Orby TV

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by cannonz, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    7,316
    776
    Oct 30, 2003
    Hartford-...
    This is somewhat uniquely an Orby problem due to limited TP space, but it's really a problem for all MVPDs. The whole system is based on everyone paying for far more channels then they ever watch, and that doesn't work well when 80%+ of the channels basically have one or two shows with a small but highly vocal audience who will yell and scream and throw a fit if "their" channel is dropped. As a result, MVPDs can't trim the fat from the tonnage wars of 10 or 20 years ago, with all these near-useless channels of junk collecting their carriage fees off of these bloated packages. If MVPDs could trim the fat, most of the small channels would go out of business, leaving a handful of bigger channels, although those pose their own issues with channels like ESPN demanding higher than inflation increases in carriage costs year after year after year (usually in multi-year contracts).

    There's no way that they can just target rural areas. Rural areas are heavily DISH, with some DirecTV, and those users want more channels and DVRs and such to make up for not having good internet access. There's no way DBS can compete at the low end in suburban/urban markets. YouTube TV and other vMVPDs are barely making a profit, if they are at all, and they have zero up front hardware cost for either the user or the provider, as they run on existing streaming boxes. The only markets left are the high end residential, commercial/hospitality, and rural markets, the first two of which DirecTV dominates, and the latter which DISH is strong in.

    What do you mean by DBS slots per region? Are you referring to spot beams or something? Those are used by D* and E* for LiLs.

    There's no way they can get a mass of those urban/suburban subscribers. Those are the subscribers who are dropping DBS at the rate of 1M subs/year, and back-filling the cord cutting losses on cable. vMVPDs aren't doing very well, and many people are cutting the cord altogether.

    I think they're trying to target everyone they can, but the whole thing makes no sense because they're trying to be DISH, but they're not nearly as good at being DISH as DISH is.
     
  2. hahathatsfunny

    hahathatsfunny Member

    84
    14
    Jul 29, 2008
    I consider Orby's relevance like small potatoes.

    What I wonder is Dish's strategy for its satellite service, and its strategy with Sling, which it owns. It is rumored Dish at some point will want to acquire DirecTV but I don't see the benefit, if it will just make Dish more expensive in the end. Let DirecTV fail on its own, rather than Dish deal with acquisition costs and having to pass them on to the subscribers, which will just result in more losses.

    Dish wants to be premium in the tv selection space. Probably the best selection of channels, and great for DVR users.

    While Sling was designed to be for cord-cutters and the two paths don't overlap. But over time, Sling is left feeling inferior and cheap quality and not improved to the likes of competing OTT providers. In channel selection, DVR abilities, etc. For example, Sling strikes a deal with Discovery but randomly lacks Animal Planet. With Viacom, Nickelodeon is missing. It has NBC and Fox, but only in select markets. 2 of the 4 major networks only in some markets.

    And with cloud DVR, one has to pay $5 extra and the limit is a paltry 50 hours of cloud DVR. On screen guide is among the worst, and defaults to All Channels, partially defeating the purpose of Favorite channels.

    Sling has increased in price because of programming costs, and is less "cord-cutter" and more cable replacement, competing partially with YouTube, fubo and Hulu Live. It went up $25 to $30, and it added FOX News, the leading cable network. But for the first time early in the year, Sling lost subscribers in the process even after adding that channel.

    That being said, it seems Dish and Sling know they get a lot of subscribers with international programming and a-la-carte.

    In that sense, I'd rather see Sling drop the ESPN/Disney suite of channels, and possibly Viacom and Fox, to help control costs. Maybe just keep NBC/Universal and Warner Media while also keeping all the smaller owned cable networks and adding more channels from them. Re-bundle a number or most of the existing channels in Total TV Deal in a $30/month package, and up the DVR to 100 hours, and add $10 extra package with 500 or unlimited cloud DVR hours. It'd also help differentiate Sling from Dish and Sling from its OTT competitors (YTTV, Hulu Live, etc.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
    Bigg likes this.
  3. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    7,316
    776
    Oct 30, 2003
    Hartford-...
    Interesting take. DISH has one of the best DVRs out on the market today (so I've heard), and a halfway decent price point, but they don't have the same content that DirecTV does. DISH is strong in rural areas, DirecTV is bigger in suburban and commercial settings.
     
