Viacom and DirecTV end spat with new deal

After more than a week of public squabbling and dark channels, DirecTV and Viacom have a new licensing deal that restores all 26 of the channels — and leaves open the possibility that premium channel Epix will show up on the satellite operator.

ESPN plans wall-to-wall digital Wimbledon — for some

For the first time in the digital age one U.S. network has complete rights across platforms. ESPN will live stream 800 hours+ on broadband network ESPN3, plus ESPN and ESPN2 via Watch ESPN, And it’s only for subscribers. Tennis Everywhere, as long as someone pays.

Cable still beating telcos at the broadband game

Cable continues to crush telcos when it comes to stealing broadband customers, according to data out from the Leichtman Research Group. The analyst firm noted that the U.S. market added 1.3 million new subscribers for a total of nearly 80 million subscriptions.

Achtung! Arris shows off 4.7 Gbps cable speeds.

Arris and Kabel Deutschland, Germany’s largest cable service provider, have managed to field test cable equipment that delivers fiber-like speeds of 4.7 gigabits per second. While those speeds aren’t for the real world, it shows that cable can hold its ground with fiber.

Cable exec: “Netflix is our frenemy”

Just what do you call a company that hurts and helps your business at the same time? With Netflix draining ratings for some programs, spiking the performance of others, and all the while increasing broadband sales, Cox Communications’ Patrick Esser came up with the perfect term.

Nielsen: 1.5M U.S. households cut the cord in 2011

Belying several earlier research studies, which said growth of U.S. multi-channel subscriptions has slowed significantly but not stopped, Nielsen’s latest “Cross-Platform Report” says the number of U.S. homes paying a multi-channel provider for TV services last year actually declined by 1.5 million, or about 1.5 percent.

Why cable should bank on broadband and thank Netflix

With initiatives like TV Everywhere and broadband usage caps, is the cable industry biting the hands of the streaming video companies that are driving its most vibrant prospect for growth? Why the cable industry might consider enabling Netflix and YouTube, not hindering them.

The United States of broadband: Location matters

The U.S. is falling in the quality of broadband its ISPs are offering, although in the fourth quarter of 2011 that drop in speeds was seen by several other counties, with overall broadband speeds falling to a global average 2.3 Mbps from the previous quarter.

Cupcakes! Food Network builds an interactive cookbook

Food Network’s digital strategy has always been fairly straightforward: to supplement its cable TV content and promote its on-air talent. Consequently its Website, its social media efforts and its mobile apps are all linked to its programming. But this week Food Network deviated from that strategy.

Verizon trading beachfront spectrum for penthouse airwaves

Verizon Wireless has often touted its 700 MHz airwaves as “beachfront property,” but now Big Red wants to dump some of its 700 MHz real estate, trading it for low-rent frequencies in the AWS band. At earnings call on Thursday, Verizon explained its puzzling reversal.

The cable industry isn’t stupid, right?

A new study predicts $200 bills for the pay-TV portion of your cable bill by 2020. Here’s how the cable companies are using both a carrot and a stick to keep pay TV necessary in an IP age. Can government or consumers stop them?

Boxee clashes with cable companies over encryption

Boxee isn’t just marketing its live TV tuner as an alternative to cable; it is also fighting with cable companies about having access to their programming. The reason? Cable companies want to encrypt their basic cable tier, which Boxee and other CE makers oppose.

YouTube shows Silicon Valley how it can beat Hollywood

YouTube’s announced new viewership milestone today, with more than 4 billion video views daily. That’s impressive, and more importantly, shows how YouTube could serve as a blueprint for other technology companies that wish to create an alternative to the existing media industry.

FCC inches toward the broadband future with USF reform

The FCC’s plan to take the funding program that provides telephone service to rural areas and upgrade it for the 21st century will soon become law, as universal service fund reform hits the Federal Register. Here’s what the plan means for consumers, telcos and innovation.

What tomorrow’s cable box looks like

Comcast customers will soon find a new UI on their cable box that will look much less like Grandma’s EPG, and more like an iPad app with social recommendations and universal search. But how open will the cable box of the future be for third-party developers?

America! Stop whining and get online!

Almost a third of U.S. households don’t subscribe to broadband, and it’s driving the government nuts. According to an report out today 71 percent of Americans are online, and the rest don’t want it or find it too expensive. And yes, 3 percent can’t get it.

What is gigabit broadband good for?

When it comes to broadband, gigabit per second speeds are all the rage. Large broadband providers in the US have started showing off their gigabit efforts But what is this speed good for? Kevin Lo, Google’s fiber access program chief says “new things.”

Cable wins broadband subs as telcos take TV

In the fight for new subscribers, cable companies are winning on broadband and telcos are winning over TV viewers. But while telcos are taking IPTV subs, they are losing the overall war on digital voice and broadband — so their TV victory may be a Pyrrhic one.

Big cable is facing an ‘affordability crisis’

Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett issued a research note that paints a damning picture of cable affordability in light of larger macroeconomic trends. Many U.S. households have less money for discretionary spending at the same time that the price of TV entertainment has risen dramatically.

