The Online Reporter

Research, Trends and Insight into the Digital Media, Consumer Electronics & Broadband Industries

Review: New TiVo Bolt Is a Heckuva Product, the Ultimate DVR/STB/NTB/Content Search

But the CableCARD Creates Major, Major Problems  … writes The Online Reporter‘s Charles Hall in this review.

The new TiVo Bolt DVR is a heckuva product.

This is because TiVo has kept the important features of its prior Premier DVR such as having most OTT services like Netflix available within the same menus that offer a TV guide.

It has also added two major new features: 4K compatibly and the ability with a single click on the remote to fast forward through an entire bundle of commercials.


Tivo Bolt


TiVo’s Bolt: “heckuva” product, once CableCARD difficulty was overcome


However, on the way to this nirvana, two major problems were encountered when it came to install the unit.

Firstly, the Bolt caused the 4K TV to which it was connected to show a worse picture than the 4K-less Premiere had.

After a number of support contacts with TiVo phone support and a TiVo executive, the company decided to ship a replacement.

Everything other than the poor picture quality – everything else – on the first Bolt was working. That was not true of the second.

The second Bolt took about 9 hours over two days to install, first because the CableCARD, which is installed inside the TiVo, and which was in the first Bolt and the prior Premier did not work in the new one.

A local technician had to be called to assist and I spent about three hours on the phone with the cable TV company’s (Cox Communications) telephone support person, who specializes in CableCARDs, trying to synch the previously working CableCARD and the new Bolt. Having tried everything she knew, the Cox support person finally gave up and placed a call for a Cox technician that also specializes in CableCARDs to come to the house and try to sort out the problem.

The Cox technician arrived the following day – a Saturday – as promised and then proceeded to spend another 2-3 hours trying to get the CableCARD working. During that time, he also spent time on the phone with his company’s tech support for CableCARDs. He finally gave up and decided to try installing a new CableCARD and the accompanying tuner adapter that is an external device that is needed for the CableCARD. The tuner adapter was reportedly developed by Motorola to help make CableCARDs work.

After another call to Cox support, the new CableCARD and tuning adapter began to work, slowly populating the new Bolt with TV channels.

It’s not clear how Cox and other cablecos make money on CableCARDs. It first has to buy them and their accompanying tuning adapter. It always takes at least one call to the cableco’s CableCARD support to activate the device. For that, Cox charges $2.99 a month – and in this case it had to send a highly trained technician out to get it working, which required more calls by the onsite technician to Cox’s CableCARD support specialist.


Calls to Support

Then the next problem appeared.

The TiVo Mini remote STB in the bedroom would not access the new Bolt. That required two calls to TiVo’s support, neither of which immediately resolved the problem. It turns out that somehow TiVo had not included the second TiVo in my account and as a result the Mini could not access the new Bolt, even though it had accessed the first Bolt and the prior Premier. TiVo said it would make some changes to my account and the Mini should be able to access the new Bolt. Well, it didn’t and it finally did. It took over 24 hours.

The next problem was that the new Bolt could not connect to the first Bolt and the Premier for the purpose of copying recorded content from them to the new Bolt. That took another 24 hours. During that time the new Bolt would black out the TV screen for 1-3 seconds every 10-20 minutes.

Finally, all the stored content was transferred from the prior TiVo’s to the newest Bolt and the blackouts stopped occurring.

The results came at a cost with which not many consumers would put up and difficulties through which most consumers would not persevere:

Total cost:
– Over $200 for the technician that was hired to help install
– 4-6 hours, maybe more, of Cox telephone support with CableCARD specialists
– A truckroll and two plus hours spent onsite by a highly trained and very experienced Cox specialist technician.
That is not including the time I spent – probably 10 or so hours.

The cable TV companies and TiVo have to solve the CableCARD problem or CableCARD won’t be around much longer.

I did learn one factoid. Someone in the same city where I live had seven TiVo’s – yep, seven. That makes my three seem positively minor league.

In summary, we repeat: The new TiVo Bolt DVR is a heckuva product. To that we add that TiVo’s and Cox’s support people, with one exception, knew their stuff and bent over backwards to…

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New This Week in The Online Reporter…

The Online Reporter no. 956



Statistics of the Week

– Netflix’s 720i streams take 4.5 Mbps per stream. Its 4K streams take 12-14 Mbps per stream. 4K videos require three times the bandwidth in both the broadband connection and the home’s Wi-Fi or wireline network. It’s easy to conceive of three 4K streams in the home in the near future: a 4K TV, a 4K smartphone and a 4K tablet. That is 36-42 Mbps plus the necessary overhead.

– A Barclay’s report said that cablecos’ Wi-Fi First service and their continued spread of free Wi-Fi hotspots will reduce the need to cellular networks to between 10% and 20% of the time a consumer is on their mobile device not by 10-20% but all the way down to 10-20%.



