Is TiVo in trouble?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Sparky1234, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. Apr 7, 2019 #301 of 350
    sangs

    sangs Active Member

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    I hope Verizon keeps not caring about the TV market, because it's easily been the best service - TV and internet - I've ever had. If my wife ever decides to divorce me, she can have the kids and the dogs, as long as I get to keep FiOS. I kid, I kid! Only, not so much. :)
     
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  2. Apr 7, 2019 #302 of 350
    mntvjunkie

    mntvjunkie Active Member

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    I think Comcast is closer than ever before to making the switch to IPTV, and they haven't launched anything new over QAM in my market for about 4 years now. Comcast doesn't NEED to switch to an all-IPTV box in order to make the switch (and this would be odd and against the way they have done technology upgrades in the past). When they shut of old versions of DOCSIS, they had technology in the field that could do all modes, but got to a breaking point where it was cheaper to send the remaining people DOCSIS 3 hardware or force them to upgrade.

    When they went from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 for HDTV, it was a several year endeavor where they gave out gear capable of decoding both, and when it got to a tipping point (again) they sent notices to remaining people that had these boxes to come in and get new ones.

    The plan is clearly to go all IPTV at some point, if 66% of the boxes in a given market are X1, then we are probably still a few years out (In my area, I have also noticed that they have been doing a number of network upgrades over the past few years, although I don't know what those entail, I know at least some has been laying more fiber). I am part of a community group rate, and when we re-signed with them 3 years ago, they came in and ripped out all our old gear (Internet and TV) and swapped them for gateways and X1 boxes.

    Yes, I understand QAM boxes are more expensive, and they probably do want to stop deploying them sooner rather than later. But in the meantime, they probably still make money charging $10 per box per month, it just has a longer break-even time. Once they CAN move to all-ip, that will cut down the breakeven time (assuming they even have equipment to deploy and don't have apps in TV's, and consumer set top streamers with apps). They have also had a (weak) cloud DVR service here for years, so the groundwork is in place for that as well (they just need to increase the number of hours, I think it's only 20 hours right now).
     
  3. Apr 7, 2019 #303 of 350
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Their TV service is lousy these days, as their compression sucks, and video quality has tanked as a result. It's a bit of a different issue than Comcast, which is excellent at encoding, but has bit-starved their content so badly by cramming in 9 or 10 HDs per QAM that it just can't look good no matter how much CPU power they throw at the encoding. It's actually amazing that they can form a DVD-quality picture at an ostensible resolution of 720p at all with the low bitrates they are using.

    All-IPTV is a bit different since they would have to push out gateways that are IP-multicast capable. That being said, they could probably put the less popular half of HD channels and most SD channels on IPTV-only and handle them as IP unicast without significant hardware upgrades, and come out ahead from a bandwidth perspective. However, even if they move everything except the core 50 channels in HD and 70 channels in SD to IPTV, that's still only about 20 QAMs or 120mhz reclaimed, and some of that will go right back to IPTV. The smaller the nodes, the more this makes sense, since there would be fewer users using IP unicast on a node, and that bandwidth gain is per-node/CMTS. If they wanted to, they could also move some of the SD-only channels to 720p, increasing their HD tonnage while saving bandwidth.

    Fiber-deep is inevitable whether they stay with QAM or go IPTV. Moving at least half of the channels to IPTV complements fiber-deep, but one doesn't necessarily depend on the other. My old cable provider built a system that would be considered "fiber deep" in the mid-2000's, and they're still running 69 analogs in addition to SD and HD on QAM, gigabit internet, etc, but it was built as a 5-42 1ghz plant, so they have have a huge downstream bandwidth.
     
  4. Apr 7, 2019 #304 of 350
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Well, I don't know when it will happen, but when Comcast does shift towards IPTV as their main video platform, I think it will be standardized on an xFi Gateway + Xi6 set-top box. I say this because that seems to be what they've exclusively deployed in their FTTH (EPON) neighborhoods in Florida (well, they've used a combo of Xi6 and non-4K Xi5 boxes). It's also the combo that Rogers is exclusively using for their X1-based IPTV service. And lastly, it's the hardware combo that Comcast will use for their upcoming Xfinity Flex $5/mo service, which is basically Comcast's attempt to rent their own box to broadband-only subscribers to use in place of a Roku or Apple TV for streaming Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, etc.

