The TV, Internet and Phone Blog

Information on Cable, Digital Television, and Internet Providers

Monthly Archives: December 2012

Intel to Launch Virtual Cable TV Service with City by City Trial

In order to avoid licensing hurdles, Intel is jumping into the virtual cable TV game in a city by city trial. The city by city approach is to allow for more flexibility in negotiating provider rates while more easily navigating city and state licensing issues. The move into the cable TV business comes after Intel’s failed attempt to convince TV manufacturers to use its chips for Google TV’s initial failed launch a few years ago. According to The Inquisitr, a source says Intel was annoyed with “everyone doing a half-assed Google TV so it’s going to do it themselves and do it right.”

Here is more on the launch from the Inquisitr article:

Intel’s hope is that it can help provide streaming TV access, while also providing users with the content they require, such as sports and live news.

By combining Redbox, Netflix and other streaming services with cable TV products, Intel marries the old media with new media to create a more converged product.

Rumors of Intel cable service started in March when the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was working on a pay-TV service and then Reuters reports that Intel wanted to use facial recognition for ad servicing, targeting and other performance based metrics reporting.

By rolling out on a city-by-city basis Intel is able to experiment with licensing in different areas, ultimately finding deals that will save the company money based on each market. Had Intel attempted a national roll out it may have been forced to use a “one size fits all” pricing model.

Intel is not exactly attempting to cut out traditional cable TV providers, for example it licensed Comcast’s Reference Design Kit in October, a kit that will help aid the company in the development of its cable TV services.

The first Intel set top box will debut at CES 2013, where we at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog hope to get an up close look at the new equipment.

NFL SUNDAY TICKET Week 17 Schedule

The NFL season is winding down, 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’s the final week of the regular season, which means the last time to take advantage of NFL SUNDAY TICKET this year. Be sure to surf through all the games with playoff implications and check in on Adrian Peterson as he attempts to break the single-season rushing record.

Here is the channel lineup for Week 17:

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons – 1pm – Channel 704
  • Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions – 1pm – Channel 705
  • Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints – 1pm – Channel 706
  • Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants – 1pm – Channel 707
  • New York Jets at Buffalo Bills – 1pm – Channel 708
  • Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers – 1pm – Channel 709
  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans – 1pm – Channel 710
  • Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals – 1pm – Channel 711
  • Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts – 1pm – Channel 712
  • Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots – 4:25pm – Channel 713
  • Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos – 4:25pm – Channel 714
  • Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers – 4:25pm – Channel 715
  • Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings – 4:25pm – Channel 716
  • St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks – 4:25pm – Channel 717
  • Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers – 4:25pm – Channel 718
  • All times Eastern time

Our Game to Watch: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings, 4:25pm, Channel 716. If the Vikings win this game, their playoff hopes are greatly increased, but even more than that, Adrian Peterson needs just over 200 yards to break the single-season rushing record set by Eric Dickerson two decades ago, and while Green Bay has been a good team this year, it’s because of the offense, not the defense. Will Peterson break the record while carrying the team on his back to the playoffs? Tune in to see.

Charter Phone Services: Now is the Time to Take Advantage

Cable and satellite television providers often raise their rates come the New Year, so it’s time to lock in savings with 2012’s rates. If you’re in need of a new phone service and want to save by bundling with either internet or television services, you can contact The Charter Bundle and get started today with phone and internet and TV and phone Double Play bundles from Charter Communications.

There are a number of advantages provided by Charter Phone service, which is available paired with internet and phone for just 89.97 a month, paired with television for just 59.98 per month, and with internet for just 59.98 per month. Check out the Charter Bundles available, or read on to learn more about the phone service available from Charter Communications and the Charter Bundle.

Charter Phone Features

Charter Phone service differs from other landline phone services because you receive unlimited talk for one flat rate. That includes statewide, local and long distance talk, all for the same price each month no matter how many calls you make.

Charter Phone also comes with a number of popular calling features:

·         Voicemail

Stop missing calls because you are busy with life or on the phone already. With Voicemail service you can leave your home with the comfort knowing that everyone can leave you a voice message and you can check your voicemail from any phone.

·         Call Waiting

If you’re a popular person then you need Call Waiting to give you a beep letting you know that someone else is calling when you’re already on the phone. Even if you aren’t popular you can always benefit from knowing when someone is calling when you’re using the phone.

·         Caller ID

With Caller ID you will be able to see what phone number and name are calling before you pick up the phone. (Make sure your phone is capable of displaying Caller ID.)