  4. ElT60

    ElT60 Member

    35
    7
    May 27, 2020
    It doesn't necessarily make Dish more expensive. It depends upon what AT&T agrees to sell at (certainly not anywhere close to what they paid for DirecTV. that was way too much). Broadly it makes sense the same way Sirius merging with XM. It makes more sense to have more customers on each relatively extremely expensive satellite. ( a couple of $100M a piece. ). Operating a robust Satellite Fleet will cost in the range of about $1B ( equipment, launch , operators , insurance , etc.). Need to a have a large enough customer base to spread the costs over. Smaller the base the higher the risk that enough will leave for cheaper options because costs are higher.

    Satellite TV installs/maintenance etc could be merged which probably would lower operating costs also ( with fewer overlapping field folks deployed. )


    Largely the same issue on the leased content to broadcast side. Not enough subscribers then no leverage with context providers and higher costs (e.g., Playstation Vue disappearing). The smaller streaming players have been getting by on the "first crack rock is free" by some of the context providers. The only players at the low cost will be those skipping major expensive blocks of content ( locals , sports , and too full of themselves "news" channels. Include all three of those and your costs are going up over the next 1-2 years almost guaranteed. )

    Dish has bigger issues though. Dish not worried about funding for Boost, 5G network
    Dish is also trying to become a stable 4th largest mobile network also. That's where it gets wishy washy as to how they do the DirecTV deal. They have at least a high single digit billion build out to do there also. But similar to how Dish got Boost. T-mobile had pragmatically nobody else to sell chunks of Sprint ( which had more than a few "lower cost service" brands) off to complete their merge. The rumblings are along the same lines. Who else would buy DirecTV off AT&T? If it is nobody then Dish can lower the price paid to about the levels that DirecTV can pay for itself ( as oppose to paying a future growth earnings paid upfront price. ... which AT&T grossly screwed up on twofold; in initial payment for DTV and killing off the growth with slimy sales and bad decisions. )

    Not on premium. Breath perhaps but "highest cost" channels. Pretty good chance they don't buy DirecTV until after the NFL Sunday Ticket contract lapses and probably won't bid for it. ( at least as a "pay extra for exclusivity" mechanism. That isn't worth it. )


    Since many folks with Sling had to have a OTA solution for local channels, it was much easier for them to just pause or chuck the Sing part and go to the free over the air that they already had equipment for. Even more so for folks who primarily just bought Sling for live sports. No live sports ... dump the bill.

    Youtube is adding a bunch of Viacom stuff over next couple of months. If they don't offset dropping some regional sports channels with the new channels , their costs are probably going up also. The costs going up is substantively not the service providers; it is the content owners. Service providers contribute too, but "cutting the cable" isn't going to do much if still buying relatively large programming bundles from the content providers.

    Perhaps could have something past "Blue" and "Orange" grouping. Something that tracks package that Philo is doing. But the overall problem is that Disney (ESPN) , Comcast ( NBC/Universal) , and AT&T ( Warner Media) all have their own streaming outlet too. The are even more inclined to lock up their content into bigger bundles. What Dish/Sling need is a bigger block of customers which is what DirecTV would provide ( if AT&T doesn't shrink it too far in the mean time. ). Even if Dish , Sling , and DirecTV all shrink by 10-15% if combine all into a single pool it is still bigger than what Dish started out as. The critical part would be to stop the bleed after had a big enough foundation to work with.


    Google/Youtube and Disney (Hulu) own their service backends. I'm not sure what Dish/Sling is doing. Sling is about the slowest in changing channels. Their video picture quality is trailing. The low DVR capacity is just somewhat indicative of behind the curve on the backend that the other two aspects are.

    Orby's costs are low in part because they don't even have their own satellite. They "rent" space on some "spare" transponders on a EUSTAT. I suppose if DirecTV went completely 'dark' there would be alot more 'empty' transponders looking for renters.
     
