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Comcast HDTV - Page 399

post #11941 of 11976
That's not Blast it's Performance HSI, and IIRC it doesn't come with a DVR.
post #11942 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by tveli View Post

Anyone got the new $69.95/service "Blast plus HBO" aka "internet plus HBO" ? The one with 25Mbps down speed , and local channels plus HBO, but no other channels.
Is a HD-DVR provided/available-for-low-monthly-$? What exact model # cable box or HD-DVR is provided?
In the SF bay area a member just got that deal for $40, he has no DVR, uses only a single CableCARD.
Quote:
I just upgraded from $22 Limited Basic to $40 (1 year) Internet Plus, which is Limited Basic + HBO + 25Mbps Internet. I should get the $2.50 credit as well for using CableCARD. That's a pretty good promo price, especially for 1 year.
post #11943 of 11976
Just saw on my latest cable bill, Comcast is adding a $1.50 fee for increasing OTA reception costs in Colorado Springs. Really? Tell me what additional costs they will incur from receiving and retransmitting over the cable our local OTA channels.

I wish we had alternatives. The fastest internet connection is Comcast who now owns content production capabilities. And, the recent negative court ruling on net neutrality, gives them even more power. Don't want to watch Comcast produced programs? Too bad. Doing so will result in the best quality signal we can provide. If we don't want you watching someone else, we might throttle the data rate for that channel or charge you more to watch it. And no streaming Netflix for you. BTW, if you set up a VPN, we're going to throttle that back too - even if it is for work. Our control over the data stream we provide you is spelled out in our clearly worded Terms of Service Agreement. Don't worry about the fine print.

We really don't have any alternatives other than ditch cable altogether and rely on disks and OTA. No FiOS here. *sigh*
post #11944 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satcom15 View Post

Just saw on my latest cable bill, Comcast is adding a $1.50 fee for increasing OTA reception costs in Colorado Springs. Really? Tell me what additional costs they will incur from receiving and retransmitting over the cable our local OTA channels.

...

 

There is no way for a consumer to know how much a service provider pays a content provider, be it a "cable channel" such as ESPN or a local television station, for the right to carry that content provider's programming. This makes it very difficult for a consumer to judge the value of the options available in the market place.

 

Of course, with OTA, you have no way of knowing how much (if at all) the cost of ketchup has gone up due to Heinz paying for a commercial.

 

Viewers have never had any real power to judge the economics of the TV industry.

post #11945 of 11976
Lists have been leaked in the past and can be found if you look hard enough. Mainstream cable channels are a few pennies per sub. ESPN and the like are several dollars. I did the math once, and ESPN alone costs the same as 40 other non-sports channels combined. Local affiliates aren't very much either, nowhere near the amount they raised your bill.
post #11946 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satcom15 View Post

Just saw on my latest cable bill, Comcast is adding a $1.50 fee for increasing OTA reception costs in Colorado Springs. Really?
Quote:

Hummm
Not sure how Comcast is getting OTA stuff? confused.gif
post #11947 of 11976
In response to WaterBoyz: They have antennas at the head end pointing at Cheyenne Mtn where the transmitters are. However, they probably have direct connections with the major network stations and the antennas are only for back up. I do know OTA reception of the networks is often times better than over the cable. I don't think they compress as much OTA as the cable company does.
post #11948 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satcom15 View Post

In response to WaterBoyz: They have antennas at the head end pointing at Cheyenne Mtn where the transmitters are. However, they probably have direct connections with the major network stations and the antennas are only for back up. I do know OTA reception of the networks is often times better than over the cable. I don't think they compress as much OTA as the cable company does.

So I guess the $1.50 is pure profit for all practical purposes.

Haven't seen that on my bill.....yet.
But in my area Aereo is available for $8 a month with DVR. So if worse comes worse I could still get OTA even though I would still need some kind of Internet access for that service. And worse worse worse I could install an antennae on the chimney. But then again, the WAF would be so low that a lawyer would be needed to reconcile the differences.
post #11949 of 11976
TIME WARNER CABLE
TO MERGE WITH COMCAST CORPORATION TO CREATE A WORLD-CLASS TECHNOLOGY
AND MEDIA COMPANY
SHARE


Strategic Combination Will Accelerate Delivery of Comcast’s Technologically Advanced Products and Services to Time Warner Cable’s Customers

