The TV, Internet and Phone Blog

Information on Cable, Digital Television, and Internet Providers

Monthly Archives: October 2016

AT&T to Challenge Cable TV with Affordable Streaming Service

It’s been a big year for AT&T. They just agreed to acquire media giant Time Warner (not to be confused with Time Warner Cable, obtained earlier this year by Charter Communications), and now they have announced a streaming TV service that could change the game when it comes to how households consume TV. DirecTV Now, this new streaming service, will offer more than 100 channels at a price of $35 per month, well below the charges for many traditional cable TV services.

More from Wired:

Previously, the company said that DirecTV Now, due next month, wouldn’t undercut the steep price of cable television. But a $35 price tag is very much a shot across the bows of cable companies like Comcast, and in revealing the new strategy at a conference in Southern California, AT&T CEO Randall Stevenson said as much. “It’s clear what customers want. They want premium content in a mobile environment,” Stephenson said. “Our goal is to drive prices down.”

The move is also a way of bolstering support for the company’s $85.4 billion deal to acquire Time Warner. Regulators will heavily scrutinize the proposed merger of two such large and influential companies, but the pair are insistent that the deal benefits consumers. Certainly, internet television benefits consumers. The ideal is a world where consumers can watch whatever they want over the internet from any device, rather than bow to the restrictions of old-fashioned cable TV.

According to Stephenson, AT&T envisions DirecTV Now as service that will eventually operate not just over landline internet connection but across 5G wireless connections, which it plans to deploy by 2018 and expand in 2019 and 2020. In this way, Stephenson wants to directly compete with cable TV. “I border on evangelical about it,” he said.

By the time the new service hits the market, the price may have changed, and competitors like Comcast and Charter Spectrum may have their own alternatives at the ready. But for now, it looks like AT&T and DirecTV are ahead of the game, and appealing to cord cutters in their own way.

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NFL Sunday Ticket on DIRECTV – Week 8 Schedule

The only way for NFL fans to catch every game, every Sunday on their home TVs is with NFL Sunday Ticket, exclusively available from DIRECTV. NFL Sunday Ticket and DIRECTV are both available from Mid-America Satellite. Check back each week for the times and listings for Sunday’s games on NFL Sunday Ticket right here at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

Here’s the Sunday afternoon schedule for Week 8 of NFL action:

  • 1pm EDT
    • New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills – Channel 705
    • New York Jets at Cleveland Browns – Channel 706
    • Kansas City Chiefts at Indianapolis Colts – Channel 707
    • Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Channel 708
    • Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers – Channel 709
    • Detroit Lions at Houston Texans – Channel 710
    • Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints – Channel 711
  • 4pm EDT
    • San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos – Channel 712
  • 4:25pm EDT
    • Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons – Channel 713

Enjoy the games!

NBA Opening Night Features Two Great Cable TV Matchups

The National Basketball Association begins its season tomorrow night, with both the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers and the Western Conference Champion (and runner-up to the title) Golden State Warriors in action on nationally broadcast cable TV. The teams will face off against separate opponents in a doubleheader broadcast on TNT, with the Cavaliers leading off the evening starting at 7:30pm Eastern Time and the Warriors following at 10:30pm for the later matchup.

The Cavaliers, led by Lebron James, came back from a three games to one deficit in the NBA Finals last year to defeat the Warriors, who set a regular season record by winning 73 games and featured the unanimous league MVP in Stephen Curry. In their opening game this year, they are heavily favored at home against the New York Knicks, who made news in the offseason by obtaining Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls.

The Warriors begin their first campaign with Kevin Durant as part of the lineup, signed as a free agent this summer following KD’s nine years in Oklahoma City. Golden State opens the season against the team that might be their greatest challenge in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs, playing their first season since the 1990s without stalwart Tim Duncan.

Stay tuned to the TV, Internet and Phone Blog as we point out the big national television matchups on cable and broadcast TV throughout the 2016-17 NBA season.

NFL Sunday Ticket on DIRECTV – Week 7 Schedule

The only way for NFL fans to catch every game, every Sunday on their home TVs is with NFL Sunday Ticket, exclusively available from DIRECTV. NFL Sunday Ticket and DIRECTV are both available from Mid-America Satellite. Check back each week for the times and listings for Sunday’s games on NFL Sunday Ticket right here at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

Here’s the Sunday afternoon schedule for Week 7 of NFL action:

  • 1pm EDT
    • Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals – Channel 705
    • Oakland Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars – Channel 706
    • Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins – Channel 707
    • Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets – Channel 708
    • Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans – Channel 709
    • Washington Redskins at Detroit Lions – Channel 710
    • New Orleans Saints at Kansas City Chiefs – Channel 711
    • Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles – Channel 712
  • 4:05pm EDT
    • San Diego Chargers at Atlanta Falcons – Channel 713
    • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers – Channel 714
  • 4:25pm EDT
    • New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers – Channel 715

Enjoy the games!

Baseball Playoff Ratings Going up on Cable TV

The NFL is still the biggest game in town, and Major League Baseball playoff ratings are not what they used to be when the games all aired on national networks with a lot less competition for eyeballs, but the news this year is good as ratings on FS1 (Fox Sports One) for the playoffs are up so far. Here are some of the numbers, courtesy of Awful Announcing:

Overall, FS1 averaged 3.7 million viewers for its nine NLDS telecasts — up 32% from its ALDS coverage last year (2.8M) and up 18% from its NLDS coverage in 2014 (3.1M).