Online News Sources Are Encroaching on Linear TV’s Last Stronghold

OTT Customers Will Become More Valuable as Linear TV Declines

The Cart Cutting’ Era Is Well Underway

Best Buy Is No Longer Amazon’s Showroom



Devicescape’s BandwidthX Deal Is the Face of the New Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi Phone Calls Work Everywhere There’s Wi-Fi

Cellular Broadband Usage Might Be Reduced to 20-40%



Spanish Satco Hispasat Announces Winners of Best 4K Short Films

Commercial Requirements for Phase 2 of DVB UHD-1 Are Approved

4K TVs Stacking up in Warehouses and Ships

Two Facts that Will Cause Major Impacts on the Broadband & Home Networking Industries

$168 Vizio 24-inch HD TV Has Comparable Picture Quality to Samsung 55-inch UHD TV

HDR Causes another Look at HEVC



Sony Expands Vue’ to Amazon Fire & Chromecast

SeeSo’ Is NBCUniversal’s Comedy Internet TV Service

Time Warner Unlikely to Acquire Stake of Hulu

Looming Data Caps Are Bad News for OTT

WWE Network Set to Launch in Germany

Beachfront Media Targets Millennials with RISE

ABC Slips Ad-Like Promotion into Netflix

Univision Joins Internet TV Fray with $5.99 per Month OTT Service

DingIt TV Live Streaming Platform Reaches 11m Viewers Monthly

EE TV Adds to Content Selection



ABC Will Develop Original Content for Streaming TV App

Verizon’s Go90 Premieres Exclusive Vice Series

Vimeo Will Premiere 3 New Originals

Hulu Adds to its Original Content Library

Kids in the UK Finally Have Access to YouTube Kids




In 2005 Eatel Saw that Telcos’ Future Was All-Fiber

Cox Doubles Speeds for Low-Income Families with Children

Sckipio Lands “Start-Up to Watch” Award

Deutsche Telekom Eyes as Possible Savior



More Kudos for Actiontec’s MoCA-to-Wi-Fi Adapter

3rd Largest US Telco CenturyLink Joins HomeGrid Forum



New TiVo Bolt Is a Heckuva Product, the Ultimate DVR/STB/NTB/Content Search

TiVo Uses Newly Acquired Cubiware Middleware to Enter the Emerging Markets

TiVo Faces Major Challenges as CEO Tom Rogers Resigns

New Liberty Global Gateway Enables 1.0 Gbps



Gogo Is Improving on In-flight Wi-Fi Technology



Mobile Broadband Will Be Taking over in Africa

2.5m Australians Now Watch Netflix

Viewers Won’t Abide Flickering, Buffering OTT Videos

Viewing on OTT Streaming Devices Is Up 157%

SVoD Subs to Grow 90% over Next 4 Years

Sling TV, HBO, MLB and WWE All Rank in Top 10 OTT Services

1/3 of UK Viewers Expect to Multi-Screen during Holidays



Amazon $89 billion; Walmart $12 billion

It’s About Live TV on Any 1 of 8 Devices

Put the Pay TV Genie Back in the Bottle?

Bricks & Mortars Are Not Where It’s At Right Now

Malone Wishes He Had Bought Netflix

Crackle Is More TV Network than OTT Service

Pay TV and OTT Will Have to Unify

MCN Market Is Immature

4K UHD TV Sales Jump 494% in One Year… Forecasted as 40% of all TV Sales in 2016

4K UHD TV sets show no signs of losing strength with sales up 494% in the third quarter over last year, according to the Digital Entertainment Group’s third quarter home entertainment report.

To date, nearly two million 4K UHD TVs were sold this year, driving the current number of households with 4K UDH TVs in the US up to 2.8 million. And as the holiday season approaches and with Black Friday just days away, 4K Ultra HDTV sales will only continue to grow as consumers upgrade from their old TV sets or buy sets for their loved ones when many TV set prices will be marked down considerably.


flat_panel_TV_demand 2013-2016

Flat Panel Demand by Resolution

Consumer spending remained stable with nearly $4 billion spent in Q3 in the US on home entertainment. From the looks of things it would seem that consumers are embracing the convenience and accessibility of collecting and purchasing digital content and want the best picture quality a TV can offer to watch it on.

Subscription video on-demand (SVoD) services saw steady growth in the third quarter with a 23% increase in revenue over the same period last year, according to the report.

The digital locker service UltraViolet is growing as well. Worldwide there are now nearly 25 million household UltraViolet accounts with over 150 million movie and TV shows in their UltraViolet libraries.


4K TVs Will Account for 40% of TV Sales in 2016
– 4K Critics Go Silent

Analysts’ negative comments and outlook about 4K have been stifled.

