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by Karl Bode 10:27AM Tuesday Sep 30 2014
As a kid of the 80's, I have fond memories sitting in front of the "boob tube" watching such intellectually-epic fare as "Superfriends," "Hong Kong Phooey," "He-Man" and "Dungeons and Dragons" while being bombarded with ads for the latest toys. But as Slashfilm notes, the era of Saturday morning cartoons has officially come to an end with CW running their last block of Saturday morning cartoon programming.

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As the report notes and Wikipedia explains, that's thanks in part to FCC requirements demanding broadcasters issue a set amount of educational programming:
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A 1996 Federal Communications Commission mandate, issued in the wake of the Children’s Television Act, requires stations to program a minimum of three hours of children’s educational/informational (“E/I”) programming per week. To help their affiliates comply with the regulations, broadcast networks began to reorganize their efforts to adhere to the mandates, so their affiliates would not bear the burden of scheduling the shows themselves on their own time thus eliminating the risk of having network product preempted by the mandates. This almost always meant that the educational programming was placed during the Saturday morning cartoon block.
Of course even without the FCC ruling, the rise of first DVDs and then Netflix children's programming has been eroding the viewership for fixed-schedule Saturday morning content for some time anyway. Still, I'm sure I'm not alone in having fond memories of sitting too close to the television and "rotting away my brain" watching "Godzilla" as my dad was quick to insist.

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by Karl Bode 08:06AM Monday Sep 29 2014
Consumer Reports, who you'll recall was all over Apple for the company's flawed antenna design of the iPhone 4, has issued a report stating that the bending issues related to the new iPhone 6 Plus have been overblown. The organization conducted a series of exhaustive stress tests on the device to ultimately conclude that the phone is "not as bendy as believed." The accompanying video illustrates they used a "three-point flexural test," to test the device's integrity, and found that it was on par with other leading devices including the HTC One (M8).

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by Karl Bode 08:55AM Monday Sep 29 2014
AT&T is running a new promotion that doubles the data allotments for Mobile Share Value Plan customers -- but only if you buy buckets of data 15 GB in size or larger. According to the AT&T announcement, the promotion runs from yesterday, September 28, to October 31. While a limited time promotion, users who sign up for the double data allotment promo will be able to keep that usage plan for the life of the plan. "With these new double data plans, and smartphones for $0 down with AT&T Next, there’s never been a more affordable time to be with AT&T," insists the company -- even though the lion's share of users concerned about cost will be on plans significantly smaller than 15 GB per month.

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by Karl Bode 02:47PM Tuesday Sep 30 2014
For forty years now, regulators have enforced a rule that blacks out local NFL games on television if locals didn't buy enough tickets to see the games. The idea at the time was to aid a young and struggling league, but as time has passed the rules have proven burdensome on communities, and an unnecessary "subsidy" for a hugely profitable NFL.
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by Karl Bode 10:25AM Wednesday Oct 01 2014
Just a reminder that if you're a grandfathered Verizon LTE customer, you're going to possibly find your connection throttled starting today. If you recall, Verizon made it clear back in July that they were going to start throttling unlimited LTE users starting October 1 under a revision to their "network optimization" policies.
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by Karl Bode 12:48PM Tuesday Sep 30 2014
Back in 2012 Verizon and RedBox proudly joined forces to launch the creatively-named Redbox Instant by Verizon, which was supposed to be a significant competitor for Netflix. This year however reports began to emerge that the service wasn't doing very well, and I've noticed that Verizon hasn't worked very hard to promote the partnership.
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by Karl Bode 09:08AM Wednesday Oct 01 2014
Sources tell Multichannel News the FCC is pondering giving broadband-based TV services the same full rights to programming access as cable operators. These rules wouldn't apply to companies like Netflix, the report notes, but could give companies like Aereo that have been eager to deliver live programming via broadband another lease on life by allowing them FCC-enforced access to vertically integrated programming.
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by Karl Bode 04:29PM Monday Sep 29 2014
Suddenlink is threatening to pull Viacom channels from their lineup if the two sides can't reach a compromise on retransmission pricing by October 1. "...Despite our repeated requests for Viacom to reconsider, they refused to make a fair and reasonable offer for their channels," the company tells consumers over at the SuddenlinkOnYourSide.com website. "Because it’s simply not fair to ask Suddenlink customers to pay a lot more for channels that, on average, they watch a lot less, we will – starting this Wednesday, October 1 – no longer carry the Viacom channels." Instead, says Suddenlink, they'll be replacing those channels with non-Viacom owned channels that vary by area (you can head here to plug in your zip and check).

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by Karl Bode 10:43AM Monday Sep 29 2014
The cable companies that pioneered cable television continue to flounder in JD Power and Associates' latest TV customer satisfaction survey. According to the latest results from the firm, DIRECTV and Verizon FiOS (738) tied for top honors in TV customer satisfaction in the East region; AT&T U-verse (750) ranks highest in the North Central region; Verizon FiOS (751) ranks highest in the South region; and DISH Network (739) ranks highest in the West region.
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by Karl Bode 01:03PM Wednesday Oct 01 2014
As promised, Suddenlink has pulled all of Viacom's channels from the cable company's lineup after the two sides failed to agree on retransmission fee increases. As noted previously, Suddenlink replaced all Viacom channels with alternative content that will vary by zip code -- among them Glenn Beck's new opinion channel "TheBlaze." Suddenlink claims that Viacom demanded a 50% rate hike to carry the channels, despite many of those channels seeing falling ratings.
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by Karl Bode 08:07AM Tuesday Sep 30 2014
We've discussed how while the fifth generation (5G) standard isn't even finalized yet, we're already subject to the hype insisting that the standard will cure cancer and save the world, even though nobody's quite sure what it is yet. In an announcement about their October agenda, the FCC says they'll start laying the groundwork next month for a shift to 5G by examining the possibility of operating networks in extremely high-band spectrum frequencies above 24 GHz. "Early studies show that these new technologies – what some are calling “5G” – can ultimately facilitate a throughput of up to 10 Gigabits/second, a speed that is orders of magnitude greater than that available today," notes FCC boss Tom Wheeler in a blog post.

