Service Providers Ask Supreme Court to Review Net Neutrality

AT&T, trade group USTelecom and broadband service provider CenturyLink filed separate appeals yesterday requesting that the FCC’s net neutrality rule barring ISPs from slowing or blocking content be overturned. The rule, supported by tech companies such as Google and Facebook, was enacted during the Obama era when the FCC was under Democratic control. “Now under Republican leadership, the FCC is already considering a plan to replace and weaken the rules,” reports Bloomberg. “FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to remove strong legal authority that critics say over-regulates telephone and cable providers and that defenders say is needed to enforce fair treatment of web traffic.” Continue reading Service Providers Ask Supreme Court to Review Net Neutrality

Growth of Smart Devices Requires a Next-Gen Wi-Fi Solution

As smart devices in the home multiply, so does the need for Wi-Fi. Cisco reports that, through 2021, data routed via Wi-Fi to mobile devices will grow 48 percent a year. Several ideas to meet the demand have been proposed. Some have suggested putting a router in every room or floor of the house; most routers already connect to the cloud to optimize the network. Another idea is for the user to rent Wi-Fi through his or her cable company. Yet another is WiGig, whereby smart devices themselves would provide bandwidth. Continue reading Growth of Smart Devices Requires a Next-Gen Wi-Fi Solution

Cable Providers Make Course Correction and Support Netflix

As part of an industry shift that began in Europe, an increasing number of cable operators in the U.S. have been forming agreements with Netflix. Charter Communications is expected to join more than a dozen pay TV providers, including Comcast, in making the streaming service available through its set-top boxes. “Some U.S. providers could start selling the streaming service as part of their Internet and video packages,” reports VentureBeat. “Altice NV is trying that approach in France, and the company aims to extend the deal to the United States.” Continue reading Cable Providers Make Course Correction and Support Netflix

Discovery to Purchase Scripps Networks in $14.6 Billion Deal

Discovery Communications announced it is acquiring Scripps Networks Interactive in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $14.6 billion — or $90 a share (the final deal is expected to be valued around $11.9 billion when including the assumption of $2.7 billion of Scripps’ net debt). The combined company, which will bring together cable properties representing nearly 20 percent of ad-supported pay-TV audiences in the United States, plans to produce 8,000 hours of original programming per year and 7 billion short-form video streams monthly. Continue reading Discovery to Purchase Scripps Networks in $14.6 Billion Deal

Google’s New YouTube TV App Clocks 2 Million Downloads

According to analytics firms App Annie and Sensor Tower, about 2 million consumers have already installed the YouTube TV app, even though it is not yet available in all regions of the U.S. Installs for Google’s new live TV service were evenly split between Android and iOS devices, reports TechCrunch. While download numbers do not necessarily mirror subscription numbers, early consumer interest should draw the attention of competitors, including telcos. YouTube TV is joining a crowded market of companies offering live TV over the Internet. Others include Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, and Comcast’s upcoming Xfinity Instant TV. Continue reading Google’s New YouTube TV App Clocks 2 Million Downloads

DraftKings, FanDuel Cancel Merger In Face of FTC Lawsuit

Rival fantasy-sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel planned to merge last November, but that plan has now been nixed. In their statements about the cancellation of the merger, neither company mentioned the fact that the Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust suit against the merger, but, in statements, the companies’ chief executives noted that the lawsuit would add cost, time and distractions to the proposed union. The companies both offer daily games that allow users to assemble virtual teams of real athletes. Continue reading DraftKings, FanDuel Cancel Merger In Face of FTC Lawsuit

Apple iTunes Losing Market Share for Movie Rentals, Sales

Apple’s iTunes Store continues to lose market share for video viewers. In 2012, say sources, the company was responsible for well over 50 percent of movie rentals and sales; that figure has now decreased to between 20 percent and 35 percent. The figures are uncertain because no trade group or company tracks market share of digital movies, but several Hollywood studios have reported a decline in the amount of business with iTunes. An Apple spokeswoman said the company is targeting subscription services, an area experiencing significant growth. Continue reading Apple iTunes Losing Market Share for Movie Rentals, Sales

Charter and CenturyLink to Debut Streaming Skinny Bundles

Charter Communications and CenturyLink are the latest operators to introduce streaming skinny-bundle options for consumers looking for alternatives to conventional pay TV. The new services join a crowded field as an increasing number of companies face the challenges involved with attracting cord cutters and new customers. Charter will test its $20 per month Spectrum Stream that offers local broadcast and cable channels, VOD titles and optional premium channels. Meanwhile, CenturyLink Stream has introduced bundles that range from $15 per month to the Ultimate 45+ channel package for $45 per month. Continue reading Charter and CenturyLink to Debut Streaming Skinny Bundles

