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Sony Latest to Run Head First at Pay TV Brick Wall
Press Gets Bubbly About Another 'Virtual MSO' That Will Amount to Nothing
by Karl Bode 02:26PM Friday Jan 04 2013
Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Google; there have been no limit of companies eager to disrupt the pay TV ecosystem, though every one of them have run face first into licensing restrictions imposed by a pay TV sector that very much doesn't want to be disrupted. That doesn't seem to stop the tech press from getting blindly bubbly and enthusiastic every time another company says they're going to try. The endless Apple TV rumors and this week's news that Intel believes they have the magic sauce necessary being only the latest examples.

Now Variety points out that Sony is the latest eager beaver to try and disrupt pay TV, with plans to announce a "virtual MSO" at CES next week. Once again, Variety gets goose bumps about the idea, despite the fact that absolutely nobody -- including companies like Apple and Google with oceans of cash reserves -- has been able to accomplish a real subscription-based alternative to old-fashioned cable TV. Still, cue the excitement!
quote:
...a MSO strategy could make sense given the perceived vulnerabilities of existing multichannel providers thought susceptible to market-share loss given constant price increases. The endeavor would also allow Sony to leverage its already sizable footprint in U.S. living rooms via a range of connected devices including gaming console PlayStation 3, Bravia TV sets and Blu-ray players.
Except not. What will actually happen (like we've seen with everyone from Apple to Microsoft) is that Sony will unveil this great idea at CES -- then in two months we'll see stories on how their negotiations will broadcasters have hit a wall (Sony offering just their own content obviously won't be enough). The ultimate end product, like Microsoft's paywalled affair that requires you still have traditional TV, will be a bland, uninteresting affair under the pretense of innovation. By then of course the press will be excited about yet another company promising to revolutionize television.

The reality is nothing is going to disrupt the pay TV sector until the TV sector decides they need disruption and innovation. That won't occur until more people say they've had enough of bi-annual rate hikes for $100-$200 bundles of TV channels most of them never actually watch. That in turn can't happen until low-cost alternatives to traditional television drive enough users into the arms of a pesky upstart, and we won't see that change until cable and broadcast execs loosen their iron grip on legacy empires and content licensing.

It's an amusing but annoying chicken and egg scenario I expect we'll be playing well into the next decade.

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topics flat nest 
xmarklive

join:2012-07-10
Lansing, MI

a company with a box in the living room

Microsoft should launch there own channel on Xbox and charge 10 dollars a month like Netflix but have original programming along with live tv like the sky network ..... I know many people would pay for it as they are already watching other pay services on xbox

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable

Re: a company with a box in the living room

said by xmarklive:

Microsoft should launch there own channel on Xbox and charge 10 dollars a month like Netflix but have original programming along with live tv like the sky network ..... I know many people would pay for it as they are already watching other pay services on xbox

The way MSFT works you'll be paying $80 a month in no time there by defeating the whole reason for the customer to do it. NetFlix is adding their own orginal programing etc. We'll see how that works out. ???
XJakeX

join:2005-03-05
Coventry, RI
"Original Programming" plus a method of delivering it. Between Apple, Sony, Microsoft, and Google, and lets not forget Intel who has also expressed an interest in this concept, there's certainly enough financial might to hire writers and actors and create plenty of content.

But then you run up against the same road block - how to deliver it outside the Cable / Telco rebroadcaster scheme that gets their bread buttered by the 5 (or make that 6 now that Comcast owns NBC) big content owners running the most blatant anti trust violation, apparently blessed by the FCC, we have ever seen.

Here's a thought - the above group, maybe minus Sony since they already have their fingers into the existing content and distribution pie, decide to buy Dish Network or Direct TV, and then offer only their own content, at least at the start, with an entirely different pricing set up.

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

Darn...

if only Sony owned some of that cont... wait--ohhh, yeah, that's right. And now for something completely different... (well, maybe moderately different... OK, maybe a little different...)
--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Big difference between Osny and others

is the fact Sony actually owns content. So A) they can provide their own content for said service. B) they can use withholding of their content to the others if they don't deal fairly.

