Xfinity OnDemand XOD Alternatives?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by JimAV, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. Jun 12, 2019 #21 of 105
    BNBTivo

    BNBTivo Active Member

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    When we had Comcast TV, we would use about 700gb of data per month. And we really weren't using 4k or anything. Now that we stream a bunch of 4k along with 1080p tv, it adds up quickly. I honestly would never think we would use more than 1TB but it adds up lightning fast. As you said, 11 hours of Netflix 1080P.... well, figure a household with 4 TV watchers. Kids home during summer, stay at home wife, I personally stay home and work from home quite a bit. Then have some 4k streaming.... even with 4 TV watchers, that 11 hours is now a paltry 2.5 hours/day to hit the cap on just 1080p.

    As for not counting against the cap, a lot of that will have to do with legislation over the coming years. A change in the administration and we get net neutrality, that'll make a big difference. Streaming TV is the future. It's like trying to argue that you can't imagine digital music overtaking CD's. Uncapped is coming. You can already get toast.net anywhere ATT Fiber is available, cheap, uncapped fiber. Google has their own fiber offerings expanding. And as more and more people are killing the 1TB caps, it's just going to get more and more. It really is just a matter of time before cable boxes are irrelevant and we laugh about them like a VCR.
     
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  2. Jun 12, 2019 #22 of 105
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    I agree with a lot of what you're saying here but not all of it. I doubt that data caps are going to go away unless they're legislated to do so (which, admittedly, is a possibility). Know who's one of the most profitable broadband providers in the nation? CableOne (now rebranded as Sparklight), who no longer actively sells their own cable TV service but who has the most onerous data caps of any sizable operator. They have caps as low as 100 GB. Their $65/mo plan offers 200 Mbps speed and a data cap of 600 GB (just 60% of the 1 TB cap enforced by Comcast, AT&T, Cox and CenturyLink). As CableOne's plan prices increase, so do the speeds and caps. Heck, their CSRs will actively help customers dump their own TV service and guide them through their options for picking one or more streaming services to serve as a replacement. They know they'll make more money on them through broadband fees than the tiny margins they were eking out from them on their cable TV package.

    Who are these providers you mention who are killing the cap? Yes, I know about Toast.net (which I suggested to someone on this forum recently) but not many people do. If their customers ever start eating up too much data or steal too much business from AT&T Fiber's own plans, you can bet that AT&T will deal with them. Charter is the biggest broadband provider with no caps but that's a condition of Charter's acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Brighthouse Cable a few years back. When that condition expires in a few years, I expect they'll introduce them unless the competitive landscape has changed so that a whole lot of their customers have a competitively priced uncapped alternative.
     
  3. Jun 12, 2019 #23 of 105
    BNBTivo

    BNBTivo Active Member

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    My ATT fiber has no cap. What you are saying is that RIGHT NOW there are data caps. Yeah, totally. And for the near future, as CableOne is doing, that's where the money will be. But that's not going to last. As more people switch to streaming data/TV, there will be more competition from internet providers and demand from consumers. Prices don't go up on this stuff, prices go down over time. Which means as time goes on, you'll get more data for less money, as already happens. The remaining providers screwing people with data caps and overage charges will be pushed out. It's not going to happen overnight, of course. But it's coming.

    Eventually, internet will be a utility totally unbundled from TV/content. At least in it's current form. Regulation and competition are going to rapidly resolve this. I bet within the next 2 - 5 years you won't see data caps anymore on anything but super budget offerings. Even my high speed wireless 4G internet has no data cap (Ubifi). My cell has no data cap (unheard of years ago). And isn't this part of the 5G plan? To eliminate hard wired internet to homes, provide all the content you want, etc wirelessly. Technology is putting data caps and archaic cable boxes to rest, and it's going to happen fast. We won't get content the same way in the near future, that's for sure.
     
  4. Jun 12, 2019 #24 of 105
    jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

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    Additional FYI for iPhone/iPad users..... with the rollout of AirPlay 2, you can now Airplay from your device directly to newer Samsung TVs, without having to go thru an AppleTV. This can be helpful for those using the Xfinity app on an iDevice.
     
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  5. Jun 12, 2019 #25 of 105
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    I hope you're right but I'm not quite as optimistic as you are. Data caps, per se, may go away but consumers will, on average, simply pay for more access. The way that you're paying more to be on AT&T Fiber's fastest, most expensive tier, which offers unlimited data as a perk. Or the way that Comcast subs can pay an extra $50/mo to eliminate their cap. Or the way wireless carriers charge more for their "Unlimited" plans (which sometimes still throttle speeds after a certain point, or restrict video to SD resolution, etc.).