6 Bizarre causes for optical cables damage

Every so often we hear about a network outage thanks to some completely non-technology reason: A truck rammed into a pole or backhoe cut the cable. Here are some of the top bizarre reasons why optical fibers are cut (and result in network disruption.)

Cablevision is biggest loser in FCC broadband speed report

Does your Cablevision Internet connection feel a little slow in the evening hours? Turns out you are not alone: The FCC’s new broadband report shows that Cablevision delivers less than 60 percent of its advertised speed during peak hours. Most other ISPs fared significantly better.

Cord cutters not replacing cable TV with online video

People who have cut the cord aren’t doing so because they think Netflix provides a good alternative to their local cable TV company. In fact, those that go broadband-only are only slightly more likely to watch online video than those with pay-TV subscriptions, according to LRG.

Current bets on Twitter and web video for Olbermann show

Keith Olbermann’s return to cable television is aided by a full-blown Twitter campaign, aiming in part to get potential viewers riled up that not every cable provider carries Current. Viewers will also get to see clips of the show on iTunes, Hulu and YouTube.

Did the cloud just kill the set-top box?

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts showed off the company’s new user interface today. But more important than the improved search, personalization and social features are how they’re delivered: using a cloud-based model, Comcast will be able to accelerate innovation and add features more quickly and easily.

Comcast likely to show off gigabit cable broadband

Comcast will show off a 1 gigabit per second connection on Thursday at The Cable Show in Chicago according to reports. An industry blog reports the nation’s top broadband provider would show off the gigabit connection and launch a symmetrical 100 Mbps speed tier.

Time Warner’s Bewkes: ‘This is not the music industry’

Despite worries over competition from over-the-top video services and the possibility of cord cutting, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said the cable industry was doing better than ever. That said, the industry still needs to work together to meet consumer demand for new services.

Who are we kidding? Of course it’s Netflix vs. cable.

Netflix execs may insist publicly that they’re no threat to cable, but there’s plenty of evidence that the company’s subscription service and pay TV offerings are squarely competing for the eye balls and subscription dollars of the very same audience. In other words: It’s on!

Forget fiber; cable shows off 4.5 Gbps speeds

The cable business isn’t going to cede its share of the broadband market by waiting around for coaxial cable to become obsolete, and now cable providers won’t have to make an expensive transition to a fiber-to-the-home infrastructure to achieve gigabit networks.

Want Broadband? Odds Are, You’ll Choose Cable

TV ownership is on the downswing, but cable companies don’t need a pity party just yet. When it came to choosing a broadband provider in the first quarter of 2011, two out of three people chose a cable company, and one out of three chose Comcast.


The Set-top Is Dead! Long Live the Set-top!

For years, the electronic programming guide has been an impediment to navigating the ever-increasing content choices available on cable TV. But its limited search and discovery capabilities have been driven primarily by the hardware on which it’s built, and because of that, many operators are now looking for new ways to reach consumers without the set-top box. What will replace it? A wide range of devices — connected TVs, Blu-ray players and gaming consoles — are potential successors.

The (Cable) Empire Strikes Back

Pay TV is alive and well, and now has more subscribers than ever. There was some consternation following the industry reporting its first-ever declines in the number of pay TV subscribers last year. But now, subscriber numbers are once again looking up.

Comcast Investing $200M to Turn Around NBC

Comcast is committed to improving its NBC Universal programming, especially its broadcast network, and will spend big to do so. Comcast COO Steve Burke said it would invest $300 million in NBCU over the next year, including $200 million to turn around its broadcast network.

IPTV Catching On, Now 10% of Telco Subs Pay for TV, Too

IPTV has become a growing force in the pay TV business, capturing more than 45 million subscribers worldwide. The accelerating growth in the IPTV market, while bad news for cable and satellite providers, shows the power of competition as new services enter the market.

Networks Playing a Dangerous Game In Retrans Fights

The number of TV blackouts due to retransmission disputes has risen to its highest level in a decade, and more could be on the way, as broadcasters seek higher fees to carry their content. But those blackouts could have unintended consequences as consumers find entertainment elsewhere.

Comcast Cuts The Cable, Rolls Out 2,000 Xfinity Wi-Fi Hotspots

Comcast today announced the availability of more than 2,000 free wireless internet hotspots for Xfinity customers in New Jersey, Delaware and the greater Philadelphia area, where the company is based. Thanks to a collaborative agreement, customers can “roam” on hotspots from Cablevision and Time Warner Cable.

Why Apple TV is a Ticking Time Bomb for Big Cable

Make no mistake, Apple is in the process of staging a coup. That’s what a very close look at the new Apple TV reveals. Despite its somewhat innocuous appearance and diminutive stature, it’s a weapon of war. The opponent? The entrenched cable and satellite service providers.

Netflix Grabs More Streaming Content Ahead of Cable

Netflix is expanding its catalog of exclusive streaming content with a deal that will give its subscribers access to films from Nu Image/Millennium Films during the pay TV window. This is the second time Netflix has scored exclusive access to first-run movies ahead of cable networks.