Transaction Creates Multiple Pro-Consumer and Pro-Competitive Benefits, Including for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

PHILADELPHIA and NEW YORK
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) today announced that their Boards of Directors have approved a definitive agreement for Time Warner Cable to merge with Comcast. The agreement is a friendly, stock-for-stock transaction in which Comcast will acquire 100 percent of Time Warner Cable’s 284.9 million shares outstanding for shares of CMCSA amounting to approximately $45.2 billion in equity value. Each Time Warner Cable share will be exchanged for 2.875 shares of CMCSA, equal to Time Warner Cable shareholders owning approximately 23 percent of Comcast’s common stock, with a value to Time Warner Cable shareholders of approximately $158.82 per share based on the last closing price of Comcast shares. The transaction will generate approximately $1.5 billion in operating efficiencies and will be accretive to Comcast’s free cash flow per share while preserving balance sheet strength. The merger will also be tax free to Time Warner Cable shareholders.

"The combination of Time Warner Cable and Comcast creates an exciting opportunity for our company, for our customers, and for our shareholders," said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Comcast Corporation. "In addition to creating a world-class company, this is a compelling financial and strategic transaction for our shareholders. Also, it is our intention to expand our buyback program by an additional $10 billion at the close of the transaction. We believe there are meaningful operational efficiencies and the adjusted purchase multiple is approximately 6.7x Operating Cash Flow. This transaction will be accretive and will yield many synergies and benefits in the years ahead. Rob Marcus and his team have created a pure-play cable company that, combined with Comcast, has the foundation for future growth. We are looking forward to working with his team as we bring our companies together to deliver the most innovative products and services and a superior customer experience within the highly competitive and dynamic marketplace in which we operate."

"This combination creates a company that delivers maximum value for our shareholders, enormous opportunities for our employees and a superior experience for our customers," said Robert D. Marcus, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable. "Comcast and Time Warner Cable have been the leaders in all of the industry’s most important innovations of the last 25 years and this merger will accelerate the pace of that innovation. Brian Roberts, Neil Smit, Michael Angelakis and the Comcast management team have built an industry-leading platform and innovative products and services, and we’re excited to be part of delivering all of the possibilities of cable’s superior broadband networks to more American consumers."

The new cable company, which will be led by President and CEO Neil Smit, will generate multiple pro-consumer and pro-competitive benefits, including an accelerated deployment of existing and new innovative products and services for millions of customers. Comcast’s subscribers today have access to the most comprehensive video experience, including the cloud-based X1 Entertainment Operating System, plus 50,000 video on demand choices on television, 300,000 plus streaming choices on XfinityTV.com, Xfinity TV mobile apps that offer 35 live streaming channels plus the ability to download to watch offline later, and the newly launched X1 cloud DVR. Comcast is also a technology leader in broadband and has increased Internet speeds 12 times in the past 12 years across its entire footprint. Time Warner Cable owns cable systems located in key geographic areas, including New York City, Southern California, Texas, the Carolinas, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Time Warner Cable will combine its unique products and services with Comcast’s, including StartOver, which allows customers to restart a live program in progress to the beginning, and LookBack, which allows customers to watch programs up to three days after they air live, all without a DVR. Time Warner Cable also has been a leader in the deployment of community Wi-Fi, and will combine its more than 30,000 hotspots, primarily in Los Angeles and New York City, and its in-home management system, IntelligentHome, with Comcast’s offerings.

Through this merger, more American consumers will benefit from technological innovations, including a superior video experience, higher broadband speeds, and the fastest in-home Wi-Fi. The transaction also will generate significant cost savings and other efficiencies. American businesses will benefit from a broader platform, and the Company will be better able to offer advanced services like high-performance point-to-point and multi-point Ethernet services and cloud-based managed services to enterprises. Additionally, the transaction will combine complementary advertising platforms and channels and allow Comcast to offer broader and more valuable packages to national advertisers.

Through the merger, Comcast will acquire Time Warner Cable’s approximately 11 million managed subscribers. In order to reduce competitive concerns, Comcast is prepared to divest systems serving approximately 3 million managed subscribers. As such, Comcast will, through the acquisition and management of Time Warner Cable systems, net approximately 8 million managed subscribers in this transaction. This will bring Comcast’s managed subscriber total to approximately 30 million. Following the transaction, Comcast’s share of managed subscribers will remain below 30 percent of the total number of MVPD subscribers in the U.S. and will be essentially equivalent to Comcast Cable’s subscriber share after its completion of both the 2002 AT&T Broadband transaction and the 2006 Adelphia transaction.

