The TV, Internet and Phone Blog

Information on Cable, Digital Television, and Internet Providers

Monthly Archives: November 2012

NFL SUNDAY TICKET Week 13 Schedule

The NFL season is heating up, and the only way to get every game, every Sunday is with NFL SUNDAY TICKET, exclusively available from DIRECTV. Watch up to eight games at once with the NFL MIX channel on 702, or upgrade to SUNDAY TICKET MAX to be able to watch the RED ZONE CHANNEL, which shows every scoring drive of every game on 703.

It was a rambunctious week last week, with an overtime tilt on Thanksgiving and a roller coaster of a game between the Cowboys and Redskins, and the Giants got back on the winning train with a victory over the Packers. Where will the storylines take us this week? Tune in to see.

Here is the channel lineup for Week 13:

  • Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears – 1pm – Channel 704
  • Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers– 1pm – Channel 705
  • Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs – 1pm – Channel 706
  • Arizona Cardinals at New York Jets – 1pm – Channel 707
  • San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams – 1pm – Channel 708
  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills – 1pm – Channel 709
  • Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions – 1pm – Channel 710
  • New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins – 1pm – Channel 711
  • Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans – 1pm – Channel 712
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos – 4pm – Channel 713
  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens – 4pm – Channel 714
  • Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders – 4pm – Channel 715
  • Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers – 4pm – Channel 716
  • All times Eastern time

Our Game to Watch: Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears, 1pm, Channel 704. Jay Cutler is back and with him the Bears’ playoff hopes. The Seahawks are having trouble on the road but still in the hunt for a playoff spot. If the Bears win this game, they can take hold of their division and make it tough for the preseason favorites to take the NFC North, the Packers. This one is not to be missed.

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Verizon FiOS Adds 75 Live Channels Available through iPad App

Verizon Communications has updated its iPad tablet app, according to Multichannel News. Unlike some of its cable TV competitors, though, the app TV lineup still lacks local channels. Here is the information on the app from Multichannel and Verizon.

To use the feature, customers must subscribe to both FiOS Internet and TV service, and must use a Verizon-provided router. Live TV on the iPad is accessible only within a customer’s home over Wi-Fi.

Verizon’s app does not provide access to broadcast networks including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS. MSOs including Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems offer local TV stations through their respective iPad live-streaming services.

In addition to streaming live TV, the FiOS Mobile app lets users browse and search TV listings; update set-top box names; use the iPad as a remote control; and program their DVRs.

The 75 networks available through the FiOS iPad app — available to customers based on their TV subscription package — are: TNT, TBS, Spike TV, USA Network, FX, HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY, Style, History, National Geographic Channel, TLC, Discovery, H2, Military History, NatGeo Wild, Science, ID, Animal Planet, Military Channel, TV Land, AMC, TCM, Hallmark Channel, Nick, Nick Jr., TeenNick, Nicktoons, Sprout, The Hub, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, MTV, MTV2, CMT, MTV Jams, VH1, VH1 Soul, Fox News, CNN, HLN, Fox Business Network, CNBC, MSNBC, BBC World News, Galavision, TV One, BET, Centric, Comedy Central, truTV, ABC Family, A&E, Syfy, Bravo, E!, G4, BBC America, TV Guide Network, HBO, HBO2, Cinemax, Epix, IFC, ESPNews, NFL Network, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, OWN, Oxygen and We TV.

Check back often for more news about the growing trend of cable companies expanding their offerings to include online streaming on phones, tablets and more at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

NFL Pregame Shows Lose Ratings

According to the New York Daily News, ratings for three of the major NFL pregame shows are down this year. On cable TV, ESPN’s Sunday Countdown is taking a hit. On the major networks, both the CBS pregame show, The NFL Today, and Fox’s NFL Sunday are also down, with their numbers taking a larger hit than ESPN. CBS’s pregame viewership is down 17% compared to this time last year, and Fox’s pregame show is down 15%. The NFL Network Sunday pregame show is the only one that has not taken a hit, with its ratings up slightly from last year.

