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The Lead

Who is this Polka guy, and why is he saying such heinous things?

October 21, 2014 12:19 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

“Why won't you give cable subscribers the same rights you're evidently giving broadband customers under the ‘CBS All Access’ plan?” Maybe because broadcasters will make much less money if viewers get to choose to pay for each of the major networks, because everyone expects that tens and tens of millions of viewers won’t.

Senate video promotes broadcaster a la carte

August 26, 2014 12:34 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

VIDEO: Senate Republicans are promoting the notion of making local stations a...

Cox not interested in buying T-Mobile

August 21, 2014 1:11 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Speculators on Wall Street, eager for deals to move the market and frustrated by the collapse of...

Don't bet the farm on 4K

August 12, 2014 1:30 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

There are a lot of people insisting that 4K is the next big thing. 4K is demonstrably one of the...

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Daily news and top headlines for broadband communications engineering and design professionals

4seTV has a proposition for cable

August 11, 2014 12:31 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

The startup has developed a box it that will simultaneously split a TV or tablet screen into four functional windows. 4seTV will be going the retail route for its box, but it has an interesting proposition for cable companies: something for nothing.

House authorizes death of CableCard

July 23, 2014 4:52 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

The U.S. House of Representatives has reauthorized STELA. The cable industry had hoped to tack on provisions to reform retransmission consent rules, but the House declined. But the House did include language to end separable security requirements. In other words, the House has agreed to let the loathed CableCard die.

Aereo loss is a very big deal

June 26, 2014 1:34 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Another thing the average viewer doesn’t get is that Aereo and its approach was a hedge against rising cable costs. Retrans fees are going to keep going up. Cable fees are going to keep going up. That’s a win for broadcasters, but for no one else. It’s a clear loss for viewers, larger than most realize.

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Google Fiber’s greatest success -- In Perspective

June 25, 2014 9:20 pm | by Brian Santo | Articles | Comments

Google’s biggest success was getting customers to redline themselves, while inducing cities that want Google Fiber to compete with each other to see who will go farthest to weaken and/or jettison regulations that involve providing services, and building and operating infrastructure.

TV Everywhere apps: “Market the damn things”

June 16, 2014 1:49 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

MSOs are getting crushed by their over the top rivals when it comes to TV Everywhere – an area where the only thing they have to do to become more competitive is to let their customers know that they are, in fact, competing. The Diffusion Group’s advice to MSOs: “Market the damn things.”

Oliver's Army

June 6, 2014 6:04 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

John Oliver’s rant about network neutrality early this week was impassioned, entertaining, and, in the end, completely wrong about what network neutrality is and how it works. But that may well end up being irrelevant for a couple of reasons.

AT&T's pursuit of DirecTV thrills no one

May 13, 2014 1:39 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

AT&T is on the verge of buying DirecTV, according to reports. The deal could be worth $50 billion, but no one thinks this is about synergy, or subscribers, or scale. Most think it's about AT&T's dividend. Whoo. Hoo. AT&T can buy DirecTV, but it won’t be able to buy an exclamation point.

Review: Tablo a nifty little over-the-air HDTV system

April 19, 2014 2:24 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

The Tablo is a nifty little item that lets you play over-the-air signals on your tablet. You can watch live, or record in advance and watch later. You can choose to record specific episodes, new episodes of a series, or an entire series. You can take your device anywhere, connect to the Internet, and you have access to your Tablo, including everything you’ve got stored on your disk drive. 

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From NAB: A reckoning is coming. Not now, but soon enough

April 10, 2014 2:42 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Ultra high definition TV. Workflow management. End-to-end multi-screen (or “over the top”) delivery. For anyone even remotely involved in content preparation and distribution, those were the three big themes at the NAB Show that concludes today. And there’s a glut of vendors aiming to provide each of those technologies.

Sense and Copyrightability

March 24, 2014 6:42 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

The fact that OTA broadcast stations are also carried on cable systems is thoroughly and absolutely irrelevant to Aereo – Cablevision is absolutely irrelevant to Aereo, and even if five Supreme Court Justices disagree I still won’t buy the argument.

Apple-Comcast! Hurry! Everybody Over-React!

March 24, 2014 1:20 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

This ends up being less than The WSJ makes it out to be… at first. After paragraphs and paragraphs of speculation, the paper reports that Apple is asking for an arrangement Comcast has no doubt already laughed off, assuming the report has all the details.

