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Old 01-07-2014, 01:47 PM   #1
bradleys
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Sony announces cloud-based TV service with live TV, DVR, and video on demand

I wanted to bring this into a separate conversation - I think it makes sense to discuss this and consider the technology / competition.

http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/7/528...and/in/5046387

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We were expecting Sony to launch something like PlayStation Now, which is cloud-based streaming for games. But Sony seems to have larger ambitions, launching a TV service that will provide live television, video on demand, and even DVR in the cloud. It will offer universal search "across live and on-demand video content" — letting you just keep your content in Sony's cloud and use it across all of your Sony gadgets — in fact, the company says it will work on 70 million Sony devices. That presumably includes the PS4, PS3, Vita, smart TVs, and Android devices. It's not clear at all what Sony means by "live TV" yet — building an all-in-one service like this is fraught with complications with studios, cable companies, and has been a big target for lawsuits.
Any thoughts on the technology? Do you think Sony has the muscle with MSO's to develop an IP delivery model for Live TV? Do you think Microsoft will be following with similar tech on the Xbox One?

Do you think this is a threat to TiVo? Any other random thoughts?
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:49 PM   #2
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Sony isn't going to the MSOs with this. This is completely separately licensed and delivered over the internet. That's why this isn't really relevant to TiVo, except that it is a possible avenue for people to drop their cable subscriptions.
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:53 PM   #3
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Sony isn't going to the MSOs with this. This is completely separately licensed and delivered over the internet. That's why this isn't really relevant to TiVo, except that it is a possible avenue for people to drop their cable subscriptions.
What aproach would Sony use to offer "Live" TV?

Are you suggesting that they would become an MSO in their own right? Purchasing the rights to present content from content owners and providing an access channel via their connected systems?

Interesting thought, not sure what legal hurdles they would have to jump over, but interesting. Adding a "pricing menu" just for fun:


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Old 01-07-2014, 01:58 PM   #4
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Are you suggesting that they would become an MSO in their own right? Purchasing the rights to present content from content owners and providing an access channel via their connected systems?
Yes.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:01 PM   #5
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if sony's past is any indicator, the content will be restricted, and cost twice as much as competitors. they would need to reverse their current business practices in order to have any meaningful impact.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:06 PM   #6
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Yes.
That is a very interesting theory and really could be a method to get past the CableCo log jam.

I am wondering what kind of legal hurdles they would run into trying to build their own delivery model.
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:27 PM   #7
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That is a very interesting theory and really could be a method to get past the CableCo log jam.

I am wondering what kind of legal hurdles they would run into trying to build their own delivery model.
No legal problems, but they have to license all of the content they serve.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:10 AM   #8
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if sony's past is any indicator, the content will be restricted, and cost twice as much as competitors. they would need to reverse their current business practices in order to have any meaningful impact.
And if they can figure out how make it necessary to buy their hardware to use the service, no doubt they'll do that as well.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:21 AM   #9
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In a Q&A with the Sony CEO he said that their service would not compete with cable... Not sure why, but that makes me a lot less interested in their service.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:40 AM   #10
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In a Q&A with the Sony CEO he said that their service would not compete with cable... Not sure why, but that makes me a lot less interested in their service.
Because they can't. There's no way any internet video service will ever be cheaper than cable, unless they are willing to take on MASSIVE losses at the beginning to grow their scale.

Content companies charge based on how many subscribers you have, and the more subscribers the cheaper per subscriber a particular channel or piece of content. This is why Frontier tried to get rid of all their FiOS TV customers when they bought some areas from Verizon, and it's why Intel dumped their TV plans.

