Report: Cord-Cutting Translates to New Low for Pay TV in Q3

Cord-cutting among U.S. consumers hit record highs in Q3, according to research firm MoffettNathanson, which reports total pay TV subscriptions dropped by 6.3 percent in the July through September period, up from a 5.2 percent decline in Q3 2021, and slightly ahead of the 6.2 percent contraction of Q2 this year. MoffettNathanson defines “pay TV” as paid subscription services, including from cable and satellite operators in addition to vMVPDs packaged through companies like Verizon and AT&T. The Q3 loss totaled roughly 655,000 subscribers, as compared to 617,000 from the same period last year, and 91,000 in Q3 2020. Continue reading Report: Cord-Cutting Translates to New Low for Pay TV in Q3

Big Tech Ramps Up Digital Security with Passkey Deployment

Now that Apple, Google and Microsoft have updated their operating systems to support the open standard passkey protocol stewarded by the FIDO Alliance, consumers will soon be liberated from the tyranny of passwords and their attendant security threats. PayPal has become the latest to embrace the passkey approach, announcing U.S. users will soon be able to log in using FIDO-compliant passkeys. It joins Best Buy, CardPointers, eBay, Kayak and WordPress among those with digital portals offering a passkey option. Passkeys will permit consumers to login seamlessly across devices, making online purchases easier and eliminating friction from app access. Continue reading Big Tech Ramps Up Digital Security with Passkey Deployment

Google Unveils Its First Smartwatch and New Pixel 7 Phones

Google debuted its new flagship smartphones, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, powered by updated Tensor G2 processors. The company also showcased a new Pixel Watch with built-in Fitbit. The devices were touted at Thursday’s Made by Google event in Brooklyn, following months of leaks after a developer conference preview in May. The phones run on the updated Android 13, which was rolled out to the Pixel 6 in August. The new gear ships October 13, and Google says the new phones pack five years of security updates. With 8GB of RAM, the entry level Pixel 7 phone costs $599, while Pixel 7 Pro pricing starts at $899 with 12GB of RAM (with configurations up to 512GB). Continue reading Google Unveils Its First Smartwatch and New Pixel 7 Phones

Nreal Debuts Air AR Glasses for Android, PC and Soon Apple

A year after debuting in partnership with Verizon its $599 Nreal Light AR glasses in the U.S., Beijing-based Nreal is releasing the sportier Air AR glasses on Amazon. The $379 price is about $100 less than Air ARs were going for in Asia. The company is also upgrading its Nebula AR OS for augmented reality, including a version for Apple mobile, albeit only those powered by Apple silicon (M1 and M2 chips). In other words, newer iPhones and MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops. The Apple and Android/PC visual presentations will be different, at least initially. Continue reading Nreal Debuts Air AR Glasses for Android, PC and Soon Apple

Cox Launches Its New Mobile Service Pilot in Three Markets

Cox Communications has finally launched its long-awaited mobile offering. Cox Mobile is officially piloting in three markets where it is available only to Cox broadband customers: Las Vegas, Nevada; Hampton Roads, Virginia; and Omaha, Nebraska. Customers will initially be offered two plans, each featuring unlimited talk and text — Pay As You Gig and Gig Unlimited, with coverage including 4G LTE and 5G, in addition to 4 million Cox Wi-Fi hotspots. The company plans to expand Cox Mobile in new markets through the rest of the year. Continue reading Cox Launches Its New Mobile Service Pilot in Three Markets

Dish Loses Subscribers in Q2, Preps Launch of Boost Infinite

Dish Network posted a Q2 subscriber loss in both the satellite TV sector and among customers of its virtual multichannel video programming distributor Sling TV. Sling shed 257,000 traditional satellite video subs while Dish lost 202,000 net satellite subscribers. Regarding Sling TV, the vMVPD lost subscribers for the third consecutive quarter, down 55,000 in Q2, a marked improvement over Sling’s Q1 net loss of 234,000 subs. Dish ended Q2 with 7.79 million satellite TV subscribers, while Sling closed the April through June period with about 2.19 million customers. Meanwhile, Dish announced its Boost Infinite postpaid wireless service will launch later this year. Continue reading Dish Loses Subscribers in Q2, Preps Launch of Boost Infinite

Proposed Legislation Drafted to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

With efforts to fill the vacant FCC seat and tilt the commission back to a Democratic majority, the Senate is poised to try an alternate path to realizing the party’s longtime goal of restoring net neutrality rules. Championed by Senators Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act proposes to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, which would open up companies including AT&T and Verizon to stricter FCC oversight. Internet service providers would be prevented from blocking or throttling content, while pricing and privacy would also receive scrutiny. Continue reading Proposed Legislation Drafted to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