    The UI on the Xi6 for Flex subscribers will let them add Comcast TV service at any time they like. So, more than anything, I think Flex is Comcast's backdoor attempt to get their broadband-only subs to use Comcast's own video services. I'm sure that the upcoming ad-supported NBCUniversal SVOD service will be featured prominently on it too. I'll be interested to see whether Flex lets those folks subscribe to full-scale X1 TV packages, with hundreds of channels and 100+ hours of cloud DVR storage, or whether they'll be limited to the skinny Xfinity Instant TV service.
     
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  5. Apr 7, 2019 #305 of 350
    TostitoBandito

    TostitoBandito Active Member

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    I don't have a problem paying for cable. What I have a problem with is paying for cable where the video quality is complete garbage. When I first moved to HD back in 2006 I was getting probably twice the bitrate from Comcast as I do now post-MPEG4 conversion. The 720p/1080i channels back then actually looked pretty good. Now all channels are in compressed-to-hell low bitrate 720p, in a day and age when 4K TV's are quickly gaining share and where basically everyone who has cable has a TV capable of 1080p. The quality looks about on par with what it would look like if I played a 480p DVD on my screen due to all the compression. I'm hoping that their IPTV offering will come sooner rather than later, and that it will include quality at least comparable to what I can get today via Netflix or Amazon in 4K/HDR. If there's channels which aren't available in 4K because the source isn't there, at least give them to me in high bitrate 1080p. There's also still all these SD channels taking up QAM bandwidth which I don't even have listed on my Tivo because I don't want to watch them, and it's frustrating that it's been like 15 years and they're still there taking up space and making everything else look worse.

    I'd cut the cord while I wait, but the other side of the issue is that the whole streaming world is becoming more and more fragmented and makes less and less sense as a cost saving measure versus cable. Several years ago you could basically get everything out there on two or three streaming services, plus any premium channels you wanted a la carte. Now the networks and studios are all spinning up their own streaming services with their own fees and pulling their content from the content aggregators like Netflix and Amazon. If you sit down and do the math you end paying close to what cable costs and still lose out on a bunch of content (especially certain live sports) and convenience since you now have to hop around a dozen or more different apps to watch what previously just required a channel change.

    Yay monopolies.
     
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  6. Apr 7, 2019 #306 of 350
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    I would agree, with the caveats that existing customers with XG1 and XG2 boxes will be able to keep them, and customers with an XB3 will need to upgrade to the XB6 in order to have RDK-B on DOCSIS 3.1.

    You're absolutely spot-on about video quality. Unfortunately, most consumers are oblivious or have $200 TVs from Wal-Mart, and can't tell the difference, so Comcast has over-compressed the crap out of their TV service. They are also lazy in that they compress CBR streams nationally and slot them locally, as opposed to running local or regional stat muxes to use bandwidth most efficiently.

    I've heard this argument over and over again, and it's illogical, disingenuous, and untrue. First of all, Netflix and Amazon have different content than what cable has, and that content is the stuff that's hot and what people are talking about. Most people with Netflix have cable and visa versa, so that's not a replacement to cable, it's something different. Amazon Prime Video is basically free since it comes with the 2-day shipping. HBO is basically the same price whether you get it through cable or streaming for the same content.

    What's left is cable channels, and they are very overpriced for what you get. If you truly cut the cord, and don't have cable channels, you WILL save a lot of money when you do a fair comparison. Even if you get a CoIP/cord replacement service like YouTube TV, you will still save quite a bit over traditional pay tv.

    Further, even if you have cable, you can't avoid jumping around from service to service. Sure, cable can bring together the OTA, cable, and premium channels' content, but you are still left with siloed apps for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube content, so it doesn't solve the fundamental problem of a fragmented and siloed market.
     