  5. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    3,672
    1,723
    May 2, 2015
    At this point, I don't really think anyone would want to buy either DirecTV or DISH. They're both businesses/technologies that have passed their peak and are in inexorable decline. The only kind of deal that makes sense to me would be for both parent companies to spin off their satellite TV businesses into a joint venture holding company that would operate both DirecTV and DISH, probably standardizing on a single brand name and, for new subscribers going forward, a single set of hardware and channel line-ups. (For instance, maybe they use the DirecTV brand and its channel packages but DVRs with the Hopper UI and feature set. Install all new rooftop dishes to point toward the DirecTV sat fleet, which has more years of life left in it than the DISH fleet. Meanwhile, existing subs could remain on their current packages and continue using their current hardware, because they'd definitely want to avoid the expense of re-installations and hardware swap-outs if possible.)

    The main benefit, of course, for both businesses would be in eliminating their only major direct competitor. But there would also be benefits in terms of cost reductions, increased scale, etc. It wouldn't keep the overall numbers of satellite TV subscribers from continuing to decline but it could make the business more profitable as it slowly dies out over the course of this decade.
     
  6. hahathatsfunny

    hahathatsfunny Member

    84
    14
    Jul 29, 2008
    Upon closer look at a couple of Orby Channels, Orby carries Military History and LRW (Lifetime Real Women). Apparently these channels aren't in HD and offer no new content. I was intrigued by what is carried on Military History, but it might just be the Hitler programming that used to air on History. These channels were passed by other carriers, or dropped.

    Both are owned by A&E which is half owned by Disney, but ironically Hulu (owned by Disney) felt it wasn't worth it to dedicate space for these channels in its Entertainment Add-On package. Makes me wonder if these niche channels help Orby stand apart and add customers, or really more or less throwaway channels from A&E that nobody wants, now being propped up by Orby coverage.
     
  7. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    7,316
    776
    Oct 30, 2003
    Hartford-...
    They're probably the cheapest things out there to increase channel tonnage.

    I don't see why D* at least can't be profitable for a very long time to come with commercial and rural customers, at least if they rationalize their satellite fleet and orbital locations and lose the international programming, which has mostly moved over to streaming.
     
  8. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    3,672
    1,723
    May 2, 2015
    Oh, well, I wasn't saying that DirecTV or DISH aren't profitable now or would cease to be profitable anytime soon. Just that they would be more profitable if they were combined than if they were separate. And therefore a viable business longer into the future.

    I didn't think AT&T would divest DTV for a few more years, until they had gotten a decent number of subs shepherded over to the new AT&T TV and gotten that venture on solid footing. But Wall Street's demands for AT&T to ditch DTV aren't going away.

    AT&T under pressure again to sell DirecTV: report

    With current AT&T CEO John Stephenson (the original force behind the DTV acquisition) retiring in a couple weeks, I now think the deal will happen sooner rather than later. Although if it depends on cooperation from DISH's Ergen, who knows.

    I do wonder what it will mean for AT&T TV if the company divests DTV, given that both services (plus the now-deprecated UVerse TV) ride on the same set of carriage contracts (at least those contracts struck in the past few years). Could mean restructured channel packages and pricing for one or both services. But, honestly, I'm not sure how much AT&T really even cares about AT&T TV or cable TV generally any more. Sounds to me like they're sorta over it and are firmly focused on HBO Max.
     
  9. mattyro7878

    mattyro7878 Well-Known Member

    1,600
    389
    Nov 27, 2014
    Southern CT
    I dont disagree. However I have been in many urban centers in CT and there are apt buildings with 10-15 satellite dishes all bunched together. A lot of inner city folks use satellite as well. Of course the heartland of America is a big place so those numbers are bigger than what I am seeing In Waterbury, New Haven, Hartford , and Bridgeport.
     
  10. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    7,316
    776
    Oct 30, 2003
    Hartford-...
    Maybe at some point.

    AT&T's whole TV/video strategy is a complete mess. They had the size and technology to dominate the space, but instead they have floundered and moved from one failure to another. AT&T TV is only ever going to work at scale in areas where they have AT&T broadband unless they radically change the pricing structure.

    So what is AT&T's future? They blew it on TV, can they manage to not blow it with HBO Max? Streaming is a hot market, but there is a ton of competition, and HBO Max isn't that compelling of a service. HBO had a number of great years, but now that a lot of their big shows are gone, where are they headed?

    Yup, they're all over the place, but if you look a lot of those dishes are old, and the rate of new ones popping up has pretty much gone to zero. Satellite just can't compete in urban areas anymore. There are still a lot of customers on satellite, but as they move around or switch services, they're going to be leaving satellite and either cutting the cord, or going to cable/streaming.
     
