The Online Reporter

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

New This Week in The Online Reporter…

The Online Reporter no. 949




Can TiVo Save Traditional Linear TV?

Background to this item: Ever since it added OTT streaming services to its TV/DVR capability, TiVo has made the world’s best Net/set-top box – bar none. Pricey? Yes, but still the best because it fully integrates traditional linear TV with all its wonders and OTT services with only a few exceptions.

Google Directly Challenges Apple TV, iTunes & Apple Music

Background to this item: Apple’s recent launch of a less than push-the-envelope Apple TV has given Google, Roku, Amazon, TiVo and others (including pay TV services) an opportunity to take the lead in NTBs that stream content to TV sets


Comcast Extends Its Tentacles to Asia

FCC’s Concerns about Nascent OTT Industry Prompted It to Frown on Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal

Netflix Lands in Spain, Portugal & Italy



Periscope Is a Threat to Google’s YouTube

Marvell Exits the Cellular Chip Business




The Week That Was in OTT

Verizon’s Go90 Mobile OTT Service Arrives

Comcast Watchable Anything But

RIP, Milk Video! Samsung Cuts Its Cord

Credential Sharing Coming at a Cost




Comtrend Launches First Coax Adapters

Makers of Wi-Fi Products Make Misleading Claims



Roku 4K Set Top on the Horizon, Will Trump Apple TV



Ooyala Releases Q2 2015 Global Video Index

J.D. Power Reports Increased Satisfaction with Wireline Services



Seven New Kids Series from Netflix

UltraFlix Keeps Adding Must See’ 4K Content

Hisense’s Vidaa Smart TVs to Get VoD App

Xiaomi Sets a Precedent for Apple

Virgin Media Goes 200 Mbps

AlcaLu, Polish Government to Bring 30 Mbps to 100%

A DVR for the New Generation of TV Viewers’

Is Free Wi-Fi Coming to all Cableco Subscribers?

Chromecast Audio Poses Threat to Sonos

LG’s V10 Smartphone Will Increase Consumer Demand for Bandwidth

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Quantenna Brings More Speed & Coverage to the Home’s Wi-Fi Network

– ‘True 8×8’ MIMO Coming and It’s Not Two 4x4s Strapped Together
– The 100+ Mbps Broadband Era Is Arriving & Is Calling for Faster, More Robust Wi-Fi

US baseball players use the phrase “bringing speed” when the pitcher throws his very fastest fastball – so fast that to batters it looks like an aspirin tablet. Well, Quantenna is about to “bring more speed” to Wi-Fi devices.

Over the last few weeks, The Online Reporter has been conducting speed tests on powerline networks.

Speeds in two residences has led us to examine whether and why they are needed so we started checking Wi-Fi speeds in the same rooms of the same residences.

The results were woeful.

Millions of homes have the same Wi-Fi problems as will become visible as broadband speeds increase to upwards of 100 Mbps, as more and more Wi-Fi devices are used in the home and as 4K-capable TVs, smartphones and tablets become popular – 4K taking twice as much bandwidth as 1080p HD videos.

Coming to the rescue is Quantenna Communications whose Wi-Fi chips are designed with most powerful Wi-Fi technology possible that allowable under the 11ac standard.

It says its products are “Wi-Fi Perfected.”

Quantenna calls its newest Wi-Fi chips for routers and gateways “True 8×8” MIMO because they are truly 8×8, not two 4×4 radios that are strapped together in one router. Quantenna says they are “fully standard compliant” and that “11ac defines 8×8, not dual radio stacking.” Its True 8×8 technology is “more spectrally efficient, uses less power, avoids expensive filters and can tune to any channel” – unlike competitors’ dual 4×4 radios.


Quantenna 4x4 11ac Retail Flagship ProductsQuantenna: “True 8×8”


Quantenna’s 8×8 Wi-Fi chips are:
– A single chip that is more efficient and powerful than two separate chips
– Dual-band, dual-concurrent 5.0GHz and 2.4GHz
– The 5.0GHz technology, which provides high-speeds at short distances, can support up to eight separate streams – such as sending to multiple Apple TVs, Rokus, smart TVs, Blu-ray players, smartphones, tablets and laptops – yes, there are a lot of devices in the home that are receiving video streams
– The 2.4MHz technology provides greater coverage but less bandwidth.

