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Old 05-01-2014, 06:21 PM   #1
Johncv
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AT&T talks merger with DirecTV

Is this good/bad for TiVo:


http://www.fiercecable.com/story/rep...ource=internal
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:45 PM   #2
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Don't think it will really effect TiVo. The DirecTiVo is way out of date compared to the Premier/Roamio units and AT&T U-verse is exempt from CableCARD rules so they aren't compatible with TiVo anyway.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:01 PM   #3
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I have a friend at work that switched from DirecTV to U-Verse just recently. Apparently U-Verse is a lot better than last time I checked on it since he said he didn't notice much of any picture quality degradation and he claims to have run a test where he was recording 4 HD channels at once and streaming an HD Netflix title all at the same time, which I told him I didn't think was possible given bandwidth limitations. My brief research seems to show that the top AT&T broadband tier over copper is 32 Mbps downstream (5 Mbps up) to share between Internet & TV.

So I think U-Verse may be a viable competitor now and there's no technical reason why TiVo could not strike a deal with them. I think the AT&T model of video over IP is going to eventually take over the video over QAM model, especially since the cable providers are the largest broadband providers.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:09 PM   #4
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Yeah they're not using regular DSL in U-verse areas. They're using VDSL, which is fiber to the pole and then copper to the house. As long as the copper run is less then 1000' they can get very high data rates. (I think it's like 60Mbps) Since they are using H.264 an HD station should only require 8-10Mbps, which means there is easily enough bandwidth for your friend's test.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:13 PM   #5
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Since they are using H.264 an HD station should only require 8-10Mbps, which means there is easily enough bandwidth for your friend's test.
I think ATT compresses it down to 5-6Mbps, which is why their HD quality is pretty much the absolute worst. They just don't have enough bandwidth to do decent internet and HDTV video streams at the same time.

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Old 05-01-2014, 07:23 PM   #6
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Maybe that's why they want DirecTV. If they can shift the TV over to DSS and then use the VDSL for internet and VOD it would make them more competitive with the cable companies.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:39 PM   #7
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Maybe that's why they want DirecTV. If they can shift the TV over to DSS and then use the VDSL for internet and VOD it would make them more competitive with the cable companies.
Probably, but it should never be allowed to happen by the regulators. If AT&T wants to compete, buying DirecTV for $40 billion is NOT the answer. Just think of how much FTTH they could deploy for $40 billion. The problem is that AT&T isn't interested in competing. It just wants to take the easy way out and reduce competition at the same time so it can jack up prices and screw over consumers to max out its profits.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:39 PM   #8
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I think ATT compresses it down to 5-6Mbps, which is why their HD quality is pretty much the absolute worst.
That was my thinking as well, but remember it is H.264 and Netflix Super HD streams max out around 6 Mbps and look remarkably good (better than many "HD" mpeg2 channels in my cable lineup).
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:40 PM   #9
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I'm still on the fence about this merger, but I think this might be good in some ways. Mainly because it could then possibly allow "bundle" deals that could compete better with cable companies. I am with Comcast and currently have a "double play" package (internet and TV for $99). This allows for a big discount over trying to go with DirectTV and Uverse internet independently.

I have looked into switching over to DirecTV, but if I did, internet only with Comcast would increase too much to basically void any savings. And going with Uverse internet along with DirecTV would be more expensive as well. It never made any sense for my needs. Having DirecTV and AT&T officially merged could hopefully bring some better prices & competition.

Of course, from my understanding, ANY DSL still can't compete with cable internet either. Uverse in my area caps out at 18Mbs. Comcast just upgraded my internet for free to 105Mbs so it could still be a challenge if they merge. Although, I recently did read an article how AT&T is moving forward with their "gigapower" technology so maybe its possible, but would still be a game of catch up.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:45 PM   #10
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I'm still on the fence about this merger, but I think this might be good in some ways. Mainly because it could then possibly allow "bundle" deals that could compete better with cable companies. I am with Comcast and currently have a "double play" package (internet and TV for $99). This allows for a big discount over trying to go with DirectTV and Uverse internet independently.

I have looked into switching over to DirecTV, but if I did, internet only with Comcast would increase too much to basically void any savings. And going with Uverse internet along with DirecTV would be more expensive as well. It never made any sense for my needs. Having DirecTV and AT&T officially merged could hopefully bring some better prices & competition.

