TiVo Alternatives?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Saturn, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. Oct 15, 2019 #301 of 1017
    wizwor

    wizwor Guest

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    Pluto News is definitely Left Leaning, but that is probably because those networks will take any eyes they can get...

    Pluto TV channels list: News
    • Today‚Äôs Top Story (105)
    • News 24/7 (108)
    • CBSN (109)
    • NBC News (110)
    • CNN (111)
    • Cheddar News (112)
    • The Young Turks (TYT) Network (116)
    • NewsmaxTV (121)
    • Top Stories by Newsy (127)
    • RT America (132)
    • Sky News (135)
    • Bloomberg TV (143)
    • Weather Nation (150)
    Newsmax is not really a news channel. They air a lot of nationally syndicated radio shows as well as movies and documentaries.

    If you simply want news reporting minus opinion and commentary, One America News Network has apps for Fire TV and Roku streamers. As does the network that rhymes with box ;-)
     
  2. Oct 15, 2019 #302 of 1017
    Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    Which of those besides the Young Turks is left at all? I'm told here that Newsmax leans way right. I recognize CNN of course but they have long been center-right like most of the USA, plus RT which is the voice of Russia but they're fast becoming fascist, Sky which was founded by Rupert Murdoch in the UK, Bloomberg which covers Wall Street, and NBC which leaves its politics to MSNBC. I've never heard of the rest of them.

    Anyway Pluto gives me a headache, and you definitely get what you pay for with these things. I'm more likely to add Hulu, as there's some original content we've been wanting to see there and Live TV is a small incremental upcharge, plus they offer cloud DVR like YouTube TV which also looks like a like a top choice. Both are top-priced too, but still far less than Comcast.

    Channels DVR will index commercials and let us skip them, though I haven't yet tested it on any of the above streaming services.
     
  3. Oct 15, 2019 #303 of 1017
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Totally understandable. I never use the interface since Pluto channels are integrated into my OTA guide. Just throwing ultra cheap cord cutter options out there.
     
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  4. Oct 15, 2019 #304 of 1017
    wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    wizwor thinks OAN is "news reporting minus opinion and commentary", so I'd say his perspective is more than a little skewed. ;)
     
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  5. Oct 15, 2019 #305 of 1017
    Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    Ah. OK. Never heard of that one either, but a quick search tells me center-right is way left of where OAN has been lately.

    Aaaand maybe we should just go back to discussing the technical side of TiVo alternatives.
     
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  6. Oct 15, 2019 #306 of 1017
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Stupid Chrome ate my post, but I'll try to remember the train of thought I was on.

    Generally speaking, yes, but DISH works a lot better for mobile applications since they use Ku band, which is really hard to do with Ka band.

    Yes, there is less bandwidth required for future DBS systems. Not only are there going to be fewer channels, but international programming will be moving entirely to IP, as the target audience for those channels don't live out in the sticks, and DBS will be English/Spanish only. Further, SD will be gone on DirecTV, which will free up a lot of space, and any remaining SD channels that aren't available in HD will be moved to MPEG-4, saving half the bandwidth for them.

    WHOA. You just totally skipped over needing DirecTV-compatible tuners for SWiM/DECA. Maybe there is some way to make an external tuner/networking box that works on DirecTV's system to bring existing Hoppers onto it, but at that point, they may as well replace the entire thing. DECA and the MoCA band that DISH uses aren't even the same, DirecTV is 450-650mhz, and DISH is 650mhz to 975mhz. It's possible that they could make a headless DVR gateway that would serve both DirecTV and DISH clients with both MOCA bands (since DECA is just a lower frequency version of MOCA) using DirecTV's satellite system, and it's possible that DirecTV and/or DISH receivers already have the hardware to network on both bands. Either way, it's a messy transition.

    There would have to be new CPE, as DISH users would be disappointed with the existing Genie, and Hopper is a DISH product, so if they're going to use DirecTV's system, then they'd need to make a Hopper compatible with it. IMO, the HS17 headless server model is kind of stupid for most average Joes who want a box by their TV that they can plug into their TV. They would have to knock it down to 13 tuners, however, since they can't seem to get more than 13 tuners on an RB LNB, even though they have a regular Ku/Ka 21-tuner LNB. They have an external multiswitch that can do 15. Maybe they could figure out how to get 16 for a future SWiM Hopper 4.