New Federal Program to Make Internet Access Available to All

The Biden Administration has secured private sector commitments designed to provide free or reduced-rate Internet to American families. As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) allows tens of millions of U.S. households to lower their monthly bills or sign-up for new service. Among the 20 leading Internet providers participating in the plan, which reaches more than 80 percent of the population, are AT&T (Spectrum), Comcast (Xfinity) and Verizon. The list also includes smaller rural providers such as Jackson Energy Authority in Tennessee and Comporium in North Carolina. Continue reading New Federal Program to Make Internet Access Available to All

Microsoft, Google, Apple Unite Behind Passwordless Logins

Apple, Google and Microsoft have joined forces in a rare intercorporate collaboration to create passwordless sign-in technology that relies on smartphones to sign-in. The tech giants announced last week that they are coordinating support for the passwordless sign-in standard, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance. As a result, by the end of the year users of any of the three operating systems should be able to sign-in to any app or website when using supporting browsers from their nearby device. Continue reading Microsoft, Google, Apple Unite Behind Passwordless Logins

Google’s Media CDN Provides Content Streaming Automation

Streaming is booming, accounting for 53.7 percent of Internet bandwidth traffic, up by 4.8 percent for the year according to Google, which anticipates continued growth as gaming, social networks, AR and VR experiences take hold. To service those needs, the Alphabet unit is officially launching Media CDN, an extensible Google Cloud platform for the distribution of streaming content. At the 2022 NAB Show Streaming Summit this week, Google touted Media CDN as a more affordable and efficient way for media and entertainment companies to deliver immersive streaming experiences globally and at scale. Continue reading Google’s Media CDN Provides Content Streaming Automation

Verizon Reveals Launch of +Play Streaming Aggregation Hub

Verizon is introducing +Play, which allows customers to bundle third-party subscriptions under its mobile carrier account. Through new partnerships with Netflix, Peloton, Live Nation’s Veeps concert streaming platform, the new hub features services including Disney+, Discovery+, A+E Networks and AMC+. With the new hub, Verizon promises “a simple and efficient way” to get exclusive deals “in one place.” In some ways, it harkens back to a traditional cable package. Verizon will begin testing +Play through select customers and streaming partners in late March, followed by a broad consumer rollout later this year. Continue reading Verizon Reveals Launch of +Play Streaming Aggregation Hub

Tech Spots Are the Talk of Super Bowl, from Crypto to Quest

One team was crowned champion at Super Bowl 56, but all the advertisers were winners, with an average of 112.3 million total viewers tuning in across TV and streaming. Typically the most-watched television event in the U.S., the Super Bowl is an opportunity for deep-pocketed advertisers to make an impression on consumers. This year, the post-game spot talk was all about tech. Returning sponsors Amazon, E-Trade, T-Mobile and Verizon were joined by big game debutantes, including four crypto firms, Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten, Meta Platforms’ first national commercial for Meta Quest 2, and several electric vehicle ads. Continue reading Tech Spots Are the Talk of Super Bowl, from Crypto to Quest

Lawmakers Troubled About Rampant Sale of Consumer Data

When it comes to vacuuming-up consumer data, there is no distinction between that which is “personally identifiable” and that which is not, according to recent media reports. Data collection firms are reportedly hiding behind a false notion of privacy in order to keep Congress on track to allow the industry to police itself. This would enable the companies to continue mining personal information and selling it, whether to those trying to influence election outcomes, pharmaceutical firms trying to boost sales or insurance companies sniffing around for preexisting conditions. Continue reading Lawmakers Troubled About Rampant Sale of Consumer Data

Meta Is Joined by Apple, Various Brands in Metaverse Pursuit

Brands have begun dabbling in the metaverse. Chipotle, Vans and Nike are among those experimenting on Roblox, a platform where users play games, while Verizon staged a stadium game in Fortnite Creative, an affiliate service of the popular Epic game. Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook is said to be encouraging brands to use Instagram’s AR filters to get acclimated to the metaverse. There are reports that Apple is preparing its own meta debut, with Taiwan-based analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicting, presumably based on his supply-chain sources, that Apple plans to unveil an AR wearable late next year. Continue reading Meta Is Joined by Apple, Various Brands in Metaverse Pursuit

Amazon Will Launch Two Kuiper Internet Satellites Next Year

Amazon has announced the fourth quarter of 2022 as the launch date for the first two prototype satellites in its Project Kuiper Internet-from-space enterprise. The retail giant’s move follows SpaceX, which already has almost 2,000 Internet-beaming satellites orbiting at a cost of about $10 billion on behalf of its competing Starlink venture. Amazon says it plans to spend a like amount. In 2019, Amazon shared its goal of deploying 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit. These prototypes will essentially field-test Kuiper’s technology design before Amazon sends its flock of thousands skyward. Continue reading Amazon Will Launch Two Kuiper Internet Satellites Next Year