Additionally, the largest cable and satellite companies like Comcast, Dish, and DirecTV have what's called "most favored nation" clauses in their contracts. This means that they are entitled to the best pricing offered to ANY competing service. This means that if Time Warner, for example, wants to offer Charter HBO and Cinemax for less money than they charge Comcast, they cannot. If they offer Charter a lower rate, they are contractually obligated to offer Comcast that lower rate. No new entrant will EVER out price an incumbent in the MVPD industry. Besides, the content providers don't want prices to drop, because they get a huge percentage of the revenue. Distributers' fixed costs don't change regardless of demand or pricing, so there is a floor to how low they can go, so the only place to cut is on the content side. Why would you do a deal that made you less money?

Finally, there's distribution. Any "disruptive" service still has to be delivered to you via a company that is an incumbent in the video industry, whether it be cable or the phone company (even if you are doing it via mobile wireless, AT&T and Verizon still aren't going to be friendly to this). They can always price a competitor out of the market, either with caps or bundles. Imagine one day where the price of Internet service just includes video, whether you like it or not. Heck, I have Charter and they pay me to have their phone service (IE: it's cheaper to have phone + internet + TV instead of just internet + TV) just so they can take share away from AT&T.
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:38 AM   #11
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No legal problems, but they have to license all of the content they serve.
I think this is a lot easier for Sony than a lot of other companies that have tried and failed at this. Sony already owns a ton of content that they produced themselves. Creating a service with just Sony content would probably be enough to compete.
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:41 AM   #12
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I think this is a lot easier for Sony than a lot of other companies that have tried and failed at this. Sony already owns a ton of content that they produced themselves. Creating a service with just Sony content would probably be enough to compete.
Except that they still have to keep their existing licensees happy, and many of the contracts they have with those licensees would prevent Sony from using that content on their own service.

If you were HBO, why would you pay Sony for their content when they're running a competing service for a lower price?
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:31 PM   #13
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Because they can't. There's no way any internet video service will ever be cheaper than cable, unless they are willing to take on MASSIVE losses at the beginning to grow their scale.
I actually work for one of the big cable networks here in Atlanta and I hate to say it, but this is TOTALLY true. A-la-cart will most likely never see the light of day. Or at least anytime soon. And if it actually does in some fashion, it won't be a "value" either.

Apple has been TRYING to crack the TV code for YEARS with no success. EVERY year I read stories about how Apple is coming out with a TV and TV service, but it never happens. They are one of the biggest media related companies on the planet too so if anybody could have done it, they would. Not even Steve Job's charm was enough to swoon all the content providers into some sort of deal.

Last year there was big news that Intel was entering the game with their own IP based set-top box & possible a-la-cart programming. That eventually never happened either and ultimately folded as well (or was being sold off in parts to Verizon).

Bottom line is the cable companies and networks are all in bed together and like the way it works. Why kill a cash cow if you don't have to. Or at least delay it as long as possible. Not to mention that they do not want to give up control of their content to companies like Apple. They learned from & are fighting off what happen with the music industry and avoiding a potential scenario like that like the plague.

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Old 01-08-2014, 12:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by bradleys View Post
I wanted to bring this into a separate conversation - I think it makes sense to discuss this and consider the technology / competition.

http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/7/528...and/in/5046387



Any thoughts on the technology? Do you think Sony has the muscle with MSO's to develop an IP delivery model for Live TV? Do you think Microsoft will be following with similar tech on the Xbox One?

Do you think this is a threat to TiVo? Any other random thoughts?
I know the last thing I want is Live TV. FiOS has an app on the XBOne but all it does it make it seem like I'm watching TVs back in the 70's. With no way to pause, rew, etc.
Now VOD streaming would be useful, but using the Live TV streaming is too much like it was watching TV decades ago.
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:18 PM   #15
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I actually work for one of the big cable networks here in Atlanta and I hate to say it, but this is TOTALLY true. A-la-cart will most likely never see the light of day. Or at least anytime soon. And if it actually does in some fashion, it won't be a "value" either.

Apple has been TRYING to crack the TV code for YEARS with no success. EVERY year I read stories about how Apple is coming out with a TV and TV service, but it never happens. They are one of the biggest companies on the planet too so if anybody could have done it, they would. Not even Steve Job's charm was enough to swoon all the content providers into some sort of deal.