The aggregate bandwidth of Quantenna’s “True 8×8” Wi-Fi technology is 10 Gbps when True 8×8 5GHz is paired with 4×4 2.4GHz. That’s compared to its competitors’ “feigned 8×8” (our quotation marks), which are two 4x4s strapped together.

We asked Actiontec the big question: “Are the new True 8×8 chips affordable for consumers?” It shouted a resounding “yes” and said it is already working with a who’s who list of companies that make routers and gateways for the retail market. It is shipping to them samples quantities of the new chips so they can develop and test new products.


What about Existing Receiving/Viewing Devices?

Existing receiving/viewing devices – NTBs like Roku and Apple TV, tablets, smartphones and smart TVs and especially 4K TVs – will get an immediate and noticeable performance and coverage improvement with routers and gateways that have Quantenna’s “True 8×8” chips. However, to get the full advantage, the next generation of receiving/viewing devices will need newer Wi-Fi technology. Currently most mobile Wi-Fi devices can receive one stream. The next generation of mobile devices is likely to have two antennas. We suspect that the new Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, which are not yet shipping, have two antennae.

The next generation of fixed devices – NTBs, smart TVs, Blu-ray players and such – will need four antennae for maximum performance and coverage. The more antennae in the receiving device the better. It’s like the arrays of receiving dishes (which are receiving antennae) that are seen in pictures, swiveling back-and-forth, looking for even the faintest signals from aliens – the more receiving dishes (antennae), the better the chance of finding even the weakest signal.

Makers of TVs have an especially difficult task that is caused by the very low profit margins they have because of the competition they face. 4K TV sets are now selling at the prices that 1080p HD sets were selling for a year ago and TV makers are pulling out all the stops – like price cutting – to gain market share in the 4K TV market. And yet, it’s 4K TVs (and other 4K products like the new Amazon 4K-capable Fire, that most need four Wi-Fi antennae to handle 4K streams from OTT services (another market that is becoming increasingly competitive, especially Netflix and Amazon).

Consumers cause one of the major problems that the Wi-Fi industry faces – where they place the router/gateway. Putting it in a cabinet or basement or on an exterior wall, which is typically where the service provider installs the modem, causes the router/gateway to lose both range and performance. The only two solutions available now are to a) upgrade the router to one that has Quantenna’s 4×4 technology or b) if that doesn’t fix the problem, install repeaters – either Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi, which have a limited range or b), that having failed, a wireline to Wi-Fi adapter such as those that use powerline or coax or Ethernet wiring. The MoCA-to-Wi-Fi adapter from Actiontec comes to mind because it uses Quantenna’s 4×4 chips and the 2.0 version of MoCA.

There is another factor that will drive the market for true 8×8 technologies and that factor exists in every home today – the coming of 100 Mbps broadband that’ll soon be available to every home. What good is 100 Mbps, and higher, if the bandwidth of the home network remains only what it is today? Both are needed to stream flicker-free 4K videos to a viewing device.

Quantenna says routers and gateways with its new True 8×8 chips…

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Amazon Beats Apple, Roku, Google with 4K, HDR-Ready Net-Top Box

-Amazon Ups the Ante for SVoD Competitors
-Apple’s 4 Gen Apple TV Looks Even More Lackluster

As covered in previous reports (such as this from July), 4K is well on its way here.

Between the mass-market priced 4K TV sets, the growing fleet of media devices that support 4K resolution – including the latest iPhones from Apple – and the daily growing libraries of 4K content from OTT services, it’s clear 4K video is the future – and is here now.

Here’s another major consumer electronics maker throwing its weight behind 4K: Amazon has released a new version of its Fire TV net-top box (NTB) that supports streaming 4K video.


Amazon Fire TV 4K

Bandwidth alert! Amazon’s 4K Fire TV hits the market


Amazon has upped the ante in the battle for living room dominance, both in terms of hardware and service.

The new NTB offers a slate of new features that includes support for 4K video, and the new box gives streamers one more reason to choose Amazon over Netflix or Hulu when looking for something to watch.

The 4K Fire TV box is priced at $99 and will ship in October. It’s also releasing a new version of its dongle NTB, called the Fire TV stick, for $49. It won’t support 4K video but it will now have voice navigation via a new remote, which the earlier iteration did not support.

The NTB has a new quad-core processor from MediaTek, which makes it 75% more powerful than the first generation device, and the new box supports HEVC encoding, which reduces the amount of bandwidth needed to stream both 4K and HD video. It also has a microSD card slot for up to 128GB of personal media storage, and the latest Wi-Fi with 2X2 802.11ac MIMO support.