Their only comments these days deal with why people should wait for some new 4K function such as HDR instead of buying and enjoying the glorious beauty of 4K now.

Some consumers are led into buying a now last-generation and obsolete 1080p HD set because of their low prices, which makers of TVs have done to sell their remaining inventory.

“Show me the money,” someone said, to which could be added, “Show me the eyeballs.”

IHS, which tracks such data, said this week, “Demand for UHD panels has risen sharply, because they are suited for large screens. Consumers are also recognizing that higher pixel density provides a better, more intuitive viewing experience.”

IHS uses numbers (money) to support its contention that consumer eyeball are seeing 4K’s better video. It said, “Manufacturer and consumer demand for ultra-high definition (UHD) televisions remains strong, including 4K TV, wide viewing angle (WCG), high dynamic range (HDR) and other high-definition picture performance improvements.”

IHS said that despite sluggishness in LCD TV sales, year-over-year unit shipments of UHD TV panels are forecast to double in 2015, topping 40 million units and that it now expects that 4K TVs will account for 40% total TV panel shipment area in 2016.

IHS’s director of large display research Ricky Park said, “The increased supply of LCD TV panels has caused a downturn in panel prices, providing consumers with a cheaper selection of wide-screen TVs and whetting their appetite for even larger TVs with higher resolution. The consumer requirement for higher resolution will also grow, as more 4K TV video content becomes available.”

We would make a slight correction to Park’s statement by saying that “more” 4K content is here already because of 4K TV set’s ability to upscale 1080p HD and lower resolutions to near 4K quantity. In fact some makers of 4K TV sets say their technology upconverts all the way to 4K quality.

IHS predicts that the demand in 2016 for UHD TV panels will increase by 67% from 2015, which will make up about 40% of the display market. It also said that prices for UHD panels are sharply lower.

Louder please, all you 4K critics! We can barely hear you!

. The next thing you’ll do is wake up to the major impact that 4K streams will have on broadband and the home’s Wi-Fi network

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Telletopia Wants to Bring Local Broadcast TV to the Internet

The US nonprofit online video service provider Telletopia Foundation has announced it is developing an Internet television service that will allow consumers to watch local channels live, all day, every day.

The OTT business model would involve moving the local broadcast TV bundle to the Internet, contingent upon an FCC ruling that would redefine online video distributors (OVDs) like Telletopia as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and grant eligibility to negotiate retransmission consent.


Telletopia-Tablet Showing Mini EPG-logo_small

Telletopia: live local channels via the Internet


Because of the company’s status as a nonprofit, Telletopia has an exemption from the compulsory license requirements in existing copyright law for retransmitting live broadcast TV so legally the company can retransmit broadcast TV over the Internet.

But the company wants the right to negotiate with broadcasters. “Telletopia believes that broadcasters should be paid for the distribution of their content,” said Gary Koerper, Telletopia CEO and co-founder. “We’re hopeful that the impending FCC ruling will enable us to work with broadcasters to set the retransmission fees we will pay for their 24/7 broadcasts over the Internet.”

Retransmission fees are important for broadcasters but so is extending advertising to the Internet. “As an MVPD, our platform will support broadcasters in extending their ad spots to the Internet, even must-carry and low-power stations,” said Michael Librizzi, Telletopia CFO and co-founder. “After dozens of conversations with local broadcasters, affiliate groups and networks, we know that extending the reach of a 30-second spot to online viewers is just as important as retransmission fees.”

Broadcasters appear to be receptive to the idea so far and Telletopia does not expect any active opposition of the service from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). For the past year, Telletopia has been making huge efforts to convince broadcasters that the service is about enabling from the inside as opposed to disrupting from the outside and the message has been well received by some, Koerper said

“Telletopa is poised to help us drive engagements with online viewers while ensuring broadcasters remain a vital source of local news, entertainment and sports,” said Gary Cocola, CEO of Cocola Broadcasting Companies, which is based in Fresno, California. “Not only will Telletopia extend our advertising to the Internet, they will provide real-time viewership data down to a level of detail we’ve never had before.”

Telletopia plans to launch its browser-based local broadcast TV service…

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Altice Starts Down the 4K Pay TV Path in France

– Offers Netflix-like OTT Service on All Devices
– Intends to Take the Service to Other Countries
– Could That Include Cablevision and Suddenlink in the States?
– New NTB Too That Uses Nagra’s AnyCast Content Security Technology

Undeterred by the weekend’s horrific atrocities, Paris-headquartered SFR will this week launch a subscription-based OTT service called Zive (being pronounced by the company to rhyme with “chive”) that includes 400 pieces of 4K content from day one.


It’s business as usual for France: Altice launches Zive this week


It means that France is not yet getting full-blown 4K linear pay TV channels but Altice’s SFR (née Numericable) is starting down that path.