Of course, from my understanding, ANY DSL still can't compete with cable internet either. Uverse in my area caps out at 18Mbs. Comcast just upgraded my internet for free to 105Mbs so it could still be a challenge if they merge. Although, I recently did read an article how AT&T is moving forward with their "gigapower" technology so maybe its possible, but would still be a game of catch up.
No, no, and just no. AT&T should be deploying FTTH, not reducing competition by buying up a major competitor in the paid TV market.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:00 PM   #11
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AT&T will never do fiber to the home. They have some token deployments that they've talked about but if they have more than 100,000 subscribers on Gigapower in 5 years, I'll eat my hat.

AT&T's end goal is to move everyone over to LTE, except where they've already spent money on U-Verse. They've stopped additional deployments with no sign of starting again.

Over time DirecTV would morph into just another pipe for AT&T to deliver bits to you. It's an infinitely more efficient way to broadcast data, particularly video. They could put an LTE modem in every set top box so that they all have two way capability.

Whether they buy DirecTV or not, you can forget about deploying FTTH.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:13 PM   #12
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Whether they buy DirecTV or not, you can forget about deploying FTTH.
If that is their final decision, then fine. If they won't do it, eventually someone else will and all of AT&T's wirelines can just wither away and die a slow death. But we certainly can't reward their poor decision not to deploy FTTH by allowing them to buy up DirecTV. That would just be idiotic.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:05 PM   #13
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If that is their final decision, then fine. If they won't do it, eventually someone else will and all of AT&T's wirelines can just wither away and die a slow death. But we certainly can't reward their poor decision not to deploy FTTH by allowing them to buy up DirecTV. That would just be idiotic.
Uh, they *are* a private company, they can kind of do what they want with their money if it won't result in a monopoly (which this wouldn't). Saying they have to build out FTTH in order to be allowed to buy DirecTV makes no sense.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:45 PM   #14
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Uh, they *are* a private company, they can kind of do what they want with their money if it won't result in a monopoly (which this wouldn't). Saying they have to build out FTTH in order to be allowed to buy DirecTV makes no sense.
Great, well while our incompetent/corrupt regulators over at the FCC are letting Comcast/NBC Universal buy Time Warner Cable, letting AT&T buy DirecTV, and letting Sprint buy T-Mobile and Dish Network, maybe they can get Disney/ABC/ESPN to buy Verizon too. With net neutrality relegated to the dustbin of history, all those mergers will certainly be great for corporate executives and shareholders, not to mention the future private sector job prospects for FCC employees. If I didn't know any better, I would swear that we must have a Republican in the White House. God bless the United Corporations of Amerika.

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Old 05-01-2014, 11:55 PM   #15
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I don't think it's that bad of an idea. U-Verse isn't really in that many markets, and building it out to support the same number of subscribers as DirecTV would cost significantly more then $40B. FTTH is a good idea, but it's really, really, expensive. With DirecTV in the fold it allows AT&T to be completely wireless. They can use DSS for TV, LTE for internet and cellular for phone. And in areas that support it they could roll in U-Verse for internet (less latency and higher speeds) and POTS for phone.

It actually makes quite a bit of sense and if anything will put more pressure on cable companies to lower prices. As it is now the only way to get all the services cable offers is by paying at least 2 different companies. Having a direct competitor that offers all the same services could only be a good thing.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:09 AM   #16
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I don't think it's that bad of an idea. U-Verse isn't really in that many markets
U-verse currently has about 11 million subscribers, which is more than FIOS has and about the same number as Time Warner Cable, the second largest cable company in the country.


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and building it out to support the same number of subscribers as DirecTV would cost significantly more then $40B.
So let's see here. It would cost AT&T approximately $1,000/home to build out FTTH, so $40 billion could get them 40 million customers. DirecTV has about 20 million subscribers, so if AT&T buys DirecTV for $40 billion, then they would pay about $2,000/subscriber.