  11. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    3,672
    1,723
    May 2, 2015
    Yeah, I've thought for awhile now that AT&T TV would mainly be sold in tandem with AT&T broadband, making it more of a replacement for Uverse TV than DTV. They've already, however, basically stopped actively marketing DTV (and if there's no NFL season this year, I see no reason for them to do their traditional DTV fall push based around free NFL Sunday Ticket). They've said they'll really only rely on DTV as an option in areas where decent broadband isn't available, which makes sense. So I guess they think there will be some uptake for AT&T TV by consumers served by broadband providers outside the AT&T footprint. But given the dwindling number of Americans who are even interested in the kind of traditional cable TV-like service that AT&T TV is, I just can't see there being many pairing AT&T TV with, say, Charter broadband. At least, not as AT&T TV is currently priced and structured (with a 2-yr contract). Most of those folks will just use the cable TV service being offered by their broadband provider (e.g. Comcast, Charter, etc.) and score a bundling discount from them.

    AT&T's CEO repeatedly said over the past few years that AT&T TV would have thinned-down content packages and, because of that and the lower cost of customer acquisition and CPE, they could price the service lower than they've done with DTV and UVerse TV. But then they came out with a service where the packages and pricing (and 2-yr commitment) are basically the same as DTV. Looks to me like the only source of savings with AT&T TV vs. DTV is from not having to rent boxes for additional TVs. And even that doesn't kick in until the second year if you're buying additional AT&T TV boxes given that they cost $10/mo each for 12 months. (You do have the option of just using the AT&T TV app on your own Roku, Apple TV or Fire TV on your secondary TVs if you wish, though, at no additional cost.)

    IDK, I guess AT&T just decided that the traditional cable TV business is in inexorable decline and there's nothing they can really do about it. So no point in giving up extra profit margin on AT&T TV to buoy subscriber numbers. May as well just milk that cash cow until it dies.

    Eh, WarnerMedia owns a ton of compelling library content and they've got lots of deals in place with talented creators like J.J. Abrams to create new must-see series. Content is king and I don't see HBO Max having a problem succeeding. Remember, HBO already had about 35 million subs (a few more than Hulu) at a price of $15. All they're doing with HBO Max is greatly expanding the amount of content, and broadening the demographic target set, while keeping the price the same. So uptake can only increase. I doubt they'll ever catch up with Netflix in terms of subscriber count, but they don't need to.
     
  12. wizwor

    wizwor Active Member

    892
    225
    Dec 17, 2013
    Unless you have been a customer, you don't know the half of it. A couple years ago, my oldest took a job in Boston. While he was looking for a place, he stayed with his grandparents -- who had no internet access. I added a hotspot to our account so he could have high speed internet. It was awful. We ended up upgrading our service so he could use his phone as a hotspot. That tier of service was expensive, but included a lot of perks I did not need -- like free HBO and discounted TV service. I chose DirecTVNow because it was only $5/month after the discount.

    Now, they could not let me return the hotspot because we were one day outside the return period -- due to working on the problems with their support people. Instead they sent me Visa gift cards that exceeded the price I paid for the hotspot. They could not add DirecTVNow to my account due to some kind of transition issue. They ended up giving me a two year satellite package with a steep discount the first year and a good discount for the second year. During the second year, they increased my price twice. They refunded the difference. After the second time, I said I thought they violated the terms of our agreement twice and asked them to let me discontinue the service without penalty. No problem.

    They are trying to integrate a lot of moving parts and it's not going well.
    I don't think AT&T is out of the TV business. End game will be a 5G service that includes voice, internet, and entertainment. Not sure they can do it, but that will simplify their infrastructure and business. When Verizon installed high speed internet at my home fifteen years ago, the tech told me that they were selling off all of their copper/fiber infrastructure and planned to do everything over the air (cell). Still waiting for that.
    35 million households still get TV via satellite -- including two of my sisters and me until this year.
     
  13. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    7,316
    776
    Oct 30, 2003
    Hartford-...
    Very few will. They'll either get TV from their MSO, or they'll get something like YouTube TV that's much cheaper, or they'll cut the cord entirely.

    I think that they decided they don't want to market it outside of their ILEC footprint (or limited overbuild areas where they have built out fiber to MDUs or whatnot), and they're just going to use it to replace U-Verse TV.