This indicates that Altice moves quickly with new technologies, a warning to US telcos and cablecos that operate in the footprint of Altice’s upcoming acquisitions Cablevision and Suddenlink. It’s also a warning to US cellcos because of Altice’s deployments of Wi-Fi First phone service.

Zive will be available on all devices – smartphones, tablets, TVs, a new SFR NTB and PCs. One year after SFR and Numericable merged, the Numericable brand name will disappear. We expect that Altice will continue to consolidate its operating brands, which will ultimately include Cablevision and Suddenlink.

SFR is quite clear that its SVoD service is a direct competitor to Netflix, Canal +’s Canalplay and other OTT services. It will replace Canalplay in the extras that SFR offers its subscribers; a loss of thousands of subscribers to Canal + The fee is €9.99 ($10.73) per month just like its rivals. It will be free to SFR subscribers of its fixed broadband and mobile subscribers.


Zive boite SFR

Zive: 4K content available immediately


SFR said Zive will have at launch about 5,000 pieces of content – movies, series, documentaries, cartoons and karaoke. Its goal is to have 10,000 in the first half of 2016, which is about the same, it said, as Netflix and Canalplay. Its target is the youth/family market.

SFR says it has contracts with the likes of Disney, ABC Studios, Warner, Sony, France Télévisions and Lagardère. It also plans to produce some of its own content a la Netflix and Amazon, according to SFR CEO Eric Denoyer.

SFR said it intends to expand the service to other countries, which suggests that it’ll soon be available to Cablevision and Suddenlink subscribers.

SFR’s heart and soul is its fixed line broadband service, which is a combination of fiber and coax. The newly hired (from Alcatel-Lucent) SFR president Michel Combes said, “We will first focus on the fixed, because that is what irrigates homes. We then offer content; we deploy on the mobile.” According to the French Web news site Challenge Soir, he talked about “double convergence” between fixed and mobile and also between physical networks and content.



SFR will also launch on November 17 a new 4K-capable NTB called “La Box Fibre Zive de SFR,” which it claims is “the most powerful of the market.” The box will use Nagra’s technology to provide security for its new 4K STB, which will allow both on-demand and streaming of 4K content. Note the use of the word “fiber” in the name. SFR said its new service is France’s “most advanced” 4K service. Live linear is not included, at least not yet.

Nagra is a division of Kudelski Group, which says it is “the world’s leading independent provider of content protection and multi-screen television solutions.” SFR will use Nagra’s 4K-capable anyCAST content protection MediaLive multi-screen and video player technology.

SFR’s streaming service is called “ShareCast” and the on-demand service is called “Video Store.” Both can be streamed to mobile devices within the home – in addition to TV sets.

Thierry Legrand, Nagra’s SVP of sales for the EMEA region, said SFR is setting a new benchmark with its 4K services for French viewers and that Nagra, a long time supplier to Numericable-SFR, applauds it for …

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Marvell’s Beats Extollo’s HomePlug AV2 in Lab & Field Tests

– Won in All Scenarios and in the Worst Case Environments

In June 2015, CNET said the Extollo LANSocket 1500 power-line adapters, which are based on HomePlug AV2, had the “best power-line performance to date.”

At the end of last month, October 2015, the test lab Network FX, a subsidiary of CableLabs, said that, after conducting tests, adapters using Marvell’s chips “performed better than the Extollo [HomePlug AV2] devices in the lab and in the field under a variety of test conditions in a single network and in multiple networks.”



Stutter-free streaming, no matter how remote the room, is the ultimate aim of home networking


The main chipmakers promoting (Marvell and Sigma Designs) and HP AV2 (Broadcom and Qualcomm) are members of CableLabs, which owns Network FX, as are MoCA chip and equipment makers.



– Marvell contracted for Network FX to perform both the Lab Repeatable Power-line Testing and the Field Home Testing.
– Marvell purchased the Extollo adapters from Amazon on August 20, 2015. No firmware upgrade was available on Extollo’s Web site. Extollo’s adapters have Broadcom’s HPAV2 MIMO power-line chipset.
– Marvell provided Marvell-branded adapters that are based on its reference design and which it makes available to equipment makers. They are not available at retail but the exact same chips are in Comtrend’s adapters that are available at retail. Consumers can and should download the latest firmware from Comtrend’s Web site. Amazon sells a pair for less than $90

ARRIS is expected to launch a powerline adapter that will have the same Marvell chips. Comtrend and ARRIS adapters both have Marvell’s 1 Gbps powerline chipset, not its new 2 Gbps chips, which are not due out until 2016.
– The IPTV field tests were conducted in a house in Colorado with 4,850 square feet, two living floors plus a basement. The source for the video streams was located on the first floor. UDP IPerf commands were used to simulate HD or 4K streaming to each IPTV client. The 4K video had 30Mb per stream. By comparison, Ericsson’s MediaFirst IPTV 4K HD, which many telcos use for their pay TV technology, only streams at 12MB per stream.