Amazon Fire TV system now supports some 3,000 video and gaming apps.

The new Fire TV also comes with voice navigation via Alexa, Amazon’s answer to Siri. Like Siri, Alexa offers navigation and general information such as weather reports, sports scores and the like.

Amazon has also released a new gaming controller for the NTB that has a 32GB microSD card slot, and it’s offering a gaming bundle for $139 that includes the new controller and a few games.


The Best Feature: 4K Video Streaming

In conjunction no doubt with the release of its new box, Amazon recently released a massive update its library of UHD content, and it also supports 4K streaming via Netflix’s own, daily growing 4K library. Neither Ultraflix, the 4K-only SVoD service, or M-Go, the transactional OTT movie service that offers 4K video, is currently available on Fire TV.

Amazon is also a big supporter of high dynamic range (HDR), the new color technology that is said to drastically improve picture quality, and when coupled with 4K resolution delivers a jaw-dropping image. Film studios, the main proponents of the technology, have just barely begun to release titles with HDR, and Amazon has released some of its original series with HDR, too.

TV sets that support HDR are even rarer. Sony recently announced that its newest line of 4K TV sets will support HDR via a software update, and will in fact be sold with a promotion for Amazon Prime. LG also sells 4K TV sets that are able to support HDR.

Amazon isn’t the first to launch a 4K streaming media player, but its Fire TV will likely be more popular and ultimately more mainstream than Nvidia’s Shield gaming console. Nvidia Shield is first and foremost a gaming console with video streaming apps, while Amazon’s Fire TV is first and foremost a video player with gaming features, and ultimately addresses a much wider segment of consumers.

Of course, viewers will need to have a 4K TV set in order to watch 4K titles via the Fire TV box. Amazon says a broadband connection of 15 Mbps or higher is needed to stream 4K video at full resolution.


Does a 4K TV Set Need a NTB?

Amazon’s release put to shame Apple’s earlier unveiling of its latest net-top box, the Apple TV 4, which has been highly anticipated over the last three years, and which quickly disappointed with its limited feature upgrades and conspicuous lack of 4K support.

The benefits of a 4K net-top box are still a bit murky, and the proposition revives the debate about the role of the “smarts” in smart TV. As all 4K TV sets are smart TV sets, it’s unclear what, beyond interface, a 4K NTB can offer the viewer. This is especially true now, as the number of OTT services offering 4K content are limited to a handful. The two top providers of 4K content right now are Netflix and Amazon – both of which have apps available on most if not all 4K TV sets.

But as more OTT services begin offering titles in 4K resolution, and they will, the need for a better interface to navigate through the apps on the TV set becomes obvious – which is exactly why Apple’s lack of 4K support is so short-sighted. The demand for 4K support across media devices is growing quickly, just as the average price of 4K TV sets has dropped quickly. Apple knows this, and that’s why Apple’s latest iPhones support 4K video recording.

Amazon has asserted itself as the preeminent living room…

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New This Week in The Online Reporter…

The Online Reporter no. 948




Quantenna Brings More Speed & Coverage to the Home’s Wi-Fi Network

Background to this item: The speed tests we have been conducting on powerline network speeds in two residences has led us to examine whether and why they are needed so we started checking Wi-Fi speeds in the same rooms of the same residences. The results were woeful…. Coming to the rescue is QuantennaCommunications whose Wi-Fi chips are designed with most powerful Wi-Fi technology possible that allowable under the 11ac standard.


Amazon Beats Apple, Roku, Google with 4K, HDR-Ready Net-Top Box

Background to this item: Here’s another major consumer electronics maker throwing its weight behind 4K


HP’s CE Business Looks to Come up Short

Xiaomi Adds Financial Services & Windows-Based Products



Xiaomi Extends Its Reach into Cellular Service & Chips

T-Mobile USA Rolls On



4K Scoreboard: Amazon 2, Apple 1

Pace of 4K Content & Equipment Quickens

ProSiebenSat.1 Launches First UHD Streaming Channel’



Simple.TV Launches Cloud DVR for Antenna TV

TV Networks Shift Strategy on Netflix

FreeCast Bolsters Title of Virtual MSO’