    Or maybe with the reduction in programming, they could keep DISH on Ku on 110/119/129 and DirecTV on 99c/101/103c/110/119, and somehow either broadcast some content to both on 110/119, or keep them separate, but using the same satellites at 110 and 119. I'm not sure how much bandwidth they could share, or how that would be done, as the DirecTV system has some bandwidth chokepoints on 110 and 119. If they did this, they could migrate some smaller markets to a new combined system somehow to reduce duplication of HD LiLs. No matter what they do, it will be messy.

    If they moved the core HD channels onto Ku band from Ka band, that would free up capacity for something else to go on Ka, and that's without even considering RB (assuming they keep it hanging around for the 4k dream that may never happen- the current 4 4k channels are on Ka). They could probably free up all of 110 and 119, turn those over to the DISH system, and get rid of the EA/WA DISH system, keeping DISH hardware running on 110 and 119, and DirecTV on 99c/101/103c, which would eliminate 61.5, 72.7, 95, and 129.

    If they took DirecTV's system, and moved as many DISH TPs to DirecTV at 110 and 119 as DirecTV's system can handle, the combined behemouth would have more bandwidth than anyone would know what to do with, short of something totally crazy like ATSC 3.0 HD subchannel LiLs or something that will probably never happen. That system could easily keep international programming, 4k, HD, and a full 210 DMA HD LiL payload.

    Bottom line is that there are a lot of ways this could play out, and various advantages and disadvantages to how this could play out. I doubt that we'll have 3 major satellite arcs 10 years down the road, but what goes first, and what it ends up becoming is anyone's guess.

    Whatever they do has to work as an islanded device for rural users, RVs, boats, etc. As a business decision, I don't see any reason why they would want it to be exclusive to AT&T TV, and not also be used for satellite, the question is whether technologically it makes any sense to use it on a potentially islanded system.

    I would forsee that any DISH customers who need new equipment and live in an area with at least some level of AT&T IPBB (maybe 18mbps or 25mbps) would be pushed onto the AT&T TV system, even if they didn't subscribe to AT&T internet per se. It would be cheaper to install a VDSL or fiber gateway than a whole new satellite system.

    EDIT: One other note is that DirecTV is currently missing 14 HD LiL markets. When SD shuts down, this should no longer be a bandwidth issue. New satellites designed for a combined operation with 210 market HD LiLs would also be able to more efficiently utilize TP space, with no SD LiL spotbeams, and spotbeams suitable for all 208 HD LiL markets (minus NYC and LA on CONUS for DNS).
     
  7. Oct 15, 2019 #307 of 1017
    snerd

    snerd Well-Known Member

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    You named your dog "Chrome"?
     
  8. Oct 15, 2019 #308 of 1017
    Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    Google employees are like that.
     
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  9. Oct 16, 2019 #309 of 1017
    LI-SVT

    LI-SVT Member

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    For those using Channels DVR. Is there a way to add extra time to live sports programs? I typically add an hour and a half, just in case.

    Thanks
     
  10. Oct 16, 2019 #310 of 1017
    Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    Yes you can add extra time. I haven't tested how much time, but it seemed to work just like TiVo. This article gives a relatively detailed overview of Channels' features: https://www.imore.com/channels-dvr...
     
  11. Oct 16, 2019 #311 of 1017
    OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush Active Member

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    The two biggest benefits for me are:
    1. Automatic commercial skipping. No need to fast forward or weird rules around when you're allowed to or not
    2. Ability to mix & match services into one guide, one DVR, one UI (Antenna and Philo in my case). No need to jump between apps or remember which channel lives under which service.
    My "cable bill" with this setup is about $28/mo including the Channels DVR subscription. I used to prefer once-and-done upfront costs for things like DVR software and hated ongoing subscription costs for software. However, my experience with a lifetime TiVo and Plex subscription has taught me they aren't always the best approach. I think it can make companies lazy about keeping their lifetime subscribers happy since they already got our money. All of the attention is on chasing the next dollar.

    Compared to Channels DVR, where the developers are very accommodating, responsive and active with the community. They seem very interested in making their customers happy and they have an incentive to keep us happy so they keep getting paid.
     
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  12. Oct 16, 2019 #312 of 1017
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Ah. OK, so then in my hypothetical scenario, they'd need to make a new version of the Hopper DVR with somewhat different internal hardware in order to be compatible with DirecTV installations. But there's no reason that isn't do-able. (Or, if you prefer to think of it this way, the box's internal hardware would be a lot like the current Genie but with the Hopper UI/software installed on it.) That would be the DVR given to newly installed customers as well as existing customers with DirecTV installations who need to replace/upgrade their old Genie DVR. Existing customers with DISH installations would continue to use/get the original hardware version Hopper.

