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Monthly Archives: May 2015

NBA Finals Start Date Will Not Move Up

Despite the fact that the Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks ended last night with a Lebron James-led Cleveland sweep, and the Western Conference Finals will likely end tonight with a Golden State Warriors home win over the Houston Rockets, the NBA Finals start date of June 4 is set in stone and will not move up, even though that will mean more than a week without basketball on network or cable TV.

There are benefits to this beyond the fact that the TV schedule is all set already—and that’s the real reason the start date will not move. The week off will give both teams a chance to rest up and get healthy—Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving, who’s missed a couple of games, will have a chance to get more solidly back in starting lineup form, and the Warriors Mareese Speights will have a chance to get back in the rotation. Lebron James, a bit beaten up, will more likely be in top form. And everyone wants a series where everyone possible (sorry, Kevin Love) is healthy in the NBA Finals.

Here is the TV schedule for the NBA Finals, already set in stone:

Golden State/OR/Houston vs. Cleveland

Game 1: – Thu. June 4, Cleveland at Golden State/Houston, 9:00 PM , ABC

Game 2: Sun. June 7, Cleveland at Golden State/Houston, 8:00 PM, ABC

Game 3: Tue. June 9, Golden State/Houston at Cleveland, 9:00 PM, ABC

Game 4: Thu. June 11, Golden State/Houston at Cleveland, 9:00 PM, ABC

Game 5 *: Sun, June 14, Cleveland at Golden State/Houston, 8:00 PM, ABC

Game 6 *: Tue, June 16, Golden State/Houston at Cleveland, 9:00 PM, ABC

Game 7 *: Fri, June 19, Cleveland at Golden State/Houston, 9:00 PM, ABC

* = if necessary

It’s likely to be Lebron, now the playoff veteran and most recent champion in these playoffs, versus the upstart Warriors. Who ya got?

Charter Communications to Purchase Time-Warner Cable

Tuesday, Charter Communications agreed to purchase Time-Warner Cable, one of its largest rivals as a provider of cable television, high-speed internet, and digital phone services. With the $56.7 billion purchase, Charter swallows one of its biggest competitors on the way to becoming one of the largest cable and broadband providers in the United States.

More from the New York Times:

“The timing of this deal clearly shows how desperate Time Warner Cable is to be acquired,” said Paolo Pescatore, an analyst with the technology research company CCS Insight. “A tie-up with another cable provider makes perfect sense given the altering landscape in the broadcast industry.”

Under the terms of the proposed deal, Charter offered investors in Time Warner Cable $195.71 for each share in the company in a cash-and-stock deal. That values Time Warner Cable at $78.7 billion, roughly 14 percent higher than its closing stock price on Friday. (American stock markets were closed for the Memorial Day holiday on Monday.)

If the deal is completed, the combined company will be named New Charter and its services will be sold under the brand name Spectrum.

Charter is also looking to acquire Bright House Networks, another competitor in the cable and broadband marketplace. Charter has been branding services under the nickname Spectrum for the past year or so, with upgraded services bringing in many more customers in new service areas across the nation. Competition in this sector has grown as AT&T and DIRECTV merged last year—with Time-Warner and Bright House territories added to the fold, Charter will have as many as 24 million subscribers.

DIRECTV Bets on the Apple Watch

The success of the Apple Watch as a popular item has yet to be determined, but many companies, including satellite TV provider DIRECTV, are betting on the Apple Watch and other wearable smart devices that are hitting the market. DIRECTV has updated its TV Everywhere App for better function on the Apple Watch.

More info from Adweek:

The updated DIRECTV Everywhere App enables users to remotely control the following functions on their HD DVRs:

  • Remote control – Play, pause, rewind, and fast forward recorded content on your TV on any connected receivers within the home.
  • View program title, channel and episode details of TV shows and movies, as well as set DVR recordings.
  • Navigate the on-screen guide, playlist and menu.

As more cable and satellite providers get into the smart remote market, they will be able to collect data on thousands of remote command per month. We asked DIRECTV how it plans to track and leverage this data. “Our goal with products like the Apple Watch is to simply provide more opportunities for our customers to engage with our service and in turn enhance the value of their overall DIRECTV Experience,” a spokesperson told LostRemote. “We hope to take our customer’s feedback and truly tailor an experience that is specific to the user – there are lots of unique opportunities here.”

