Federal Government Considers Plans For Broadband Access

Although millions of Americans are at home, the Senate did not include money for broadband infrastructure in the $3 trillion stimulus package under consideration. However, the current bill does include some funding to deploy mobile hot spots around the country. Proponents of accessible broadband will try to add that to any upcoming stimulus package. Meanwhile, the U.S. government, along with several Big Tech companies, is providing global access to 16 supercomputers to help researchers discover vaccines to combat the coronavirus. Continue reading Federal Government Considers Plans For Broadband Access

FCC Grants T-Mobile, Verizon Extra Spectrum During Pandemic

As data usage soars during the coronavirus pandemic, the big carriers are seeing their 4G LTE networks stressed to the max. On Sunday, the Federal Communications Commission gave permission to T-Mobile to use 600MHz spectrum on loan from Dish, Comcast, NewLevel and other companies for 60 days. In fact, Dish is allowing AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon to utilize some of its unused spectrum to enhance and speed up their 4G LTE networks. AT&T customers, for example, could see an “up to 20Mbps uptick in data performance.” Continue reading FCC Grants T-Mobile, Verizon Extra Spectrum During Pandemic

Coronavirus Leads to an Increase in TV Viewing and Streaming

Nielsen revealed that, as coronavirus cases rose in South Korea, TV viewership increased 17 percent. In Italy, it rose 6.5 percent, with a 12 percent spike in Lombardy, particularly hit hard by the virus. That trend has arrived in the U.S. where, said Nielsen, in the Seattle area total television use (which includes live TV, on-demand viewing, streaming and gaming) rose 22 percent on March 11 from the week before. Streaming also increased 20 percent globally. Still, it may be a short-lived panacea for many media companies. Continue reading Coronavirus Leads to an Increase in TV Viewing and Streaming

Online Shopping Spikes, Amazon Hires 100,000 New Workers

As the coronavirus fuels a rise in online sales, Amazon plans to hire 100,000 more workers and raise pay for all employees in the U.S. and Canada by $2 an hour. The company’s starting wage is currently $15 per hour in its U.S. fulfillment centers. In the U.K., wages will rise £2 ($2.45) per hour and approximately €2 ($2.24) an hour in many European Union countries. At end of 2019, Amazon employed almost 800,000 full-time and part-time workers. Other companies are also seeing increased online sales as a result of COVID-19. Continue reading Online Shopping Spikes, Amazon Hires 100,000 New Workers

Tech and Media Industries Feeling Impact of the Coronavirus

Hollywood, digital media and technology are among the growing number of industries being impacted by the coronavirus. As the virus continues to spread globally, a range of business sectors are feeling the effects, including media production, movie theaters, theme parks, touring performers, music acts and consumer electronics. In addition, major tech conferences such as Google I/O, Facebook’s F8, Adobe Summit and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona have been canceled, representing about $500 million so far in lost revenue for airlines, hotels, restaurants, and related businesses. China’s film industry has lost close to an estimated $2 billion in box office grosses since its theaters closed earlier this year. Continue reading Tech and Media Industries Feeling Impact of the Coronavirus

Disney+ Classic and Original Content Sparks Major Growth

The Walt Disney Company chief executive Bob Iger said that Disney+ has more than doubled its subscription base in three months, from 10 million at its November launch to 28.6 million as of this week, stating that this has “exceed[ed] even our greatest expectations.” He revealed that Disney’s older programming has been as popular as its new original content, adding that 65 percent of subscribers who watched “The Mandalorian” watched 10 other movies/shows on the service. The next season of “The Mandalorian” debuts in November. Continue reading Disney+ Classic and Original Content Sparks Major Growth

NBCUniversal Unveils Peacock to Media Prior to April Debut

NBCUniversal presented its Peacock streaming service to journalists, ahead of the planned April 15th launch. The service, which relies on ads not subscriptions, will offer news, sports and other live broadcasts in addition to 15,000 hours of TV shows and movies. NBCUniversal chairman Stephen Burke described Peacock as “the equivalent of a 21st century broadcast business, delivered on the Internet.” Tina Fey, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon were on hand as well as NBC News anchors Rachel Maddow, Lester Holt and Savannah Guthrie. Continue reading NBCUniversal Unveils Peacock to Media Prior to April Debut