    Yes, as I say above.

    Yeah, I think the biggest potential advantage of the headless server model is to allow easier placement (and movement) of client boxes around the house since they're wireless. As far as worrying about ridiculous numbers of tuners that could be accommodated in future hardware scenarios, I don't think that really matters. Remember, DirecTV is going to shift from being what it was in the 90s -- technologically-advanced premium TV -- to simply being the form of cable TV you get when nothing else is available.

    Assuming I understand what you're conveying, that seems needlessly complicated. I don't see why they wouldn't continue to maintain two completely separate DBS systems and satellite fleets so that all current installations continue to work as expected. The two fleets would carry essentially the same overall group of channels. (Channels that DISH now carries but DTV does not would gradually be dropped from the DISH sats, and from the no-longer-sold grandfathered DISH packages, as the company is contractually able to do so.) At some point in the future, assuming DTV is still in business by then, perhaps the old DISH sat fleet will have dwindled down to a size that can no longer carry the full range of DTV channels that are offered at that point. In that case, customers with old DISH installations dating back before the merger would be forced to have a new rooftop dish and receivers installed (at their expense). But there would be very few such customers by that point.

    Oh, there's a very clear business reason why they might want to keep the flashy new C71 exclusive to AT&T TV: because it's part of that new service's branding and user experience and they want to drive customers (including their DTV satellite customers) to AT&T TV. So why extend one of its headline features over to DTV, which they're trying to shepherd folks off of before a full or partial sale or spin-off? Beyond that, if DTV may soon end up merging with DISH, what's the point of deploying and supporting a new model DTV STB? Seems likes a needless complication.

    Why wouldn't the merged DBS operator still have DISH-compatible Hoppers, etc. to give as replacement equipment to folks with DISH-style installations? I can't see why those customers would ever need to be switched over to a DTV-style installation unless and until some future point when the DISH fleet of sats is no longer minimally viable.
     
  13. Oct 16, 2019 #313 of 1017
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    It's perfectly doable, it's basically new CPE at that point. I'm not sure what the branding would be either. DISH's model of a set-top box makes the most sense to me, and their software is definitely ahead of DirecTV.

    The problem is, the HS17 usually ends up at a TV anyway, so then you just have more boxes and cords. Having a device like a Hopper or an HR54 that's a full blown DVR makes the most sense. DISH has 16 tuners in the Hopper, as they surpassed DirecTV a while back. I don't know exactly how their technology works, but they are able to have more tuners than SWiM could handle. I'd figure a future SWiM-based DVR would have 12 tuners, assuming no bonded tuners for 4k like they currently are doing. I think you're right about where DirecTV is going, but DirecTV is still the gold standard for technology, as they are doing way more 4k than anybody else, and they have better video quality than most other pay TV providers.

    Sure, it's pretty complicated. The question is how long DISH's satellites are going to last, and if a combined company wants to maintain 3 arcs of satellites, and for how long. At some point, a combined company would want to cut down on the number of satellites and locations. Even if the programming were separate, I don't know if DirecTV's and DISH's system could share the same birds at 110 and 119, which is another potential savings. They could also pare back what is available on the DISH side, and convert customers who want all the bells and whistles over to the DirecTV system, allowing DISH receivers to go back to receiving content from 110 and 119 over the entire CONUS.

    Eliminating SD on DISH would also be huge, as that is a good chunk of what is on 110 and 119. I'd bet that they likely wouldn't mix the systems, but they could continue operating 2 satellite arcs in the future. It gets more complicated if they go with EA or WA. If they do EA, the western half of the country would have to move to the DirecTV system, while if they do WA, the northeastern 1/3 of the country would have to move to the DirecTV system in most cases. Keeping DISH entirely on 110/119 with no SD and a reduced channel tonnage would allow it to serve most customers in the CONUS, and customers here and there with tree issues in the Northeast would have to move to the DirecTV side.

    Technologically, the best arc by far is DirecTV's 99c/101/103c arc, which has the most bandwidth, and reaches the entire CONUS, plus they have the ability to add parts of 110 and 119 in with a single dish/LNB assembly.

    I disagree. I don't think it makes a whole lot of technological sense to have a DirecTV and AT&T TV box being the same, but I don't think that there is any brand advantage to keeping it only on AT&T TV. I would assume that both companies would be moving full steam ahead on their own systems until a merger is actually official, just like T-Mobile and Sprint are still building out sites in the same areas.

    Ironically, if they did the C71 only on AT&T TV, and put the Hopper system on satellite, the Hopper would likely end up being the better DVR/CPE.

