... Both Comcast and Time Warner Cable are working quickly to deal with the
reality of Web-based broadband content providers. Their solutions don't
go quite as far as one would ultimately predict, but the future path is
fairly obvious. Within a short period of time, people will be able to
watch content from the Internet in a convenient, emotionally
satisfying, "lean-backward" way. This is opposed to the "download it to
something, burn it to something or route it somewhere and watch it on
your computer at your desk (or on your TV if you've spent the time and
energy to set up a media center PC and an A/B switch)" mode. Sure you
can do it now, but most people can't. And, truth be told, even the
people who can won't bother very often; it's just too time-consuming. ...
Cable multisystem operators needn't fear the claims of IPTV dominance by telcos,
provided they are aggressive in rolling out their own switched digital video
plans, cable executives agreed at panels of the Society of Cable
Telecommunications Engineers here earlier this week. ¶ Richard Green, president and chief executive of cable consortium CableLabs,
said he sees only the Verizon FiOS topology as posing a true threat to hybrid
fiber-coax architectures. ¶ "HD channels are the ultimate weapon against IPTV, because most of the PON
architectures being talked about right now can't handle multiple HD streams,"
Green said. "Verizon is the toughest competitor because it duplicates the cable
... The new party line says Google and Yahoo are cable's real competition in video, not Verizon and AT&T. Then there's the growing cadre of Internet video upstarts like Akimbo, YouTube, and DaveTV. ¶ The upstart crowd is doing a nice job of assembling "viral" and user-generated content. But distribution is limited to the PC screen, or in Akimbo's case, a proprietary IP set-top box. Couldn't they team with MSOs? ¶ Of course, cable MSOs can add value to these services by providing preferential QoS treatment for video streams. But what proves far more interesting is moving these "long tail" services into cable's video-on-demand (VOD) offerings. In this model, YouTube and friends would essentially become cable programming networks -- Homey Box Office if you will -- aggregating and filtering user-generated video content for on-demand broadcast to the TV. ...
FCC chairman Kevin Martin supports cable must carry for all DTV program streams. With the appointment of the new commissioner, Robert McDowell, he had scheduled it for tomorrow's (6/21) agenda. However, Drew Clark reports that McDowell apparently favors a voluntary solution and it's been pulled from that agenda. Read the story at National Journal. --Dennis
High-definition television could tip the balance between phone companies and cable operators as they compete for TV dollars. ¶ After years of hype, HDTV,
with its enhanced picture quality and superior sound, is finally
becoming a reality. Consumers are starting to buy new HDTV sets in
droves. Providing those people with more than one channel of HDTV
programming could become a key selling point for the phone and cable providers battling to sign up TV subscribers. ...
Verizon, whose fiber optic video service competes with cable TV in parts of seven states so far, has agreed to carry all freely available local public TV stations. ¶ The deal, announced June 16 by APTS, PBS and the phone company, covers all DTV multicast channels that local stations choose to air, including Create, Explore, PBS Kids Go, PBS HD and stations' other programming. ...
This deal was negotiated by the Public Broadcasting Service and the Association of Public Television Stations. Disclosure: I'm a former PBS board member and current APTS board member, and represented the latter on the joint committee that worked on this. --Dennis