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Old 05-02-2014, 01:30 AM   #17
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So let's see here. It would cost AT&T approximately $1,000/home to build out FTTH, so $40 billion could get them 40 million customers. DirecTV has about 20 million subscribers, so if AT&T buys DirecTV for $40 billion, then they would pay about $2,000/subscriber.
I meant potential subscribers. See it costs AT&T $1,000 per home to do FTTH, but with DSS the costs are virtually $0. There are some equipment and installation costs, but those are typically recouped up front or via a monthly fee.

AT&T is a huge corporation. Their one and only goal is money. They would not even consider this if FTTH was cheaper.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:43 AM   #18
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I meant potential subscribers. See it costs AT&T $1,000 per home to do FTTH, but with DSS the costs are virtually $0. There are some equipment and installation costs, but those are typically recouped up front or via a monthly fee.

AT&T is a huge corporation. Their one and only goal is money. They would not even consider this if FTTH was cheaper.
Cheaper is not always better, especially in the long run. The main problem here is short-term thinking. Wall street bankers have made corporate executives become obsessed with the profits of the next quarter rather than the profits for the next 50 years. We need corporate profits to be based on sound, long-term investments in this country's future, rather than corporations seeing how much they can screw over their customers to make a quick buck for the next quarterly statement.

The government should absolutely not allow AT&T to buy DirecTV, as it would reduce competition and be detrimental to consumers in the long term. And if AT&T won't invest in a FTTH network for the 21st century, then federal, state, and local governments should be investing to build out their own FTTH networks to compete directly with U-verse and run them into the ground. We have let large corporations get away with murder in this country for decades, and it's time to put a stop to it.

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Old 05-02-2014, 01:55 AM   #19
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I don't think the government has a standing for blocking this merger. They're two completely separate companies with very little overlap, so they wont be creating a monopoly. This is much, much, less of a threat then Comcast buying TWC, and that looks like it's going to clear.

Although I agree that local governments should be investing in FTTH. A few towns/cities have done it and then leased the rights to use the fiber to service providers. But because the fiber is owned by the public the prices are much lower. That's something I'd like to see my town do.
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Old 05-02-2014, 02:03 AM   #20
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Although I agree that local governments should be investing in FTTH. A few towns/cities have done it and then leased the rights to use the fiber to service providers. But because the fiber is owned by the public the prices are much lower. That's something I'd like to see my town do.
Yes, I would like to see that too. I just hope you don't live in one of the 20-something states where Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable have managed to bribe state legislators into passing laws making it illegal for municipalities to build out their own fiber networks. Sadly, my state is one of them.

In related news, all four of the Republicans running in the primary for the U.S. Senate seat in my state all said this week in a debate that they oppose net neutrality and would not allow the federal government to intervene in the business interests of cable and phone companies. But I'm sure that the campaign donations from AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon had nothing to do with their stance on the issue. You gotta love Republicans.

http://stopthecap.com/2014/05/01/nor...et-neutrality/

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Old 05-02-2014, 02:31 AM   #21
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I do, but according to this...

http://arstechnica.com/business/2014...cc-chair-says/

the FCC is going to invalidate those laws.
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Old 05-02-2014, 06:56 AM   #22
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Great, well while our incompetent/corrupt regulators over at the FCC are letting Comcast/NBC Universal buy Time Warner Cable, letting AT&T buy DirecTV, and letting Sprint buy T-Mobile and Dish Network, maybe they can get Disney/ABC/ESPN to buy Verizon too. With net neutrality relegated to the dustbin of history, all those mergers will certainly be great for corporate executives and shareholders, not to mention the future private sector job prospects for FCC employees. If I didn't know any better, I would swear that we must have a Republican in the White House. God bless the United Corporations of Amerika.
AT&T/DirecTV is a completely different animal than Comcast/TWC or anything else. AT&T and DirecTV overlap very little. DirecTV doesn't compete with AT&T in wireless, wireline broadband, or telephone service. They only compete in MVPD service, and the combined AT&T/DirecTV would still have fewer customers under the FCC's previous rules, rules that were ruled unconstitutional. I was a two time Obama voter, but even I can't see the regulatory justification for denying AT&T/DirecTV (but there are a host of reasons not to allow TWC/Comcast, even though I think that one will make it through too)

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U-verse currently has about 11 million subscribers, which is more than FIOS has and about the same number as Time Warner Cable, the second largest cable company in the country.


