Cable TV Companies Plot Cloud-Based Gaming Services

According to VentureBeat, some cable TV powerhouses are turning their attention to gaming as major gaming console platforms seek to become the new way to consume pay TV. Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo are all developing TV services through their Web-connected gaming consoles; the cable companies are fighting back, with Verizon, AT&T (creators of U-Verse) and Time Warner Cable Inc. all developing a way to deliver cloud-based games to cable TV subscribers, starting in 2013.

Experts are surmising that the games offered by cable providers will be similar to those popular on smart phones and social sites, such as Angry Birds and Tetris, simple games that are more for casual gamers than hardcore gamers, with the idea that hardcore gamers will still use a console or PC for serious gaming. Cox Communications and Comcast will be launching a full subscription service for gaming by 2014, though.

The reason game consoles have been able to become a big part of video watching for Web-connected people is that they are familiar with the user interface, and cable and satellite TV companies have not been able to as of yet provide a similar experience. The cable companies hope to change that as well as offering gaming in order to maintain their subscriber base; many customers have been cutting the cord in favor of video on demand services through websites like Netflix and Hulu. It is not yet known whether these cable companies will be using their own developers or partnering with a third party to provide entrance into the gaming space.

Cable companies are brainstorming ways to maintain their subscriber base, and offering gaming is just another of those potential strategies. Other attempts to provide the content that users are looking for at a lower price will likely emerge as the battle continues to keep current subscribers while adding more.

HughesNet Gen4 Satellite Internet Goes Live

Yesterday, HughesNet Gen4, a new satellite internet service from Hughes, went live and is available for new subscribers. The new satellite internet service, developed using Jupiter Technology, increases the speeds available to satellite internet users in rural areas while also expanding the service into some suburban markets.

HughesNet Gen4 offers dramatically increased satellite internet speeds, up to 15 Mbps depending upon the plan, and allows for more download capacity. HughesNet Gen4 is the ideal solution for those who live in areas in which high speed broadband landline services are not available. HughesNet Gen4 increases the performance of the already industry-leading HughesNet satellite internet service and supports high bandwidth applications, including social media and video and music streaming. Hughes is offering an upgrade program for existing customers.

Here are just a few of the improvements made by Hughes for the new, fourth-generation high speed satellite internet service:

  • Jupiter High Throughput Technology
  • HTTP-NG: Next Generation HTTP Acceleration, which identifies video, music, and other high-bandwidth content to provide the optimal downloading or streaming experience
  • Satellite-specific download manager
  • A larger 72 cm dish and adaptive code modulation (ACM) to push more power to transmitters during storms to prevent rain fade

Gen4 was made possible by the July 4, 2012 launch of a new satellite, Echostar XVII.

Hughes developed the new technology for Gen4 through a number of corporate partnerships. Hughes provides satellite services for a number of large enterprises and small businesses, with custom solutions used in many cases. In developing these custom solutions, new technologies are developed and the best of these, and the most appropriate, are passed on to those developers in the consumer division to provide improvements to rural satellite internet subscribers.

Take advantage of HughesNet Gen4 with Mid-America Satellite in the Midwest, or other dealers across the United States.

DISH Network and Viacom Team Up for Internet TV

According to DigitalTrends, satellite TV provider DISH Network and content provider Viacom, which is the company behind networks like Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and more, have teamed up to create a lower cost, internet TV option for pay TV.

Live Internet TV has not yet happened in America due to the fact that cable companies and content providers bundle large amounts of channels together and charge their customers for all the channels they subscribe to, even if they are not channels that the subscriber watches. For many people, 75 percent of the channels in their lineup could disappear and not be missed, but cable companies and satellite companies have not wanted to break up into smaller bundles because there is strength in numbers.

If DISH and Viacom can come to an agreement to bring smaller channel packages live on the internet as a new model of delivering television content, this could really change the game, especially if a large number of subscribers take advantage of the new service. The only real issue in measuring the profitability of this is that there is no good way of measuring internet TV watching, like there is with the Nielsen ratings for regular television. DISH Network’s proposed plan has received plenty of financial support, and the company’s stock went up 1.8 percent when the news broke and is up nearly nine percent for the year.

If this works, it could lead other content providers to allow smaller bundles to be made with their channels. People who do not like sports would not have to pay the expensive rights fees associated with the ESPN family of networks, by far the biggest charge associated with a channel on many cable bills. Sports fans could subscribe simply to a sports tier, instead of having to buy regular cable or satellite TV and then an additional sports package for niche sports channels. It really could change the way TV is consumed.

Check back often for updates on this story as it develops at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.