The companies said the merger agreement between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is subject to shareholder approval at both companies and regulatory review and other customary conditions and is expected to close by the end of 2014.

http://corporate.comcast.com/news-information/news-feed/time-warner-cable-to-merge-with-comcast-corporation
post #11950 of 11976
Now if only Comcast would try to match TWC's HD lineup...
post #11951 of 11976
Crazy news rolleyes.gif
post #11952 of 11976
I think the operative words are implied in this:

"The combination of Time Warner Cable and Comcast creates an exciting opportunity for our company, for our customers, and for our shareholders," said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Comcast Corporation. "In addition to creating a world-class company, this is a compelling financial and strategic transaction for our shareholders.

All I see is higher bills ahead for services I don't want but forced on me. How about a la carte programming and unfettered access to the internet (i.e. net neutrality)? I'll pay for high bandwidth service, though remove all the garbage programming few people watch and that might free up considerable bandwidth.

Remember, its all about $$$ and shareholder value, and not the subscribers other than as a source of revenue for shareholders.
post #11953 of 11976
This kind of deal has to of been going on behind the scenes for a a year or more. Amazing how stuff this big can be kept under wraps.

Yep, great news for a lot of people.

"...$1.5 billion in operating efficiencies..." = people layoffs
"...$1.5 billion in operating efficiencies..." = reduced vendors

"...enormous opportunities for our employees and a superior experience for our customers..." = not sure about the opportunities
"...enormous opportunities for our employees and a superior experience for our customers..." = CSR hold time will surely suffer

Other than using Comcast as a TV/Internet provider I have no financial skin in the game.
post #11954 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by WaterBoyz View Post

This kind of deal has to of been going on behind the scenes for a a year or more. Amazing how stuff this big can be kept under wraps.

Yep, great news for a lot of people.

"...$1.5 billion in operating efficiencies..." = people layoffs
"...$1.5 billion in operating efficiencies..." = reduced vendors

"...enormous opportunities for our employees and a superior experience for our customers..." = not sure about the opportunities
"...enormous opportunities for our employees and a superior experience for our customers..." = CSR hold time will surely suffer

Other than using Comcast as a TV/Internet provider I have no financial skin in the game.

Oh yes, how could I have overlooked the obvious - staff reductions and customer service quality suffers. Thanks for the reminder WaterBoyZ. Cutting personnel costs is always a good way to increase the share price - Customer service? Not important, just pay your ever growing bills, you don't have any other options anyway. Employees - fughedaboud 'em. The fewer the better. Isn't Corporate America and Wall Street great? You gotta luv 'em.
post #11955 of 11976
Boy, I would much rather have:
"...$1.5 billion in operating inefficiencies..." = no people layoffs
"...$1.5 billion in operating inefficiencies..." = no reduced vendors

and a much higher monthly cable/internet bill.

rolleyes.gif
post #11956 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitzen102 View Post

Boy, I would much rather have:
"...$1.5 billion in operating inefficiencies..." = no people layoffs
"...$1.5 billion in operating inefficiencies..." = no reduced vendors

and a much higher monthly cable/internet bill.

rolleyes.gif
Yes, because I'm sure you're bill will go down when they pull together all those "efficiencies"...
post #11957 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post

Yes, because I'm sure you're bill will go down when they pull together all those "efficiencies"...

I never said that. See, there's this thing called "inflation".

I was implying it might not go up as fast or we'll get better service for the same price relative to if the companies didn't combine.
post #11958 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitzen102 View Post

I never said that. See, there's this thing called "inflation".

I was implying it might not go up as fast or we'll get better service for the same price relative to if the companies didn't combine.
Unfortunately it doesn't work like that. Without competition, monopolies are free to gouge their customers and slack off on service and innovation. That's why we have anti-trust laws (which have been completely ignored since the 80's). As the only ISP in most cities, they can go crazy with caps and fees and there'll be nothing anybody can do about it.