Netflix Is a Learning Machine’ When It Comes to Programming

VoD Is Future of Video Consumption

Brightcove: OTT Is a Strategic Investment’ for Broadcasters

NBC Expands Stand-alone Streaming Library on Roku

Web Video Views & TV Audiences Are Apples & Oranges

Verizon’s McAdam: A Lot of Us Aren’t Familiar with Millennial Content’

Netflix Looks for Content and Partners ahead of Next Wave of Launches

ITV Revamps Catch-Up Service with ITV Hub

Verizon’s Go90 Adds Live Streaming Concerts to Programming Lineup

Discovery’s Zaslav on the New Viewing Paradigm



Facebook Drives Viewership of MSNBC’s Shift’ Web Channel

Netflix Film Gets Theater Release in UK

Amazon’s Six New Pilots Look Great

Sports Illustrated Goes OTT with Digital Films




Chunghwa Telecom & AlcaLu First to Deploy System-Wide

UK Broadband Services Gang up on BT

Europe-Wide Move to 1 Gbps Not Happening

Frontier Deploying 90 and 115 Mbps in Footprint AT&T Had Neglected



Sigma Designs’ Prime Takes the Gold in an Apartment

The Home Network Is Just as Critical as Broadband



MatrixStream’s New nPVR Can Scale to 2m Users



TV Dominates in Nielsen’s Time-Spent Analysis

Millennials’ App Habits Lead to Success in Mobile

Streaming Video Leads Downstream Traffic in Asia-Pacific and Europe



Foxconn May Buy Sharp’s LCD Business for Apple

Netflix Thinks in Terms of Seasons, Not Episodes

Time Warner’s Bewkes: TV Nets Need more Focus on VoD

NFL Uses Snapchat Live Story to Entice Viewers to NFL Games

Altice Pauses But Doesn’t Halt Its Acquisitions Spree

Web Is the New TV

Apple’s tvOS Will Change Relationship between Phone and TV Set

Video and Broadband Go Together like Peanut Butter and Jelly’

BTIG’s Greenfield Thinks SVoD Metrics Is a Waste of Time for Nielsen


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Actiontec’s MoCA-to-Wi-Fi Adapter Provides up to 1 Gbps Wi-Fi

In the real world there are two types of Wi-Fi extenders – those that use Wi-Fi to connect to a remote extender and those that use cables – powerline, coax or Ethernet – to connect to a remote extender.

Wireline to Wi-Fi is better, faster, more reliable than Wi-Fi-to-Wi-Fi. Coax-to-Wi-Fi approaches Ethernet-to-Wi-Fi in performance.

Actiontec Electronics is launching a retail version of its MoCA-based coax-to-Wi-Fi adapter – $149 for the remote unit – that provides user available Wi-Fi bandwidth up to 1 Gbps Mbps and can support multiple extenders connected to the same router.

The adapter uses Quantenna’s 4×4 11ac Wi-Fi chips that have beam-forming, which many consider the fastest available. MoCA 2.0 enables the Wi-Fi extender to receive data at speeds of up to 1 Gbps.


living room

Wrong Wi-Fi speed for the right room is a perennial home networking problem


Coax is widely acknowledged to be a much better carrier of data than powerline because there is none of powerline’s noise.

Lesley Kirchman, director of corporate marketing at Actiontec, said there are two reasons the adapter performs so well:
– Actiontec designs its own products from the ground up rather than using cookie cutter reference designs that chipmakers hand out to all equipment makers.
– Its first and main objective is to provide the fastest Wi-Fi possible.

What are the differences between Actiontec’s MoCA-to-Wi-Fi and other Wi-Fi extenders?
– Wi-Fi-to-Wi-Fi extenders that appeared on the market several years ago use the same antennae to both receive data from the router and to transmit to Wi-Fi devices. That cuts performance as does the fact that an already underperforming Wi-Fi signal is being sent to the remote extender.
– Powerline-to-Wi-Fi extenders have to deal with the limitations of noisy electrical wires to get signals to the remote Wi-Fi extender. Coax-based extenders have to contend with only one other signal in the coax wiring – the TV channels – and MoCA has a decade of experience co-existing with those.

It’s a myth that the 11ac version of Wi-Fi is sufficient for home with 10,000 square feet, Kirchman said. That could only be feasible in a home that’s shaped like a cylinder.