    As more and more video leaves broadband providers' own in-house cable TV services (which of course do not count against a cap) and switch to various OTT video services, you'll see broadband providers making more money on their broadband service one way or another. Maybe it's by having data caps and charging for overages or a fee to waive the cap. Or maybe it's by eliminating the cap if you subscribe to additional services besides just broadband. Or maybe it's by eliminating caps for everyone but also raising prices for all broadband plans across the board.

    The only way to really keep the overall cost of broadband service in check is through competition or regulation. And yes, competition will increase in the coming years, which is a good thing. We'll see how much impact it has on prices.
     
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  6. Jun 12, 2019 #26 of 105
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if internet will ever be a utility (or if I even want that). But I do believe that, eventually, the only providers of subscription video entertainment (i.e. "TV") will be those companies that actually OWN content sources. (The exception to this is likely to be DISH, which will eventually be the sole major provider of satellite TV service after AT&T eventually sells their DirecTV operation to them.)

    By 2025, with the exception of DISH (or whoever's running the lone DBS service by then), I'm not sure if there will be ANY noteworthy MVPDs other than those who are actually content owners. The nation's largest cable TV provider, Comcast, who owns NBCUniversal, will still be in the game. And at some point after they launch their OTT NBCU SVOD app nationwide next year, I think they'll decide to also distribute their Xfinity TV cable bundle service the same way (maybe even in the same app) -- available to anyone with a broadband connection. Why restrict themselves to just their own network footprint? It's not a technical matter -- they could flip a switch and do it today. It's just a business decision, and might require some tweaks to their existing contracts with various cable networks, but that's very do-able when you're Comcast. Heck, we might even see Comcast's little X1 streaming box (the Xi6 model) sold at major retail outlets as a competitor to Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV. The X1 box won't be the only way to access their streaming TV services but Comcast will position it as the best way. (You'll still be able to use their app on Roku and other platforms instead.)

    The other current traditional pay TV operator who will still be in the game is AT&T, who is a major content owner too, thanks to their acquisition of WarnerMedia (HBO, Turner, CNN, WB movie and TV studios). All signs are pointing toward a launch around August of a new "AT&T TV" service that will be a hybrid product, having some features typically associated with a traditional operator-provisioned cable TV service and some features typically associated with OTT live-streaming cable TV. They'll market it aggressively to their own AT&T Internet/Fiber home broadband customers (with a bundle discount and waived data cap) but also offer it to anyone nationwide as an OTT "bring-your-own-broadband" option. They're also going to launch a new SVOD, tentatively called HBO Max, that offers all of their own WarnerMedia content. HBO Max will automatically be bundled in as part of the channel packages sold through the AT&T TV app/service. And AT&T says that eventually, they'll offer the option to subscribe to those optional channel packages inside the HBO Max app too.

    But Charter? Verizon? Cox? Altice? Frontier? CableOne? RCN? Bob's Hometown Cable TV? It increasingly doesn't make sense for them to operate their own cable TV services. Outside of Charter, they don't have a whole lot of scale when negotiating carriage rates. And none of them have any skin in the content game; they're just acting as low-margin middlemen to package and deliver other companies' content. When it comes to whether or not Charter customers take cable TV service, Charter's CEO said, "I'm sort of indifferent." Such subscriptions aren't even a "material driver" of Charter's business now. And keep in mind that Charter (by law) can't even enforce data caps right now! And yet the CEO still doesn't really care if you just use Hulu with Live TV instead of his own Spectrum TV! Charter, BTW, has 16 million TV subs, making them the third largest MVPD behind AT&T and Comcast. If that's the situation at #3, what's the situation with everyone smaller than them?

    If anything, what you'll see all those operators do is partner with one or more OTT live cable TV services. They'll get a wholesale rate on the subscription cost and will resell those services to their broadband subs and take a little cut. Subscribers will get the convenience of unified billing and some kind of perk, maybe a bundle discount or maybe having that TV service's data zero-rated against their data cap. (Or maybe the operator just waives your data cap if you also subscribe to their partner TV service.)

    Outsourcing low-margin, high-headache cable TV service to established national content-owner players who specialize in that stuff will simply emerge as the most logical thing for broadband operators to do. Why should a cable operator try to transition from QAM TV to managed IPTV when the whole cable TV industry is in secular decline anyhow? Just buddy up with a service like YouTube TV (as Verizon is starting to do) and be done with the whole mess. They'd much rather focus on their high-margin broadband business. The only reason they'd even want to offer TV is to make their customers happier and stickier (and maybe technically coordinate with a designated video partner to better manage network traffic, such as by implementing multicast when it make sense).

