To counter Dish's recent release of their new $20 a month broadband video Sling TV service (see our impressions here
) DirecTV has unveiled a new promo of their own. A new DirecTV Ad
(via Fierce Wireless
) notes that DirecTV is now offering a $20 traditional TV bundle that includes 130 channels, and three months of all premium channels. Note this doesn't include various DVR, set top and service fees, and the promo jumps to $50 a month after a year. It's also being offered only to new DirecTV customers. In other words, it's a "$20" promo that's probably actually more like $65 down the road, and it's absolutely nothing like what Dish is offering with Sling TV.
Dish has had a particularly contentious last year when it comes to battling with broadcasters over retransmission fee rate hikes. The company had a particularly contentious fight with CBS resulting in a prolonged blackout for customers
, who got to pay the same rates despite having access to less content.
HughesNet today announced new satellite broadband plans the company claims will usher in "a new generation of performance-enhancing innovations in downloading, browsing and data usage management." According to the company announcement
, the new plans come alongside an improvement to the company's SmartFetch and SmartCompression technologies that try to create the impression of faster speeds.
The company appears so proud of their new plan specifics and pricing, they've hidden them behind a prequal wall
Dish Network has been found guilty of violating the Federal Do Not Call Registry more than fifty million times. According to an FTC notice
, Dish Network ignored consumer opt opt preferences in millions of cases, calling customers with sales pitches who had clearly stated they didn't want marketing calls. The report notes Dish also violated the "abandoned-call" provision of FTC rules some 49,738,073 times (read: Dish's automated service called, but then hung up on the user before connecting them to an agent, resulting in those users being tossed back into the system again for more errant calls). Given that the FTC penalty for each instance of DNC violation can be up to $16,000, Dish may be looking at a sizable fine for interrupting your dinner.
You can add Sir Richard Branson to the growing list of companies that are exploring satellites, drones and hot air balloons to deliver broadband services to developing nations. Branson and Virgin announced
that they're building the "world's largest ever satellite constellation," which will be run by OneWeb and utilize Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne programme for satellite launches "at a much lower cost and with greater reliability."
"According to the International Telecommunications Union, as of the end of 2014, more than half the world’s population lacks internet access – this new satellite constellation could dramatically improve that figure, bringing fresh opportunities to the billions of people who are currently held back by a lack of technology," says the company.
There's of course been a long line of similar efforts with a mixed track record of success. We've also been seeing a significant ramp up on this front by the likes of Google, Facebook and 03b, with the motivation sometimes being to help developing nations -- but just as often to empower devices that will sell ads to billions upon billions of potential new eyeballs.
There's a little more detail over in the company's official release
Satellite broadband operator 03b Networks
is planning on a satellite fleet expansion that should grow the company's overall bandwidth capacity ten fold. According to the company, it now has 12 satellites in orbit after the December 18 launch of four satellites via a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana. The launches boosted 03b's current capacity to roughly 100 gigabits per second, states the company, which notes they're pushing hard to the 1 terabit mark. The company's blog
offers up some additional detail on their satellite launches and fleet expansion. 03b is aimed at bringing broadband to less connected regions (the name is a riff off of "other three billion").
Add DirecTV to the growing list of companies that have joined the year-end rate hike festivities. According to notices
being sent to customers and detailed information
(pdf) on the company's website, new pricing will take effect on February 5, 2015 that involves hikes for most channel bundles.
Dish Network appears to be the first major pay TV player willing to integrate Netflix into the company's set top box hardware. Reports recently emerged
that Netflix was making a refocused push to get Netflix on the set tops of the biggest cable operators.
After a brief weather delay, DirecTV says that the company's seven-ton DirecTV 14 satellite was successfully launched in Kourou, French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle by Arianespace. According to the company announcement
, the satellite is functioning perfectly and will enter tests ahead of broader commercial use. The satellite is the cornerstone of DirecTV's 4K TV ambitions, which involve launching live 4K broadcasts by February or March
. "In addition to 4K Ultra HD services, the satellite expands DIRECTV’s capacity for future growth for advanced services via the reverse band spectrum along with spot beam coverage for more local HD," notes the company.
