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The Lead

Dear Sony: please let us help you screw the terrorists (and give you money in the process)

December 17, 2014 11:28 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Dear Sony; Please release “The Interview” on demand on the Playstation Network. Between those who actually want to see the movie, and those who want to metaphorically lift a middle finger to terrorists, I think your audience might be as big as all of America.

Juniper hopes Gainspeed will be its point of convergence with cable

December 8, 2014 1:14 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

One way to enable SDN and NFV would be to ditch the CMTS, and put control functions in a...

AT&T walks back Title II threats... a little

December 2, 2014 1:47 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

“Uncertainty” doesn’t really mean anything, and uncertainty doesn’t derive from reclassification...

AT&T dangles prospect of Shop While You Watch app

November 24, 2014 1:10 pm | by Editor | Blogs | Comments

The idea has been kicking around for years: give viewers the ability to buy whatever they see on...

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AT&T chair: go Title II and we'll sue

November 12, 2014 1:15 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

If the FCC were to attempt to reclassify broadband as a communications service under Title II, the industry will immediately sue to block the move, AT&T Randall Stephenson vowed. Furthermore, communications companies will stop investing in their networks.

Proposed FCC compromise will be a win for the industry

October 31, 2014 2:16 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler may drop attempts at Title II reclassification, but in exchange will approve the Comcast / Time Warner Cable and AT&T / DirecTV mergers only with conditions that will bar them from engaging in paid prioritization. It's a win for MVPDs, but will they accept it?  

Distribution contracts and the benefits of a strategic petard

October 22, 2014 6:58 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Programmers are holding up Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable and AT&T's merger with DirecTV because they don’t want 108 people from learning the details of their contracts with their distributors. The argument should be blown up from underneath them with a well-placed metaphoric landmine.

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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 la carte on cable networks with a new YouTube video. The idea has the potential for gaining bipartisan support, even in this bitterly divided Congress, as a consumer-friendly and nearly pure free-market solution.

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 talks between Sprint and T-Mobile, have been toying with the names of other companies who might step in and buy T-Mobile. Who's in a position to do it, though?

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 technologies coming up next, and it is inevitable that 4K will eventually be big, but “next” and “big” both at the same time? You might want to adjust your expectations for the longer term.

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.

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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.

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.

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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. 

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.

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. 

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