Test Results

Network FX found the same results that Rider Research did in two homes in terms of packet size. At higher packet sizes, the throughput of Marvell’s and Extollo’s are about the same at 70dB of attenuation.

At 80dB and 90dB of attenuation, Marvell results were better than Extollo’s.

At lower packet size (82 bytes), the throughput of Marvell at all attenuation levels was higher than Extollo’s.

When testing for TCP throughput in neighboring networks at 40dB attenuation, the results showed that Marvell devices can provide higher throughput and lower latency than Extollo for all packet sizes. The term neighboring networks refers to residences in MDUs, a prime target for telcos that are prospects for selling adapters.

– The products did not have any packet errors or drops, which Marvell said is the “ideal technology for video delivery in the worst tested environments.”

– Marvell performed better in neighboring networks’ test setup for all test parameters (ie lowest/average/higher packet size).

– In testing network stability under “bursty” traffic conditions, Network FX said Marvell devices completed the test without dropping a single packet at a throughput rate of 80 Mbps. The Extollo product showed a 7-8% packet loss. Network FX said, “This indicates that Marvell devices are more stable under bursty traffic conditions.”

Network FX said Marvell won in all scenarios and in the worst case environments in both the Lab Testing and Home Field Testing.

New This Week in The Online Reporter…

The Online Reporter no. 955




Altice Starts Down the 4K Pay TV Path in France

About this item: France-based Altice is moving quickly with new technologies, a warning to US telcos and cablecos that operate in the footprint
of Altice’s upcoming acquisitions Cablevision and Suddenlink.

Verizon Chases Facebook, Snapchat in Mobile Video

Deutsche Bank: SES is Falling Star

Did DirecTV Just Lose over 700,000 Subscribers?



Sony Lowers Prices of Its 4K TVs

Two Industry Groups Aim at Bringing UHD to the Masses

HD Has Not Yet Achieved Universality on Pay TV Services



Disney Pushes Internet TV in Europe

Iger’s 3 Key Elements to Success Media Business in the Internet TV Era

Pay TV Networks Split on How to Handle Netflix, Hulu, Amazon

Telletopia Wants to Bring Local Broadcast TV to the Internet

New Digital Service from BBC Offers 60 Years of Shows

No Value in News for Netflix

Time Warner May Buy a Stake in Hulu

CBS Deal with PPTV Means More Eyeballs




Which Broadband Service Would You Select?

Telefonica Makes Quantenna’s Wi-Fi Chips the Heart of Its Gateway

Vodafone Postpones Pay TV in UK



Actiontec Solves Apartment’s Wi-Fi Problem

HomePlug Powerline to-Wi-Fi Adapters Get Star Billing at Best Buy



Why Would You Buy a PC Anymore?’



Roku Rivals the Chromecast with New’ SE Model



T-Mobile Gives Subscribers Free Data Streams for 24 OTT Services



4K TVs Will Account for 40% of TV Sales in 2016

4K UHD TV Sales Jump 494% in One Year

Good News for Tablets & TVs

231m OTT Devices Installed in US Homes by 2018

The Super User’ Effect



Binge-watch’ Is the Word-of-the-Year’

The Biggest Thing in the Market’ Is 4K

You Don’t Keep a Consumer’

Internet TV Is Just Pay TV 2.0

Facebook Looks to Its VR Future

The Cat Got Out of the Bag

Internet TV Needs TV Nets like Disney

People Just Don’t Get It Until They Experience It’

Black Friday Starts 6PM Thursday November 26


Eero Claims Its Mesh-based Wi-Fi Routers Solve Homes’ Wi-Fi Problems

– But It Delays Product Shipment for Third Time so It Can Continue Beta Testing

With few exceptions, existing residential Wi-Fi products that are available at retail are woefully incapable of keeping up with the growing demand for Wi-Fi bandwidth.

More and more Wi-Fi devices are being used to stream increasing amounts of SD and HD videos streams – and that’s not including the coming avalanche of 4K TV, smartphones and tablets. 4K streams require a minimum of twice as much bandwidth as HD streams, even compressed to the maximum by the new HEVC compression technology.

And consumers now want high speed Wi-Fi in every nook and cranny of their home, even on the porch, patio and storage/work rooms.

Until now there have been two ways to spread high speed Wi-Fi throughout every home:
* Wireline-to-Wi-Fi technology over the existing coax or powerlines or the use of Ethernet cabling, which required an often costly and messy installation.
*Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi repeaters

The startup Eero has developed a new router that uses Wi-Fi mesh networking to spread Wi-Fi coverage plus provide other benefits.

