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While 4K isn't the gimmick 3D TV was in the eyes of many consumers, a new study shows the standard has a lot of work to do before sales of the sets ramp up. According to new data from Leichtman Research
, just 41% have even heard of 4KTV, though that's up from 30% one year ago. According to Leichtman, 26% of those who have seen a 4K HDTV are interested getting one -- compared to 6% of those who have not seen a 4K TV.
With 4KTV's slowly coming down in price, adoption is expected to start climbing steeply this year. Though be careful: real 4K content is limited, standards remain in flux, and the 4K TV gear you buy today may not be truly 4K-capable tomorrow.
For example, many 4KTV vendors are shipping sets that claim to have fully HDMI 2.0 compliant ports, yet the actual ports are only "HDMI lite" -- only capable of 10 Gbps of the full 18 Gbps the standard is supposed to deliver.
As such these sets are being advertised as absolute cutting edge and future proof, but they can't actually deliver full full 4k 4:4:4 chroma at 60p. Worse, many of the biggest manufacturers can't be bothered to advertise this fact.
Quite some time before 1 Gbps fiber to the press release
became the industry PR trend du jour, Comcast had started offering a 505 Mbps down, 100 Mbps up tier
. The tier isn't cheap -- it runs users around $300 a month, comes with a $1,000 ETF, a $250 activation fee, and
a $250 installation fee.
Anonymous sources tell the Wall Street Journal
that HBO and Showtime have been in talks with broadband providers over deals that would give their upcoming streaming services special priority transit over carrier networks (not to be confused with the kind of interconnection deals seen with Netflix). More than that, the report claims that the deals would potentially zero rate the companies' apps -- or exempt them from any monthly usage caps:
The other benefit: A separate lane would be exempt from monthly data-usage thresholds operators enforce for public Internet traffic, saving customers from the surcharges that can kick in if they binge on too many episodes of “Game of Thrones” or “Homeland."
Now it's possible the source or the Journal didn't fully understand the nature of the deal, but it if it's true that Showtime and HBO are looking for cap exemption, that would certainly set off regulatory neutrality bells. The FCC's new net neutrality rules don't outright prohibit zero-rated apps, but the rules state the FCC will take a look at such deals on a "case by case basis" in order to determine anti-competitive ramifications.
"The Commission expressly reserves the authority to take action if a service is, in fact, providing the functional equivalent of broadband Internet access service or is being used to evade the open Internet rules," notes the FCC in its order
(pdf). "The Commission will vigilantly watch for such abuse, and its actions will be aided by the existing transparency requirement that non-broadband Internet access service data services be disclosed."
If the Journal report is accurate, HBO and Showtime appear to be the first companies eager to test precisely what the FCC defines as unfair advantages and anti-competitive behavior.
AT&T's pricing for the company's narrowly-deployed 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service has been different depending on regional competition. For example in Austin, where AT&T battles Google Fiber, users pay $70 a month for a symmetrical 1 Gbps connection (considerably more if they want to opt out of AT&T snoopvertising
FCC Boss Tom Wheeler appeared before a House Panel today as part of what's going to be a multi-week lashing of the agency boss for approving tough new net neutrality rules. In his speech to attendees
(pdf), Wheeler had to once again deflect claims that he decided to reclassify ISPs after "improper" influence by the White House.
Dish Network continues to add channels to the company's recently released
Sling TV Internet video service. The company today announced it's adding A&E, History, H2 and Lifetime to the company's $20 core live TV package.
According to a new study by The Diffusion Group, roughly 20% of Internet video users are using somebody else's
password in order to view the content. The new study
dubs this phenomenon "cord cheating," defined as someone using a streaming service password from someone not living in the same household.
Yesterday Canadian regulators the CRTC issued an interesting ruling
: the agency declared that cable operators in the country must now start unbundling cable channels. According to the CRTC, operators like Rogers, Shaw and Bell must offer a "skinny bundle" of channels for at least $25 a month.
Please carefully vent your geek angst into the comment section provided below.
We've of course been tracking Comcast's troubles with customer support and accurate billing for years, though the dysfunction has seen increased attention of late thanks to Comcast's planned merger with Time Warner Cable. While Comcast has the worst customer service in any Industry
according to satisfaction studies, usually one off instances of ineptitude are resolved once the media gets involved and Comcast focuses on making things right.