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  7. Apr 7, 2019 #307 of 350
    TostitoBandito

    TostitoBandito Active Member

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    I should have been more specific. The "costs" of cutting the cord while trying to get comparable coverage a la carte are things like slingtv or one of its competitors, standalone premiums (hbo, showtime, starz, etc...), network/studio streaming services (CBS, Hulu (to some extent), ESPN, Disney, etc...), and so forth. You add all that up and you might be able to get most of the content you care about, but it's fragmented all over the place and still costs nearly as much in total. That's my case. There are other versions of "cutting the cord" I suppose, like someone whos' fine with just Netflix and Amazon and maybe HBO. That's not me. I care about live sports along with access to major network/cable channel programming, so that means I have to get something like Sling to fill the gap between what I can get OTA (not much) and what I want. Yeah I'd rather be able to get my channels a la carte so I can weed out all the garbage I don't care about, but the inconvenience of doing that today via a zillion services doesn't outweigh my complaints about cable. And it's really not any cheaper. The whole exercise for me was more about whether I could get off Comcast and still get most of what I cared about without it being a giant inconvenience or expense, and the answer was no.

    If you can live with not having access to certain content, channels, or types of programming, then sure cutting cable for a barebones streaming setup is cheap and effective. The point I was trying to make earlier was that it's getting more and more expensive to get access to the same overall amount of content compared to 5+ years ago. Instead of just Netflix/Amazon/Hulu, now we've got premium apps with original content from CBS, ESPN, Disney (soon), and likely many others following after that. The Netflixes and Amazons of the world will eventually just have their original content plus whatever (mostly older) content they can get for cheap. All the major studios and networks are starting their own pay apps to try and get that revenue stream, and will gate all their content there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  8. Apr 8, 2019 #308 of 350
    chiguy50

    chiguy50 U.S. Army (ret.)

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    If you believe Comcast's published guidance on their EPON network, the requirement for an xFi gateway is only temporary.
    • Retail/Purchased Modem - Currently, you must rent a modem from Comcast, as there are no retail modems on the market that work with this new technology. We believe that this will be remedied in the future.
     
  9. Apr 8, 2019 #309 of 350
    trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    I don't view streaming as a way to get comparable coverage.

    for me it's the place where the good shows are nowadays. especially now that you can get HBO, Showtime, etc via streaming without a cable subscription.

    To me it's becoming more of a "I couldn't replace streaming with cable" scenario. Or I really don't need cable nowadays type of scenario. And a I'd rather watch via streaming than cable scenario.
     
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  10. Apr 8, 2019 #310 of 350
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, agree that Comcast would allow deployed XG1 and XG2 boxes to remain in use. Not sure, though, that an upgrade from the XB3 to XB6 gateway would be required. Looks like the XB3 supports RDK-B. It's D3.0, not D3.1, but there's no reason why Comcast must deploy multicast on D3.1-specific frequencies.

    See chart at bottom here:
    Overview of Xfinity Gateways

    Interesting. I'm not aware of any other fiber services that lets users buy and use a retail modem; they all just include their own gateway in as part of the service price. I'm not sure why Comcast would want to stray from that model. Or whether there would even be enough Comcast FTTH customers interested in buying their own fiber gateway (which probably couldn't be used with any other provider) to support Arris or any other company bothering to manufacture and market such a product. At any rate, if that happens, I would expect such a retail fiber gateway to support multicast-to-unicast conversion so that any device on the home network can be served Comcast's multicast video streams.
     
  11. Apr 8, 2019 #311 of 350
    sangs

    sangs Active Member

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    Your opinion, which is fine. I recently switched to their new FiOS TV One hardware and am quite pleased. The PQ is noticeably improved from the previous VMS hardware. Still a couple channels that don't look great - looking at you AMC - but I've noticed those channels also don't look great on YouTube TV or DirecTV Now either, so not blaming FiOS compression for that.
     
  12. Apr 8, 2019 #312 of 350
    Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    We've been on FiOS since they lit up the fiber here (we were the first town in NJ) but have had TV from them only since 2015. We switched from DirecTV and at that time I saw little or no difference between the two providers. PQ has definitely deteriorated over the last couple of years as they have squeezed in more HD channels, but it is still perfectly acceptable. I honestly don't see a huge difference between FiOS and Netflix. Some of my high bitrate Bluray rips blow it all away in terms of PQ but TWD looks just fine on our 67" TV.
     