Comcast-TWC: It's personal

February 13, 2014 1:44 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Malone is a tremendously astute executive, who knows full well that Wall Street loves a deal. Furthermore, TWC had been turning in some disappointing quarterly results, and Wall Streeters fervently despise disappointment. All that combined with the retirement of Glenn Britt, and TWC looked like a pretty good opportunity.

FCC's IP dreams: Lifeline? Meh.

January 31, 2014 1:24 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

The FCC is encouraging experiments in moving from POTS to VoIP. As a practical matter, the FCC is talking to phone companies, but the results might have some ramifications for cable operators that got into the voice market with VoIP, as well as those cable operators who also operate POTS networks.

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Comcast enters Charter-TWC saga

January 27, 2014 4:07 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

The likelihood that Comcast will participate in the takeover of Time Warner Cable seems to be increasing, with word leaking out that if Charter Communications were to buy TWC, Comcast would be interested in buying TWC’s New York City, North Carolina, and New England systems from Charter.

Gun shy

January 14, 2014 1:24 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

If there’s anybody who knows how to get screwed in a merger, it’s Time Warner Cable. TWC was a pawn in AOL’s acquisition of Time Warner, among the most disastrous mergers in history. Time Warner subsequently used TWC as a piggy bank it could bust open, emptying TWC of cash when it spun off the MSO.

Beans & Cornbread, and optical LAN

December 24, 2013 1:18 pm | by Editor | Blogs | Comments

Optical local area networking has some clear advantages. It is roughly comparable in price, and can last for 50 years or more. Fiber requires vastly less infrastructure to support, and significantly less maintenance. It is far more difficult to tap, and is impervious to EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) disruption.

Born free

December 13, 2013 12:17 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Two bills were introduced to fix the video market, one from Rep. Steve Scalise, one from Rep. Anna Eshoo. You have to wonder if Scalise was even trying. Just look at that acronym: NGTMA. What are we supposed to do with that? Pronouncing it is a nightmare: N-n-ngitma? Ingateema? Nagtama?

Does anyone have a real reason to buy TWC?

November 25, 2013 2:08 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Late Friday, those agitating for consolidation in the cable industry floated the notion of Charter Communications and Comcast bidding on Time Warner Cable together, then breaking it up into pieces, with each claiming chunks. The news was well received by Wall Street merger-and-acquisition (M&A) experts and investors, who bid up the values of the stock of any MSO rumored to be party to any such deal. 

Live From the Show: SeaChange International

October 31, 2013 8:56 pm | by CED | Videos | Comments

SeaChange VP of Strategic Marketing Alan Hoff explains how the new Cloud Adrenalin product is particularly appropriate for smaller companies looking to fend off over-the-top competition with a multi-screen product they can deploy quickly and economically.

Technology is the impetus for a Comcast-Netflix deal

October 30, 2013 12:04 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

There is no shortage of speculation about whether Comcast doing a deal with Netflix makes business sense – some say yes, some say no – but there are few evaluations of whether a Comcast-Netflix deal makes technological sense, which is key to why a Comcast-Netflix agreement is far more likely than not.

The politics of Cox's FlareWatch

October 3, 2013 12:50 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

The margins on the low-cost, IP-based TV package might have been half what they were on Cox's comparable standard video package, but was that why the MSO pulled the plug on the service after only three months? Even after announcing FlareWatch was only an experiment?

Divergent paths to TV everywhere

September 19, 2013 12:15 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

That service providers will have to deliver TV everywhere is a foregone conclusion, but a couple of recent announcements – one from Sling and another from TiVo – provided an interesting juxtaposition of alternatives of how to accomplish the feat.

Transparent caching catching on

August 29, 2013 4:18 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Transparent caching is essentially edge caching, ultimately on behalf of OTT providers.  Several companies have solutions in which they cut deals with either the MVPDs or with the CDNs to do transparent caching. The amount of equipment that needs to be added can be minimized, and the improvement in quality of service (QoS) ultimately benefits everyone all up and down the value chain.

Wait a sec...

August 20, 2013 1:31 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

The cloud is being sold as the greatest innovation since the food industry started building zip-lock technology into the packages of everything from hot dogs to shredded cheese, but there have been concerns: can cloud computing scale to cover hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and aren’t you just courting trouble by automatically building in too much delay? But the world is safe for the cloud, according to ActiveVideo.

OTT: an entree with a side of IPDR

July 31, 2013 1:26 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Incognito Software just released data that pretty much settles the “over-the-top: friend or foe?” debate, at least in North America. OTT is has widely come to be seen as an opportunity, and MVPDs are actively preparing for it. Part of that preparation is learning how to deliberately collect, store, and analyze IPDR data.

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