Streaming OTA video provider Aereo this week saw another major win in their fight against broadcasters looking to shut the service down. Fox network founder Barry Diller started Aereo
trials last year in New York City, the service offering users a $12 a month option for local broadcast television services -- adding an interesting and inexpensive option for those eager to cut the cord. Aereo was immediately sued by the broadcast industry claiming the service violated copyright, though they failed
to get an injunction to shut the service down.
Now Aereo has grabbed another major legal victory. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today upheld lower Disctrict court rulings denying an injunction while shooting down copyright infringement claims yet again. According to the ruling
(pdf), broadcasters "have not demonstrated that they are likely to prevail on the merits of this claim in their copyright infringement action."
A group of broadcasters, including Fox and PBS, immediately issued a statement calling the ruling "a loss for the entire creative community," (even mimes?) adding that "the court has ruled that it is ok to steal copyrighted material and retransmit it without compensation." The suit had seen major, albeit hypocritical, support by Cablevision, who only just managed to beat back myopic broadcasters
themselves in order to offer consumers cloud DVR storage.
Consumer advocates were unsurprisingly more pleased with the ruling. In a statement
, consumer group Public Knowledge called the ruling "a victory for consumer choice and video innovation." "Only in the the world of copyright maximalists do people need to get special permission to watch over-the-air television with an antenna," argued Public Knowledge Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer. "Just because 'the Internet' is involved doesn't change this."
The case is far from over, but Aereo certainly must be pleased that they've seen two successive wins in early proceedings.
Rumors have once again bubbled up suggesting that Microsoft has broader television ambitions. Microsoft already has a strong foothold on living rooms via their Xbox 360 console, which provides users with a growing array of video content, though much of it suffers from walled garden-itis
, requiring a traditional cable subscription, Xbox Gold subscription and an ISP that's a Micrsoft partner to access.
by Revcb 06:41PM Wednesday Dec 14 2011
The National Advertising Division
of the Council of Better Business Bureau has e-mailed us a statement saying that the group is requesting that Verizon change their HD advertising claims. According to NAD, Verizon's claim that “FiOS TV rates #1 in HD picture quality" wasn't accurate, and that the claim was pretty far from scientific.
by Revcb 07:12PM Wednesday Aug 24 2011
Forget all of that hype about 3DTV
, a new study by Nielsen
notes that 80% of TV viewing continues to be in standard definition. Nielsen notes that some of this is explained away by multi-set homes where there's an HDTV in the living room, but standard definition TV in the kids' or adults' bedrooms. Still, 44 percent of homes either do not have an HD set or an HD service, and even among those who do
have an HD set, about 20 percent of viewing is through non-HD feeds. Nielsen doesn't really touch on this, but there's consistently been studies that also show that many people who think
they're watching HD, aren't
by Revcb 08:16AM Thursday Sep 30 2010
by Revcb 08:14AM Thursday Sep 23 2010
by Revcb 09:19AM Thursday Sep 02 2010
Mari Silbey over at the Motorola mediaexperiences2go
blog gives us a nudge to note that Verizon is getting ready to trial new FiOS TV set tops in the field. Both the Motorola QIP7232 DVR and QIP7100 HD set-tops will be tested in select FiOS TV markets later this year. According to Motorola, the new boxes consume as much as 20% less power than current FiOS set tops, and are made in part with recycled plastic. They're also significantly smaller and lighter, and come with double the hard drive space (320 GB) of current FiOS TV set tops -- allowing users to record up to 160 hours of standard-definition TV or up to 40 hours of HDTV. That's great -- now about that 802.11N-supporting wireless FiOS router we're waiting for?
Verizon today announced on their blog
that the telco is letting owners of select Android-based Verizon Wireless phones use the devices to control their FiOS TV service. According to big red, users of the Motorola Droid or HTC Imagio can download the new application that will mimic all the usual controls for Verizon's HD set-top-box.
Verizon and Comcast have had an ongoing war of words
when it comes to HDTV service, Comcast last year attacking the telco for over-inflating their HD channel count claims. According to a new Verizon blog post
they've filed a false advertising complaint against Comcast for a new suite of ads that have apparently irked the telco. Verizon highlights the fact that Comcast isn't in much of a position to talk, given the cable company offers 47 HD Channels to Verizon's 117 -- in Comcast's hometown of Philadelphia. Verizon also raises the pesky fact that Comcast remains at the bottom of the barrel in most consumer satisfaction rankings -- though they have shown improvement
in recent months.
Cablevision nudged us this morning to note that the carrier is ramping up HD channel availability. According to Cablevision spokesman Jim Maiella, the company this week is announcing 30 new free HD channels in NYC, and 8 new HD channels across the company's entire service area. Maiella also tells us the carrier should have "more than 100 HD channels available everywhere by June." We've obtained a list
(pdf) of all the new channels being added for those interested. Cablevision is engaged in heavy competition with Verizon FiOS, and in addition to ramping up HD channel availability, the carrier is spending $300 million to offer free Wi-Fi to users -- and upgrade to the DOCSIS 3.0. Though Cablevision is not commenting, we believe 100Mbps tiers are currently in testing
AT&T reached out to us to note that the carrier is now officially offering 100 HD channels in all of the markets where their U-Verse VDSL-based IPTV service is available. "That’s more HD than the local cable competitors in every U-verse TV market," spokesman Seth Bloom tells us. While the 100 channel count will likely be irrelevant a year from now, it's an important marketing metric in telcoTV's push to convert existing cable TV customers -- many of whom aren't thrilled with the limited number of options (for example, Comcast offers as few as 22 HD channels in some markets). The new channels are being added to existing tiers, without a price change (see full release
for the particulars).
DirecTV continues its reign as the king of high-definition channel counts, though Verizon's FiOSTV service keeping pace with the satellite operator, according to new analysis by market research provider Pike & Fischer. According to the firm's press release
, as of January DirecTV was offering as many as 104 channels in HD -- just one more than Verizon. Meanwhile Comcast, which offers as few as 22 HD channels in some markets, comes in last in the study -- as the company is still working to free up enough capacity to catch up with industry HD leaders. That hasn't stopped Comcast from criticizing Verizon's HD lineup
lately. Of course by this time next year, HD channel counts should be a meaningless metric, with carriers competing on image quality (and someday, maybe, price).
The argument over whether to delay the digital TV transition from February 17 to June 12 stumbled last week, when the idea failed to get the required two-thirds majority vote in the House
. The House of Representatives spent much of today debating legislation that would delay the digital TV transition from February 17 to June 12, and today ultimately approved the delay
, 264-158. Many see the delay as unnecessary, given the people who ignored a year's worth of warnings will probably be equally unprepared on June 12. The hope is that the delay will give the government time to fix a coupon program that offers two free $40 coupons for digital converters to each American family. Budgetary shortfalls in the program resulted in a waiting list for applicants.
Netflix has been making waves in the broadband video space by integrating their service into everything, from the Roku set top and the Xbox 360, to TiVO units and DVD players. Now Netflix says they'll be integrating the service into HDTVs from LG Electronics
. This is the first time the Netflix service will be embedded directly into a television. Tim Alessi, director of product development for LG Electronics USA, says the Netflix-enhanced TVs will sell for roughly $200 to $300 more than a regular HDTV set.
Roku, developer of a settop video play that allows Netflix subscribers to stream digital content to their television via broadband, has announced
that the device now supports high definition content. Over the next several weeks, the $100 device will be updated automatically with software that integrates a new compression system into the player. Netflix content streamed via the Xbox 360 was already available in high-definition.
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