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable

Re: Big difference between Osny and others

said by 88615298:

is the fact Sony actually owns content. So A) they can provide their own content for said service. B) they can use withholding of their content to the others if they don't deal fairly.

The hardware division of Sony lost that battle years ago, that's why Sony Walkmans never progressed to digital letting the Ipod sell like wild fire. Think Sony could build a digital Walkman? The entertainment division got big enough to stop the hardware division from doing anything that might hurt the entertainment division, hence why Sony is doing poorly as a company now.
alexintexas

join:2003-01-11
San Antonio, TX
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: Big difference between Osny and others

almost

Sony has their hands in everything, TV, Music, hardware, and gobbling up everything in between.
They dont allot near enough $$$ in any one hardware department for R&D is their current huge problem and reason why they buy Samsung and LG parts and slap Sony on it. They figured it cheaper???

They continue this path sony will be a soul movie music entrainment company.

Sony could do their own netflix and even music services they do own a ton to kill netflix and itunes if they so wished to

Sony= bad CEO direction period!!!!!!!!!!

Steve Mehs
Gun Control Is Using A Steady Hand
Premium
join:2005-07-16
kudos:1
quote:
Think Sony could build a digital Walkman?
What exactly do you mean by 'digital Walkman'?
JPL
Premium
join:2007-04-04
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4

2 edits
You mean the 3 Sony Walman mp3 players I have in my house don't count? They HAVE 'digital walkmans', and they're really nice players (very compact, very nice sound, and extremely long battery life). Granted, they squandered the chance to really get into that market, and Apple certainly dominates, but Sony has a whole suite of such devices.

As for Sony letting the 'hardware market' go... um, you do realize that the PS/2 is the top selling gaming system of all time... right? It's still selling despite the fact that they have the PS/3. And considering the fact that they won the HD DVD wars... I guess I'm not sure what you mean by that. I would argue that they're too thin in that arena - they have too many products. Go to their web site and look up the Sony Walkman (yes, such a beast exists), and you'll see a slew of models. Why the need for so many models... that's just beyond me.

On to the TV thing, I have to agree that this is another case of a Quixotic endeavor. I have to wonder why these guys aren't opting to just get into the market currently dominated by TiVo. Now that the FCC created regulations with regard to over the top ip delivery for cable companies (they're going to be required to offer such service, and while the cable companies can create their own standards, they're going to be required to make them open, and fully spec'd, allowing third party box sellers into the market), that seems like an industry that's just primed for growth.

Yes, there are others in the market, but I've always thought that Microsoft's solution to be as the article states... bland. Not to mention overpriced (you really need to subscribe to Xbox Live just to get this streaming option?). Also, while this architecture is really nice for streaming devices (like the iPad), for non-Smart TVs, the solution so far has been found wanting. If someone like Sony could develop a box that was cheap, small, but had a good deal of functionality (good guide... fast channel changes... DVR functionality - or not - heck, I like the idea of making it a cloud-based DVR), I think it could smoke the competition. Get cable companies to allow for VOD access to such boxes (which I think the FCC is getting primed to work on), and you'll have people itching to get rid of their cable company STB. Yeah, such a set up will require that you tie in with a cable provider, but so what? Heck, add in internet streaming - apps for Netflix, Hulu, You Tube, Amazon Video,... the works. And give customers access to exclusive Sony content on top of that. I think that could be a real winner.

Short of that, a company will need to do what Google is doing with laying their own fiber to adequately get into the TV market.

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable

Re: Big difference between Osny and others

JPL, I didn't even know Sony still made the Walkman. LOL. The problem is they could have come out with a digital Walkman(MP3 format or whatever) way before Apple. I'm sure Sony hated the whole MP3 Napaster thing that was going on and didn't want to help out with a MP3 playing Walkman. That make sense to you?? I know the Play station sold well but Sony use to build all sorts hardware and that is what they did, the entertainment division came much later.