Last year there was big news that Intel was entering the game with their own set-top box & possible a-la-cart programming. That eventually never happened either and ultimately folded as well (or was being sold off in parts to Verizon).

Bottom line is the cable companies and networks are all in bed together and like the way it works. Why kill a cash cow if you don't have to. Not to mention that they do not want to give up control of their content to companies like Apple. They learned from & are fighting off what happen with the music industry and avoiding a potential scenario like that like the plague.
I think people are trying to do it at the wrong end. Everyone wants to sell the content themselves, but for all the reasons stated that will never work.

Apple, Sony, Intel, etc all need to join with TiVo, Best Buy, and whoever is pushing the AllVid initiative and work on it from that end of things. If the cable and other content provider companies want exclusivity, then we need to treat them like the utilities they are. I don't mind buying my channels from Charter, but I don't want to use their interface. It's not that I want a "diversity of devices" I want a diversity of interfaces. That's where the real "revolution" will be, in creating devices that make it a better experience, not necessarily cheaper or by being delivered over the public internet.

There's still room for an Apple TV, but they can't do it the way Apple likes to do things. They'll have to get some partners on board or get some regulations changed.
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:01 AM   #16
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There's still room for an Apple TV, but they can't do it the way Apple likes to do things. They'll have to get some partners on board or get some regulations changed.
Yea, I think another big problem too is all these cable network channels aren't simply owned by one company each. Time Warner owns CNN, TCM, TNT, TBS and Cartoon so when they sell their channels to cable companies, they basically sell them in a bundle; if you want CNN, you HAVE to also pay extra to have TCM. This is basically what helps prop up the less popular channels & adds more value on the consumer end in terms of cable subscriptions.

No cable network company is gonna allow that cash cow to be disrupted and offer a single channel at a single cost. It would be cutting their own throats. Not to mention it would also threaten their relationships with the current Cable companies (who are STILL a big source of revenue) as they would put up a fuss and potentially want the same kind of deals for their subscribers. Could then threaten future contract negotiations as well.

While maybe not popular with consumers, I am sure they are in the mind set & attitude of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" Sucks, but its just the way it is and will be for some time to come and as long as they can keep it this way.

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Old 01-09-2014, 09:23 AM   #17
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...........
No cable network company is gonna allow that cash cow to be disrupted and offer a single channel at a single cost. It would be cutting their own throats.
...........
While maybe not popular with consumers, I am sure they are in the mind set & attitude of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" Sucks, but its just the way it is and will be for some time to come and as long as they can keep it this way.
True except the proper description is "not popular with some consumers", e.g., such as TC forum members.

Consumers are still ultimately in control. If the current situation becomes sufficiently unpopular with enough consumers, they will cut the cord in massive numbers (not just the slow current trend) and the cable cos and other players will change so as to achieve more profit. Right now there aren't enough consumers who are that unhappy, partly due to their general apathy about the situation (being distracted by other issues in their lives like keeping a job, etc. )
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:51 AM   #18
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True except the proper description is "not popular with some consumers", e.g., such as TC forum members.

Consumers are still ultimately in control. If the current situation becomes sufficiently unpopular with enough consumers, they will cut the cord in massive numbers (not just the slow current trend) and the cable cos and other players will change so as to achieve more profit. Right now there aren't enough consumers who are that unhappy, partly due to their general apathy about the situation (being distracted by other issues in their lives like keeping a job, etc. )
Yea, maybe, but the current situation isn't unpopular enough to make a huge shift just yet. Like you said, there aren't really enough unhappuy consumers to warrant a major shift. Yes, maybe in the future, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