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  13. Apr 8, 2019 #313 of 350
    mntvjunkie

    mntvjunkie Active Member

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    I look at cord cutting differently, and I think most people are in this boat. With cord cutting, and services that entail that, cancelling subscriptions is easy. So, rather than pay for HBO all year long, I let content stack up a bit, and get it for a month here or a month there. Same is true of any of these services (although for me, Netflix and Amazon have been the exception, Netflix may fall into "get when I need it" status too.) So yes, I would save a ton of money (still have cable, because it's paid for by my association, but I don't have any premiums through cable, too hard to cancel, easier to do it in app, or through Amazon Channels).

    Where I live, Cable is $90+ per month with fees. To "cut the cord" and get most of what I want, I would need:

    Hulu: $6-12 (12 is not a fair comparison because it also means no commercials)
    Netflix: $13
    CBS AA: $8
    Time Warner (upcoming): Guessing $15
    Disney+: (upcoming) Guessing $10
    Buying shows or OTT Service: Leftover money

    If I had all of the above services, which gives me MOST of what cable would, I would pay $52 but get MORE content. I didn't include premium, because I didn't include that as part of my base cable subscription. That leaves me with around $40 to buy a service like Sling TV, or buy individual shows. I'd have to see what I am missing, but I am guessing if I bought the individual shows that I miss it would be cheaper. And really, I should take Netflix off the list, because I am going to have that whether I have cable or not.

    I think for some people, it makes more sense to stay with cable. Those that like a lot of content, those that like a lot of reality shows, and those that like live sports, it will probably be cheaper to just stay with cable. But, if I had to pay full price for cable, I'd probably drop it and just either buy episodes that I couldn't get elsewhere, or subscribe to an OTT service like Sling in addition to the ones mentioned above. Bonus because most of the services mentioned above give me MUCH more content than TV ever could. (Disney+ is going to have every Disney feature film ever made, who else can give me that? I am betting that the Time Warner app will be similar, and CBS gives hundreds of hours of back catalog content plus exclusives). And most services are commercial free, no DVR needed.

    I do think cord cutting is cheaper for most, gives more content than most, and a better experience than most. And, unless you NEED everything all of the time, I am thinking it will stay cheaper for a long time.
     
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  14. Apr 8, 2019 #314 of 350
    mschnebly

    mschnebly Well-Known Member

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    Exactly, I didn't cut cable just to try to get the same channels someplace else. I cut cable because I wasn't interested in such a heavy cost for stuff I didn't want to watch. The streaming companies have so much great original stuff now that I cant keep up. For us it's cheaper by far and much better.
     
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  15. Apr 8, 2019 #315 of 350
    dbpaddler

    dbpaddler Well-Known Member

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    With all the various streaming services, how nice would it be if tivo upped their app game and their ability to reliable track all the shows so that they could be aggregated into the MyTivo section as a turnkey solution?

    Of course it'd be slow on older equipment, but I've had a decent experience with the bolt and Mini Vox. I'm OTA now for live TV. I miss my $65 internet, economy cable & HBO package. Went to $90 then $110,and I said goodbye to xfinity. Sad thing is fios can't even touch that since they charge extra for everything including a cable card.

    But I think with so many streaming services popping up, it'd be annoying having to bounce around from service to service and having a central location for it all would be a godsend for many. As long as it is fairly quick and reliable.

    If someone didn't want to even use a dvr, they could create a standalone mini for a little more that would have their guide service and all the apps on it.

    Or maybe their guide service could be adapted to other streaming devices and they could sell it as a software solution to create a turnkey offering on any major streaming device.

    Sent from my SM-N960U1 using Tapatalk
     
  16. Apr 8, 2019 #316 of 350
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Disney has stated that Disney+ will definitely cost less than Netflix when it debuts and the range I've seen batted around by industry observers seems to be $7-8/mo. We might get a definitive price point this Thur. 4/11 when Disney showcases the upcoming service for investors.