So let's see here. It would cost AT&T approximately $1,000/home to build out FTTH, so $40 billion could get them 40 million customers. DirecTV has about 20 million subscribers, so if AT&T buys DirecTV for $40 billion, then they would pay about $2,000/subscriber.
AT&T only has around 5 million video subscribers on U-Verse. That's the only number that matters. Internet-only U-Verse subscribers don't count because DirecTV doesn't offer any internet services. AT&T is currently the 7th largest MVPD, not the second or third. A combined AT&T/DirecTV would be the second largest, if Comcast/TWC happens. DirecTV is currently second already.

And where did you get the number for how much it would cost to build out FTTH? The difference between sinking that $40 billion into capital expenditures and sinking it into DirecTV is that DirecTV is already generating cash flow and profits. Spending the $40 billion on burying fiber means that they have to wait to see any money, if they see any at all (since the max penetration is generally around 30%...a lot of the fiber they put into the ground will never be used).

I live in an AT&T state, I would LOVE to see fiber to the home, but I am also realistic and understand why AT&T would rather go after DirecTV. I also understand that there's not really much that the government can do to force AT&T to do one thing vs. another. We still live in a free society and private companies are free to spend their capital how they wish.
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:39 AM   #23
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My basic view is we are heading to few (3 or 4) large companies that deliver all these services (Pay TV, Wired & Wireless Internet access, and telephone via wired & wireless services). I hope we end up with 4 but we could only have 3 depends on what happens in the wireless arena.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:40 AM   #24
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I do, but according to this...

http://arstechnica.com/business/2014...cc-chair-says/

the FCC is going to invalidate those laws.
LOL yeah right. I'll believe that when I see it happen.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:43 AM   #25
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And where did you get the number for how much it would cost to build out FTTH?
http://fastnetnews.com/fiber-news/17...uick-and-dirty


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I live in an AT&T state, I would LOVE to see fiber to the home, but I am also realistic and understand why AT&T would rather go after DirecTV. I also understand that there's not really much that the government can do to force AT&T to do one thing vs. another. We still live in a free society and private companies are free to spend their capital how they wish.
Yeah there is very little the government can do to enroucage AT&T to do the right thing. Except killing any mergers/acquisitions they want to do, classify them as common carriers, put them under government regulated pricing, taking away their tax deductions/credits, revoke their wireless spectrum licenses, forcefully break up the company under antitrust laws. Yeah the government is simply powerless to influence their behavior.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:26 AM   #26
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http://fastnetnews.com/fiber-news/17...uick-and-dirty




Yeah there is very little the government can do to enroucage AT&T to do the right thing. Except killing any mergers/acquisitions they want to do, classify them as common carriers, put them under government regulated pricing, taking away their tax deductions/credits, revoke their wireless spectrum licenses, forcefully break up the company under antitrust laws. Yeah the government is simply powerless to influence their behavior.
The government has to have a compelling reason to kill a given merger. To force AT&T to expand FTTH is not a valid reason they shouldn't be able to buy DirecTV.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:47 AM   #27
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The government has to have a compelling reason to kill a given merger. To force AT&T to expand FTTH is not a valid reason they shouldn't be able to buy DirecTV.
Sure it is.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:20 PM   #28
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Sure it is.
In your mind it might be, but under the laws of the United States it is not.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:58 PM   #29
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In your mind it might be, but under the laws of the United States it is not.
Laws can (and should) be changed.

But even under current law, I think the standard is whether or not the merger will reduce competition and hurt consumers. There is no doubt that this merger would indeed reduce competition. Right now I can get TV from either Time Warner Cable, Dish Network, DirecTV, or AT&T U-verse. A merger between DirecTV and AT&T would reduce my choices from 4 to 3. Coincidentally, that is the same amount that competition would have been reduced for me in wireless if AT&T had been allowed to merge with T-Mobile. That merger, thankfully, was stopped by regulators. If going from 4 to 3 competitors in the wireless market was seen as an unacceptable reduction in competition, then I certainly think going from 4 to 3 paid TV competitors should be also.

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Old 05-02-2014, 02:32 PM   #30
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AT&T buying DirecTV!! Human sacrifice!!! Dogs and cats living together!!! Mass hysteria!!!

Well, if it happens, it will just confirm my switch to FiOS and Roamios.
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