Sure, a few people will get very rich from this merger, and there will be some economies of scale. But there is nothing positive for the consumer or TWC employees.
post #11959 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Unfortunately it doesn't work like that. Without competition, monopolies are free to gouge their customers and slack off on service and innovation. That's why we have anti-trust laws (which have been completely ignored since the 80's). As the only ISP in most cities, they can go crazy with caps and fees and there'll be nothing anybody can do about it.

Sure, a few people will get very rich from this merger, and there will be some economies of scale. But there is nothing positive for the consumer or TWC employees.

They have competition though. DirecTV, Dish, U-Verse, Fios, and other smaller companies like them.

As far as ISPs go, they have competition there too from U-Verse, Fios, DSL, HughesNet, Wildblue, and LTE services from Sprint/Verizon/AT&T/etc.

Time Warner and Comcast were not available in the same zip code anywhere in the US from what I have read. So them merging will not affect competition in any of their current markets at all. To me there is absolutely no legal reason why this merger should not be allowed to happen.

Merging the two companies together will allow them to cut down on sales, marketing, and upper management costs (or at least it should). Customer service costs will probably remain about the same as they will still have the same amount of customers that they will need to support. Although we have seen that they don't care much about stuff like customer satisfactiona d wiat times so they may make cuts there as well until it gets bad enough they start losing customers over it. Their combined customer number will also give them more leverage when completing carriage agreements with the channels in the future, which hopefully will help them keep the cost increases down.
Edited by Beerstalker - 2/14/14 at 8:18am
post #11960 of 11976
Fight continues over cable retransmission fees

Few products or services are free in America.

But since the dawn of TV time, the broadcast networks NBC, CBS, and ABC have been free to viewers who grabbed their signals out of the air with rabbit ears. Later, those networks were distributed freely - at least, without a cash fee - to subscribers as part of basic cable-TV packages.

Now, after several years of TV blackouts and hardball negotiating tactics, the Big Four networks (including Fox) are being paid substantial new fees by cable- and satellite-TV companies for the rights to distribute their entertainment and news programs over local stations.

These retransmission fees are being passed on to many of the 100 million U.S. pay-TV subscribers and will add billions of dollars to TV bills, according to the research firm SNL Kagan.

This month, Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable operator with 22 million subscribers, will itemize for the first time a $1.50 monthly broadcast-TV fee on bills in the Philadelphia area. The charge will be levied on subscribers nationwide as part of its annual rate-increase cycle.

Comcast says the charge covers only part of the retransmission fees to pay for the local broadcast-TV stations, though the fees will likely escalate in future years. Top-rated CBS Corp. reportedly sought $2 a month per household for local TV stations in recent negotiations with Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest cable operator. Time Warner Cable relented last summer after CBS withheld content from subscribers.

Over time, ABC, NBC, and Fox could seek similar fees, resulting in $6-a-month-per-household fee for broadcast-TV stations. Seemingly small, those fees spread over all pay-TV households add up to billions of dollars.

Comcast has itemized the broadcast-TV fees "to be more transparent with our customers about the factors that drive price changes," company spokeswoman Jennifer Moyer said.

Comcast has said that it is not boosting the price of its two most popular Xfinity packages, limited basic and digital preferred, in 2014 and that adjustments to other video-service prices will be lower than they would have been without the broadcast-TV fee, according to Moyer.

The changes will increase the typical Comcast bill 2 percent in the Philadelphia area, company spokesman Jeff Alexander said. Comcast serves about 65 percent of the pay-TV market in the area.

The broadcast-TV industry says retransmission fees help finance local news and allow stations to air quality content. Executives also view the fees as part of their potential revenue growth as they transform TV stations into double-stream media properties, earning revenue in both advertising and fees.

Traditionally, TV stations have earned revenue only through advertising. Stocks in public companies that own TV stations have soared.

But pay-TV industry officials and consumer advocates say the fees harm consumers and are a consequence of the outdated 1992 Cable Act. Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal and benefits from retransmission fees paid for NBC's TV stations, has been silent on the issue, for the most part.

"The networks have abused the rules to the point that they are overly abusive to consumers," said Matthew Polka, head of the American Cable Association, a group of small cable operators. "It's a situation that is absolutely getting worse."

The retransmission fees pay for broadcast-TV sports-rights contracts - retransmission fees have inflated TV contracts for the NFL and Major League Baseball in recent years, analysts say - and boost corporate profits at television networks, Polka said.