    So long as they have satellites to support DISH. DISH has two arcs, and neither of them has as much capacity as DirecTV's single arc. If DISH could consolidate on 110 and 119, especially if they took some TPs from DirecTV, and moved that stuff over to Ka or RB on the DirecTV side, then they could service the whole country from one arc, eliminating the EA/WA setup, and only requiring new dishes (actually back to the DISH 500 design really) or repoints for EA instead of requiring entirely new CPE for the whole house for everyone. Of course, then they could just keep WA on DISH, and abandon the Northeast, moving those customers over to DirecTV. The point is, there are a ton of moving pieces here, and a lot of options for what they would do. I can pretty much guarantee that the DirecTV system on 99c/101/103c stays, what they would do with the other DirecTV orbital positions or the DISH arcs is anyone's guess. Some scenarios are close to a wholesale upgrade/re-installation of equipment for the vast majority of customers, with many moving to AT&T TV. If AT&T could get some of the smaller MSOs that don't want to be in the pay TV business to either partner with them, or at least offer waived data caps in exchange for a kickback from AT&T, then they could probably move more folks over in areas like mine that have a lot of DirecTV with Cox for internet.
     
  14. Oct 16, 2019 #314 of 1017
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    I googled a few articles and other forum threads, and while it's fun to run out the various scenarios, it seems like it's probably too early in the game to really predict what is going to happen. There are just so many factors at play here, between AT&T and DISH themselves, the Sprint-T-Mobile merger (as you brought up at DBSTalk), the regulatory climate in place at that point in time, the overall pay TV market, as well as smaller factors like sports league contracts, broadband caps, and the like.
     
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  15. Oct 16, 2019 #315 of 1017
    spiderpumpkin

    spiderpumpkin Say no to Hydra!

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    We still have Xfinity gigabit internet and tv service. Our main family dvr is a 3TB Bolt and seems to be always around 75-85% full.

    We also have the 4K X1 Xfinity dvr with small 500GB capacity. That is mainly used for On Demand, a few ip channels like Hallmark Drama and for recording most live sports games.

    I like having Channels DVR set up now with a 10TB drive for recording even more things that would just fill up the 3TB Tivo. It records a lot of the TV Everywhere Xfinity channels that maybe can't be recorded on Tivo, because the Tivo's 6 tuners and Tivo Mini may be using them.

    Channels also records from a 4-tuner HDHR OTA and Locast backs up those local channels if all 4 tuners are in use.

    Channels server is set up on an old Mac Mini and runs on our FireTV stick. I really like using Channels auto commercial skipping on everything and with the Fire TV remote.

    I like Unlimited Xfinity internet and having tv with it isn't that much more. I don't see myself cutting the cord because there aren't many options besides Xfinity internet here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
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  16. Oct 16, 2019 #316 of 1017
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    If you're using 2,250GB of storage, that could be over 1,000 hours if it is mostly cable (MPEG-4) content!!! What on earth is all that stuff, and when do you watch it all? I'm overwhelmed by 17% on my Roamio OTA, and that's OTA, so it's all more than double the bitrate of Comcast.
     
  17. Oct 16, 2019 #317 of 1017
    spiderpumpkin

    spiderpumpkin Say no to Hydra!

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    A lot of it is just 2 years worth of movies and shows that various family members haven't watched or are saving. Every once in a while I have to delete a series I've been saving up to watch a bunch of at once. Those saved series are what I plan to record on my Channels DVR so they don't sit on Tivo.
     
  18. Oct 16, 2019 #318 of 1017
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Gold standard for technology? Heh. Let me know when their receivers have Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and offer 4K HDR content from Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, etc. (I get that in some ways they're ahead of other traditional cable TV systems but that's not saying a whole lot.) Heck, they don't even have voice remotes and they're only barely integrated with Amazon Alexa.

    You've gone into lots of detail of what all they could do but, again, it makes no sense to needlessly sink money into a dying system. All the DISH sats that are currently in operation are a sunk cost, so they'll aim to use them as long as they can. They won't want to spend a dime on installing a different dish, LNB, etc. for an existing customer in order to have that home use a different mix of sats than it already does. At some point in the future, sure, they may be forced to do re-installs for customers still pointed at the old DISH fleet because that fleet might be down to too few sats to carry all the necessary channels. But they'll wait and spend the money on those re-installations only when they have to because they know that the number of customers will naturally dwindle down over the years anyhow. No point in spending money in, say, 2021 to convert lots of DISH homes away from the DISH sat fleet if that fleet will be perfectly useable until, say, 2025. Because a decent percentage of those customers will have left the service anyhow in those intervening 4 years. And unnecessarily making customers schedule a re-installation only increases the potential of running them off to competitors.