The reason that Wi-Fi extenders are needed is because the 11ac version of Wi-Fi, not even in its most supercharged version, has turned out to be the whole home wireless network that many had hoped it would. As a result, broadband service providers are being hammered by service calls from unhappy subscribers that think something is wrong with their broadband service.

The 5.0 MHz Wi-Fi band offers high speeds but only at short distances – when the receiving device, TV, smartphone or tablet – is near the router; the 2.4 MHz band covers greater distances but at much slower speeds.

Unless the router is in the same room as a 4K TV, a 4-K capable iPhone or any other device, which is rarely the case, they can only connect to the slower 2.4 MHz channel.

Because of the location where the service provider installed the gateway/modem/router, the user typically ends up with the greatest speed in the wrong room. Enter the Actiontec MoCA 2.0-to-11ac extender to solve the problem!

Kirchman said the new Actiontec adapters use MoCA 2.0, the very latest version, as the home’s Wi-F backbone. Increasing use of Wi-Fi within the home and by the neighbors makes it necessary to use a wireline network to support Wi-Fi. She said the MoCA portion of the adapters is 1 Gbps and the Wi-Fi portion is 1 Gbps Mbps at the adapter, less as the distance to the Wi-Fi device increases – as a result of Actiontec’s design and Quantenna’s Wi-Fi chips.

Actiontec said that the independent testing outfit Allion USA found that the adapter outperformed competitors on the 5GHz band (in the client-receive direction as would be the case in an actual home) by up to 2x the throughput at the farthest locations within the 3,000 square foot test house. As a result, Actiontec said it is “the preferred solution for extending wireless coverage to an upstairs or downstairs floor.”

The MoCA-to-Wi-Fi adapters are expected to retail for about $149 each. The adapter that is connected to the router does not have Wi-Fi, only MoCA and Ethernet, so it will sell for less but we were unable to get the price as we went to press. The low-cost Ethernet/MoCA adapter is not needed if the router has MoCA 2.0 built-in

The adapters work with any brand and model of router – because they connect to the router’s Ethernet connection – unless the router is a recent model that has MoCA built-in, in which case an adapter is not needed for the router, only for the remote locations.

As good as MoCA 2.0 and Quantenna’s 4×4 11ac Wi-Fi chips are, Kirchman says most homes will need two to three adapters because of the limitations of Wi-Fi. She said that for the best reliability, homes need 500 Mbps of Wi-Fi at every point that has a Wi-Fi device. That is especially true with many of the games that do not use compressed video.

It is silly to let the home’s Wi-Fi network limit performance at a time when most homes now have at least 100 Mbps of broadband, will soon have 300 Mbps in the cablecos’ footprint and 1 Gbps right around the corner, if not already available.

The proof? Kirchman said the same design and technology has been in tests for as much as six months by services providers and the performance has been very good. As a result many service providers have begun placing orders with plans to begin making them available to their subscribers.

The other proof is that the…

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Pay TV Eyes Web Video as a Millennial Draw

Pay TV providers are beginning to incorporate Web video into their TV products. In doing so, they are hoping to keep viewers from seeking other platforms to find and watch Web video on the TV set.

Gracenote had a surprising reveal at IBC this year: it is now cataloging what it calls “digital-first” video content for integrating into EPGs.

Gracenote is a metadata company that supplies information about programming to pay TV providers to use in EPGs.


Gracenote EPG

Gracenote’s EPG: now with multiple short-form video content


The company said it’s doing this in response to pay TV providers being interested in adding short-form video to content offerings on pay TV STBs.

There’s already a precedent for this in pay TV in Europe, and in the US. In Europe, Liberty Global’s UPC Hungary has placed YouTube on its pay TV STB, and was surprised to learn that its subscribers actually used the app. App session averaged around 45 minutes per day, it has said.

The pay TV industry in the US is on shaky ground, after a shocking second quarter that saw the industry collectively lose over 500,000 subscribers, a potential harbinger of more losses to come. Pay TV providers are looking at ways their products can be more attractive to younger viewers such as Millennials, whose eldest are now forming households – without pay TV subscriptions.

One answer: Web video.

YouTube’s meteoric rise helped it define an entirely new form of video entertainment.

Short-form, Web-delivered video has proven so powerful among the “Internet generations” of Millennials and Generation Z viewers that TV networks are buying Web video networks in order to reach those audiences that have almost completely stopped watching linear TV.