Consumers will be able to buy an individual Eero router for $199 or for $499 get a three pack of units that are connected by a mesh network and placed at different deadspots. The resulting network is managed through the cloud to optimize speeds.


eero box

Eero’s router connects to Wi-Fi mesh networks


When the user connects the first Eero router to the broadband modem, Bluetooth on a smartphone is used connect to the Eero and configure it with a network name and password. Eero’s smartphone app shows broadband speed and sends notifications when there is a network problem.

The Eero products use Qualcomm’s Wi-Fi and radio chips and have 1 GB of flash memory. Eero developed its own software. The devices continuously communicate with each other to find the fastest data and best radio frequencies available. They automatically coordinate with nearby Eero devices to avoid interference that occurs when Wi-Fi devices use the same radio channels.

The company said that for median home sizes between 2,200 and 2,500 square feet, three devices are perfect.

Eero first announced in February and even took orders but the Wi-Fi problem has been more difficult to fix than it expected. But demand was there as shown by sales (but not shipments) of $2.5 million in only two weeks. The company is still not shipping and has grown to 50 employees so this week it said it had raised another $40 million to finish the product and get manufacturing revved up in China.

In announcing the new $40 million investment, Eero also said it is for the third time, this time until early 2016. Eero CEO Nick Weaver said, “If we had less stringent standards, we’d be able to get the product out the door and into your homes this month. But we don’t want to deliver a beta product. We want to deliver the future of home WiFi.” The company also said it is still in beta testing in several hundred homes.

The problem that Eero faces is probably the same one that consumers face with Wi-Fi – every residence is totally different and the variables that block or slow Wi-Fi are countless. How a Wi-Fi technology can work flawlessly in every home may be a question for the ages. Based on what we have seen at Rider Research, only a wire can efficiently spread Wi-Fi. The best we have seen so far is Actiontec’s MoCA-to-Wi-Fi router, which we have tested with good results in a single-level home of 2,400 square feet and in an adobe style apartment with thick walls and solid wooden doors.

As a back-door-in-the-Alamo, the Eero router has an Ethernet port that can be used to connect to devices with an “old-fashioned” Ethernet cable.

We question the capabilities of the Wi-Fi chips in the Eero routers. If they are any less capable than the Quantenna Wi-Fi chips that Actiontec uses, Eero may come up short – unless it expects consumers to buy an Eero for every room.

Wi-Fi’s problem is that its 2.4GHz band has great coverage but not enough speed and its 5.0GHz band has great speed but not enough coverage.

Weaver said, “Every home is slightly different. Somebody might have a really odd home geography that requires a little more handholding.” Tell me! And tell that to millions of Wi-Fi users who…

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The US Pay TV Business Is a Sinking Ship

-All the Major TV Networks Are Going Direct-to-Consumer OTT
-Linear TV Is Gasping Its Last Breaths
-It’s a Broadband Future for Cablecos and Telcos

The latest quarterly earnings should prove beyond any doubt that traditional linear TV is dead, and the pay TV business as we know it is undergoing a dramatic transformation.

Pay TV companies, which are all also broadband companies (save for satcos) in the US, have collectively reported a better-than-expected Q3, but the trends already in motion won’t be reversed.

All the major TV networks know this, and are now signaling openly their plans to aggressively pursue viewers directly through Internet-delivered subscription services.

Meanwhile, the collective broadband subscriber base continues to grow.

Broadband/pay TV providers in the States are busy testing out new types of skinny bundles and streaming bundles in order to grow their shrinking pay TV subscriber bases, and leverage their broadband networks. These efforts will accelerate in 2016, as we see pay TV providers introduce more and more flexibility and multi-platform innovation for their bundle-based TV offerings.

And in the coming year, the economics of linear TV are poised to begin shifting dramatically away from overnight and real-time ratings towards total, multi-platform audience measurements over longer time frames, to compensate for viewers’ insistence on watching TV when they want, not according to a programming schedule.

The shake-up in linear ratings will come as TV networks begin pushing their own data more seriously to advertisers, as Nielsen finally rolls out its more robust multi-platform measurements and as competitors such as comScore begin to more aggressively challenge Nielsen in the TV currency market – ie in viewership data.



Time Warner’s Bewkes: trend changes happening faster than expected


Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes summed it up nicely during his company’s quarterly earnings call this week. “Every day it becomes clearer that the trends we anticipated are happening, and in some ways, they’re happening even faster than we expected,” he said. “For many consumers, the television viewing experience is stuck in the Bronze Age.”


For TV Networks, It’s OTT or Die

There was no mincing of words during this latest round of quarterly earnings calls: the TV networks were eager to discuss their future plans outside the traditional TV ecosystem as indicators of their companies’ strength heading into the Internet TV future.

