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.

New iPad Apps for Popular Cable Television Channels

Those who are looking to cut the cord and get away from traditional cable television providers have an ally in the iPad, which is providing apps for a number of popular cable channels allowing access to full episodes of some of their popular series. Now available from the iPad App Store are apps for the History Channel, Lifetime, and A&E television networks, allowing users to create a customized watchlist of their favorite shows.

Some of the popular shows available with full episodes include Duck Dynasty, Storage Wars, The First 48, Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Swamp People, Project Runway, Dance Moms and Army Wives. Besides full episodes, the apps also feature clips from shows and exclusive footage never before seen on television. All of the apps are free and can be downloaded in the App Store currently. Subscribers via Comcast can get even more content, but even those who are not cable subscribers can watch full shows, clips, and more.

One might wonder how cable networks can make any money by providing content this way, but advertisements are still present and play before and during the video clips and full episodes. If more and more people watch online and through apps like these, they can further target advertising and make money that way, which will put some pressure on cable providers. We’re a long way from being able to cut the cord entirely for getting the best cable programming piecemeal via apps and online streaming services, but we’re getting there, and cable companies should begin offering a la carte channels or smaller channel packages as a result.

Other already available apps for the iPad, to turn your iPad into a television, include the ABC player, NBC App, CNN App for iPad, PBS for iPad, HBO GO, ABC Family, Smithsonian Channel for iPad, and many others.

New DIRECTV Customers will Pay $3 Extra Each Month for Regional Sports

According to Yahoo! News, the latest attempt by a TV operator to pin the cause of rising TV bills on content companies is by DIRECTV, which will charge new customers an additional $3 per month for regional sports networks. This action was taken to offset the cost of taking on Time Warner Sportsnet, the home of the Los Angeles Lakers and a major draw in the Los Angeles market. DIRECTV’s current customers are not affected by this as of yet.

Here is more on the DIRECTV charge from the Yahoo Article:

DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer said the surcharge is “a way of recovering some, but not all of the costs of sports in certain markets.”

Many of the nation’s largest cities have multiple sports networks, including New York and Los Angeles. DirecTV says the affected markets represent about 20 percent of the country’s 210 designated market areas.

The extra $3 fee is tacked on for all new customers who want channel packages above the lowest tier. The lowest tier without regional sports networks starts at $30 a month.

The next step up is called “choice” and starts at a promotional price of $35 a month, not including the extra fee. The “choice” level has about 10 more channels such as the Cooking Channel and IFC along with regional sports networks, which offer coverage of local sports teams.

The move is similar to a decision by Charter Communications Inc. in late 2010 to break out how much each customer pays each month for the cost of retransmitting local broadcast TV signals, which had previously been given to the cable TV operator for free.

DirecTV fought with Time Warner Cable over the cost of its new Lakers channels, holding out on carrying them until two weeks after the regular NBA season had started.

Check back often to learn more about additional charges and how they may apply to your satellite or cable TV package at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

Concert for Sandy All Over Cable TV Tonight

Tonight the 12-12-12 Concert, broadcasting from Madison Square Garden, will occur. More than 2 billion people will have the ability to watch the concert on cable TV and satellite TV. The concert is to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy, which swept across New York and New Jersey and left many without power and without homes.

Here is a preview of the concert from Gail Pennington of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will open the 4 1/2-hour benefit concert, which some are calling the biggest event in music history. Other performers include Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters and Kanye West.

Also on the bill are actors and comedians including Billy Crystal, Jon Stewart, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kristen Stewart, Chris Rock, Susan Sarandon, Adam Sandler, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jimmy Fallon, Steve Buscemi, Quentin Tarantino, Seth Meyers and Season Combs.

The concert is sold out, and $30 million has already been raised. The Robin Hood Foundation will distribute the proceeds to storm victims in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The concert will be televised in North and South America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia, with a potential 2 billion viewers. In the United States, 34 television networks will air the concert from 6:30-11 p.m. (St. Louis time), including AMC, Bio, Bloomberg, the Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Fit & Health, Encore, Fox Movie Channel, Hallmark Movie Channel, HBO, IFC, ION, Showtime Too, the Smithsonian Channel, Sundance, VH1 Classic and WE. Other channels may join in today.

Clear Channel (co-producer of the concert) will broadcast the concert on radio, along with SiriusXM (channels 20 and 22).

We at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog encourage you to turn in and, if you have the means, donate to what is indeed a very worthy cause.

DISH Network Could Partner with Sprint Nextel for Mobile Phone Service

According to the Omaha World-Herald, Sprint Nextel has approached DISH Network about a partnership allowing the satellite TV provider to offer mobile phone service over the carrier’s network. The potential deal would give Sprint access to DISH Network’s mobile airwaves, which are currently not being used. Companies could then share revenue for customers who sign up for a wireless service through DISH. The deal would allow DISH to enter the mobile phone market without having to build its own network, and cross-sell the service to its 14 million satellite TV customers.

Here are more details from the Omaha World-Herald:

“A Sprint partnership may be the best possibility,” said Tim Farrar, an analyst with TMF Associates Inc. in Menlo Park, Calif. “It could be quite disruptive.”

Joe Clayton, chief executive officer of Englewood, Colo.-based Dish, declined to discuss talks with Sprint beyond saying, “We speak with everybody.” Discussions with partners are on hold for now while Dish waits for a government ruling on how it can use its spectrum, he said in an interview. The Federal Communications Commission is slated to discuss the issue at a meeting Wednesday.

Sprint also declined to comment on Dish, though it said the company is generally interested in partnerships that would give it access to airwaves. “We are open to spectrum-hosting opportunities with other spectrum holders who can’t or don’t want to build a network for their spectrum,” said Scott Sloat, a spokesman for Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint.

While a Dish partnership would have to be approved by Softbank Corp., which agreed in October to buy a controlling stake in Sprint, an accord could be reached before regulators sign off on that deal, one person familiar with the matter said.

For Sprint, the partnership is one of several actions the No. 3 carrier is considering to help it challenge market leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T. The investment from Softbank will provide Sprint with an $8 billion cash infusion, giving the carrier money to make deals.

Sprint already has a spectrum-sharing joint venture with Clearwire Corp., the Bellevue, Wash., wireless broadband wholesaler.

Stay tuned to the TV, Internet and Phone Blog for more details as they develop.