Wi-Fi 6-Enabled Routers, Phones and Laptops Come to CES

At CES 2020, Wi-Fi 6 — which promises more efficient and speedy data delivery — finally made an appearance in affordable routers and devices. Last year’s CES showed such routers for sale, but were too expensive to create widespread adoption. Further, the routers shown this year are significantly better than less expensive ones they replace. Netgear unveiled the Nighthawk Mesh, the first mesh router from any trusted manufacturer, at $230 for a two-pack and built to work well with Internet connections up to 400 Mbps. Continue reading Wi-Fi 6-Enabled Routers, Phones and Laptops Come to CES

Verizon to Drop Cable Bundles in Favor of Customer Choice

To prevent further cord-cutting, Verizon Communications is abandoning traditional cable bundles. Fios customers will be able to select Internet speeds and TV packets separately, at preset rates, and can change their services on a monthly basis. Verizon senior vice president Frank Boulben stated that customers can then avoid promotional pricing that expires — and then skyrockets. Altice USA, Comcast and Charter Communications are offering lower cost wireless plans for Internet/TV customers. Continue reading Verizon to Drop Cable Bundles in Favor of Customer Choice

CES 2020: TiVo Joins Streaming Wars With HDMI Dongle

At CES this week, TiVo announced a new device described by CEO Dave Shull as a “tiny little HDMI puck” that will bring the company “full on into the streaming wars.” The $50 TiVo Stream 4K, hitting shelves in April as a competitor to Roku and Amazon devices, is designed to expand the company’s current user base by offering streaming and live television for today’s cord cutters and cord shavers. While TiVo plans to continue offering its signature cable-ready DVRs, the new 4K dongle could be a glimpse into the company’s future. In December, TiVo announced its $3 billion merger with licensing firm Xperi. “This transformation for TiVo enabled the merger,” said Shull. Continue reading CES 2020: TiVo Joins Streaming Wars With HDMI Dongle

Comcast to Invest $2 Billion in Peacock Streaming Service

Comcast chief financial officer Mike Cavanagh announced that the Philadelphia-based telecom giant plans to invest $2 billion in NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock during 2020 and 2021, with the expectation that it won’t be profitable for five years. Cavanagh, who spoke at the UBS Global TMT Conference in New York City, added that the spending will represent, at its height, only about 1 percent of Comcast’s annual revenue. Comcast pay-TV subscribers will have free access to Peacock, scheduled to debut in April 2020. Continue reading Comcast to Invest $2 Billion in Peacock Streaming Service

Pay TV and Cable Companies Aim To Limit Password Sharing

HBO, Netflix and major cable companies have joined forces to crack down on password sharing. The group is discussing ways to close that loophole, which, with piracy, is costing them a projected $6.6 billion in lost revenue this year. According to sources, among the potential measures are to require customers to periodically change their passwords, or to text codes to subscribers’ phones that they’d need to enter. Another option would be to make rules on devices that can be used to access a subscription outside the home. Continue reading Pay TV and Cable Companies Aim To Limit Password Sharing

Holoride, Ford, Universal Partner for In-Car VR Experience

Tech startup holoride has teamed with Ford Motor Company and Universal Pictures to create an immersive VR experience called “Universal Monsters Presents Bride of Frankenstein holoride.” The complimentary ride is being offered during select dates from October 14 to November 9 at Universal CityWalk Hollywood. “They are rolling it out at the theme park, but it could be featured anywhere because it is GPS-based,” explained ETC’s Phil Lelyveld, who recently previewed the ride with colleague George Gerba. “It adjusts to the location and the route. So it could be a touring experience, could be offered at store openings, etc.” Continue reading Holoride, Ford, Universal Partner for In-Car VR Experience

Federal Appeals Court Offers Mixed Ruling on Net Neutrality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday upheld the federal government’s repeal of net neutrality in the latest ruling that impacts how companies connect people to the Internet. However, the appeals court also ruled that the FCC had overstepped in its decision to prevent state and local governments from establishing their own related rules. The mixed ruling will likely lead to continued debate over net neutrality regulation, especially on the state level. It is also seen as a victory for the Trump administration, which has supported deregulation, and FCC chair Ajit Pai, who believes the repeal is good for the economy and fosters innovation. Continue reading Federal Appeals Court Offers Mixed Ruling on Net Neutrality

NBCUniversal to Launch Peacock Streaming Service in April

In April, NBCUniversal will introduce its streaming service, dubbed Peacock, and join the ranks of other streaming services to debut in the next few months. Apple TV+ will unveil November 1; Disney+ on November 12, and HBO Max from WarnerMedia, also in April. Peacock will have 15,000 hours of content on both its ad-supported and subscription-based services, including complete seasons of some of its most popular shows. In June, said a source, the company paid $500 million to regain rights to “The Office.” Continue reading NBCUniversal to Launch Peacock Streaming Service in April

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