What’s the reason for this change? In our opinion, too much joking around and not enough actual football analysis. ESPN’s show used to be a go-to for news, with reporters on site at every game, and newsbreakers like Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter bringing up-to-the-minute injury news. Now, that breaking news is still there, but it’s sandwiched with human interest pieces and too much joshing on the set with Chris Berman, who used to be top dog among NFL pregame hosts but is now a shadow of his former self.

The CBS and Fox shows were never that great. Fox employs an on-air comedian who takes up too much of the broadcast time. CBS and Fox both have trouble with the chemistry on set. Hosts Curt Menefee and James Brown are solid, but the former players and coaches offering analysis spend more time poking fun at one another than they do providing insight on the upcoming games.

On the other hand, the NFL Network pregame, hosted by Rich Eisen, fills the void that ESPN once did as the cable show focusing more on football than pregame antics. With NFL Network now in more homes than ever before, it’s no surprise the show is stealing some of the viewership from the other competition.

High Speed Internet Can Save Families Nearly $9,000 Per Year

According to eCreditDaily, an online resource for financial empowerment, using high speed internet for shopping and getting the best daily deals can save families nearly $9,000 per year, using information from a study by the Internet Innovation Alliance. Here are the top ten areas where people save by shopping, paying, getting daily deals, or comparing prices online, along with the percent of money saved by using broadband internet as a resource:

  1. Entertainment – Families using the internet for comparison shopping and daily deals for restaurant dining, sporting and concert tickets, and other leisure activities saved $2,497 dollars, or 48.10% compared to the average spent by other families.
  2. Travel – Families buying plane tickets, hotels, rental cars and other travel necessities online saved 20%, or $1,659, compared to families who did not.
  3. Housing – People who found apartments online saved 12.75%, or $1,736 per year in rent, compared to those who did not.
  4. Food – Those who used the Web for comparison shopping for groceries and who obtained coupons online saved 25.9%, or $3,838.
  5. Apparel – Those who shopped online for clothing saved 60.2%, or $1,047.
  6. Automotive – Those purchasing a car by comparing prices online and using used car resources online saved $444, or around 1.5% on a one-time purchase.
  7. Newspapers – Those who read the newspaper online instead of subscribing to a paper subscription save $175, or an average of 84.9%.
  8. Gasoline – Comparison shopping and finding coupons for gasoline online save families $161 or 6.1%.
  9. Non-prescription drugs – Purchasing over-the-counter medicine online or finding coupons online saves people 33.3%, or $110 a year.
  10. Bill pay – Paying bills online rather than by mail can eliminate 100% of postage costs, or around $47 per year.

Take advantage of high speed broadband internet today. The cost of internet service is far outweighed by the savings you’ll find online.

ViaSat and DIRECTV Reach Agreement for Satellite Internet Distribution

ViaSat, a satellite communications firm based in Carlsbad, CA, has inked a distribution deal with DIRECTV for ViaSat’s Exede high speed internet service. ViaSat added DIRECTV to be able to compete with HughesNet, a company making inroads in the satellite internet market with a new high speed internet service serving rural areas that began service last month. The move paves the way for DIRECTV to bundle its satellite TV with Exede internet service to offer download speeds significantly faster than previous generations of satellite internet, with 12 MBPS performance rivaling cable and beating telephone DSL internet.

Here is more on the deal from U-T San Diego:

“This agreement benefits both Exede Internet and DirecTV customers by providing one-stop shopping for customers looking to access high-speed broadband and a video package with more than 170 HD video channels,” said Lisa Scalpone, vice president of sales, marketing and business development for ViaSat

ViaSat launched a new high-capacity satellite, ViaSat 1, in October to power Exede. The service rolled out in March. As of the end of September, the company had 429,000 Internet subscribers – with about 150,000 using the ViaSat 1 satellite and the remainder on older satellites.