There might be an age difference going on here you say Sony won the HD format war, well I say they lost the Betamax war. Blank blurays cost so much that I know no one who uses them and bluray sales are light compared DVD's when DVD's came out. Same with VHS tapes they sold more of those then I think they will ever sell of blurays. I believe Sony was also involved in DAT which should have taken over for cassette tapes but the music industry hated that idea and got DAT stopped in it's tracks. »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Tape

In the end Sony was a huge hardware seller in it's day for the audio and video industry and my whole point was they went into the entertainment side which put the company on both sides of the fence, one side making the hardware to undermine the other.

Steve Mehs
Gun Control Is Using A Steady Hand
Premium
join:2005-07-16
kudos:1

Re: Big difference between Osny and others

quote:
I didn't even know Sony still made the Walkman
Where have you been? Sony has branded their MP3 Player line as Walkman for years. And there are two lines of the Walkman, the Z Series and the newer F Series that run Android. I’ve had a 32 GB Sony Walkman Z since they first released it in the US in March or April of last year. These two models are infused with Sony’s S-Master MX technology which results in absolutely amazing sound quality and has a bunch of audio enhancement options and a 5 band EQ with separate bass control. The audio quality of this thing blows away any iPod. The Walkman F uses the same exact technology, but runs Ice Cream Sandwich and has a faster processor. I would get that one too, but Sony shrunk the screen down. My Z is 4.3”, the F is only 3.5”. If I saw value in a tiny screen I’d go buy the latest hunk of shit from Apple. Just kidding, I'd rather have poisonous snakes devour me alive then go back to using lame Apple products.

I use it every day to stream via Bluetooth to my Big Jambox and when I want to go louder, since this and all Sony devices are DLNA compliant, unlike the crap Apple pumps out, I can wirelessly stream my personal music collection to my Home Theater Receiver and 7.1 speaker set up. When I want to listen to online sources I use the Pandora and Sirius XM apps on the Walkman or tune into some online radio stations on the Shoutcast network on the Winamp amp.

»store.sony.com/c/S_Walkman_Audio···ayers:ss

Walkman is also alive in software form. The name of the default media player app on Sony Xperia tablets is also called Walkman. And it is by far the best media player app I’ve used on any mobile platform.
--
iPhone: 4” 1136 X 640 Display, 1.30 GHz Dual Core Processor, 1 GB RAM
MyPhone: 5” 1920 X 1080 Display, 1.50 GHz Quad Core Processor, 2 GB RAM
So tell me, why is exactly is the iPhone so great?
Droid Does What Jobs Won’t Let You Do.

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable

Re: Big difference between Osny and others

Steve the only music player I have is a $12 one I picked up at Big Lots or something like that. It's a straight knock off of an Ipod shuffle. That's all I need. In fact I simply don't waste my money on all these tech gadgets.

BTW I had a Sony walkman, top of the line back in 1980 used it for years and it was expensive I think it was something like $90 back then.

Steve Mehs
Gun Control Is Using A Steady Hand
Premium
join:2005-07-16
kudos:1

Re: Big difference between Osny and others

The only motivation I have to drag my sorry fat ass out of bed every day and waddle into work is to get money to feed my tech addition. I’m on my fourth smartphone in less than a year, and third $1K+ Home Theater receiver in two years. That should tell you a lot about how much I worship at the altar of all things electronic. Not sure what $90 is in today’s money, but have you beat I’m sure. I paid $330 for my Walkman plus another nearly $100 for a screen protector and case, both of which were Japanese imports, hence why they cost so much as the bulk was shipping.
--
iPhone: 4” 1136 X 640 Display, 1.30 GHz Dual Core Processor, 1 GB RAM
MyPhone: 5” 1920 X 1080 Display, 1.50 GHz Quad Core Processor, 2 GB RAM
So tell me, why is exactly is the iPhone so great?
Droid Does What Jobs Won’t Let You Do.

sivran
Opera ex-pat
Premium
join:2003-09-15
Irving, TX
kudos:1

Re: Big difference between Osny and others

One question about your Walkman:

Does it sort properly by folders and make it easy to navigate your collection that way (ie, a fucking button or two for it)?