And just as content owners have realized they need to create this type of content now in order to remain relevant to both viewers and advertisers, pay TV providers are learning that they’ll need to start aggregating this type of content in order to keep their business – aggregating entertainment channels and delivering them to subscribers’ TV sets – afloat over the next decade.

In the US, Dish Network has incorporated Vevo apps onto its Hopper DVRs, as well as Netflix apps. Dish Network’s Internet TV service, Sling TV, also offers two channels of Web content as part of its core package: both owned by Disney’s MCN Maker Studios.

And Verizon’s new mobile-centric OTT service Go90 incorporates video from AwesomenessTV and Vice – both Web video networks – with traditional TV fare such as sports and A&E programming.

But the most direct and striking example of this trend is Comcast’s Web video portal, Watchable. Reports indicate the service, which hasn’t officially launched yet but is being tested, will focus on curated playlists of premium short-form video from the Web; Comcast has partnered with Web content publishers such as Vox, BuzzFeed and others for the service, and will share revenue with them.

Gracenote has said its currently cataloging only the premium short-form Web video, meaning content from the top MCNs, those now owned by traditional media firms, and the short-form video being created by the content owners themselves, such as Scripps’ Ulive network, Discovery’s many Web video sites, or the short-form content produced by Comedy Central’s digital division.

Incorporating these digital video networks into pay TV products is a natural evolution for pay TV service providers, who already carry the above programmers’ linear TV channels.

Another important component to both Comcast’s and Verizon’s web video products is that they are or will be made available nationwide, not only made available to their respective pay TV or wireless customers (in the case of Verizon).

On the one hand, that’s likely because these types of ad-supported Web video services need scale – huge scale, like YouTube’s scale – to generate meaningful revenue. But it’s also indicative of how the Internet has changed not only logistics of delivering services across the country or globe, but how it’s changed consumer expectations about services. Why would any Web-video product ever be limited to a service provider’s physical footprint?

“If you don’t disrupt yourself, someone else will disrupt you,” said Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam, speaking at …

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New This Week in The Online Reporter…

The Online Reporter no. 947





Actiontec’s MoCA-to-Wi-Fi Adapter Provides up to 1 Gbps Wi-Fi

About this piece: In the real world there are two types of Wi-Fi extenders – those that use Wi-Fi to connect to a remote extender and those that use cables – powerline, coax or Ethernet – to connect to a remote extender. Wireline to Wi-Fi is better, faster, more reliable than Wi-Fi-to-Wi-Fi. Coax-to-Wi-Fi approaches Ethernet-to-Wi-Fi in performance.


Pay TV Eyes Web Video as a Millennial Draw

In this analysis: Pay TV providers are looking at ways their products can be more attractive to younger viewers such as Millennials, whose eldest are now forming households – without pay TV subscriptions. One answer: Web video.


France’s Altice Acquires Cablevision to Increase Its US Wi-Fi Reach



NASA: 4K Is the Next Iteration of Digital Television’

Sharp to Ship Pricey 85-inch 4K Displays in October

IBC Hunts for the Meaning of 4K & the UHD Endpoint



ROK Mobile Plans Internet TV Service

Sling TV: Millennials Are More Accustomed to OTT than Pay TV

Apple Should Do Mobile Video

Comcast Takes on MLBAM, iStreamPlanet with Live Streaming Tech

BBC Worldwide Will Launch SVoD OTT Service in US

Tencent Launches Star Wars’ Web Channel ahead of December Release

Viewers Streamed Recent Boxing Match on Showtime, CBS

comScore Tackles Internet TV Viewing with New Metric

UK’s Mubi Adds Paramount Pictures to Streaming Video Library

Offline-Viewing Turns into Contentious Issue in OTT



Fandango Releases Video App

Facebook Wants to Be Mostly Video’

Pay TV Net BET Picks Up 3 Web Series

Jukin Media to Release Third Linear Series

Otter Media’s MCN Fullscreen to Launch SVoD Service




Cox & WOW! To Offer 300 Mbps Now

Broadcom First with End-to-End DOCSIS 3.1 Chips



The Next Frontier: The Home Network Products Start Appearing

Denmark’s Waoo! Bets It All on AirTies’ Wi-Fi




Microsoft’s Upcoming Surface Pro 4 Could Cause Problems for iPad Sales



Rovi: Stronger Discovery Strategies Needed in Pay TV

Ovum Releases Global Broadband Experience Scorecards

OTT Retransmission Disputes behind Us as Mobile Video Rises



Standards Be Damned! TiVo 4K DVR by End of October

Apple has Tough Negotiations ahead for Internet TV Service

We’ve Seen the Irrevocable Shift away from TV

Apple’s Rules Still Make Apple TV Unattractive for Internet TV Apps

Technology Gives Viewers More Choice

YouTube Will Surpass TV in Advertising?!