ViaSat also works with Dish Network of bundle Exede to its subscribers. But Dish Network is a technology partner of satellite operator EchoStar, which owns HughesNet. Analysts have wondered whether Dish will de-emphasize Exede now that HughesNet’s high-speed Internet satellite is up and running.

ViaSat executives have said that they believe Dish will continue to sell Exede, having not heard otherwise from the company. They also believe there is enough demand for high-speed Internet among rural and under-served households for both Internet satellites to succeed.

ViaSat’s shares ended trading Friday up 30 cents at $35.95 on the Nasdaq exchange.

Check back often at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog for more information on the deal between ViaSat and DIRECTV as it develops.

NFL SUNDAY TICKET Week 12 Schedule

The NFL season is heating up, and the only way to get every game, every Sunday is with NFL SUNDAY TICKET, exclusively available from DIRECTV. Watch up to eight games at once with the NFL MIX channel on 702, or upgrade to SUNDAY TICKET MAX to be able to watch the RED ZONE CHANNEL, which shows every scoring drive of every game on 703.

Multiple overtime games, potential upsets and favorite teams pulling it out in the clutch were the themes of Week 10. What’s going to happen this week? Tune in to see.

Here is the channel lineup for Week 12:

  • Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears – 1pm – Channel 704
  • Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins – 1pm – Channel 705
  • Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1pm – Channel 706
  • Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals – 1pm – Channel 707
  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns – 1pm – Channel 708
  • Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts – 1pm – Channel 709
  • Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars – 1pm – Channel 710
  • Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs – 1pm – Channel 711
  • Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers – 4pm – Channel 712
  • St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals – 4pm – Channel 713
  • San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints – 4pm – Channel 714
  • All times Eastern time

Our Game to Watch: San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints, 4pm, Channel 714. Last year, San Francisco played spoiler to the hopes of the New Orleans Saints with a last minute playoff win. This year, the Saints will look to play spoiler to the 49ers hopes of home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and will have the advantage of playing in their home dome, where they’re much harder to beat than when on the road. This late game is definitely the game of the week.

About Half of Cable TV Costs Go to Sports

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, about 50 percent of the programming costs in your monthly cable TV bill go to sports. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, whether you’re tuned into ESPN all day every day or never, you’re paying for your cable or satellite TV carrier to carry sports, because the audience for sports is vast and insatiable, and media companies are spending billions more each year for the broadcast rights to keep fans glued to their TVs.

Cable companies are unlikely to stop charging all of their customers for sports channels, because they sell channels bundled together rather than individually, and sports are the bread and butter of the cable industry, because they are one of the few types of programming that people prefer to watch live, rather than recording with a DVR and watching later to skip commercials, or watching later on a streaming service like Hulu or Netflix. That means sports ad dollars are very important to the industry, and helping to keep it afloat. This results in problems, though, as quoted in the Inquirer article.

“Here is a little old lady who wants to watch CNN,” said Ralph Morrow, owner of Catalina Cable TV Co. in Avalon, Calif., a 1,200-subscriber system. “But I can’t give it to her without $21 a month in sports.”

Threatened by Internet streaming services and a fragmenting TV audience, Comcast/NBC, ESPN, Fox Sports, Turner, and CBS have agreed over the last 20 months to spend $72 billion for the TV rights to professional, Olympic, and college sports well into the next decade.

Billions of additional dollars will be paid for sports rights on about 50 regional cable networks, such as Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, and college championship bowl games.

The total in national and regional sports rights could reach $100 billion over the next dozen years.

The situation is unlikely to change.

Cable TV Revenue the Reason for College Realignment

As reported by Sports Illustrated, the University of Maryland is moving from the ACC, the conference it has belonged to for six decades, to join the Big Ten. Rutgers will also likely join Maryland in the move to the Big Ten, expanding that conference’s reach into the Northeast and East Coast.

