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CableCARD: TiVo Fights The Good Fight

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by sbiller, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    On what do you base these comments?? Point to a survey that shows the decline in cable/satellite/fiber tv households is due to "people who don't really watch much TV." In fact, all surveys and research point to streaming as being a viable alternative for many viewers. If it was not so, we would not be discussing Aereo in another thread!!
     
  2. unitron

    unitron Active Member

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    If you're talking about streaming as an alternative to cable, I don't think Aereo should be lumped in with NetFlix or whatever, as Aereo isn't really an alternative to cable TV, it's an alternative way to get just broadcast TV instead of a direct antenna connection.

    Which is not to say that a combination of streaming and Aereo aren't being used as an alternative to cable, but Aereo by itself is just a way to put your antenna in a better location.
     
  3. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    I was referring to Aereo in combination with other streaming solutions as being an alternative to cable or satellite. If streaming were not an increasing popular way to get TV entertainment (at the expense of a cable subscription) I doubt many people would pay any attention to Aereo. Without that driver, Aereo would just be a way to get broadcast TV on you tablet or other mobile device. Interesting, but not earth shattering. Aereo eliminates one of the big barriers to people going to an all streaming option.
     
  4. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Much of the content on cable isn't available online without a cable subscription, so the people who have "cut the cord" a) didn't watch much TV in the first place, b) stopped watching much of the content they were watching, or c) just started pirating it instead. Yes, by the torrent numbers coming off of GoT, there are some people who are just pirating, but most of the "cord cutters" just didn't watch much TV in the first place.

    Streaming is huge BECAUSE of movies and cable. Movies are better quality, cheaper, etc, streaming, and then WatchESPN and HBO Go are part of a cable subscription...

    Aereo is way over-hyped. It's targeting a narrow market that doesn't want cable and can't get OTA the traditional way. That's not to say that it's not bad, or it can't be successful (if the Supreme Court doesn't legislate from the bench against them), but they are fundamentally serving a small niche market.
     
  5. trip1eX

    trip1eX Active Member

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    Hhhhmm 4% of households use internet exclusively to access tv content. Yet the number of households having cable tv dropped by 5 percentage points since 2010?

    IT seems 1 of those 5 percentage points stopped watching tv then. And it would also mean that in 2010 0% used internet exclusively for tv content.


    Eh cable is a great deal for the right households and thus this "move" towards internet tv will only go so far as it is right now.

    I've run the math many times for "cutting the cord" and it has never made sense.

    It only makes sense if you don't watch sports, live alone and don't watch much tv. OR just want to stick to the man. :D
     
  6. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    Two different measures. Of all US households, 88% had some form of multichannel video service in 2010. By 2013 that had dropped to 83% (each 1% represents about 1.2 million households). As a separate measure, 28% of all US households get at least some video via the internet (whether they have cable or not), and 4% of all US households say they ONLY use streaming services. That 4% is not neccessarily derived from the 5% that dropped cable, but comes from the 17% that didn't have any cable or satellite subscriptions in 2013.

    And the 17% aren't neccessarily not watching TV, they could just be watching OTA only.
     
  7. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Historically, the split was about 20/60/20 OTA/cable/satellite. Not sure where the trend is going, other than that telcoTV is eating up a little bit of cable marketshare. Which is also a weird measure, since it's based on what company is behind it, as FIOS is cable, and Verizon is more like Comcast than RCN or WOW, but I digress.
     
  8. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Yeah currently they count FIOS as a teleco which isn't really fare. It's basically identical to cable in it's current form. AT&T uverse is different but they only have 2.1M subscribers, so they don't even account for 2%
     
  9. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    At the end of 1Q2014, Uverse had 5.7 million TV customers and 11 million internet customers. And 4.1 million voice customers.