Outside of the Apple Watch, Tony Goncalves, DIRECTV’s senior vice president of the Digital Entertainment Products Group, mentioned that the company is planning on even more integrations with wearable technology. A spokesperson told us that DIRECTV would like to deploy on Android Wear in the future. More, DIRECTV expects to develop more task-specific features for wearables as the company learns how people use the nascent technology.

Check back often at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog for more on satellite and cable TV apps, the Apple Watch, and other wearables.

Conference Finals: NBA and NHL on Cable TV

We’re getting close to the end of professional hockey and professional basketball, with the Conference Final matchups set in the NBA, and the Conference Finals already underway in the NHL. The New York Rangers already lead the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals in the NHL, and the Chicago Blackhawks have fallen behind a game to the Anaheim Ducks out in the western conference. Here is where you can find the rest of the games on cable TV and satellite TV:

Game Date Matchup (NYR leads 1-0) Time (ET) TV
2 Mon., May 18 Tampa Bay at N.Y. Rangers 8 p.m. NBCSN
3 Wed., May 20 N.Y. Rangers at Tampa Bay 8 p.m. NBCSN
4 Fri., May 22 N.Y. Rangers at Tampa Bay 8 p.m. NBCSN
5* Sun., May 24 Tampa Bay at N.Y. Rangers 8 p.m. NBCSN
6* Tues., May 26 N.Y. Rangers at Tampa Bay 8 p.m. NBCSN
7* Fri., May 29 Tampa Bay at N.Y. Rangers 8 p.m. NBCSN

 

Game Date Matchup (ANA leads 1-0) Time (ET) TV
2 Tues., May 19 Chicago at Anaheim 9 p.m. NBCSN
3 Thurs., May 21 Anaheim at Chicago 8 p.m. NBCSN
4 Sat., May 23 Anaheim at Chicago 8 p.m. NBC
5* Mon., May 25 Chicago at Anaheim 9 p.m. NBCSN
6* Wed., May 27 Anaheim at Chicago 8 p.m. NBCSN
7* Sat., May 30 Chicago at Anaheim 8 p.m. NBCSN

 

The NBA Conference Finals kick off tomorrow, with the top two seeds in each conference (Atlanta and Cleveland in the Eastern Conference, Golden State and Houston in the Western Conference) having advanced to this penultimate playoff round. Here’s where to find the games:

Eastern Conference Finals

(1) Atlanta vs. (2) Cleveland

Game 1 — Wed. May 20, Cleveland at Atlanta, 8:30 p.m., TNT
Game 2 — Fri. May 22, Cleveland at Atlanta, 8:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3 — Sun. May 24, Atlanta at Cleveland, 8:30 p.m., TNT
Game 4 — Tue. May 26, Atlanta at Cleveland, 8:30 p.m., TNT
Game 5 * — Thu. May 28, Cleveland at Atlanta, 8:30 p.m., TNT
Game 6 * — Sat. May 30, Atlanta at Cleveland, 8:30 p.m., TNT
Game 7 * — Mon. June 1, Cleveland at Atlanta, 8:30 p.m., TNT

Western Conference Finals

(1) Golden State vs. (2) Houston

Game 1 — Tue. May 19, Houston at Golden State, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 — Thu. May 21, Houston at Golden State, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 3 — Sat. May 23, Golden State at Houston, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 — Mon. May 25, Golden State at Houston, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 5 * — Wed. May 27, Houston at Golden State 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 6 * — Fri. May 29, Golden State at Houston, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 7 * — Sun. May 31 Houston at Golden State, 9 p.m., ESPN

Check back often for more updates and TV Times at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

Visiting a Cord Cutting Home: No Cable TV

This past weekend, your intrepid blogger spent time housesitting in a cord-cutting household. The home was off the beaten path, out of the realm of cable TV service, and the owners did not want to shell out for DIRECTV or DISH Network. Instead, they simply went with high-speed internet and subscriptions to Netflix streaming, Hulu, and a few other services, along with a digital antenna to receive broadcast network TV such as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

While there was plenty to do at the house, including watching three rowdy dogs, there was also plenty of time to sit and watch television. Your TV, Internet and Phone blogger is a DIRECTV subscriber, due to NFL Sunday Ticket, and a sports fanatic. On this particular evening, there were several things going on in the sports world that would have been of interest: NBA conference semifinal matchups, NHL Stanley Cup second round action, and the St. Louis Cardinals game on Fox Sports Midwest. What do all of these things have in common? They are on cable TV.