“We believe that the opportunities [of OTT] outweigh the challenges,” Chris Albrecht, CEO of Starz said this week. “We’re now looking at what’s clearly numerous opportunities for Starz to be distributed in ways other than MVPDs.” Starz has decided it will launch a direct-to-consumer offering next year. [The Online Reporter no. 954 “Starz Gives in to Its Inevitable Internet TV Future].

21st Century Fox’s CEO James Murdoch said this week his company is considering a direct-to-consumer launch too, though he didn’t say for certain that the company will do so. “IP streaming video construction, this is something that we’re very excited about,” Murdoch said. “I think over time, the streaming entertainment business and streaming television business is much more attractive [than in the past].”

Discovery Communication’s CEO David Zaslav made similar comments about launching an OTT service in the States sometime in the future. Discovery already operates an SVoD service across Europe, called Dplay. [see The Online Reporter no. 954 “Discovery Eyes Internet TV Launch in US]

And CBS’ Les Moonves seemed eager to embrace the chaos, as his company is the only over-the-air broadcast network to launch a direct-to-consumer Internet TV service, and its pay TV network Showtime was the second premium network to launch such a service, behind HBO.

“No matter how rapidly the world continues to change, we have positioned ourselves to benefit,” Moonves said this week. The future looks bright for CBS, which announced this week it has begun creating programming exclusively for its OTT service [See: The Online Reporter no. 954 CBS Is Now Creating Original Content for its Internet TV Service].


Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation Photo: Bill Inoshita/CBS 2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

CBS’s Moonves: embracing chaos


CBS’ chief financial officer, Joseph Ianniello, echoed his confidences and added: “As we continue to grow our direct-to-consumer initiatives, we expect CBS All Access and Showtime over-the-top to be contributors to our operating income growth next year.”

Time Warner expects HBO Now, the stand along OTT service, to begin contributing meaningfully to its income growth next year, too. These early movers will have the advantage in new Internet TV ecosystem.


On-Demand Audiences Now Outpace Live Linear Audiences

Meanwhile, the industry is getting ready to shed live audience measurements, in favor of a broader perspective that will be better able to measure a show’s multi-platform and time-shifted audience.

“Our viewers are increasingly choosing when and how they experience our programming,” said Lachlan Murdoch, chairman of 21st Century Fox, speaking at the company’s quarterly earnings call. “Live viewing of television is contracting as a percentage of total viewing, especially in the younger demographics coveted by advertisers.”

There’s no question linear TV is on its way out. Consumers have made clear they much more prefer to watch TV shows and movies according to their own personal schedules, not the TV program schedule. Murdoch pointed to Fox’s show “Empire.” Its second season premier garnered a total of 12 million viewers across its live broadcast and same-day time-shifted viewing. But the audience for that episode more than doubled across a 30-day span and across multiple platforms. That means more viewers watched the premiere episode time-shifted than live.

James Murdoch added that over half of the company’s ad revenue is sold in the C7 window now. The same trends can be found across its other shows: the audience for “Scream Queens” grows 130% when multiple-viewing is included. That means, once again, more viewers watch that show time-shifted than live.

CBS reported similar trends in audience for some of its shows. The season premiere of “Limitless” in September drew 10 million viewers; the audience for that episode grew to 17.5 million time-shifted in the following two weeks, “and that number continues to rise as we speak,” Moonves said. “This phenomenon is happening across our schedule.”

Fox’s nonlinear audience is growing by a third year-over-year; and 10 of CBS’ shows experience audience increases of 3 million or more when nonlinear viewing is counted.

“It’s a testament to the fact that premium broadcast content is in more demand than ever, but it also illustrates the needs for the industry to move to modern ratings currencies,” Lachlan Murdoch said.

That move will occur in 2016, whether from Nielsen, other third party measurement firms, or the content owners themselves. Nielsen is getting ready to launch its Total Audience Management system next month, which will track viewing across DVRs, VoD platforms, net-top boxes, game consoles, smartphones, tablets and PCs. comScore, specializing in digital measurement, is looking to challenge Nielsen in this area, and it recently acquired Rentrak in order to better do so.


Broadband Is the Future of Pay TV

The collective pay TV industry lost subs overall in the last quarter, but it did better than anyone expected, particularly Comcast. Still, the broadband business is the future for these companies, as demand for faster speeds and more bandwidth continues to skyrocket among consumers.

Collectively, broadband subscribers will outpace pay TV subscribers by as many as 10 million by the end of 2016, according to Moody’s. For many broadband/pay TV companies in the States, broadband subscriptions have already surpassed pay TV subs. Moody predicts there will be 57 million broadband customers by the end of 2016, and 47 million pay TV subscribers.