    "....SERVICE GROWTH: U-verse hits 11.3 million total subscribers ? 5.7 million U-verse TV customers. ? 4.1 million U-verse Voice connections. ? 11.0 million U-verse High Speed Internet customers. ? AT&T U-verse bundles available in 142 markets (MSAs) across 22 states. ? About 90 percent of U-verse TV sales in the first quarter also included High Speed Internet. ? About two-thirds of U-verse TV customers have a triple- or quad-play bundle. ? AT&T U-verse now has annualized total revenues of nearly $14 billion. ? About 60 percent of U-verse broadband subscribers have a plan delivering speeds up to 12 Mbps or higher (as of 1Q14). SERVICE EVOLUTION: Continued innovation in apps and speed ? Introduced the U-verse KIDS! app, a smartphone and tablet application that displays kid-friendly channels and remote controls for the TV**. ? Added even more live TV channels to the U-verse App for smartphones and tablets. ? Brought customers closer to Sochi with the U-verse Olympic TV App, an on-screen interactive app with NBCUniversal's real-time medal counts, athlete bios, Team USA reports, Olympic news and more. ? Announced plans to expand AT&T's ultra-fast fiber network to up to 100 candidate cities and municipalities nationwide, including 21 new major metropolitan areas. ? Launched open APIs for the Android platform that will help developers create more unique apps for U-verse TV. U-verse Update: 1Q14 AT&T U-verse Reports Record Wireline Consumer Revenue Growth U-verse TV Subscribers in Service (in millions) U....."
     
  10. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    I'm not so sure that I would go that far, as Verizon is still a telco. My point is just that it's a really weird way to count. I would almost say the most valuable way to count would be cable incumbent, cable overbuilders, and telcoTV. Although that's still a flawed measure, since it doesn't tell you anything about the market share of telcos or overbuilders in the areas that they actually serve, since cable is everywhere telcos are, but telcos definitely aren't everywhere cable is, sometimes by town or region, and sometimes by street or building.

    U-Verse is a weird case too, as there are still a ton of crossboxes that don't have VRADs but are in towns that have U-Verse, so they would be really easy expansion targets, as the rest of the infrastructure is already there. FIOS isn't as easy to expand, and is only seeing meaningful expansion in NYC.

    That's very interesting. I'm not sure how I feel about U-Verse doing so well. On the one hand, I wish it was a complete flop because they implemented such inferior infrastructure. On the other hand, it's good to see the cable companies get some fires lit under the asses to get them moving on upgrades, even if I myself would never consider U-Verse, even aside from their lack of support for TiVo.

    I'd like U-Verse a lot more if AT&T would step up to the plate and push the fiber farther out. Many places in CT are all overhead and are really low-hanging fruit for full GPON rollouts, and many neighborhoods that are underground could have VRADs installed close to where the copper goes under, which, combined with pair bonding, would push the speeds way up. The same goes for MDUs, where they could push FTTB out, basically a pair-bonded VRAD in the building, which should get some pretty impressive pair bonded speeds. Any of those solutions would also allow them to have a second, higher bitrate set of HDs that didn't look like total crap.
     
  11. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I must have been looking at older numbers. But 5.7M is still only about 4-5%.

    Verizon the company may be a telco, but FIOS is basically just cable over fiber instead of coax. The linear TV channels are still multi-cast over fiber using standard QAM, so really the only difference is electrons vs photons delivering the signal.

    And, with most cable companies offering phones now, should we really be distinguishing between them? They're all just MSOs now.
     
  12. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Isn't Comcast the third largest home phone provider now?
     
  13. mattack

    mattack Active Member

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    I'm mostly fine with that *if* there's a way (that costs MUCH MUCH less than the single show price on e.g. Amazon) to do it without commercials.
     
  14. trip1eX

    trip1eX Active Member

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    Ok that makes sense. Have cable and satellite companies as a whole had a 5% percentage point drop in subscribers since 2010? The numbers should match right?

    Anyway what bugged about the stats is I would expect just what you reported. IT seems natural that given other options to watch tv content that it wouldn't help cable companies. And that more people would stream tv content and more would do only streaming. And less would subscribe to cable. Would we really expect anything else?

    The big assumption would be assuming this is a larger trend that applies to every household.

    Because it seems natural to me that the people most likely not subscribing to cable or satellite are the consumers who weren't a good fit for the cable/satellite business model.

    And naturally these consumers would the people that didn't watch a ton of tv in the first place. or live alone. or really can't afford cable and so are fine with paying less for less content or older content. Or maybe they would rather not split up a cable bill with roomates as roomates and bills don't always mix well.

    The question is how many of those households are there in the marketplace?
     
  15. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    Cable companies as a whole have seen more than a 5% decline in subsciber numbers, while satellite as a whole has seen a modest increase. Combined, there numbers are down 5% from 2010 to 2013.

    You have hit upon the big question: is the increase in households without any traditional multi-channel service subscription a statistical blip or the tip of the iceberg? Nobody knows for sure, but everyone has a theory. The majority opinion seems to be that it is just the start of a trend away from linear broadcasting. The majority opinion, however, is not always correct.