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by Karl Bode 02:42PM Monday Sep 29 2014
On the heels of tweaking plans earlier this year, GVTC, Texas' largest telephone cooperative and a cable and FTTH overbuilder, has jumped into the 1 Gbps game. According to a company announcement, GVTC says they've already brought 1 Gbps speeds to the 40,000 homes in the San Antonio area already connected to their 2,200 mile fiber network. According to the company's website, pricing across the company's tiers is a bit higher than what we've seen elsewhere, with their 1 Gbps down, 100 Mbps up tier running $295 a month. The company also offers 20/3 Mbps ($80), 40/10 Mbps ($100), 80/20 Mbps ($130), and 200/50 Mbps ($200) options.

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by Revcb 07:57AM Tuesday Sep 30 2014

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by Karl Bode 09:36AM Monday Sep 29 2014
British Telecom, like many telcos here in the States, have been criticized for their refusal to upgrade wide swaths of copper network -- though the company says they've found an advancement that could deliver significant upgrades for those users. BT says they've been conducting trials of G-Fast technology capable of delivering 800 Mbps downstream and 200Mbps upstream via fiber to the cabinet (aka fiber to the node, or FTTN here in the States).
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by Karl Bode 08:42AM Tuesday Sep 30 2014
Users in our forums note that Verizon has started pushing out a new software update for the company's FiOS TV set top boxes that again significantly revamps what was already one of the more popular guides in the industry. Users in the thread offer up numerous images illustrating the graphical changes in IMG 1.9.7, which an insider says is being deployed currently only on Cisco and Motorola boxes starting today in New York and Pennsylvania.
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by Karl Bode 06:21PM Tuesday Sep 30 2014
In addition to producing their own content, Netflix continues to secure exclusive rights to select content as streaming competition intensifies. In addition to securing the rights to Batman Prequel Gotham before the TV show had even aired, Netflix has now taken things further by nabbing the rights to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" sequel "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend." Variety notes that Netflix will release the film at the same time it arrived on select VOD platforms and a number of IMAX theaters nationwide:
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Produced by Weinstein Co., the movie is the first of several major films to premiere day-and-date both on the SVOD service (at no extra charge) and in select IMAX theaters worldwide.
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by Karl Bode 12:33PM Monday Sep 29 2014
The New York Public Service Commission has announced that the agency will be delaying their decision on whether to approve Comcast's $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. In a PSC filing (pdf), the agency says they'll be voting on whether to approve the deal on November 13, significantly later than the October 2 vote originally scheduled.
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by Karl Bode 08:24AM Wednesday Oct 01 2014
With Seattle city leadership complaining about the lack of broadband competition in the city and making noise about building their own networks, Comcast has taken to a unique approach to win the hearts and minds of the cities apartment dwellers. According to the local news outlets, Comcast has taken to throwing pizza parties to warm locals to their brand, insisting that if "we can we can get people in front of our products they can see the advantages we have over our competitors and learn to like those products."

Reddit users are having a little fun at Comcast's expense in regards to the new marketing strategy, offering up some pizza party advice -- Comcast style:
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1.) Take all the pizza before it arrives.
2.) Call up the party host AS the pizza company.
3.) Inform them the pizza delivery is down between the hours of "Now till now+3 hours." But if they want to buy the pizza+hotdog bundle together for an additional 100 bucks, it'll increase their pizza delivery speed by 10 minutes.

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by Karl Bode 06:23PM Monday Sep 29 2014
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.
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by Karl Bode 03:02PM Wednesday Oct 01 2014
AT&T recently decided to offer a promotion that provides double the data allotment -- but only if you sign up for shared data plans of 15 GB or higher, making the offer uninteresting for many users (and really more about upselling users than saving them money). Not to be outdone, Sprint has decided to one up AT&T with a similar promotion of their own, effectively doubling AT&T's packages and offering 60GB per month for $130, 80 GB for $160, and 120 GB for $225.
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by Revcb 08:08AM Wednesday Oct 01 2014

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by Karl Bode 08:11AM Wednesday Oct 01 2014
Last month we noted how AT&T appears to be allowing resellers to offer re-branded U-Verse services in their territories. DSL Extreme's new TrueStream service is one such example, with some of the pricing even beating AT&T's original U-Verse pricing -- and DSL Extreme even offering a 75 Mbps tier over the infrastructure before AT&T got around to it. DSLReports.com reader ILpt4U See Profile points out that Illinois ISP MC.Net also appears to have struck a new deal to offer re-branded AT&T U-Verse product; their pricing page being worth a look.
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by Revcb 07:44AM Monday Sep 29 2014

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