How an App Store Could Revolutionize the TV Industry

Apple could be facing another round of tough negotiations with content producers like it faced when it introduced the world to digital music and movie downloads. If it is successful though, Apple could revolutionize the marketplace of how we consume television content.

Broadband Additions Hit a New Low in the U.S.

Cable and telephone companies added a scant 336,000 net broadband subscriptions during the second quarter, according to the Leichtman Research Group: the lowest amount in the nine years that the analyst firm has tracked such additions. Telcos were the big losers as cable tromped DSL.

Weekend Poll: Are You a Cord-cutter?

According to recent Nielsen research, cord-cutting may be a “myth” — but are NewTeeVee readers myth-busters? And if they’re not cable-free, to what degree do they watch online content anyways? Those are the questions we’re hoping to answer with this weekend’s poll.

The FCC Wants You! (to Test Your Broadband Speed)

Some 80 percent of respondents don’t know the actual broadband speed to their homes, an FCC broadband survey finds. To educate and gather more data, the agency is looking for 10,000 volunteers to use a hardware box for speed testing. Will you join the broadband army?


New Business Models For Pay TV Services

For years, companies that wanted to launch pay TV services had to invest heavily to do so. But now the acceptance of IP video services could provide a way to reach a large and growing audience without a huge upfront investment.

Vid-Biz: Sony, Kyte, Diva

Around the ‘Net today: Sony looks to TV sales and network services for growth, Kyte talks up iPad ads, and Diva takes its VOD service. Plus, lots of talking points from the Cable Show.

Faster Upstream Speeds for Cable Broadband

Cable companies are said to be planning upgrades to their networks that would see upstream speeds increase to around 20 Mbps by 2015. At present, most networks have shared upstream speeds of 6-28 Mbps, depending on the service tier. The boost comes via DOCSIS 3.0 technologies.

Cable Considers Faster Broadband Standard

CableLabs, the standard-setting organization for the cable industry, is pondering next-generation cable broadband technology that would be able to deliver up to 5 gigabits per second down. The proposed standard would be more efficient but require a rethinking of the current network architecture.

Cable Is Saved?

When you’re drowning, you grasp at straws to try to stay afloat. Sometimes you actually convince yourself that you’re standing on dry land. That seems to be the collective response of the traditional TV industry to a recent survey from Parks Associates.


Report: The Ongoing Battle for the Digital Home

The term “digital home” has been tossed around for a number of years with few indications of how big the market actually is. Small startup companies and potentially-disruptive technologies are regularly identified as the key players in what was, in 2008, a $553 billion U.S. market. This size – a half a trillion dollars annually – indicates that there is a lot more to the Digital Home than a few MP3 players, some Internet video clips on YouTube, and gaming consoles. The digital home is rich with media, communications and human interactions fueled by a range of digital networks and technologies provided by the likes of AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony and others. This report examines the relative strengths of market segments and the leading players therein.


Fact or Fiction: Where Is Branded Online Video Going?

Last month, groundbreaking production company EQAL (the creators of “lonelygirl15”) announced that it would no longer be producing scripted series, instead creating content to go along with previously established brands. It was a decision that disappointed many loyal fans, but it just might be the direction the online video industry is going.


As TV Comes Online, Can Content Providers Sell ‘Premium’?

2009 is not shaping up to be a golden year for media. But with business models in flux, the timing may just be right for unconventional thinking about the future of entertainment distribution. As providers’ business interests and consumers’ consumption interests come into alignment over the next year, I think we’re headed toward a resurgence for paid video on the Internet.


The Future of Pay TV Services

Breakthroughs in digital media technologies have converted media consumers from spectators into participants. This transformation has impacted all aspects of the media value chain, from content creation through delivery to the consumer experience itself. The interactive nature of the broadband Internet has set high consumer expectations for other media outlets, particularly video services, and for all manner of personal communications.

These trends have resulted in significant changes to the pay-TV landscape. Older technologies such as cable TV are facing off against newer entrants such as telcos providing IPTV services, and cable, IPTV and satellite providers are all trying to figure out how to deal with Internet video operators who can go direct to consumer without investing and maintaining their own delivery network. This report examines the impacts of the growth of IPTV on satellite and cable providers, and how all of providers will react to the growing threat (and opportunity) of broadband video.

Bad Times Ahead for Broadband?

Updated: The sales of Cable modem termination systems (CMTS) declined 32 percent in the third quarter of 2008 to $246 million, according…

In Defense of Cable

While you might think it’s time to cut the cable cord, there are some things you should consider before telling Comcast where it can shove its overpriced coaxial cable. Whether it’s time to dump cable depends on how much TV you watch, how important picture quality is, and whether or not you’re a sports fan.

Vyyo Out of Air?

Vyyo, loosely translated, means “air” in Hindi. And air is what the Norcross, Ga.-based cable broadband equipment maker with that name might…

For Comcast, Broadband Slows

Comcast, thanks to some stiff competition from lower-priced DSL offerings and Verizon FiOS combined with economic woes and fears of a recession,…