The FCC today announced that Verizon has paid the agency $3.4 million to settle allegations the company intentionally failed to publicize a major 911 outage last year. According to the FCC announcement
(pdf), the multistate outage impacted customers for a period of six hours.
Confirming recent leaks
, Sony today formally took the wraps off of Playstation Vue
, the company's Internet TV service. According to Sony, the platform will initially be launching for Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 users in just three cities: New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.
T-Mobile today held the company's latest "uncarrier" press event, unveiling new discounts for business customers, as well as a number of new offerings for traditional residential customers. According to the T-Mobile announcement
, T-Mobile's simplified pricing for business customers offer unlimited voice and text and 1 GB of mobile data.
You'll of course recall a few years ago when all of the wireless carriers were simultaneously proclaiming
they offered the "nation's largest LTE network." Several years (and a few lawsuits) later and carriers have had to get a little more creative with their network claims. T-Mobile now claims it has the "fastest" network, Sprint crows about having the "newest" network, and Verizon's current ads insist it has the "most reliable network."
In a new wrinkle AT&T is declaring that the company is home to the nation's strongest LTE signal
, though as you'll see in the ad to the left (note the very scientific "power" graph?), there doesn't appear to be much science behind the claim.
It's fairly standard procedure for ISPs in less competitive markets to omit their pricing in press releases, or try to hide pricing behind prequalification walls so it's only viewable by locals. But I'm not sure I've ever seen a company actually refuse to say what they charge for broadband service. story continues..
In the last few months, AT&T has gone around the country promising
"up to" 100 markets that they will soon have access to AT&T’s 1 Gbps service called GigaPower. But as this site has noted repeatedly, AT&T is and has been making significant cuts to their fixed-line network investment budget.
Late last year T-Mobile did something most cellular customers have been asking for for quite some time: they allowed postpaid users to roll over unused data from month to month
. The company's new "Data Stash" option was made available for the company's new and existing Simple Choice customers with at least a 3GB smartphone plan or 1GB tablet plan starting in January.
Each year, for much of the last decade now, reports have bubbled forth that Apple is in talk with broadcasters or cable operators about offering their own television service. Except every
reports also emerge that note Apple is having a hard time getting the broadcast and cable industry to budge when it comes to more progressive channel lineups, pricing models or using Apple devices as set top boxes.
The law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver (aka the U.S. Copyright Group) has perfected the "copyright-o-matic
" approach to P2P lawsuits, sending out letters en masse to users they've identified as having traded copyrighted files, threatening to sue those users unless they settle for the rock-bottom initial price tag of $1,500.
According to an FCC statement
the agency is pausing it's regulatory review "shot clock" pertaining to both Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable and AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV. Why? According to the agency, they want to wait until the legal dust settles surrounding access to confidential data pertaining to the mergers, and the way it's shared with third-party companies with a vested interest in the proceedings.
A little more than a year ago Google acquired drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace
, as part of a broader initiative aimed at using drones (and hot air balloons
) as alternative broadband delivery options. Now Google appears to be moving forward with their drone ambitions, receiving the ok from the FCC for broadband drone trials in the Southwest.
According to ComputerWorld
, the FCC approval doesn't give away many technical specifics, outside of the fact that the trials will run from March until September and take place outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico:
The licenses, which are valid from March 8 until September 5, don't give away much because Google has asked the FCC to keep many of the details confidential for commercial reasons, but they reveal the tests will take place inside a 1,345 square kilometer (520 square mile) area to the east of Albuquerque. The area includes the town of Moriarty, where Titan Aerospace is headquartered and conducts its research and development work.
"Project Titan" is aimed at not only deploying broadband in third world nations and during natural emergencies, but Google has explored offering the additional bandwidth to carriers as a supplemental offerings to existing cellular networks.
Broadcasters like CBS have often complained
about the fact that Netflix doesn't share viewer data, though there's nothing requiring that the streaming operator do so. Apple apparently hopes to use this annoyance as a way to lure broadcasters into signing on to the company's upcoming streaming TV service.
Perhaps Comcast's biggest justification for approval of their deal with Time Warner Cable is the fact that the two companies don't directly compete. One group fighting the merger claims that isn't entirely the case. story continues..