    In the end, it will just be AT&T and Comcast standing in the live cable TV arena, plus whatever content-owner SVODs such as Hulu (and Amazon? and Apple? and CBS?) that wish to also distribute live cable channels through their SVOD apps. YouTube TV might stick around for the long-haul if Google can get it to profitability and doesn't get bored with it. Sony's PS Vue and Fubo TV will both die (both too small, neither are significant content owners), with their customer bases (or at least their customer contact lists) getting absorbed into a surviving competitor.

    The landscape in the cable TV world is very rapidly shifting.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  7. Jun 12, 2019 #27 of 105
    chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    No, I do not "need a ton of devices." (TBH, none of this has to do with need but rather preference.) I do, however, want the capability to watch my preferred content with the best available audio and video quality, within the limits of practicality. This includes being able to select the Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision encodes whenever available. And my point was to signal that no one device provides all the bells and whistles, but rather each one has its shortcomings or trade-offs.

    As for the gigabit port on the Nvidia Shield, there are many users (although I am not among them) who find it useful for streaming UHD content from their media server. The Shield also has the snappiest UI and offers the most customization of any mass-market streamer.

    As much as I am enjoying the Roku Ultra thus far, I doubt that I will ever use it for anything other than the Xfinity Stream and HBO Go (thru Xfinity) apps. For almost everything else, I will use either the Shield or, on my other TV, the Amazon Fire TV 4K. Ironically, I could stream everything (other than XoD) from just my Sony XBR-65Z9D, but I have no use for "smart" features in a display. And don't even get me started on the horrific performance of the TiVo Roamio for streaming.

    Of course, if you are not an A/V enthusiast, none of these capabilites may concern you; but most TCF members are much more into A/V than your average TV viewer. I myself would much rather do all of my streaming from a single source device, but that day is yet to come.
     
  8. Jun 12, 2019 #28 of 105
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    To wit: As Cord Cutting Grows One More Cable TV Company Is Shutting Down Its TV Service - Cord Cutters News
     
  9. Jun 13, 2019 #29 of 105
    mschnebly

    mschnebly Well-Known Member

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  10. Jun 13, 2019 #30 of 105
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yup, it is. Well, the Montana cableco in the linked story is very small and TiVo has cable partners that are significantly bigger.

    But, yeah, TiVo is aiming to partner up with any of those cable and/or IPTV providers in the under-1 million subscriber range ("tier 2 and tier 3 providers"). So TiVo is competing against others like Evolution Digital, Espial, etc. who aim to make it easier for operators to continue deploying their own TV services as they try to keep up with technology and consumers' increasing expectations.

    Meanwhile, many of those operators are starting to whisper "Why stick with this lousy TV business that we hardly make any money on? Let's just focus on high-margin broadband and let our customers buy their own TV services over our connection."

    When you add in the fact that cablecos feel like they have to transition their TV systems from QAM to IPTV to remain relevant and keep up with where technology is going (4K, HDR, TV anywhere on any device, targeted advertising, etc.) -- and making that transition involves a significant new investment in their platform -- you can see why we're at a potential inflection point where we start seeing a lot of tier 2/3 operators like this tiny MSO in Montana just ditch cable TV service entirely. (Actuallly, we've even seen one tier 1 operator -- CenturyLink -- throw in the towel on TV when they deprecated their own Prism TV product awhile back and just started reselling DirecTV satellite instead.)

    For more on this developing trend, check out the latter part of this article: 3 Rivers Cuts the TV Cord | Light Reading

    I hate to be the Debbie Downer of TCF but I just don't see a way forward for TiVo beyond simply licensing their patents, features/UI elements, and program guide data/metadata to bigger industry players. I think it's the consensus view among the regulars here at TCF that TiVo doesn't have much of a future in the retail/consumer arena, so the company's hopes are pinned on serving MSO partners. But I just don't see that business lasting for them long-term either because those MSOs will eventually all just end up reselling national OTT TV services, like AT&T TV, Xfinity TV, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, etc. The economics and industry trends are all aligned against TiVo.
     
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  11. Jun 13, 2019 #31 of 105
    mschnebly

    mschnebly Well-Known Member

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    That "snapshot of examples indicative of the trend" in that article looks to validate your opinion pretty well. Soon we will have a broadband connection from one place and be able to get our TV/video of choice wherever we want. Everything will be headed for the cloud. Access it anywhere from any device anytime.
     
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  12. Jun 13, 2019 #32 of 105
    kokishin

    kokishin Active Member

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    I presume Tivo could create a IPTV DVR?