    DirecTV hasn't really been "full stream ahead" on much of anything over the last year or two. Well, I think the Genie UI did get a slight facelift. But the service has been pretty stagnant technologically for awhile now.

    It's still possible that the C71 gets deployed on both AT&T TV and DTV, as I had predicted a couple years ago. But keep in mind that AT&T chose to ditch the DTV brand for their new streaming TV services. Just as the new AT&T TV has its own brand, I still think it's quite possible that they won't want it to share its tech platform with the old DTV either. And if DTV gets spun-off into a separate company, which is majority-owned, not fully-owned, by AT&T, I wouldn't expect the DTV company/service to use the AT&T logo or unified billing system any more either. I think it would revert to presenting itself as a separate, independent, privately-owned company. (And frankly, given the way that DTV customers have tended to feel about AT&T since their take-over, that would probably be a good thing.)

    Well, I doubt the Hopper ever has an app platform that can compete with the C71's Android TV. (I also wonder if the implementation of Google Assistant is as good on Hopper as on the C71.) And as more and more of the content folks want to watch shifts to streaming services, having a box that can offer it all will be increasingly important. But in terms of being a pure linear channel DVR, yes, the Hopper may prove to be better. We'll have to wait and see how AT&T TV's cloud DVR performs. Looks like both can store 500 hours. AT&T TV offers unlimited tuners but, with 16 tuners, the Hopper 3 is close enough.

    Yeah, it'll be interesting to see which MSOs AT&T TV ends up partnering up with. CenturyLink seems like a given (as they're a telco and already bundle in DTV) but we might see some HFC cable MSOs partner up too.
     
  19. Oct 16, 2019 #319 of 1017
    Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Yikes! That's a lot of stuff! Speaking of that, I really need to work on my 17% on my Roamio OTA and get it back to being a normal DVR, not a digital junkpile.

    Barely anyone else is doing 4k HDR broadcasts, and their VQ is ahead of most other pay TV providers on HD channels. Compare them to Comcast's horrendous MPEG-4 in 720p CBR. Charter and Cox may be marginally better, but don't do 4k. DISH has little 4k, and FiOS has only recently done any 4k. Even if you don't care about 4k, DirecTV's VBR MPEG-4 encoding is far superior to any other mainstream MVPD. They have more bandwidth than anyone else, and they have the best, tightest arc due to how their gamble on Ka paid off. No one else is even close. Most of the stuff you mentioned in ancillary, it has nothing to do with the actual encoding an transmission of the pay TV content. Sure, their boxes are a bit dated, but in this hypothetical merger scenario, they'd do new CPE anyway. Sadly, TiVo is not going to come back, but Hopper would do the trick.

    I'm looking at what they would do when the existing DISH satellites are no longer viable, as that process will take several years at a minimum to complete.

    Maybe "business as usual" is a better term.

    The branding is more a reflection of many Americans being morons. Recent polls have shown that a double-digit percentage of Americans think chocolate milk comes from brown cows, and even more people think that Hybrids can run out of electric charge and electric cars need gas. It's just as bad when you start to get into basic civics like how the government works. As a result, many morons out there apparently thought that DirecTV NOW needed a satellite dish to work, so AT&T had to rebrand it. To be fair to the morons of America, AT&T should have seen this one coming in the first place.

    However, that is true about DirecTV being spun off.

    They've at least got Netflix and YouTube on the Hopper. It would likely end up being the better pay TV CPE/DVR interface, aside from the ancillary crap like apps and voice control. That might be true for a streaming TV service, but for satellite, it is less so, both due to demographics, and lack of access to decent broadband. That being said, it should still have some app support.

    I think all cloud DVRs will become tiered over time, as it's a really easy/cheap upsell that has good margin for the provider. I'd expect to see several upsell tiers.

    That's going to get really interesting. Also, if Comcast branches out, as we've discussed previously. We'll see if they can get something compelling out the door before pay TV just totally implodes, or all the content is sucked up into the vortices of the major network/content owner streaming bundle apps.
     
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  20. Oct 17, 2019 #320 of 1017
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    What's you best estimate at how much longer the current DISH sat fleet can remain operationally viable?

    Yeah, probably so.

    Well, in Comcast's case, rolling out a nationwide OTT cable TV service (i.e. vMVPD) would really just be about transitioning as many customers as possible toward their own SVOD Peacock.
     

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