·         Call Waiting with Caller ID

Combining the best of both worlds, even if you’re on the phone and someone calls on the other line you can view their Caller ID information before you switch over. Stop being distracted by unwanted calls when you’re busy.

·         Custom Ring

Assign up to 12 phone numbers with a personalized & custom ring tone. Hear from the other room who is calling even when you aren’t right next to your phone.

·         Call Screening

Store up to 12 phone numbers of people who you want to have forwarded to an automated message stating that their calls are not being accepted at the moment.

·         Anonymous Call Rejection

If someone calls you and their Caller ID information is hidden they will be automatically blocked so you will never be interrupted by unidentified callers.

·         Selective Call Acceptance

Assign up to 12 phone numbers of people who you only want calling you. By limiting the numbers of people who can call you, you can rest assure you will never be bothered again.

·         Speed Dial 8

Program up to 8 phone numbers for quick and easy one-digit dialing to your friends and loved ones. Stop forgetting phone numbers and switch to Charter Phone® and save your favorite numbers.

·         Call Forwarding – Variable

Forward all of your phone calls to any number within the U.S. so when you are on vacation or away from home you can be reached.

·         Call Forwarding – Selective

Choose up to 12 phone numbers that will be forwarded when they call your home phone, to any phone within the U.S. Stop missing those important calls while you’re away.

Be sure to take advantage of the features and plans available now before the New Year for maximum savings.

ASPiRE: Cable TV Network Receives Minority Business Enterprise Certification

ASPiRE, a cable TV network from Magic Johnson Enterprises, has become the first cable television network to receive the nationally recognized Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification from the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. ASPiRE is the only national cable television network to be recognized by the organization, which is recognized uniformly by corporate America, governmental entities and other business-related organizations.

As a certified MBE, ASPiRE can assist major corporations and businesses in meeting annual diversity supplier goals via commercial advertising, integrated marketing and content production related spends with the network. This certification helps both the network and the advertisers who run ads with the network in meeting goals.

Here is some more information from ASPiRE’s leading personality, former Lakers basketball star and minority business mogul Earvin “Magic” Johnson:

“Obtaining our MBE certification is an important milestone for ASPiRE,” said Johnson. “We look forward to working with companies who share our interest in reaching and supporting the African-American consumer.”

ASPiRE recently launched its new original series “The Root 100,” hosted by CNN’s Emmy-winning journalist Suzanne Malveaux. In addition, the network features programming blocks including “Groundbreaking Movies” hosted by Oscar-nominee Laurence Fishburne, “Groundbreaking Music” hosted by Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding and “Groundbreaking Comedy” hosted by comedian Jonathan Slocumb.

Johnson, Chairman and CEO of ASPIRE, launched the network after being awarded one of the first four, new and minority owned and operated independent networks to be distributed by Comcast. The network partnered with GMC TV to manage operations and is based in Atlanta, GA.

ASPiRE is available from some cable and satellite television providers but has yet to expand to the basic tier of channels that appears in almost every cable package. The MBE certification could lead to more popularity which will lead to expansion and get the channel in more households.

NimbleTV Beta: Offering Cable or Satellite TV from Anywhere on Tablets, Phones and More

NimbleTV is the newest in a line of online TV startups, promising to stream cable or satellite TV from anywhere in the world using datacenters full of cable boxes. The company has just started a beta test in New York City, New York for 300 users, with plans to expand throughout the United States and to five or six other countries within a year, according to CEO Anand Subramanian. The practical implications of the new service: sports fans living outside of their teams’ home markets can subscribe anywhere; for example, St. Louis Cardinals fans can sign up for Charter Communications’ St. Louis service even if they live in California or New York.

NimbleTV circumvents problems from local providers by having their customers leasing an actual billing address at one of NimbleTV’s locations, and sign up for traditional cable TV or satellite service from a local provider. Because of this, cable and satellite companies stand to gain new subscribers they would never have reached before.

The features of NimbleTV are many: unlimited DVR with no recording conflicts, smart streaming to phones, tablets, and PCs, and a 50 percent better streaming speed than other online TV services. Subramanian believes that the amount of bandwidth needed is less than Netflix.

The system works well so far. The questions are whether or not people will be willing to pay traditional cable fees in addition to what they will have to pay NimbleTV for the service, and whether or not NimbleTV can scale up to get all of the data centers they will need to offer nationwide service. If so, this feels like the future of online TV.