    I guess we'll have to see, but the competition among the streaming services is fierce.

    I've seen it from the wireless side. They have 15 or 20 different sets of packages, the systems are ancient, and if you do one thing to a plan it causes something else to go haywire, so our plan is sort of stuck on what we have, and we don't dare to change anything.

    The problem is, that only works in certain areas with a certain density. And some areas are too dense/tall to make it work. So it might work for 50% of the country. What about the other 50%, where much of the wealthier 'burbs and downtown areas are?

    And it's dropping by over 1M subs/year, and is likely to drop even more this year due to COVID.
     
  14. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    3,672
    1,723
    May 2, 2015
    True.

    AT&T is not going to abandon their AT&T Fiber infrastructure and go all-5G, although it's reasonable to think we'll see them add to their home broadband footprint beyond the current FTTH network via fixed wireless 5G or AirGig. And their two flagship TV products, HBO Max and AT&T TV, could be served up just as easily over those potential fixed wireless connections as FTTH given that they're both OTT "software-based" (as AT&T likes to describe them) services. Even if AT&T spins off DTV (and therefore the lion's share of their cable TV subs) soon, I see no reason to think that they're going to exit the business of selling cable TV service any time in the foreseeable future. I just think AT&T no longer believes that AT&T TV is going to be some kind of growth business for them. They're pinning their hopes on HBO Max in that regard.

    Likewise, I don't see Verizon getting rid of their FTTH network. They'll keep it but all of their future growth in home broadband will come via fixed wireless 5G installations. I do think it's feasible that they eventually shut down FiOS TV though and simply opt to resell OTT cable TV services, as they already do with YouTube TV. In fact, that's the only cable TV service they sell to their 5G Home customers, given that their QAM-based FiOS TV can't be easily provisioned over 5G.

    No, I don't think so. Not in the US, anyway. AT&T reported that their "premium TV" subscriber count fell to 18.6 million at the end of Q1 2020. But that category includes DTV, Uverse TV, and a small number of new AT&T TV subs. (It excludes, however, their AT&T TV Now subs.) They stopped breaking out DTV vs. Uverse TV subs separately a year or so ago but, back then, about 83% of the total number were on DTV, with the rest on Uverse TV. So if we assume that ratio still holds, it would suggest DTV was down to about 15.4 million subs at the end of March. (And that's a generous assumption for DTV. All indications are that DTV is bleeding subs at a far higher rate than Uverse TV. Frankly, that was probably why AT&T stopped reporting those two services separately and instead lumped them into a combined "premium TV" category.)

    Meanwhile, DISH was down to just 9 million satellite TV subs at the end of Q1 2020.

    Added together, that's only 24.4 million satellite TV subs. Of course, you have to count Orby subscribers too but that company won't release that information. I'd be surprised if they had even 1 million subscribers though.

    If DTV and DISH keep losing subs the rest of this year at the same pace they did in Q1, their combined subscriber count would be down to about 21 million at the end of 2020.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
  15. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    7,316
    776
    Oct 30, 2003
    Hartford-...
    What's going to be interesting is seeing how they're going to move the DirecTV customers that they spent so much time and effort moving from U-Verse to DirecTV a few years ago over to AT&T TV instead. They will run into the same bandwidth issue that they were trying to solve with some of the slower VDSL connections, and require yet another set of equipment and disruption to those customers. And doing so will tank DirecTV's value even more, as it will suck those 3-5 million subs back out of the DirecTV system onto AT&T TV, and some of them will just cut the cord or switch to cable instead.

    The people left on U-Verse are ones who can't or won't convert to DirecTV, and are bundled with internet and often phone. A lot of DirecTV subs are standalone and at much higher risk of leaving.
     
  16. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    3,672
    1,723
    May 2, 2015
    Some of those customers who currently have DTV plus AT&T internet (fiber or some type of DSL) will willingly move over to AT&T TV because they find it to be a more desirable product (no rain fade, whole-home cloud DVR with unlimited simultaneous recordings, next-gen box with apps and Google Assistant, etc.). But a lot of folks just tend to stay with whatever they have. And some folks will certainly still prefer DTV right now because of features it has that AT&T TV doesn't have (yet anyway): PBS stations, 4K HDR sports, NFL Network, NFL Sunday Ticket, the ability to retain recordings longer than 90 days, etc.