The American Television Alliance, an organization of 30 pay-TV companies, content providers, and organizations, lobbies for reform of retransmission-fee rules. Members include Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Dish Network, and Starz Entertainment. The alliance was formed as an alternative to cable TV's traditional lobbying organization, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, whose largest member is Comcast.

The American Television Alliance says content companies that own broadcast-TV stations have forced the pay-TV industry into higher retransmission fees by withholding TV channels during carriage negotiations. Periodically, the content companies - CBS, Walt Disney Co. (which owns ABC), NBCUniversal, and Fox - negotiate new carriage agreements to distribute their entertainment on pay-TV systems.

When TV channels go dark on one pay-TV service, subscribers tend to drop that service for a competing one, making blackouts an effective negotiating tactic. Pay-TV companies pay the retransmission fees to avoid the bad publicity and subscriber drain, executives and analysts say.

In 2013, there were 127 such blackouts, the American Television Alliance says; there were 51 nationwide in 2011, 91 in 2012.

"It's obvious that the retransmission consent system is broken," said Brian Frederick, spokesman for the alliance.

Retransmission fees are central to the legal dispute over Aereo Inc., the New York technology company that streams broadcast-TV stations over the Internet. Because Aereo grabs TV signals out of the air with small antennas and then streams them, it says it does not have to pay retransmission fees.

NBCUniversal, Fox, and others have said Aereo must pay the fees and have sued in federal court to stop the company, which says it is following the law. The case could be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lawmakers have heard complaints. In September, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D., Calif.) introduced the "Video Consumers Have Options in Choosing Entertainment Act of 2013," which seeks to unbundle cable channels from broadcast channels.

On Friday, National Consumers League vice president John Breyault said consumers should not be caught in a "game of chicken" between the pay-TV operators and broadcast-TV companies.

The question, Breyault said, is whether "consumers are getting a fair deal for what they are paying for with their cable bill."

http://articles.philly.com/2014-01-06/business/45885511_1_retransmission-fees-tv-stations-similar-fees
post #11961 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

Fight continues over cable retransmission fees

Few products or services are free in America.

But since the dawn of TV time, the broadcast networks NBC, CBS, and ABC have been free to viewers who grabbed their signals out of the air with rabbit ears.

http://articles.philly.com/2014-01-06/business/45885511_1_retransmission-fees-tv-stations-similar-fees

 

That's a bit misleading, I would say.

 

Back in the days of analog broadcasting, very few viewers were close enough to the broadcast towers to receive a reliable signal via an indoor antenna ("rabbit ears"). And there have always been problems with signals being able to penetrate the walls of some kinds of buildings.

 

Now that all full-power stations in the U.S. are broadcasting digital signals (carrying SD and HD programming), the situation is more favorable for reception with merely an indoor antenna, but an outdoor antenna is still far superior.

post #11962 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerstalker View Post


Merging the two companies together will allow them to cut down on sales, marketing, and upper management costs (or at least it should). Customer service costs will probably remain about the same as they will still have the same amount of customers that they will need to support. Although we have seen that they don't care much about stuff like customer satisfactiona d wiat times so they may make cuts there as well until it gets bad enough they start losing customers over it. Their combined customer number will also give them more leverage when completing carriage agreements with the channels in the future, which hopefully will help them keep the cost increases down.

I don't pay for my television, OTA only, but the Comcast/TWC merger is bad news for everyone. The merger, if allowed, unites the two largest cable companies and would also create a huge machine that would control most of pay TV and the high speed internet market. There would be nothing to stop Comcrap from increasing prices, stalling innovation, and possibly controlling what television networks your have access to, what internet sites you have access to, and the applications you could use. Comcast would also control about half of what's called the Triple Play market and about 35% of the internet access market. Comcast could also block or hinder any competing services to maintain market control and dominance. Comcast noted that when they merged with NBC, they promised not to block any rival internet traffic and agreed to keep a diverse lineup of channels on its pay TV network. That agreement will be carried forward with the acquisition of the millions of TWC subscribers. But the agreement is only good until 2018. After that, it's very likely that Comcast will block traffic or preferentially treat its own services to those of rivals. Any cost savings that result from this merger will only benefit Comcast and its shareholders and not its customers. There will be nothing to stop them if the merger is allowed to go thru from being extremely aggressive with other content providers.
post #11963 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