Okay, that was actually two.

I despise sorting by id3 tag. I refer to that as the braindead itunes way.
--
Think Outside the Fox.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
The main reason the MP3 Walkman never became a hit is because of iTunes.

iTunes is why the iPod was even a success.

As for a SonyFlix, the main issue they would have there is if they outright denied content to everybody else they could face the wrath of the FTC.

I would rather see more services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. video delivery services not bound to the studios forcing the studios to compete to get their stuff online or face piracy. If every content owner runs their own walled garden, people will need a device or app for every content owner and likely each studio will be at least $40 a month or more.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

jfleni

@bhn.net

TV Brick wall

Basically the situation will never change until the political climate changes, possibly in 2014, probably in 2016. The mouth-breathers in the House are receiving carloads of graft from the TV/media kings, who, along with commercial-loving local plutocrats everywhere definitely want no change, so the outlook will stay poor for a while, unless some "killer app" appears on line and captivates everybody, which is quite unlikely.

Studying the really low-brow stupidity of most TV & cable offerings, makes it easy to understand why cord-cutting of this expensive garbage is so ridiculously easy for so many people; at the same time that makes sudden drastic change almost inevitable eventually.

Patience, hard to do, will pay off.

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable

Re: TV Brick wall

said by jfleni :

Studying the really low-brow stupidity of most TV & cable offerings, makes it easy to understand why cord-cutting of this expensive garbage is so ridiculously easy for so many people; at the same time that makes sudden drastic change almost inevitable eventually.

Patience, hard to do, will pay off.

What makes you think Joe Six pack is such a genius??? Look at Jersey or anything with the name Jersey in it, not exactly high brow programing. The average person likes crap and aren't that bright. I've cut the cord and a few people have seen my set up thinking I might be right but it's only the tech savvy crowd that has any interest in trying.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

1 recommendation

said by jfleni :

Basically the situation will never change until the political climate changes, possibly in 2014, probably in 2016. The mouth-breathers in the House are receiving carloads of graft from the TV/media kings, who, along with commercial-loving local plutocrats everywhere definitely want no change, so the outlook will stay poor for a while, unless some "killer app" appears on line and captivates everybody, which is quite unlikely.

The republicans would never pass any kind of regulation that would help thing and they don't need any payola from the big media companies to do it. It's in their nature to shun regulation. Add in enough Dems that will gladly take cash for votes from big media and nothing will change.

The only thing that will work is people cutting the cord. That requires sacrifice which people these days refuse to do. So nothing changes and the same lazy fucks that refuse to sacrifice for change complain away. I'm starting to not feel sorry for their $100+ cable bills they can blame themselves.
millerja01a

join:2005-10-03
Durham, NC

Re: TV Brick wall

There is a political and user component to this. We see it in the wireless space as the big 4 have now seen that voice/SMS is legacy and all ppl need now is data on their mobile tech.

They've set the market at $10/1GB and they're spending huge amts to convince ppl they need buckets of it delivered at "4G" speeds.

We all know how that works.

The same will happen to pay TV. As the viewer base becomes more tech savvy, they will find low cost methods to watch the content they want.

An upstart can find many ways to provide "just enough" desirable content. That's Amazon/Netflix/Hulu/Apple's model. "Just enough" content so that ppl will find it a value to pay for it.

The Google fiber project is a clear sign of what Mountain View, CA is up to. Start small and learn your lessons, execute well and grow.

Build your own infrastructure, then you can do whatever you want.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: TV Brick wall

said by millerja01a:

...

The same will happen to pay TV. As the viewer base becomes more tech savvy, they will find low cost methods to watch the content they want.

An upstart can find many ways to provide "just enough" desirable content. That's Amazon/Netflix/Hulu/Apple's model. "Just enough" content so that ppl will find it a value to pay for it.