It’s fully understandable to want to cut costs. Subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu give you plenty of access and choice about your preferred programming, to watch whatever, whenever. If you’re not a sports fan, there really may be no reason to subscribe to cable TV or sign up for satellite TV anymore. But for this blogger, sports programming is the majority of what gets watched in a given day, week, month, year. NFL Sundays. Playoff hockey and basketball. The St. Louis Cardinals. The St. Louis Blues. March Madness. College football bowl games. Most, if not all, of this programming, is on channels like ESPN or Fox Sports 1, or regional sports networks. Not network television.

This is also why live sports rights are the most valuable asset in cable television today. Any other program, you can watch streaming or On Demand, or DVR and skip through the commercials. Only sports demand to be watched live. So, could I cut the cord? No. But if a few more channels offered standalone streaming programming, such as the ESPN family of networks, and the cost was right, I’d be right there.

Free High Speed Internet for Public Housing in North Carolina

A program in Chapel Hill, North Carolina will provide high-speed internet in eight of the city’s thirteen public housing neighborhoods, providing services the residents might not be able to afford otherwise. The program will provide internet access at no cost for the next five years, with the possibility of extending that time, as well as extending the service to the city’s five other housing projects.

Here’s more information from the News & Record:

Residents of Chapel Hill public housing ages 14 and up can also get a free, refurbished laptop if they complete a four-part computer training class with the Kramden Institute. The programs will cover topics such as computer basics and standard office programs.

As high-speed internet becomes more and more of a necessity when it comes to job searching, employment, and education, it only makes sense that high-speed internet services are needed most where they are often lacking. Here’s hoping more cities follow suit with similar programs, and level the playing field when it comes to internet access.

Potential for Illinois Tax on Satellite TV Subscribers

In Springfield, IL, the state legislature is kicking around the idea of a tax to fund public works, with these funds being provided by those who subscribe to satellite TV in Illinois. Similar taxes have been enacted in the past on cable TV subscribers, but not on satellite TV subscribers, as satellite TV does not require use of public right of way like cable TV does (running cables underground, or alongside phone lines). Many rural Southern Illinois residents who do not have the option to use cable TV, because they do not live within a provider’s service area, believe this new potential tax is unfair.

From The Southern Illinoisan:

State Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, who has satellite in her home because cable is not available to her, asked why should people who don’t have the option of cable be taxed for using satellite.

“It is unfair,” she said.

She said she is not in support of what is being called the “satellite tax” right now, but the cable companies and satellite companies are working on a compromise about excluding those who only have the satellite option.

“You can’t just tax people who have no other option,” Bryant said. “We are taxed to death and a new tax that doesn’t give value to anything tangible I would not be willing to support.”

Beyond homeowners who use satellite TV, businesses will also be hard hit if such a tax comes into play. Many sports bars and restaurants subscribe to the NFL Sunday Ticket package to bring customers in during the football season—this package is only available with DIRECTV, and not available on cable TV.

Piracy Vs. Pay-Per-View: The Mayweather-Pacquiao Debacle

After a disappointing “Fight of the Century” that may put the final nail in the coffin of the sport of boxing, the real winner is not Floyd Mayweather and the real loser is not Manny Pacquiao. The true loser is the viewer who paid as much as $100 for the pay-per-view only to get one of the most disappointing fights in recent history, as well as the pay-per-view customer who never got to see the fight at all.

Widespread outages from Comcast, Charter Cable, Time-Warner and DIRECTV led the fight to be delayed 45 minutes, but even that delay did not ensure that everyone who paid for the fight got to see it.

From Deadline:

The troubles crippled cable, satellite and telco providers from New York City to Los Angeles as well as Seattle and Portland, not to mention Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Houston and San Antonio. Outages have also been reported in Colorado, Oklahoma, Alabama and Pennsylvania as well as in Utah, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota. At left is a Google map of DirecTV reported outages in the U.S. Tweeters in the New York City report Time Warner Cable phones get a message that says “all circuits are busy.” Elsewhere, customers reported that the reason for a decline in reported outages for Comcast is “because they aren’t taking calls.”

The real winner was piracy. As many as 11,000 people followed one Periscope stream of an iPhone video of the fight, and many more watched on Meerkat. And it’s very hard to tell people not to pirate something that costs $100, especially when many of the paying customers were left in the dark.