I don't pay for my television, OTA only, but the Comcast/TWC merger is bad news for everyone. The merger, if allowed, unites the two largest cable companies and would also create a huge machine that would control most of pay TV and the high speed internet market. There would be nothing to stop Comcrap from increasing prices, stalling innovation, and possibly controlling what television networks your have access to, what internet sites you have access to, and the applications you could use. Comcast would also control about half of what's called the Triple Play market and about 35% of the internet access market. Comcast could also block or hinder any competing services to maintain market control and dominance. Comcast noted that when they merged with NBC, they promised not to block any rival internet traffic and agreed to keep a diverse lineup of channels on its pay TV network. That agreement will be carried forward with the acquisition of the millions of TWC subscribers. But the agreement is only good until 2018. After that, it's very likely that Comcast will block traffic or preferentially treat its own services to those of rivals. Any cost savings that result from this merger will only benefit Comcast and its shareholders and not its customers. There will be nothing to stop them if the merger is allowed to go thru from being extremely aggressive with other content providers.

Check out the NY Times article (link below) titled: As Services Expand, Cable Bills Keep Rising. What you say Otto Pylot (nice handle BTW took me a sec to grasp it) is reflected in the article not to mention some telling quotes by Comcast execs such as:

"WASHINGTON — Of the many benefits that Comcast executives said would flow to consumers from its proposed $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable — more innovation, advanced technology, improved service — the one it did not mention is probably the one consumers care about most: their cable bills.

“We’re certainly not promising that customer bills are going to go down or even that they’re going to increase less rapidly,” David L. Cohen, a Comcast executive vice president, said Thursday in a conference call with reporters.

Wittingly or not, it was a blunt acknowledgment of a trend that has been consistent throughout the history of cable business consolidation: Prices go up, not down."

Full article is at:
post #11964 of 11976
^^^ thanks wink.gif I think Comcast will play this close to vest if the merger is approved. But as it gets closer to the 2018 termination of the NBC deal, I truly believe that the entire internet landscape is going to change in Comcast's favor. Net neutrality is dead, Comcast almost has all of the cable marbles, Aereo is trying to carve out a piece (but they too will probably fail unless they look like a good acquisition for Comcast), etc etc etc. Fortunately, our ISP is independent and still very strong in California so I think we'll be saved for awhile as far as increased prices (Netflix going up for example) but even then, if Comcast gets control of the backend transport, our ISP (Sonic.net) will probably feel the pressure to pay more to use their transit. Not a very good picture for anyone, unless you're a major Comcast shareholder. I never did buy into the Triple Play packages because it seemed like having all of my eggs in one basket was risky. We kept our AT&T landline which was eventually taken over by Sonic, use AT&T for our mobiles, and tv is OTA or streaming, either AppleTV apps or laptop internet. Definitely a major minority but that has worked extremely well for us with a minimal cost. The winds of change are coming and they smell foul.
post #11965 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

^^^ thanks wink.gif I think Comcast will play this close to vest if the merger is approved. But as it gets closer to the 2018 termination of the NBC deal, I truly believe that the entire internet landscape is going to change in Comcast's favor. Net neutrality is dead, Comcast almost has all of the cable marbles, Aereo is trying to carve out a piece (but they too will probably fail unless they look like a good acquisition for Comcast), etc etc etc. Fortunately, our ISP is independent and still very strong in California so I think we'll be saved for awhile as far as increased prices (Netflix going up for example) but even then, if Comcast gets control of the backend transport, our ISP (Sonic.net) will probably feel the pressure to pay more to use their transit. Not a very good picture for anyone, unless you're a major Comcast shareholder. I never did buy into the Triple Play packages because it seemed like having all of my eggs in one basket was risky. We kept our AT&T landline which was eventually taken over by Sonic, use AT&T for our mobiles, and tv is OTA or streaming, either AppleTV apps or laptop internet. Definitely a major minority but that has worked extremely well for us with a minimal cost. The winds of change are coming and they smell foul.