    My mother-in-law in Tokyo has had cost effective Hikari IPTV along with NTT Flets 100Mbps ipv6 internet service since 2009. The little one tuner yasui (cheap) rental STB they provided then has a USB 2.0 port which I connected up to a 500GB USB HDD creating a simple DVR.

    Someday when Comcast forces me to go IPTV, I'd much prefer to purchase a Tivo IPTV DVR then anything Comcast would rent me. And I prefer to keep my recorded content on an HDD or SSD versus the cloud. FWIW, I do not use Comcast internet; only Comcast TV. My ISP has no data caps.

    If I could cut the cord, I would. But Mrs K and I watch almost all Golden State Warrior and San Francisco Giants games on Comcast. And guess who owns the Warriors and Giants sports TV cable only network? The monopoly called Comcast.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  13. Jun 13, 2019 #33 of 105
    BNBTivo

    BNBTivo Active Member

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    We are already there. It's just a matter of time to get everyone switched over. Cloud services already provide a better experience than Tivo and cable companies for a fraction of the price. Typical commercial laden TV is a thing of the past. It'll be simply news and live sports. That can be had for $20 for a premium experience, or free OTA.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
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  14. Jun 13, 2019 #34 of 105
    BNBTivo

    BNBTivo Active Member

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    I find it unlikely HDD dvrs will last. It's just not going in that direction anymore. That's not necessarily a good thing. The content providers want you watching commercials. They'll get their way as we switch to IPTV and cloud. Of course, it'll be relegated to the rare live TV that we will still be watching. It seems a lot more commercial free TV is the way of the future which is nice. You'll just pay for the privilege
     
  15. Jun 13, 2019 #35 of 105
    mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    You're conflating multiple things. What does net neutrality have to do with uncapped?

    Plus, until ALL services have very long/very obvious/unlimited times for certain shows (which I realize will never happen), AND let you watch faster than realtime (people do it with podcasts, I do it with podcasts & quickmode and VLC), the experience will not be better than having a DVR locally.. I say this who IS using streaming a lot despite the experience being WORSE in some ways.. it's better in that I get NO commercials and not ads over the show (except they still have the stupid bug).
     
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  16. Jun 13, 2019 #36 of 105
    CloudAtlas

    CloudAtlas Bryan TCF Club

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    TiVo Service
    At the core of our Next-Gen Platform is cloud-based TiVo Service, which allows for simple integration, flexible deployments and scalability. TiVo Service powers the entire user experience and enables a variety of features, including content discovery, search, recommendations and personalization as well as IPTV capabilities. It also provides client software, provisioning and service management functions, and integration with operators’ back-office and third-party systems.
    FD0CCC0B-F74B-43A4-8C05-D2AD8874E4E2.jpeg
    Benefits
    • Launch an engaging, superior pay-TV experience: Reduce churn, drive new revenue, build loyalty and provide more value to viewers.
    • Transition to IPTV on your own terms: Deploy all-QAM, all-IPTV or anything in-between using simple migration paths.
    • Cutting-edge experiences across devices: Meet demand for device- and OS-agnostic services and extend engagement beyond the TV.
    • Future-proof with cloud-based TiVo Service: Gain rapid agility, scalability and feature velocity to stay ahead of the competition.
     
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  17. Jun 14, 2019 #37 of 105
    mschnebly

    mschnebly Well-Known Member

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    This sure seems to make it clear that this will not be a retail company soon. No more local box with drives.
     
  18. Jun 14, 2019 #38 of 105
    BNBTivo

    BNBTivo Active Member

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    What does net neutrality have to do with uncapped? Everything.

    As companies switch to IPTV, they won't be allowed to differentiate between their service and others when counting against the cap. So Comcast couldn't supply their TV service to you via IPTV and not count against the cap. They'll be forced to remove the cap in order to provide TV services.

    None of the features above that you like requires a local dvr. YouTube already has quick mode. These are all things that can be easily handled via cloud service and most likely will as they mature. As I've said before, local DVR is still a viable solution at the moment. But it's going away for sure and probably relatively soon. It can't compete with cloud.
     
  19. Jun 14, 2019 #39 of 105
    BNBTivo

    BNBTivo Active Member

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    Well there ya go! Tivo clearly sees where the future is. It's not a bad time to sell off lifetime tivo equipment before its worthless. I just pulled in $2100 for all my stuff. Or about 3 1/2 years worth of YTTV. Expensive equipment is a thing of the past. And dang, imagine what all that equipment cost me new!
     
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  20. Jun 14, 2019 #40 of 105
    TonyD79

    TonyD79 Well-Known Member

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    I don’t see where net neutrality does that at all. We had it and they still allowed their own data to be free. Bundling of services would not be disallowed.
     
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