“This change in subscriber demand represents a fundamental shift in consumer appetite and the economics of the cable business model,” said Jason Cuomo, VP and senior analyst at Moody’s. In fact, Cuomo believes the growth in broadband will be the only thing to save those companies whose main money-maker has been pay TV. “The loss of video subscribers is a fundamental weakness, but broadband demand and pricing actions are more than fully offsetting the negative video trends,” Cuomo said.

Broadband will become even more important to service providers as consumers watch more and more video online.


The Internet TV Space Continues to Grow

Whether it be more networks launched direct-to-consumer OTT services, more Web services added video to their offerings, or more broadband/pay TV providers releasing streaming skinny bundles, it’s clear the Internet TV space will continue to see significant growth in the coming year.

The broadband/pay TV providers will continue to launch new streaming video products next year, which will compete with the other imminent Internet TV products from Apple, and perhaps Amazon, Roku or Google. 2015 was the first year of the Internet TV era, and it’s clear that 2016 will see even more significant changes in the traditional TV and pay TV industries.


Internet TV Video Services

(already available) (coming soon)
CBS and Showtime Starz
A&E Networks Disney
AMC NBCUniversal
Viacom Comcast’s “Stream” and “Watchable”
Verizon’s Go90 TWC
Dish Network’s Sling TV Charter – who just acquired TWC
Sony PlayStation Vue CenturyLink
Apple TV


As CBS’ Moonves told shareholders last week: “There’s no question that there’s going to be…

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Tiny Telco Eatel to Offer 1 Gbps in Rural Louisiana Parish

– Thanks to ADTRAN’s All-Fiber Gear
All broadband is local.

The tiny telco Eatel, which operates in parts of the rural-becoming-suburban eastern portion of Ascension Parish, is upgrading its existing fiber network with ADTRAN fiber gear, which will allow it to offer gigabit broadband. The far-seeing Eatel has had an all-fiber network for over a decade and had previously installed gear from Alcatel-Lucent that, because of its age, operates at slower speeds.

Harris Miller, EVP of technology for Eatel, said, “A new generation growing up with multiple Internet devices in the home expects ultra-fast, broadband speed.”

Mitch Fleming, ADTRAN’s VP of sales to service providers, said, “Gigabit broadband is changing the way we live, work and play. Eatel is providing a real benefit to the communities they support with innovative one Gigabit residential and business services today, and they are laying the groundwork for faster speeds up to 10G in the future,” said “ADTRAN believes that regardless of their location or city population, all communities can benefit from Gigabit broadband.”

Eatel, founded in 1935 in the town of Gonzales, offers broadband, pay TV and phone service in the part of Ascension Parish that is east of the Mississippi river and in a small, very rural portion of Livingston Parish that is adjacent to Ascension Parish. Eatel had the first all-fiber network in Louisiana. It competes against Cox in triple play services and of course, AT&T’s DirecTV and Dish in pay TV.


gonzales water tower

More on their plates: Ascension Parish, Louisiana residents promised 1Gb broadband 


ADTRAN said Eatel “will be able to provide residents in Louisiana’s Ascension and Livingston Parishes with one of the nation’s fastest broadband speeds with 1 Gigabit Ethernet Internet connections – 10 times faster than the typical Internet connection offered.”


All Broadband Is Local

“When I moved from New York back to my home state of Louisiana in 2003”,  adds The Online Reporter’s Charles Hall, “ I purposely moved to Baton Rouge the state capital and parish (Louisiana equivalent of county) just north of Ascension where I had attended high school.

I had assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that Ascension Parish’s Eatel wouldn’t have faster broadband than Baton Rouge.

Little did I know that Ascension residences and businesses, many on stilts, on the banks of Bayou Manchac, the Amite River and the Diversion Canal in the still rural parts of the parish, could get 10 times faster broadband than city dwellers in Baton Rouge.



Modernity clash: fast broadband availability strikes a blow for stereotypical views


Since then Cox has upgraded my residential broadband in Baton Rouge to 100 Mbps but the dinosaur AT&T still only offers a maximum of 18 Mbps at my home in a somewhat upscale residential area”.


Telephone and Broadband vacuum

Cox already offers speeds up to 200 Mbps and has promised to upgrade its service throughout its footprint to 1 Gbps by the end of 2016. The archaic AT&T is not even talking. AT&T appears to be the least technologically capable telco, at least when it comes to broadband.

AT&T never operated in East Ascension, which is why the founder of Eatel decided to start the company 85 years ago.

There is an all-fiber network in at least one other Louisiana parish – Lafayette Utility Service (LUS) in Lafayette, the center of Acadiana (the Cajuns).

Because it was the local taxpayer-owned utility when it decided to build an all-fiber network, AT&T and Cox used all their political and financial clout to fight LUS. Fortunately for consumers and businesses, AT&T and Cox did not …

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