In June of last year Google unveiled Google Loon
, the latest in a long line of similar projects that will use hot air balloons to deliver broadband and wireless services to under-served or emergency prone areas. Project Loon will use hot air balloons 49 feet wide stationed 12 miles above the planet, well above the range of commercial aircraft.
While Verizon took the lead and sued over the FCC's last round of net neutrality rules (much to the chagrin of AT&T and Comcast, which liked the flimsy rules
), this time Verizon appears to be willing to let the broadband industry's trade groups handle the legal fight.
A report in Reuters
citing anonymous sources claims that wireless industry's top lobbying organization (the CTIA) and the cable industry's top lobbying organization (the NTCA) will be the ones doing the suing shortly:
At least three trade groups are expected to file legal challenges: CTIA-The Wireless Association, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the broadband association USTelecom, the sources said. The three trade groups declined comment. Other trade groups such as the American Cable Association and the National Association of Manufacturers are weighing whether to participate in litigation, representatives said.
AT&T and Comcast are both waiting on regulatory approval of massive mergers, and almost certainly want to distance themselves from the legal fisticuffs -- at least until they get what they want from Uncle Sam first. Other ISPs -- like Frontier, Sonic, Cablevision, Sprint and T-Mobile (despite being part of the CTIA) have stated they don't see a problem with the new rules.
AT&T was a pioneer in using fine print to try and ban their customers from suing them via class action, instead forcing users into binding arbitration where corporations win more often than not
. Despite the fact that many lower courts repeatedly declared such activity violated user rights and was "unconscionable," the Supreme Court narrowly ruled in AT&T's favor back in 2011
, opening the flood gates for every corporation to include this language in their TOS.
Suddenlink is notifying users that the company's recent "free" broadband upgrades won't exactly be free. A notification being sent to subscribers
states that while basic cable rates may be staying the same, the company is bumping broadband prices, imposing a number of new fees and hiking a few others to raise TV subscription prices notably -- in some cases as much as $25 per month.
Cablevision this week announced that the cable operator will be offering customers access to HBO's new standalone streaming video service, HBO Now. As we noted last week
, HBO Now will be available starting next month for $15 a month.
As we have previously discussed
, wireless operators and vendors haven't defined fifth generation wireless networks (5G) yet, but that's certainly not stopping them from hyping their deployment of it -- even if they're not really even sure what it is yet. In the last year, we have seen carriers announce
“4.5G” and “Pre-5G” technology and island’s vying for the first 5G network.
Last month you might recall that T-Mobile CEO John Legere proclaimed in a blog post
that the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction was a "disaster" for American consumers. Why? Legere noted that AT&T, Verizon and Dish spent $42 billion on 94% of the spectrum sold at the last auction, perpetuating the retention of a valuable public resource in the hands of just a few larger companies.
In May of last year TDS Telecom (see our user reviews
) became the latest company to throw its hat into the 1 Gbps broadband ring, offering 1 Gbps speeds for $100 a month (if bundled, there's no standalone option) to residents of Hollis, New Hampshire and London, New Hampshire. Since then they've steadily expanded availability into additional markets like Mt. Juliet and La Vergne, Tennessee. Now a company announcement
notes the carrier has pushed the 1 Gbps down, 400 Mbps upstream offering to portions of Black Earth, Middleton, Verona, and Waunakee Wisconsin.
by Revcb 06:53AM Monday Mar 16 2015
by Revcb 07:29AM Friday Mar 20 2015
• HBO, Showtime, and Sony want an Internet fast lane for TV streaming
• Is online TV really cheaper than cable?
• NYC official wants Comcast to offer $10, 10Mbps Internet after merger
• RIAA finds streaming services made $1.87B in 2014, eclipsing US CD sales for the first time
• AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, Google, others and broadband Internet pricing -- Who has America's cheapest (and most expensive) broadband Internet?
• Comcast may be forced to join Apple's new pay-TV service
• Trade groups, not Verizon, will reportedly sue FCC over net neutrality
• FAA gives Amazon approval for outdoor drone delivery testing
• Masses of Broadband Routers Still Vulnerable to Directory Traversal Hack
by Revcb 06:54AM Wednesday Mar 18 2015
by Revcb 07:50AM Thursday Mar 19 2015
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