    But if AT&T wants to get serious about moving those folks over to AT&T TV, then they'll lure them over with financial incentives. Maybe remove the existing bundling discount that those customers get for combining DTV with AT&T home internet service, causing their bill to go up, but at the same time offer them a promo deal to switch to AT&T TV with a new contract -- first year low rate, Visa gift card, ongoing bundling discount that never goes away. As things stand right now, I think there will be some DTV subs who choose to switch over to AT&T TV but it's not going to be a stampede unless AT&T aggressively markets it via financial incentives.

    As for AT&T TV bandwidth issues for folks on DSL, I don't think that will be a problem for those on FTTN DSL (what used to be branded Uverse). AT&T TV only needs about 8 Mbps per screen for best-quality HD. And right now, it maxes out at 3 concurrent screens. All of the DVR recording is done in the cloud (unlike Uverse TV). Actually, they specifically state on their product page "AT&T TV requires minimum internet speeds of 8Mbps." I guess if your speed is that slow and you want to watch on multiple screens at the same time, their servers just lower the bitrate/resolution as necessary (just like Netflix would do).

    So for those households still on AT&T's slowest DSL tiers, under 8 Mbps, no, they wouldn't try to shift them over from DTV to AT&T TV. But for all their other home internet customers, sure.

    Yep. But people are leaving DTV in droves, and I have to think it's both standalone customers as well as those who get other AT&T services who are cancelling. It'll be interesting to see the value assigned to DTV when it's sold/spun-off. It sure as heck won't be close to what AT&T paid for it a few years ago.
     
  17. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    7,316
    776
    Oct 30, 2003
    Hartford-...
    If they're going to sell or spin off DirecTV, they have to do *something*, otherwise they just lose all those customers. Some will choose to stay on DirecTV for various reasons, but AT&T can't just dump those customers. The problem is, if they pull those customers back to AT&T TV (plus any customers who were on DirecTV prior to AT&T buying them but happen to have AT&T for internet as well), then they devalue DirecTV, as it will have fewer customers left.

    It's a serious problem. If you happen to have a crossbox in your front yard and can get 100mbps, great, but many of the customers are way out on 12mbps or 18mbps connections, and AT&T TV would eat into their bandwidth significantly, and if there's not QoS in the same way that there is for U-Verse's managed IPTV system today, then internet usage could cause AT&T TV to stop working properly or drop down to a lower resolution.

    They are also going to have to deal with the 3-stream limit, as U-Verse and DirecTV currently support well more than that. Even if AT&T TV actually needs 3-4mbps for each HD stream with HEVC encoding, put 4 TVs on an 18mbps connection, and you've got a problem. The U-Verse system today limits the number of HD and SD screens, which is a problem, and why DirecTV made sense for those customers.

    You've also got FWI customers that can't stream a lot due to bandwidth caps, and limited bandwidth available from the tower. Those pair up really well with DirecTV.

    Yup, that was a lousy move for AT&T. I guess I could see them spinning it off, but it would be a mess, and yet another blunder for them in trying to address the previous blunder.
     
  18. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    3,672
    1,723
    May 2, 2015
    Yeah. Well, a paying TV customer is valuable to AT&T whether they stay on DTV (thereby propping up the value of the venture when they sell it) or move to AT&T TV (providing future cash flows to AT&T). I've always assumed that an existing DTV customer would hold greater long-term value to AT&T if they switched over to AT&T TV. But maybe not. Depends on how the accountants crunch the numbers and valuate the DTV business in the event of a sale.

    It would be interesting to see the breakdown of AT&T's home internet customers by speed tier, i.e. what % of their homes currently served have a download speed under 25 Mbps? When I last had AT&T FTTN (Uverse) internet, the installer did all he could to provision me on the fastest possible connection, which clocked in a little north of 40 Mbps if I remember correctly. I'm about 2,250 ft (or 0.4 mi) away from the lawn fridge up the street. Of course, like a lot of FTTN neighborhoods, AT&T has since completely converted us over to FTTH, i.e. AT&T Fiber, with the only available speed tier for new subs being 1 Gig.

