Dots in the trend lines that we analyze in depth in the weekly The Online Reporter.
Broadcom & Qualcomm Are Still Active Members of HomePlug Alliance
There has been speculation that the HomePlug Alliance was being closed and that HomePlug chipmakers Broadcom and Qualcomm had withdrawn from the Alliance. That occurred after the HomePlug Alliance announced several weeks ago that it was transferring to other organizations some of that activities that a standards body’s typical conducts such as the certification of products’ interoperability. However, Broadcom and Qualcomm both told The Online Reporter last week in writing that they are still active members of the HomePlug Alliance.
Broadcom said, “Broadcom remains a sponsor member of HomePlug Alliance with active participation.”
Qualcomm said, “Qualcomm is still a member and active on the board of directors. Recent announcements from HomePlug Alliance do not impact Qualcomm’s view that HomePlug powerline is a very important technology for delivering whole-home connectivity – especially in regions where home construction materials limit the effectiveness of Wi-Fi. Qualcomm innovation will continue to serve HomePlug powerline customers with high performance, low cost, highly integrated powerline solutions for the foreseeable future.”
There have been unconfirmed reports of letters of resignation from the Alliance by Broadcom and Qualcomm but none of the people we have asked have been able to supply a copy of it.
There is no doubt that rapidly improving Wi-Fi technology has made a device-to- device powerline network technology less necessary, especially when most consumers want to connect movable devices and so many stationary devices, such as smart TVs and Blu-ray players, have Wi-Fi. That is shown by pay TV services, which have the highest standards for low-latency, high-quality video, increasingly opting for Wi-Fi – as evidenced by DirecTV, which uses Wi-Fi instead of its traditional MoCA-over-coax to connect multiple TVs to its whole-home DVR.
CenturyLink to Pay $25b to Acquire Level 3 Communications
CenturyLink said it has made a deal to buy Level 3 Communications for about $25 billion, continuing a trend towards consolidation in the telecommunications industry. Level 3 runs one of the world’s largest Internet backbones plus sells Internet access to small and midsize business. CenturyLink is a traditional incumbent telco that is in the process of upgrading its network with G.fast and fiber broadband technologies. The closest analogy of the acquisition might be the much larger Verizon’s recent acquisition of XO Communications’ 20,000 mile intercity fiber network in the US and Canada, plus XO’s metro fiber networks in 40 major cities and a 13,000 mile metro network with more than 4,000 connected business buildings and 1,000 central offices.
Goldman Sachs Reportedly Pushing Apple to Bid for Time Warner
The Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs is trying to convince Apple to make a bid for Time Warner that would rival AT&T’s offer, according to the NY Post, which quoted a source as saying Goldman is “freaking out – trying to convince Apple to come in.” During Apple’s earnings call last week, CEO Tim Cook said, “We are open to acquisitions of any size that are of strategic value, where we can deliver better products to our customers and innovate more. And so we look at a whole variety of companies, and based on that, we choose whether to move forward or not. But we’re definitely open, and we definitely look. I would confirm that television has intense interest with me and many other people here in terms of owning content and creating content.” Time Warner, of course, is a major owner and creator of content.
LeEco to Offer Its Shares in the US
LeEco, which bought Vizio earlier this year for $2 billion, plans to list its shares in the US in 2019, according to the South China Morning Post. Vizio is very successful a top three seller of TVs in the States but outside the States sells only in Canada and Mexico. In addition to TVs, Vizio also sells smartphones and tablets that will offer access to LeEco’s China-based OTT service.
Apple Consolidates Multiple TV, Show & iTunes Apps into One
Apple’s new Apple TV app provided one place to access television shows and movies from multiple apps on the iPhone, iPad and the fourth generation Apple TV. Eddy Cue, Apples’ chief of Internet software and services, said, “Using apps on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad has become the primary way for so many of us to watch television. The TV app shows you what to watch next and easily discover TV shows and movies from many apps in a single place.”
Up Next lists shows, recent iTunes rentals and purchases in order. When a user finishes watching an episode the next one automatically appears at the start of the queue – much like Netflix does. It recommends shows based on trending, what it wants to promote and its library collections and categories.
Apple did not say whether Netflix or Amazon were included. Nor did it mention 4K and HDR, which are revolution the market for TV sets and have become standard fare in the marketplace. Remember when Apple was the innovator in screen resolution and audio fidelity and it embraced new technologies in those fields early on?
ESPN Has Its Worst Month Ever – Loses 621,000 Subscribers
Remember when ESPN was Disney’s golden goose? Well, no more. Nielsen last week said that ESPN’s subscriber numbers for November 2016 declined by 621,000 – the worst in ESPN’s history. The numbers are double of ESPN’s average losses over the last few years when it was losing about 300,000 subscribers a month. Pay TV services pay about $7 a month ($84 a year, more than three times as much as any other pay TV channel) to carry ESPN, which also forces them to include ESPN in their most basic bundle. That means the 621,000 lost subscribers could result in a decline of over $51 million a year. There’s more bad news. There has been this year a 24% decline in ratings for Monday Night Football, ESPN’s showpiece. ESPN is the world’s largest owner of the rights to televise sports. It’s headed to paying a total of $7.3 billion in rights fees in 2017, much more than any other company.
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