    I'm personally far more interested in WarnerMedia's upcoming OTT service, which I'm predicting will be named HBO+. We know it's going to be largely built around HBO, with the company's additional media properties added to it, and they want it to be their answer to Netflix. Although they're upping the amount they're spending on HBO original content, in order to increase the volume, I think they realize that HBO by itself cannot fully, directly compete with Netflix (which carries various types of content that wouldn't really fit under the main HBO brand/service).

    Based on their own statements, it sounds like this new service will have three tiers:

    • The Free tier: Anyone will be able download the app and access this section for free, but it will of course include non-skippable ads in the content. This is basically WarnerMedia's attempt to compete against Tubi, The Roku Channel, Amazon (IMDB Freedive) and others in the next generation of free, ad-supported TV. It will use AT&T's Xander targeted ad platform (which also powers ads on other AT&T-owned platforms). I expect the content in this tier to mainly be older movies and TV series, much of it likely stuff that's owned by WarnerMedia, although they might license third-party stuff too. I'm sure they'll throw debut episodes of HBO series in here to encourage sampling and paid subscriptions. Maybe they'll also throw in other assets they own, such daily CNN news clips, maybe even live breaking news coverage, or content from their Audience cable channel.
    • The HBO tier: This will basically just be everything that's now included in the HBO Now/HBO Go apps -- all the HBO originals plus recent Hollywood films from WB, Universal, 20th Century Fox, etc. Maybe they'll decide to also throw in a live stream of the main HBO linear channel too (like Showtime does in their OTT app).
    • The "+" tier: This is all the extra stuff that they're going to offer beyond HBO to try to make this service stand toe-to-toe with Netflix. We know content from their Turner channels is going to figure in here, so perhaps it will include everything you can get now in the TBS, TNT, and TruTV apps (basically, the last 5 or more eps of their original series) -- except that you won't need a separate cable subscription for that content if you pay for this top tier of HBO+. I expect this is where past seasons of those Turner series will live too, rather than (or in addition to) being licensed out to Hulu, Amazon Prime or Netflix. In addition, there will be a slew of older movies available that aren't currently on regular HBO, many of them from Warner Bros. On top of that, it will offer a number of older TV series created and owned by Warner Bros., such as Friends, Gotham, Chuck, Gilmore Girls, etc. Probably current and older documentary films and series from CNN. (There's a ton of non-scripted yet non-news content from CNN and Great Big Story covering food, travel, etc. that could be repackaged here.) Maybe some classic Looney Toons and Hanna-Barbera cartoons from Boomerang. Maybe Adult Swim shows. Maybe some licensed third-party TV series and films too to pad things out. Possibly past seasons of Cinemax original series? Plus in 2020 they'll begin offering a limited amount of fresh original content that's exclusive to this tier, not found on any cable channel. I expect all this stuff to be commercial-free. WarnerMedia's plan here seems to be to mainly further monetize all the content that they already own, while spending relatively little on additional content.
    If they're smart, they'll price and structure this thing to go head-on against Netflix. They'll sell the HBO tier for $13 with 2 simultaneous HD streams. They'll sell the HBO and "+" tiers together for $16 and upgrade select titles (mainly HBO originals) throughout the service to 4K HDR.

    Yes, I know they currently sell HBO as a standalone service -- via HBO Now, Amazon Channels, Hulu add-ons, etc. -- for $15. But lowering the price a bit to equal Netflix's main HD tier would help HBO sell more subscriptions. And keep in mind that 80% or more of HBO's US subscribers get it via traditional cable or satellite service. Know how much HBO gets from those traditional distribution partners, on average, per sub? About $7.75. So HBO can afford to lower the price for their streaming service; depending on how you sign up, HBO's cut of the current $15 charge is anywhere from 70% to 100%. 70% of $13 would be over $9 per sub, so that's still more than they're getting on 80% of their current subscriber base. (All that said, who knows, maybe the pricing for the two tiers will be $14 and $18, or $15 and $20, or $13 and $17.)

    I expect that this new HBO+ (or whatever it's called) app will replace the current HBO Now and HBO Go apps. Current log-ins for those apps will continue to work with the new app, unlocking the middle HBO tier. Those customers will be able to purchase an upgrade to unlock the "+" tier too.
     