Dish and CBS have announced a temporary extension
to avoid Dish customers losing access to CBS content as the two sides hash out a new carriage contract. According to Variety
, the biggest sticking point isn't retrans fees (as is usually the case) but Dish's plans to launch an over the top streaming TV service, planned before the end of the year.
As expected, DirecTV has slowly dipped a big toe into the 4K TV space, launching a smattering of 4K video on demand content. According to the company announcement
there's a few caveats -- like you have to use DirecTV's Genie HD DVR -- but you'll also need to own a Samsung 4K-capable television set. Company CEO Mike White has recently stated
DirecTV is being cautious after the bomb that was 3D television. Once the company launches their DirecTV-14 satellite in December they'll offer live 4K options once the satellite is commercially functional -- likely February or March.
After getting burned by the hype machine surrounding 3D TV
, DirecTV has stated they're wandering cautiously into 4K content, starting first with a smattering of VOD 4K fare, followed up by live 4K streams sometime next year. The company says the initial 4K offerings will only be available on some hardware
, such as 4K TVs specifically made by Samsung. Users will also need to subscribe to DirecTV’s Genie HD-DVR. Once the company launches their DirecTV-14 satellite in December they'll offer live 4K options once the satellite is commercially functional -- likely February or March.
Add Tesla CEO Elon Musk to the growing list of people investing in the idea of less-expensive satellite broadband technology. According to the Wall Street Journal
, Musk is working closely with satellite-industry veteran and former Google employee Greg Wyler on building a network of roughly 700 satellites, each weighing less than 250 pounds.
On the heels of Dish losing 12,000 TV customers during the third quarter
, DirecTV has shown that they too have been bitten by the continued slow departure of cord cutters. According to the company's latest earnings report
, DirecTV lost 28,000 TV subscribers on the quarter, the kind of losses that for a few years satellite companies had been immune to. Normally DirecTV has a good third quarter thanks to Sunday Ticket signups -- in fact this is the first third quarter in the company's history that it lost subscribers
. Still, it wasn't all bad news for DirecTV: the company saw a 6.3 percent rise in third-quarter revenue courtesy of rate hikes on subscriber bills.
While satellite providers used to be immune to the cord-cutting phenomenon and a slowdown in new cable subscriptions, that's no longer the case. Dish's latest earnings
indicate that the satellite TV provider lost 12,000 TV subscribers during the third quarter, posting net income of $146 million on revenues of $3.68 billion. Dish acknowledges that some of the subscriber decline was courtesy of failing to meet the company's own standards for installation and service, but was also being impacted by a weak economy and growing promotions from satellite TV providers, cable providers, and over the top broadband video operators. The company currently is working to create their own OTT video service
that should debut sometime next year.
DirecTV CEO Mike White recently proclaimed
that the satellite TV provider would aim to have 4KTV content available to subscribers before the end of this year. However, White expressed skepticism of the standard and stated the company was being cautious after the failure that was 3D television. TV Predictions
notes that DirecTV likely won't have their new satellite launched until December, and wouldn't be able to use that satellite for commercial transmissions of live 4K content for at least sixty to ninety days. As it stands, DirecTV will likely offer VOD in 4K first, then offer live 4K content no earlier than probably February.
Facebook's Internet.org initiative back in March announced
the development of a "connectivity lab" that will focus on a number of possibilities for bringing broadband to nations that lack infrastructure (with an eye, of course, on potentially billions of new ad eyeballs). Key in these efforts will be broadband delivery drones flying about 60,000 to 90,000 feet in the air.
DirecTV says they'll begin broadcasting in the 4K ultra-high definition standard sometime this year, as the cable and broadcast industry continues to wait for 4K set ownership to reach critical mass. Even though pricing on 4KTVs have dropped in recent years, the industry remains hesitant after the mega-flop that was 3D television
-- something DirecTV CEO Michael White admitted was fueling cable and broadcast reservations about 4KTV
“This year is probably the first year you will start to see some critical mass of television sets in the home — still tiny but more than prior years
our plan is to have an Ultra-HD [Video on Demand] VOD capability by the end of this year,” he said.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs' Communacopia conference this morning, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega stated that (assuming their merger gets approved), AT&T would offer a wireless broadband, DirecTV bundle sometime late in 2015. AT&T has technology "ready to go" to deliver speeds of 15 Mbps or faster delivered over a dedicated swath of spectrum, claims the CEO. story continues..
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