AMC Announces the Launch of its Ad-Free Streaming Service

AMC is introducing AMC Premiere, its new $5 per month streaming service that offers commercial-free versions of current programs, movies, trailers, bonus scenes, and the ability to stream shows at the same time they air on television. However, the cable network is not targeting cord cutters yet. “For now at least, you have to be a pay TV subscriber to use AMC Premiere — and specifically, a Comcast Xfinity TV customer,” reports TechCrunch. “That’s because launch of the new service is currently tied to a deal with Comcast, whose Xfinity TV customers will be able to stream the service via their set-top boxes as well as the Xfinity Stream website and mobile app.” Continue reading AMC Announces the Launch of its Ad-Free Streaming Service

Discovery Moves TV and Business Systems Into AWS Cloud

By the end of 2017, Discovery Communications will have shifted the processing of all its U.S. TV programs and 80 percent of its business systems from its own data centers to the public cloud. Last week, the company distributed Discovery Life and Destination America, among the smallest of its 13 U.S. channels, via Amazon Web Services. By doing so, Discovery is moving away from its reliance on pricey satellite networks and enabling more flexible programming, says the company chief technology officer John Honeycutt. Continue reading Discovery Moves TV and Business Systems Into AWS Cloud

NBC Sports Targets Younger Viewers With eSports Tourney

Comcast’s NBC Sports announced its plans to televise an eSports tournament this summer, as broadcasters continue to experiment with competitive videogaming to increase viewership. “The cable network hopes a tournament built around a popular quirky game called ‘Rocket League’ will attract hard-to-reach viewers — particularly younger males — who increasingly are ditching cable subscriptions for live-streaming services such as Netflix,” reports The Wall Street Journal. According to Newzoo, the number of viewers for eSports will double this year over 2012 and reach 286 million by 2020. Continue reading NBC Sports Targets Younger Viewers With eSports Tourney

Verizon May Use Yahoo-AOL to Test New OTT Video Service

Verizon’s $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s Internet business is likely to close in mid-June, at which point the combination of Yahoo and AOL (with its 1.3 billion users) could serve as the “platform … to test out an over-the-top service,” according to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam. The OTT offering “would be in addition to the telco’s go90 ad-supported mobile video service,” reports Variety. “Verizon has reportedly been mulling an Internet-delivered skinny bundle offering, akin to AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Dish Network’s Sling TV.” Continue reading Verizon May Use Yahoo-AOL to Test New OTT Video Service

Comcast Rolls Out Xfinity Mobile, With Streaming TV Service

On its official Xfinity Mobile website, Comcast is now allowing its Xfinity Internet customers to sign up for the service at a discounted rate of $45 per month. The regular price will be $65 per month for unlimited mobile service. Xfinity Mobile was unveiled in April and will roll out to stores over the coming months throughout Comcast’s current markets. The service runs on top of Verizon’s network, but access to Comcast’s 16 million Wi-Fi hotspots means users will automatically be switched over to Wi-Fi when available. Continue reading Comcast Rolls Out Xfinity Mobile, With Streaming TV Service

Early Reviews Largely Positive for Hulu’s New Live TV Service

Hulu’s Live TV has rolled out in beta, offering more than 50 channels for just under $40 per month. What makes Hulu stand out from competing services is that it now offers a combination of streaming video plus live television. Among its live content, Hulu offers the four major broadcast networks, ESPN, HGTV and an array of news and animation content. Original content includes “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the service also boasts day-after TV shows and B-list movies, all melded into a single library. Continue reading Early Reviews Largely Positive for Hulu’s New Live TV Service

With NBCU Deal, Hulu Will Stream All Top Four Broadcasters

Hulu just inked a deal with NBCUniversal that will bring live coverage of NBC and Telemundo-owned stations to its live streaming service. The deal is a coup for Hulu, which, when it unveils its new service later this month, will offer the top four broadcast TV channels. Hulu previously made deals with CBS, Disney-ABC and Fox as well as USA, Syfy, Bravo, E!, MSNBC, CNBC, NBCSN, Sprout and others, for a total of 50 live TV channels. The new deal also allows Hulu to license NBC and Telemundo broadcast affiliates. Continue reading With NBCU Deal, Hulu Will Stream All Top Four Broadcasters

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