Why would Maryland and Rutgers leave their current, comfortable situation to join a conference with which they have no history? According to Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel:

The answer is simple: television and money, the two biggest drivers behind the realignment chaos that’s indelibly altered the collegiate landscape the past three years.

According to a television executive familiar with the Northeast corridor, the move could ultimately be worth as much as $200 million annually for the Big Ten in cable subscription fees. This is a Pollyannaish figure that’s unlikely to ever materialize, but it shows the scope of the potential value. The interesting part, considering the current cable climate, is that the move also comes with considerable risk.

There are an estimated 15 million available households in the New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. markets. If the Big Ten Network got on basic cable in all those places, which is an enormous long shot, the per-household figure by the time Rutgers and Maryland joined the league would project in the neighborhood of $1.25 per month. That would equate to about $200 million per year.

The risk here is that the money is not guaranteed, as Rutgers may not carry enough weight to get the Big Ten Network on televisions in the heavily populated and valuable New York City and Northern New Jersey areas. But if it works out, the cable television revenues will be huge for the conference and for the individual schools, making the move a smart one, if not one that’s in line with the past of college tradition.

Google Looking to Roll Out Nationwide Cellular Service

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google has held talks with satellite television provider DISH Network to partner on a new wireless service that would rival the networks of carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless. DISH Network is seeking to expand its profile as it is losing out in the satellite television battle to DIRECTV, a company that does not currently partner with any nationwide mobile carriers.

DISH has acquired a number of airwaves throughout the wireless spectrum since 2008. Previously, it attempted to buy MetroPCS before that company was scooped up by T-Mobile. DISH had reportedly offered $4 billion in August in order to acquire MetroPCS, but T-Mobile won the negotiations. Google would be a good partner for DISH in this endeavor because the company is already building its own smartphones and tablets through Motorola, and owns Android, the most-used mobile operating system to help ensure its search engine and other services will be preinstalled on mobile devices. Google does not have expertise in wireless infrastructure or any control over the spectrum, but it does have $45 billion in cash which could be used to build a new network.

Speculators have also noted that AT&T could be another potential partner for DISH.

Getting Google involved could help DISH jump through some of the hoops it needs to in order to turn its spectrum, authorized currently for satellite TV, into authorization for a ground-based wireless network. But there is a problem: a similar deal between LightSquared and Sprint was blocked by the FCC.

Both companies, DISH and Google, are seeking to expand their footprint, with Google getting more into providing services and DISH diversifying beyond the satellite TV market, which is slowly shrinking. Whether or not this deal goes through could change the landscape of mobile phones, and mobile internet, throughout the country.

Google’s High Speed Internet Service May Actually Get the US in Line with Other High-Tech Nations

As many already know, Google is launching its Google Fiber high speed internet service in the two-state metropolis of Kansas City, offering a speed 100 times faster than the national average. According to MIT’s Technology Review Blog, this is a radical new business direction for the company and may provide a new model for how to rewire parts of the United States to get the country in line with the internet speeds available in other first world, high-tech nations.

Compared to many countries, the US has slow and patchy internet service. The United States, in fact, ranks 24th overall in speed, with an average of 11.6 megabits per second for download speeds. Google’s new service offers speeds that are nearly two orders of magnitude faster, in line with service in countries like Japan and South Korea, who are among the leaders in high speed internet worldwide. Google will not disclose any numbers about costs or the number of subscribers, and many wonder if the service is economically feasible beyond the Kansas City test site.

If it is feasible, it could provide a new model for wiring the country, neighborhood by neighborhood, with subscribers signing up before the neighborhood is wired. In Kansas City, Google would not wire neighborhoods without enough pre-service subscribers. For other parts of the country that are underserved, this could work in showing that the people in those areas are ready for high speed internet and willing to pay.

If the experiment does not work, however, we will likely be left with major telecoms like Charter Communications, AT&T and Verizon, who are focused on upgrading service in areas they already service. It will then be between these telecoms and cable providers and government grants for rural areas. Hopefully the Google model will provide another alternative.