I agree. This will not be a pretty picture unless the FCC or Congress steps in. I have little faith in either. I find the whole thing problematic. BTW, I'd be wary if I was a shareholder in Netflix, they could be in trouble if COMCAST controls the pipe to the house and has a say over content flowing through it. In this day and age, at the very least communications connectivity should be considered a utility with fees charged only for the data volume passing through it (like gas, water, or electricity). The "pipe owner" only collects fees for usage and has no say over content. I will subscribe to whomever I choose for content. Sure I'd pay two bills, but that's the price we pay for unfettered access to the marvel of the internet. I suppose I'm describing a version of net neutrality. BTW, I notice when I'm using VPN between my company laptop and work, data rates really drop off. File transfers crawl. Is it the VPN and company fire walls? Or is it something more insidious: "Since we can't see what you are passing over your VPN, we're going to slow it down in case you're trying to do something we don't like". I would like to think that's not the case, still, every once in a while I hear anecdotal comments which leads me to believe COMCAST is already throttling bandwidth in some instances, perhaps this is one.

I don't like the Triple Play packages for the same reason you state - too many eggs in one basket. So many times I've heard people with cable telephone service complain about outages and poor service. My POTS land line is a model of high availability regardless of weather conditions. We keep an inexpensive wired phone connected for those instances when a power outage knocks the wireless handset out. I can not recall any outages in the last year, so its Ao is probably on the order of .9999, can't say that about cable. And its not just about availability/reliability, its quality as well. I see macro blocking all the time in HD. I have a hunch they are trying to cram too much down cable. And often local channels OTA have better quality than over the cable.

I see you live in San Jose and know the area well. I grew up in Cupertino when it was mostly orchards and went to SJSU. The Bay Area was a great place to grow up in the 60s. Alas an AF career took me away from CA, but to some interesting places too - family went back generations there.
post #11966 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satcom15 View Post


I see you live in San Jose and know the area well. I grew up in Cupertino when it was mostly orchards and went to SJSU. The Bay Area was a great place to grow up in the 60s. Alas an AF career took me away from CA, but to some interesting places too - family went back generations there.

I'm a Spartan grad as is my wife and son. DIdn't grow up here but spent a LOT of time in SF and SJ in the 60's (had an aunt here). Didn't move permanently until '72.

Sonic.net agreed to be part of OpenConnect so it will be interesting to see how they stack up overtime to the big boys. $50 per month, including taxes, for 20Mbps sustained, static ip, 5 email accounts, no data caps, and all of the features I had on my old AT&T landline (free long distance, call forwarding, etc). Not to mention one of the highest rated support groups in the industry.
post #11967 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post


Sonic.net agreed to be part of OpenConnect so it will be interesting to see how they stack up overtime to the big boys. $50 per month, including taxes, for 20Mbps sustained, static ip, 5 email accounts, no data caps, and all of the features I had on my old AT&T landline (free long distance, call forwarding, etc). Not to mention one of the highest rated support groups in the industry.

Graduated from HS in 72. Small world. Please explain, what is OpenConnect? And, how do you get your internet connection? Is there a fiber, cable, or Telco (DSL) connection servicing your house.
post #11968 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satcom15 View Post

Graduated from HS in 72. Small world. Please explain, what is OpenConnect? And, how do you get your internet connection? Is there a fiber, cable, or Telco (DSL) connection servicing your house.

Graduated HS in 70, or so my diploma says. Don't remember much wink.gif

Open Connect from Netflix:

"ISPs can directly connect their networks to Open Connect for free. ISPs can do this either by free peering with us at common Internet exchanges, or can save even more transit costs by putting our free storage appliances in or near their network. Major ISPs around the world have already connected to Open Connect, including Frontier, British Telecom, TDC, Clearwire, GVT, Telus, Bell Canada, Virgin, Cablevision, Google Fiber, Telmex, and more. Open Connect is a single-purpose Content Distribution Network, and by shifting to Open Connect, from using third-party commercial CDNs, we are able to save money and keep consumer prices low".

OpenConnect is related to Netflix's "Super HD" which is a term Netflix made up to describe a higher bitrate service. Same vertical resolution as the next bitrate down, but less compression. Previously, Netflix highest quality video, available to those with ISPs not in the OpenConnect program, was encoded at 3850Kbps. With SuperHD, video is encoded at 4300Kbps and 5800Kbps and adding the audio bitrate brings SuperHD encodes to about 4.5Mbps and 6.0Mbps. Netflix is essentially doubling the quality of their video, for a limited amount of their content. Netflix originally wasn't going to give any ISP who refused to join OpenConnect access to SuperHD encoded video. However, last Fall they changed their mind and all Netflix customers with a device that supports it can attempt to view a SuperHD video. I think the marketing gimmic failed, so Netflix is trying a new tactic to put pressure on ISP's to agree to a sweetheart network connection deal by overloading their peering points.

http://ispspeedindex.netflix.com/usa

We have never had any streaming issues with Netflix (or very rarely) but living so close to the heart of Netflix here in San Jose, I'm sure there are servers very close by who rarely get impacted. We've even streamed in 1080p from Hulu at times with no issues.