Check back often to see how the cable and satellite television industries continue to develop in the online realm at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

It Was a Good Year to Invest in Cable TV and Satellite TV

According to Multichannel News, the leading source of information about the cable television and satellite television industry, it was a good year to invest in cable TV and satellite TV stocks. Barring a precipitous fall in the last week of the year, cable stocks across the board have had their best year since 2009, with MSOs up 41%, programmers up 38%, and satellite TV providers up 23%.

Here is some more information from the Multichannel News report:

Stocks of the four publicly traded MSOs — Cablevision Systems, Charter Communications, Comcast and Time Warner Cable — rose a combined 41% between Dec. 30, 2011 and Dec. 18, 2012. Comcast led the pack, with an increase of 60.5%. The other MSOs also enjoyed healthy increases: Time Warner Cable rose 51.4%, Charter was up 30.2% and Cablevision grew nearly 6%.

For the operators, it was a combination of strong performance (basic-video subscriber losses declined sharply at Comcast) and renewed optimism in the cable model.

Pivotal Research Group principal and media and communications analyst Jeff Wlodarczak said he attributes the bulk of the MSO gains this year on misplaced perceptions late in 2011 that cable operators had hit a growth wall.

“Instead, they have continued to take quite significant share in data, video subscriber losses have moderated, the telcos have mostly backed off expanding into new markets with video [and] the worries about over-the-top [players] have moderated significantly,” Wlodarczak said. He noted that operators also have returned capital to shareholders fairly aggressively and the outlook is for continued cash-flow growth.

Cable operators also managed to beat back competitive threats from telcos, satellite and so-called over-the-top providers such as Netflix.

Comcast reduced its basic-customer losses by 40% in 2011 and was on track to reduce those losses by at least another 25% in 2012. While most analysts anticipate that the cable sector will continue to lose customers as a whole in 2013, ISI Group media analysts Vijay Jayant and David Joyce expect that Comcast may cross into positive territory in the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.

“It’s important to highlight that fundamentals have been improving for the core business for the cable companies,” Joyce said in an interview. “Yes, broadband continues to take share, but also in this mature pay TV market in the U.S., satellite and telcos are starting to experience the same sort of seasonality that cable has been experiencing for a while.”

On the programming side, a renewed optimism regarding the advertising market and the overall economy, with a little M&A speculation sprinkled in, has helped push up shares in the sector by nearly 38% so far this year, led by Discovery Communications. Discovery, which has reported consistent high single-digit domestic advertising revenue growth for the first nine months of the year, saw its stock rise 55.3% ($22.64 each) to $63.61 on Dec. 18, from $40.97 on Dec. 30, 2011.

Check back often to see the most thorough collection of news about the cable TV industry and the satellite television industry here at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

NFL SUNDAY TICKET Week 16 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.

The playoff races are heating up, with a number of wild card spots on the line. Most of the divisions are sewn up, but we’ve seen a lot of success from wild card teams in the playoffs in the past few years, with the Giants and the Packers both making their way to Super Bowl titles by heating up late in the season. Who will make it this year? Tune in this week to see just how it shakes out.

Here is the channel lineup for Week 16:

  • St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1pm – Channel 704
  • New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys – 1pm – Channel 705
  • Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans – 1pm – Channel 706
  • Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles – 1pm – Channel 707
  • San Diego Chargers at New York Jets – 1pm – Channel 708
  • Oakland Raiders at Carolina Panthers – 1pm – Channel 709
  • Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers – 1pm – Channel 710
  • New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars – 1pm – Channel 711
  • Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs – 1pm – Channel 712
  • Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins – 1pm – Channel 713
  • Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers – 1pm – Channel 714
  • Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos – 4pm – Channel 715
  • Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals – 4pm – Channel 716
  • New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens – 4pm – Channel 717
  • All times Eastern time

Our Game to Watch: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1pm, Channel 713. These division rivals are fighting for the last AFC wild card spot. The Steelers normally have the Bengals’ number, especially at home, but this year the Bengals have looked like the better team. Can they pull it out? Or will the Steelers do what they do come crunch time yet again? Tune in to see.

Rural Internet Faster than Ever Before

Many areas of the United States are underserved when it comes to high speed internet. Cable and telecom providers do not provide high speed internet access to many rural areas, as they have not seen enough profit to expand their networks into sparsely populated areas. There is a great option for rural area high speed internet, though, that many people do not know about: HughesNet Gen4, the fourth-generation high speed satellite internet service.

HughesNet satellite internet’s Gen4 offers dramatically improved performance and higher speeds than earlier satellite internet platforms. Here are just a few of the advantages available with the new HughesNet package.