Amazon Doesn’t Want FCC Nosing into Web Video


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Sigma Designs’ Prime Chips Set Speed Record

– Side-by-Side Test Results

Sigma Designs’ home network engineers have developed new firmware called Prime that substantially increases the speeds of the company’s chips.

The Online Reporter confirmed that by testing the products in the same home where some months ago we had tested adapters from Comtrend and Sigma as well as HomePlug adapters from D-Link.

Sigma says the new Prime firmware “provides unmatched performance” on its existing CG5300 and CG5200 series chipsets.

The chips are intended for powerline products that pay TV services, primarily the telcos, will use to provide flicker-free videos, including bandwidth intensive 4K videos, on every TV in the home and without having to send an installer into the home.

The adapters would be used to connect STB, bridges, residential gateways, TVs and even as the devices’ power source.


LivingRoom_Expression_FullFamily_shot1-0283_V_Final-generic chips promise flicker-free 4K for all TV screens around the home


The buzz word in the home networking and broadband industry is “4K” (and/or UHD) because of the bandwidth that will be need for streaming from an OTT service or broadcasting from a pay TV channel to multiple devices in the home.

Expectations are that a year from now, all premium smartphones and tablets will have 4K-capable displays and that 1080p HD TVs in sizes 42-inches or larger will be considered stone age relics.

One only has to look at the prices that 4K/UHD reached this past summer and wonder what they’ll be on this year’s Black Friday to know that the financial justification for making and buying 1080p HD TVs is disappearing just as it did for large standard definition (SD) TVs. There are no 42-inch or larger SD TVs in the stores, are there?

Sigma said Prime uses on-chip acceleration engines and algorithms “to move data at twice the speed of the next-closest competitor’s product under TCP protocol which is the dominant delivery protocol for today’s streaming content.”

Nadav Katsir, VP of the home connectivity business unit at Sigma Designs, said, “ Prime is a unique technology from Sigma Designs that… can dramatically increase throughput on the current generation of Sigma Designs’ CG5200 solutions. Our chips running Prime have a major performance edge where it counts, overcoming the limitations for achieving high transmission rates in the home. Prime is highly scalable, supporting the largest number of devices, and the highest number of simultaneous video streams including multiple 4K video services, ensuring an outstanding consumer experience.”

The case for a fast, dependable powerline is obvious — not only does every room in first world homes have an electrical outlet, so do most walls in those rooms — especially the wall where the TV is plugged in. MoCA over coax has long been regarded as the gold standard for home networking in both speed and reliability and developers of powerline technologies have striven to match MoCA’s speed and reliability.

The latest technology attempts to solve networking problems caused by “real home environments that are plagued with interference obstacles such as surge protectors and appliances and the congestion challenges of MDUs.”

Q and A with Sigma Designs
We asked Sigma Designs several questions.

The Online Reporter: Will there be in the near future retail adapters with Prime chops?
Sigma Designs: Yes, it’s in the works

The Online Reporter: Is “ Prime” Sigma’s proprietary extension to the ITU standard?
Sigma Designs: Prime complies with the standard. The Prime is a very smart implementation – a combination of hardware and software.

The Online Reporter: Because the Sigma adapters we tested are not retail products, how do we know that the devices don’t exceed FCC limits and gain performance with extra transmission power?
Sigma Designs: Our Power Spectral Density (PSD) complies with the HomeGrid PSD mask limits. As a side note, Sigma’s communication frequency band is half that of the AV2 version of HomePlug. Hence we also are lower power than AV2.


Side-by-Side Testing

We had also received the retail version of Comtrend’s powerline adapters from Comtrend (they are available from Amazon). They use Marvell’s chips rather than Sigma Design’s. The pre-production adapters we received from Sigma Designs are manufactured for service providers to test and evaluate.

We set up the same test home that we had used in July to compare powerline adapters from Comtrend and Sigma as well as HomePlug adapters from D-Link. There were two differences between these tests and the one we conducted in July:

1. We used jperf v2.0.2 testing software this time instead of the Atmos software we used in July. Jperf is the same as iperf but with a graphical user interface that eliminates the need to enter command line commands.