The Google fiber project is a clear sign of what Mountain View, CA is up to. Start small and learn your lessons, execute well and grow.

Build your own infrastructure, then you can do whatever you want.

Google Fiberhood is already deployed in KC. Pay-TV costs $125/month.
Nothing to see there.

The 3rd-rate content owners originally sold to Netflix for cheap. The 2nd and 1st-rate took notice. That ain't happening again.

Those comfortable with the existing distribution model aren't going to bite the hands that feed them by starting a race to the bottom, and most are smart enough not to attempt to do distribution themselves.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: TV Brick wall

said by elray:

Those comfortable with the existing distribution model aren't going to bite the hands that feed them by starting a race to the bottom, and most are smart enough not to attempt to do distribution themselves.

The same stupid mindset thought it was genus idea to kill off the VCR. How would their businesses be today if they had actually won their case?
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: TV Brick wall

said by 88615298:

said by elray:

Those comfortable with the existing distribution model aren't going to bite the hands that feed them by starting a race to the bottom, and most are smart enough not to attempt to do distribution themselves.

The same stupid mindset thought it was genus idea to kill off the VCR. How would their businesses be today if they had actually won their case?

I wasn't complimenting their business acumen, only explaining it.

Companies are willing to take risks, but they do so with the intent of making greater profits, not exposing themselves to headaches for less money, which is the outlook for anything that resembles the ala-carte fantasy model that forum members pine for.

There are a few ways to do new distribution that are win-win for all the players and the consumer, but that would require a buy-in from all stakeholders, and that's like herding cats to take a swim. Ain't gonna happen.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: TV Brick wall

They thought home video wasn't going to make money either. Now they wouldn't even exist without it. It took then over a decade to embrace it. I remember even into the mid 80's you could really only rent VHS tapes as buying them cost $100 or more. That was to prevent people from buying. And people complain about a $25 blu-ray. As soon as they lowered the price to where people would buy these companies made BILLIONS. They could have made BILLION for over the previous decade if they hadn't been so bull headed. Now surely those guys are dead or retired and you'd think this next generation of media CEOs would get it. I guess we'll have to wait until these media companies are run by guys who are currently in their teens or 20's.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: TV Brick wall

said by 88615298:

They thought home video wasn't going to make money either. Now they wouldn't even exist without it. It took then over a decade to embrace it. I remember even into the mid 80's you could really only rent VHS tapes as buying them cost $100 or more. That was to prevent people from buying. And people complain about a $25 blu-ray. As soon as they lowered the price to where people would buy these companies made BILLIONS. They could have made BILLION for over the previous decade if they hadn't been so bull headed. Now surely those guys are dead or retired and you'd think this next generation of media CEOs would get it. I guess we'll have to wait until these media companies are run by guys who are currently in their teens or 20's.

Again, I concur. There are a couple ways to change the model, such that all parties concerned win - consumers get what they want, and all the players make more money.

But neither the customers, nor the industry are going to agree to such a move, as each has their own exclusive vision of the future.

It isn't a question of the age of the management.

axiomatic

join:2006-08-23
Tomball, TX

Sony like to reinvent the wheel a little too much.

The one thing that Sony is considerably behind on is streaming services. Microsoft and of course Netflix/Amazon have long been streaming and know what to do and what not to do. Sony isn't there ya. Their own service is a "download first, play later" adventure that is antiquated.

Given Sony is known for mismanagement and reinventing the wheel when it unneeded and expensive I predict that they will make costly mistakes for a while before this service becomes reliable, much less profitable.

But as others have mentioned Sony does have content so this is the right move. Maybe they need to buy someone away from Amazon or Netflix and offer them a truckload of money to help them learn how to do this right..
albundyhere

join:2000-10-26
New York, NY

Re: Sony like to reinvent the wheel a little too much.

said by axiomatic:

The one thing that Sony is considerably behind on is streaming services.

They are behind in everything. i haven't seen an invented product from them in over a decade.