  1. Increased Web Speeds: Speeds up to 15 Mbps are available, as much as 15 times faster than previous satellite internet packages.
  2. The Greatest Data Allowance: HughesNet Gen4 provides the highest data allowance of any satellite internet service, up to 40GB per month.
  3. A Cutting-Edge Satellite Network: HughesNet’s satellite internet service is built on the most advanced satellite network in the industry, using high-capacity satellites and on-the-ground equipment including the newly launched Echostar XVII satellite.
  4. A Range of Plans: HughesNet offers a range of plans for everyone from the casual internet user to the hardcore online junkie.
  5. Tech Support You Can Trust: HughesNet operations centers are staffed with qualified engineers to help you at any time; no matter what time you call, you’ll get tech support based in the USA every time.
  6. Professional Installation
  7. Innovation: HughesNet has been innovating in the field of satellite technology for more than 30 years.

If you live in a rural area that’s not served by providers like Charter Communications, Comcast, or Time Warner Cable, HughesNet is the best option for you. We recommend Mid-America Satellite for setup and installation. Contact Mid-America Satellite today if you’re interested.

Hulu Now Has More Than 3 Million Paid Subscribers

Hulu, the online streaming service, will close out 2012 with more than three million paid subscribers for its Hulu Plus service and will pull in about $695 million in revenue, according to Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, as reported by Multichannel News. As a result, Hulu is positioning itself as a major threat to traditional paid cable television and satellite television services.

According to Multichannel News:

The privately held company is at “the crest of two massive waves that we believe will persist for the long term: the rise of online video advertising and the rise of online video subscription services,” Kilar wrote in a blog post Monday.

Hulu Plus, which costs $7.99 per month, provides access to current-season shows and older series from networks including ABC, NBC and Fox, with past seasons of CBS shows set to be added to the service in January. Hulu Plus is the only online video subscription service with current-season content from Nickelodeon.

The Internet video site is owned by NBCUniversal, News Corp. and The Walt Disney Corp. Last year, Hulu’s owners had been in discussions about selling the company. Those reportedly in talks about a possible deal included Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon Communications and Amazon.com.

In 2012 Hulu’s revenue will have grown by more than 65%, up from $420 million last year, which is “an acceleration over 2011 growth levels,” Kilar noted. In 2012, Hulu served more than 1,000 advertisers, 28% more than in 2011. Kilar said the company charges advertisers only when their ads have been streamed through completion.

Over the course of the year, Hulu and Hulu Plus title offerings grew 40% and the company invested more than $500 million in content acquisition, having launched more than 25 exclusive and original series and signed new agreements with media companies including CBS and WWE, according to Kilar.

Hulu now has more than 430 content partners, providing 60,000-plus TV episodes, 2,300 TV series and 50,000 hours of video. Since Hulu launched in October 2007, “we have generated over $1 billion for our content partners,” Kilar wrote.

The Hulu Plus subscription service is available across a range of devices, including game consoles, connected TVs and Blu-ray players, tablets and smartphones.

Check back often to learn more about how other online services are cutting into the business of traditional cable and satellite providers here at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

‘Lincoln’ Backers Start New Cable Channel

Participant Media, one of the backing companies behind the hit historical drama Lincoln, as well as other films like The Help and An Inconvenient Truth, plans to launch a cable television network next summer, with the focus of the programming on the network to be social issues of interest to those Americans between the ages of 18 and 34, commonly referred to as “millennials.”

Here is some more information from the Chicago Tribune article about the new channel:

Participant Media is creating the new network by purchasing two existing cable channels, The Documentary Channel and Halogen TV. After those networks are combined and rebranded, the new channel will reach an estimated 40 million of the more than 100 million U.S. pay-TV subscribers.

The company, founded by billionaire and former eBay Inc President Jeff Skoll with the aim of producing entertaining content that inspires social change, interacts regularly with more than 2.5 million people through social media, local movie screenings and its Takepart.com website, Berk said.

The challenge for Participant will be to sign up additional pay-TV distributors and win viewership in a crowded media landscape. The company is privately held and is not part of a large media conglomerate.

“We have the funding necessary to take a very long-term view, and to spend what we need to spend in terms of programming,” Berk said.

The mainstay of the network’s lineup will be original programming from a variety of genres, said Evan Shapiro, a Participant executive who will run the new network.

The company is developing programming with established Hollywood names including former MTV President Brian Graden, “Inconvenient Truth” director Davis Guggenheim and documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock.

Participant also hopes to work with pay-TV distributors to make the channel’s content available on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, to meet the viewing patterns of younger audiences, Shapiro said.

Check back often to learn about new cable networks hitting the airwaves at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.