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  17. Apr 8, 2019 #317 of 350
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    That's not cord cutting. You completely missed the point of cord cutting. You are trying to replace the entire cord with a bunch of different streaming services including a CoIP service with the same 400 channels of garbage that are in your cable bundle like DTVN, which is likely going to cost you close to, or as much as, traditional cable. True cord cutting is moving away from linear pay tv entirely, and utilizing only OTT SVOD services. Some people are cord-replacing with skinny bundles like YouTube TV, which do save quite a bit of money, but don't have 400 channels of junk, they are much leaner and more streamlined packages.

    I personally have Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and HBO, and I would have those even if I had cable, so I have saved the entire cost of cable. If/when I can get VDSL from Frontier, I'll save even MORE than the entire cost of cable TV, as my internet alone will be cheaper than SuxCox even in a bundle. If I get YouTube TV for a while, then that's cord-replacing, but only with a skinny bundle that cut the crap out and is far cheaper than an equivalent cable package and CableCard/TA from SuxCox.


    That is literally the definition and purpose of cord cutting. Live without the 400 channels of garbage (although you lose news and sports too). I wouldn't call it barebones these days with the veritable plethora of content available via OTT SVOD. I have more content than I can possibly watch in the next few YEARS, and by then there will be 20 new shows that I want to watch!!

    Sure. People aren't going to subscribe to them all. It will either be just Netflix, and whatever is there, or people will rotate or just choose one or two. It's going to be interesting to see how the whole OTT SVOD space plays out given how fast this space is moving.

    There is no established model for owning your own fiber gateway, and they are unlikely to have a critical mass of EPON users anytime soon, so unless they offer a separate ONT either Ethernet, I don't see that as being a likely scenario.

    I don't think D3.0 has enough bandwidth to do IPTV multicast, at least not with 250mbps and 400mbps internet tiers, since all the modems in the system would have to be on the same set of channels.

    Nobody else does fiber directly to the gateway, which is a weird model. Google, AT&T, Verizon, etc, all have an ONT and then Ethernet to the gateway/modem. I don't know about Google, but I do know that it's easy to use your own router with Verizon's ONT, but not with AT&T's.

    I haven't really watched much FiOS TV myself, but I've read numerous reports, including from aaronwt, who is an expert in the area, and the FiOS TV quality has drastically declined. It's not at total trash level like Comcast, but it's definitely not good.
     
  18. Apr 8, 2019 #318 of 350
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    I hope that they fix HBO's horrible app. They had a horrible app, and made a new horrible app. Netflix is so far ahead of the pack with their UI/UX. Amazon is decent too, a lot of the others are just awful.

    That sounds like a confusing mess that people won't understand. Netflix is tiered by number of screens and resolution, which is annoying AF for a single person like me with a 4K TV, BUT at least it's all the same content.

    I think a lot of people with traditional pay TV are password sharing HBO and other premiums, just like Netflix, just tied to a cable account. Also, with cable the cable provider does the distribution and support, which, to be fair, keeps getting cheaper and cheaper on the IP side, but the CDN costs more than nothing.
     
  19. Apr 8, 2019 #319 of 350
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Seems pretty easy to grasp to me. If they name it HBO+, the concept is literally right there in the name -- it's HBO plus something more. Lower paid tier is the same HBO consumers have always known, upper paid tier is the "plus," i.e. additional stuff beyond HBO. Frankly, I think it's easier to upsell folks on the concept of getting additional content for their extra dollars, as opposed to just additional streams or better picture quality.

    True, although AFAIK, HBO alone is shouldering the cost of CDNs/digital distribution for HBO Go that so many of their traditional subs are using. Based on surveys I've seen, I think a majority of HBO streaming is done via HBO Go vs. all the other apps (HBO Now, Amazon, etc.) combined. So you have to subtract those HBO Go distribution costs out of the average $7.75 per sub they're getting from traditional partners.
     
  20. Apr 8, 2019 #320 of 350
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    It could possibly be done, just depends on how many linear channels Comcast wants to run on multicast. 20 more popular channels? 40? 60? (Of course, that number can be dynamically altered, depending on popularity at any given time.)
     

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