Our internet connection is ADSL2 carried on the old AT&T copper lines. Sonic.net took over the copper lines and voice line from AT&T and rolled that into our DSL service which they call Fusion. We kept our AT&T phone number and all of the voice services that we were paying AT&T for. All of that is rolled into one monthly fee and I haven't had a price increase in years. They also offer a bonded ADSL2 with speeds up to 40Mbps for about $70 per month I think. However, we are only 3800 copper feet from the CO so distance is not a limiting factor for us. I have a dedicated line from the MPOE going directly to the computer room and then directly to the gateway. The house voice lines are filtered at the MPOE so I don't have to have filters hanging off the phones in the house. The gateway goes to the router which then goes to the HTS via CAT-6 (in-wall conduit) to a gigabit switch and then the devices are connected to that. A very solid, wired system. Streaming is provided by either an AppleTV2 (preferred) or the blu-ray player if we want to use an app that's not on the Apple. Regular television is OTA which is dead-on-balls perfect reception.

NOTE: clarified original OpenConnect description
Edited by Otto Pylot - 2/18/14 at 9:13pm
post #11969 of 11976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post


Our internet connection is ADSL2 carried on the old AT&T copper lines. Sonic.net took over the copper lines and voice line from AT&T and rolled that into our DSL service which they call Fusion. We kept our AT&T phone number and all of the voice services that we were paying AT&T for. All of that is rolled into one monthly fee and I haven't had a price increase in years. They also offer a bonded ADSL2 with speeds up to 40Mbps for about $70 per month I think. However, we are only 3800 copper feet from the CO so distance is not a limiting factor for us. I have a dedicated line from the MPOE going directly to the computer room and then directly to the gateway. The house voice lines are filtered at the MPOE so I don't have to have filters hanging off the phones in the house. The gateway goes to the router which then goes to the HTS via CAT-6 (in-wall conduit) to a gigabit switch and then the devices are connected to that. A very solid, wired system. Streaming is provided by either an AppleTV2 (preferred) or the blu-ray player if we want to use an app that's not on the Apple. Regular television is OTA which is dead-on-balls perfect reception.

NOTE: clarified original OpenConnect description

So it sounds like your physical connection is a bonded two copper Telco circuit. Interesting. I don't believe we have ADSL2 here in Colorado Springs except for business customers (read expensive). I live about half a mile from a major Central Office with many fiber optic cables passing through there. Unfortunately Comcast provides the only viable option for high speed internet connectivity. Still, your note gives me hope. Maybe someday Centurylink (old Mountain Bell) will roll out some higher bandwidth options at a reasonable cost. Until then I'm stuck with Comcast.

Another model I've thought about and no one seems to be pursuing is use microwave frequencies (above 30 GHz) to create micro/nano cellular hi data rate connectivity between a group of subscribers (like a block in a neighborhood) to a hub connected to a fiber cable. This is kind of a hybrid solution to the promise of high data rates available with fiber and solving the pedestal to the house problem. Of course the higher the frequency, the shorter the range. I'm thinking of systems operating at Ka-, V-, and W-Band frequencies (~30Ghz, 60GHz, 90GHz respectively) for that final hub to fiber link. A good link budget analysis could come up with some rough numbers for power, received signal strength, antenna size/gain, and data rates. Obviously there has to be sufficient margin for rain fade at those frequencies. Should dig out a couple of satcom books and work through the equations sometime. I would think with spread spectrum technology, advanced modulation schemes, power management, and efficient error correction, a hub could serve a reasonable number of subscribers with data rates in the 100s of Mbps range, maybe even higher. Ideally we'd like to have fiber to the house, but I think that's a long way off and if it ever gets built out, you can be sure it will be pricey.
post #11970 of 11976
I've heard of the microwave ideas of delivering broadband but I think you're correct in assuming it would be very costly. Not to mention the regulatory hurdles and the push back from Comcast et al who don't want any upstarts mining their gold.
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