    Both of my children fall into this category. They have subscriptions to Hulu and Netflix. They both pay their local cable provider for internet service but do not subscribe to cable or phone service. They get their TV entertainment from streaming, OTA broadcasting and video games. However, both are still single and spend a lot of their time out with friends. They can afford cable, but both have decided that what they would gain is not worth the cost.

    The real question is what they, and people like them, will do when they get married and have kids. The cable companies' fear that they may lose these customers forever. As a result, they are investing in the broadband parts of their business and not so much in the video distribution parts.
     
  16. trip1eX

    trip1eX Active Member

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    I think there is a trend away from linear programming. That to me is obvious because it is very natural to want to watch what you want when you want. And if you don't want that then it is extremely easy to fake/simulate linear programming if you already have on-demand.


    But I don't think this data indicates a trend away from cable/satellite companies. For one thing cable has had on-demand tech in their labs for over 15 years at least. And we've had dvrs about as long as well. so the cable/satellite vs alternatives isn't so much about linear vs on-demand. It's about the buffet vs ordering just what you want. It's about paying less to satisfy your tv viewing habit.

    And so all that these numbers indicate to me is the various alternative viewing options make financial sense for some small portion of households out there. Right now some customers have figured out the math for cable/satellite doesn't work for them compared to those alternative options.

    IF your kids get married and you become a grandma then the cable/satellite math will change for them. And their decision might change with it.

    Of course the cable/satellite tv business also won't sit still. Who knows how they adapt. Offer a larger range of packages. Or show how you can by with a cheaper internet package if you're getting most of your video through a cable package.

    On the other hand, it does seem pretty easy to see, given today's tech, how cable could easily become a dumb pipe in the distant future.

    I mean look at a company like HBO. HBOGo could be viewed as a trojan horse.

    AS they work on that and refine it and as internet speeds grow and grow then what is stopping them from eventually just going to directly to the consumer? And not requiring a cable subscription?

    Eventually that math will probably work out for HBO.

    At the same time it is easy to see how people will probably get annoyed eventually at having 20 different apps for watching their tv shows. And that someone will come up with this great idea of aggregating the content and selling it as a package to the consumer at one low price.
     
  17. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Yeah, I know, that's why I said it's a weird classification, given how radically different U-Verse and FIOS are. FIOS could easily adopt U-Verse's IPTV model, but obviously U-Verse can't deliver cableTV.

    They come from a different background, and as a result have very different capabilities today. Telcos are also given a free pass on requirements to build out a whole municipality or zip code with TV and internet, whereas the cable companies often have to build out for TV. The telcos also have their legacy copper weighing them down. Even AT&T could get rid of the core of their copper plants and just keep the copper downstream of the VRADs if regulators let them. IMHO, it's time for regulators to take a hard stance on wireline abandonment, but allow a 1 for 1 swap of copper for fiber to encourage further development of U-Verse and FIOS.

    When they get married and settle down, as long as the content is locked up on cable, they will subscribe to cable.

    As long as the content stays locked up, then what we're seeing is people who didn't really watch much TV in the first place cancel their TV subscriptions, and the market will more truly reflect how large it really is.

    The cable losses are mostly to telcoTV and satellite, not to cord cutting. TelcoTV is particularly troublesome for them, since the telcos can do triple play bundles. However, there are so many areas where cable is an ironclad monopoly that they don't have much to worry about.
     
  18. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    The cable companies (and most of us) would love to have your level of certainty about the future.
     
  19. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I agree with this. In fact I would go as far as governments giving grants or 0% loans to fund the expansion of fiber.

    That is true here. At least where high speed internet is concerned. The only other option is 6Mbps DSL from AT&T, and that's not even really 6Mbps unless you have a pristine connection. So cable is the only option if you want streaming video.
     
  20. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Well, that assumes that the good content stays locked up on cable. If HBO and ESPN both break free and offer their own OTT offering, then all hell breaks loose. But so long as the content is locked up, the subscribers don't have any option, and cable will still have subs. Of course, cable owns the only pipe in many places, so they can just jack up their internet prices if people start dropping cable TV in droves. The margins on cable TV are far lower than on internet, so even a modest price hike on the internet would make up for the lost profit (which is all that matters, losing a bunch of revenue that just goes out to carriage fees is a net-zero), and put them right back where they are today.
     

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