    Anyhow, even for most of those homes at the 18 Mbps tier, I don't think switching them to AT&T TV would be a serious problem. The average US household only has 2.6 persons in it. The only thing folks tend to do on broadband that demands much bandwidth is stream video and people only tend to stream/view one thing at a time. Generally speaking, you can do three, maybe four, HD streams (in 720p, anyway) at the same time on an 18 Mbps connection from major services like Netflix, YouTube, etc. That's likely true for AT&T TV too; all these OTT services just automatically ratchet down their bitrates if bandwidth gets tight. AT&T TV is variable bitrate, and uses HEVC, in both ways unlike Uverse TV. So yeah, you might have some instances on slow connections where the HD picture quality on AT&T TV looks more like Comcast than DirecTV. But I don't see that being a deal-breaker. (It hasn't destroyed Comcast's ability to retain millions and millions of paying cable TV customers.)

    I think you over-estimate the number of TVs (or other video screens) that the average U.S. household tends to have going at the same time. Again, AT&T TV's 3-stream limit won't be a problem for most people (although I don't see why they won't eventually allow additional in-home streams, perhaps for an upcharge, given that other vMVPDs do).

    At any rate, sure, there's certainly some percentage of AT&T home internet customers for whom AT&T TV won't make sense, either because their internet is too slow or because they prefer DTV for various reasons (e.g. ability to watch on more than 3 TVs at once). I don't think AT&T has any expectation that their low-end DSL customers (whom they really don't seem to care about) will switch to AT&T TV. Assuming the company makes a dedicate effort to shift DTV (and Uverse TV) subs over to AT&T TV, it'll mainly be among those who have broadband (i.e. 25 Mbps or greater) service.

    Perhaps AT&T will finally come through for their poor DSL customers and upgrade them to some form of next-gen fixed wireless, e.g. 5G-via-AirGig, or longer-range 800 MHz fixed 5G. If they do, AT&T TV will obviously be the cable TV service they'll offer to bundle. (But even if AT&T doesn't come through for those addresses with home broadband, some company eventually will, whether it's the local cable co or T-Mobile or Verizon or Starlink or Amazon.)

    I don't think spinning off DTV would necessarily be a bad move for AT&T shareholders if it's done right. Devil's in the details, of course. The deal that's been proposed on Wall Street would involve both DTV and DISH spinning off their DBS operations to a private third-party that would combine and operate the two businesses. Hard to know whether that would be a good thing or not for DTV and DISH customers. They'd probably have to agree to some kind of consumer price controls for a few years to get it to pass muster with the feds given that DTV and DISH are each other's only direct competitor.
     
  19. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    7,316
    776
    Oct 30, 2003
    Hartford-...
    That almost sounds like a wholesale exit of the TV business, which would undermine their increased negotiation leverage with programmers, which was supposed to be part of the idea behind the DirecTV acquisition, along with the bandwidth issues on VDSL.

    It's hard to say. My guess is probably half, but I could be way high, as I'm basing my knowledge on Connecticut, which has a street structure that looks like a spaghetti monster yakked, and is less conducive to FTTN than, say, the inner 'burbs of Chicagoland, or fairly compact small towns and cities with block-grid streets.

    I suppose that may be the case, but I still think it would cause some significant issues in a lot of places. Comcast has proven that people are oblivious to what's right in the front of them.

    I don't know if there's a contractual issue, but they should increase it to whatever U-Verse can handle on fiber, 6 or 8 I believe?

    Yeah right. FWI is basically a scam to get government money, and provide a lousy service. If they would just offer the full bandwidth of their LTE network with 5xCA or higher, they could offer those customers 100mbps+ service with reasonable data caps. Verizon and AT&T have both sat on the ability to do rural wireless internet for years, especially AT&T, as their spectrum position is very good.

    It's almost impossible to say how the feds would react these days, as it's been surprise after surprise in that department. It would be terrible for rural customers that are reliant on satellite, as the combined company would have zero competition. I hope it would be fought hard against. Today's model is at least a duopoly.
     
  20. mattyro7878

    mattyro7878 Well-Known Member

    1,600
    389
    Nov 27, 2014
    Southern CT
    Do these DSL people simply not stream?? I mean even if I had the biggest channel package around, I would still want to do some 4k streaming. Pretty much impossible with DSL, right?
     
    Bigg likes this.

Share This Page