I also think the industry somewhat slowed down the bleeding by offering Cable customers the option of content on their portable devices. While still no real significant "live" out of home streaming is available to fully threaten subscriptions, the "TV EVERYWHERE" initiative (verifying you are a cable subscriber for use with certain apps that can also allow some out-of-home streaming of live channels) made it more attractive for people to keep their subscriptions.
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:55 AM   #19
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I think the cord cutting "revolution" is a little overstated. Comcast announced positive video additions last quarter and DirecTV, Dish, and the telephone guys have been adding video customers forever (though some of them are slowing). Cable has been losing customers because cable has historically sucked, but most of the big guys are turning it around and at least trying to improve the service, even if in ways that those of us who like to tinker and appreciate a product like TiVo don't necessarily like.
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:30 AM   #20
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I know some here would disagree, but I am with Comcast and overall am pretty happy. Now, I do have to call every November and threaten to cancel my cable TV. They then give me back the double play rate of $89 I was getting before. Its for their highest cable TV package and 25Mbs internet speeds. This year they actually threw in HBO for free for the next 12 months.

I suspect I will have to keep calling every November, but once per year isn't too bad in order to get this rate. Along with getting my 4 TiVo cable cards at only $1.50/month each, I can live with what I am paying and have been happy with the service.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:23 AM   #21
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Ultimately the cable box,including Tivo boxes will become obsolete.

Cloud based live tv ,cloud dvr with mobile apps,and premium content are the future.

Google,Apple,Sony ,etc will ultimately break into the tv business once they get the licenses for the content. I know that won't be easy but someone or multiple companies will get this done .
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:08 PM   #22
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Ultimately the cable box,including Tivo boxes will become obsolete.

Cloud based live tv ,cloud dvr with mobile apps,and premium content are the future.

Google,Apple,Sony ,etc will ultimately break into the tv business once they get the licenses for the content. I know that won't be easy but someone or multiple companies will get this done .
Yea, I agree. Look for it to fully roll out some time in 2027
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Old 01-10-2014, 03:20 PM   #23
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Yea, I agree. Look for it to fully roll out some time in 2027
I doubt it takes that long .Give it 5 years or less.
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Old 01-10-2014, 07:38 PM   #24
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Ultimately the cable box,including Tivo boxes will become obsolete.

Cloud based live tv ,cloud dvr with mobile apps,and premium content are the future.

Google,Apple,Sony ,etc will ultimately break into the tv business once they get the licenses for the content. I know that won't be easy but someone or multiple companies will get this done .
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I doubt it takes that long .Give it 5 years or less.
The only way broad based Cloud DVR or IP delivery can happen is if the cable companies allow it, because for the most part they control High speed internet access and I can give you a near 100% assurance that they are not going to allow their cable business to be destroyed without replacing the revenue somehow. TiVo's idea of working with the cable companies to help them provide the service is the only thing that really makes sense. As someone who does not have access to reliable high speed Internet (supposed to have 6Mbps DSL but it is more like 1.5Mbps in the evening because Frontier does not have the capacity needed to maintain that speed) I can assure you without cable companies providing the high speed access most people have no ability to use any cloud service. All cable companies would have to do is allow their networks to overload and slow down the same as my DSL and any third party cloud DVR provider would be gone. So yes I expect this to happen, but I also expect the services is going to be coming from your cable provider and you are still going to have to have cable to use it.
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Old 01-10-2014, 08:12 PM   #25
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The problem with cloud based TV is that it isn't as efficient on the delivery side. I know we are coming a long way towards removing bandwidth constraints, but they will almost always be there in some capacity. The reason that Netflix, Hulu, etc work is that not everyone is watching the services at the same time. They have around 30 million subscribers. To double that would be a significant drag on the network, and to outright replace TV with cloud based delivery would make that even worse (most Netflix subscribers still have other video providers, including Cable and Satellite).

I'd love to see it, I really would. I'd even be willing to pay more to be able to access EVERY new release movie over the streaming service (DVD release window, not theatrical) and every past season of every TV show. But I think we NEED other forms of delivery, or it will suffer for all at peak times.
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