2. The comparison was done over a direct connection between two PCs — a desktop and a laptop. The July test was done between the same two PCs but via a network switch.

Here are the results…

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Samsung Announces 4K Blu-ray Player

– But No Prices or Availability
– Fox Backs 4K Version of Blu-ray But No Prices Either

Samsung is the first company to announce a 4K-capable Blu-ray player.

It did not provide many details but it’s expected to be pricey — upwards of $1,000 compared to the $59 that CE retailers sell the current Samsung Blu-ray player that was launched a decade ago.

There are also the unanswered questions of:
a) When will the 4K Blu-ray player be available? For the upcoming holiday shopping season or in 2016?
b) How much will 4K Blu-ray content cost because it’s upwards of $30 as many expect, then it’ll be three months of a Netflix subscription
c) What titles will be available in 4K Blu-ray — will they be “must see” enough to attract the mass market consumers away from an OTT service.

Mike Dunn, president of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, joined Samsung on the same stage at IFA to confirm his organization’s commitment to the 4K Blu-ray format.


Maze Runner

The Maze Runner movie: now available on Blu-ray


He said the studio is committed to releasing its slate of upcoming movies in Ultra HD with HDR on the same day it releases the current Blu-ray and Digital HD shows, which include “Fantastic Four,” “The Maze Runner,” “Kinsman: The Secret Service” and others.

Samsung also said its UHD sets will get a software update to support HDMI 2.0a, which is required to play HDR from the new Blu-ray players.

Fox CTO Hanno Basse said the UHD Alliance, the industry’s standards setting body that consists of both tech companies and studios, has tripled…


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New Apple iPhones Legitimize 4K in a Way Nothing Else Could

– 4K Naysayers Will Disappear
– Biggest Beneficiaries: Pay TV Makers, OTT Services, Broadband & Home Networking
– Biggest Loser: Traditional Linear Pay TV

Any one that works in the broadband or home network industries should rush out and order an iPhone 6S and 6S Plus on September 12 when Apple starts taking pre-orders.

The world’s most widely used cameras are Apple’s iPhones.

The new iPhones can shoot video in 4K.

Who wants to shoot in 4K and watch in ordinary HD?

Apple’s move into 4K legitimizes 4K more than any maker of TV sets could ever have hoped, even the mighty Samsung.


Tim Cook Apple Press Sep 2015 2

Apple CEO Tim Cook at the iPhone 6S event this week


Apple’s new 6S and 6S can shoot video in 4K – a resolution of 3840×2160. Apple didn’t stop there. The units have a new 12-megapixel sensor with advanced pixel technology and an Apple-developed and made image signal processor that delivers better colors in sharper and more detailed photos.

The front camera is a 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with “Retina Flash,” which briefly increases the brightness of the screen three-fold to help brighten selfies.

An optical image stabilization feature helps improve the video quality in low-light situations. The new iPhones also have exposure control, timer mode and face detection.

There’s more. A feature called Live Photos shoots 12 megapixel photos that are part of a short video clip that captures a few seconds before and after the shutter button is pressed. A feature called 3D Touch detects the amount of force when the screen is pressed, Retina HD displays, the strongest glass of any smartphone, aerospace-grade aluminum exterior and an Apple’s A9 processor.

But! The most important new feature is the iPhones’ 4K capability. It will greatly increase sales of 4K TV sets. Who wants to shoot in 4K and watch in ordinary HD resolution? Shoppers will find that 4K TV sets are very affordable and buy them. Increased sales of 4K-capable TV sets will increase demand for 4K movies and TV shows. The biggest beneficiary of that will be the 4K OTT services, who are today the world’s largest suppliers of 4K content. And the biggest beneficiaries of that will be the broadband and home networking industry because of 4K increased demand for greater bandwidth.

For a number of months The Online Reporter has been predicting that the next major boost to the spread of 4K would come when Apple launched an iPhone or iPad that provides 4K. That has now happened.

The biggest losers will be the traditional linear pay TV companies who have been caught with their networks incapable of delivering 4K content. It will take them years and billions of dollars to get those networks ready to deliver 4K content to the home – except over an Internet connection, of course.

Oh! One more thing! It’s too bad that Apple won’t benefit from the coming surge in sales of 4K TVs it is causing. It still hasn’t launched an Apple 4K TV set…

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