Of course, these games are not doing the ratings they would do were they on Fox instead of on Fox Sports One, a channel that’s still not available in all households. But FS1 is available on the major providers—it appears as channel 219 on DIRECTV—and these games are drawing eyes to the channel that may have never taken a look at it before.

That’s what these games are doing. In addition to the ad dollars, they are building a brand for FS1 as a channel that carries important live sporting events. While airing those games, they can show ads for their other programs, and build interest in the network. FS1 has a long way to go in conquering ESPN, but carrying the NLDS and NLCS this year is a big help.

NFL Sunday Ticket on DIRECTV – Week 6 Schedule

The only way for NFL fans to catch every game, every Sunday on their home TVs is with NFL Sunday Ticket, exclusively available from DIRECTV. NFL Sunday Ticket and DIRECTV are both available from Mid-America Satellite. Check back each week for the times and listings for Sunday’s games on NFL Sunday Ticket right here at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

Here’s the Sunday afternoon schedule for Week 6 of NFL action:

  • 1pm EDT
    • Jacksonville Jaguars at Chicago Bears – Channel 705
    • Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins – Channel 706
    • Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots – Channel 707
    • Baltimore Ravens at New York Giants – Channel 708
    • Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans – Channel 709
    • San Francisco 49ers at Buffalo Bills – Channel 710
    • Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions – Channel 711
    • Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints – Channel 712
    • Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins – Channel 713
  • 4:05pm EDT
    • Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders – Channel 714
  • 4:25pm EDT
    • Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers – Channel 715
    • Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks – Channel 716

Enjoy the games!

Declining Landline Phone Usage Means Layoffs for CenturyLink

Citing the need to lower costs, Monroe, Louisiana based CenturyLink is cutting 3,000 jobs, meaning it is cutting between seven and eight percent of its total workforce. The reason? The decline in landline phone business, as many more customers are choosing to go entirely with their cell phones and leave home phone dedicated lines behind.

More from the Denver Post:

CenturyLink said it is seeking to first trim its headcount on a voluntary basis. Employees who take voluntary severance packages can participate in outplacement assistance programs.

Company spokesman Mark Molzen said most of the layoffs are expected to be done by Dec. 16.

CenturyLink, which acquired Denver’s Qwest in 2011, has been cutting staff locally. In 2011, the company employed 7,400 people in Colorado. Earlier this year, the company employed 5,300 in the state.

The company has gone prior rounds of job cuts. In August 2015, it announced its decision to cut 1,000 workers nationwide, which includedabout 150 in Colorado.

Though staff has shrunk, the company said that its TV business has grown. As of June 30, the company had 311,000 customers, up from 258,000 the prior year and up 9,000 from first quarter.

In August, CenturyLink said subscribers to its TV service Prism TV have grown with about 500,000 homes in the Denver area that can order the cable-like video service. The company also has made its high-speed gigabit internet service available to about 160,000 homes in the Denver area.

Changes in technology continue to hurt the legacy business of major telecom providers. As long as there is a need for high speed internet providers, though, they should be okay.

NFL Sunday Ticket on DIRECTV – Week 5 Schedule

The only way for NFL fans to catch every game, every Sunday on their home TVs is with NFL Sunday Ticket, exclusively available from DIRECTV. NFL Sunday Ticket and DIRECTV are both available from Mid-America Satellite. Check back each week for the times and listings for Sunday’s games on NFL Sunday Ticket right here at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

Here’s the Sunday afternoon schedule for Week 5 of NFL action:

  • 1pm EDT
    • New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns – Channel 705
    • Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins – Channel 706
    • Houston Texans at Minnesota Vikings – Channel 707
    • New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers – Channel 708
    • Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens – Channel 709
    • Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – Channel 710
    • Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts – Channel 711
  • 4:05pm EDT
    • Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos – Channel 712
  • 4:25pm EDT
    • Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams – Channel 713
    • San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders – Channel 714
    • New York Giants at Green Bay Packers – Channel 715

Enjoy the games!

NBCSN Has Record-Setting Third Quarter in Cable TV Ratings

NBCSN (NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus), had a very good third quarter this year, boosted by the Rio Olympics and Paralympics to high viewership marks from July through September. The cable sports network is available on channel 220 on DIRECTV.

More on the ratings from Awful Announcing:

NBCSN set single-quarter records in total day viewership and viewership in the 18-49 and 25-54 demographics. The network averaged 286,000 total-day viewers, 49 percent more than during last year’s third-quarter and 33 percent more than the previous record, held by the first quarter of 2014, in which NBCSN helped air the Sochi Olympics.

Meanwhile, NBCSN raised its audience in the 18-49 demo to 100,000 viewers per day (up 82 percent from last year, which NBC says is the largest third-quarter year-over-year increase of any cable network ever) and its viewership in the 25-54 demo to 113,000 (up 61 percent from last year).

Primetime viewership on NBCSN of the Paralympic Games rose from an average of 52,000 total-day viewers in 2012 to 143,000 this summer.

NBCSN was the most-viewed cable sports network during the month of August, marking the first time it has ranked first in a given month.

Though it took the Olympics to do it, it is a big milestone for NBCSN to beat out ESPN and its family of networks to become the most watched cable TV sports channel in a given month. It shows that ESPN’s dominance may not continue unabated as live sports rights diversify.