All Posts in streaming

January 27, 2016 - Comments Off on One Box To Rule Them All

One Box To Rule Them All

Today, 99 percent of pay-TV customers lease set-top boxes from their cable, satellite or telco providers. Pay-TV subscribers spend an average of $231 a year to rent these boxes, because there are few meaningful alternatives.

As a consequence, consumers have limited choices for commercially available set-top boxes, so an overwhelming majority of consumers lease a box from their pay-TV service that doesn’t interface well with the wealth of video content online. To receive streaming Internet video, it is necessary to have a smart TV, or to watch it on a tablet or laptop computer that, similarly, do not have access to the channels and content that pay-TV subscribers pay for. The result is multiple devices and controllers, constrained program choice and higher costs.

Decades ago, if you wanted to have a landline in your home, you had to lease your phone from Ma Bell. There was little choice in telephones, and prices were high. The FCC unlocked competition and empowered consumers with a simple but powerful rule — consumers could connect the telephones and modems of their choice to the telephone network. Competition and game-changing innovation followed, from lower-priced phones to answering machines to technology that is the foundation of the Internet.

WOW. His article doesn't link to an actual proposal so it's hard to know if this is real or just hard talk, but it's very promising. This, "unlocking", would give outside companies access to cable company data they've never had before. Think about Apple creating 1 box that is your AppleTV & cable box. Or, better yet, Sony creating a Playstation, online video player, and cable box - all in one device. There'd be huge innovations in your cable interface and how you search for things to watch. Google w/YouTube and AndroidTV as well as Amazon with it's FireTV might be real players as well.

UPDATE: Jean-louis Gassée has an excellent post on this whole situation. I've also updated the post with the link to the actual proposal.

Source: It’s Time to Unlock the Set-Top Box Market | Re/code

FCC Proposal: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2016/db0127/DOC-337449A1.pdf

September 2, 2015 - Comments Off on Hulu Finally Launches Ad-Free Version

Hulu Finally Launches Ad-Free Version

Beginning today, subscribers can upgrade to an ad-free plan for $11.99 per month…

Whoo hoo! I immediately changed my plan over to the ad-free version. I can now catch up on some of the shows that have been sitting in my queue for awhile that I’ve been dreading to watch, simply because of the commercials.

Buuuut…there is the fine print:

This show is not included in our No Commercials plan but has been made available to you with a short commercial before and after each episode with no interruptions during the show.

I’m still OK with that…mostly.

The next big thing Hulu needs to do is standardize it’s catalog. They have way too many shows with “exceptions”. I’ll give you some examples…

FX is very confusing…

  • The Strain - You can watch all of season 1, but none of the current Season 2 episodes
  • Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll - You can watch the latest episode from this season, but only with a cable subscription
  • Archer - only seasons 1-5 available; even though season 6 already aired, it’s not available
  • American Horror Story - Only seasons 1-3 are available; even though season 4 already aired, it’s not available and season 5 starts soon on FX
  • The Americans - Only clips are available. If this is the case, why even have it show up on the site at all?

FOX is a bit better…

  • Gotham - You can only watch the last 5 episodes along with episodes the day after they air
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine - You can watch all of seasons 1 and 2 along with episodes the day after they air
  • Bobs Burgers - All of season 5 along with episodes the day after they air
  • Mindy Project - Seasons 1-3 are available with season 4 airing exclusively on HULU.

…although…

  • Hell’s Kitchen - You can watch Seasons 1-11, 13 and new Season 14 episodes the day after air

CW seems to be the easiest to understand…

  • The Flash, Arrow, The 100, The Messengers, Beauty & the Beast - You can only watch the last 5 episodes along with episodes the day after they air

Here’s my recommendation hulu:
Focus on providing the ultimate cord cutters package - the last 5 episodes from each show on all 4 broadcast networks; no cable subscription needed. Stop worrying about back catalogs, full seasons, or previous seasons. If a user wants the full season from a past year, let them find the disc on Netflix.

Source: Hulu Finally Launches Ad-Free Version, Priced at $11.99 a Month | Adweek

July 13, 2015 - Comments Off on Introducing a New Streaming TV Service From Comcast

Introducing a New Streaming TV Service From Comcast

Xfinity's new $15/mo. streaming service…

With Stream, Xfinity Internet customers can watch live TV from about a dozen networks - including all the major broadcast nets and HBO - on laptops, tablets and phones in their home. It includes thousands of on demand movies and shows to watch home or away and even comes with access to TV Everywhere and a cloud DVR

The price, the channel selection, the DVR…this is very intriguing and possibly the best match of services and price yet. The only drawback, for me, is the lack of any TV support. I'd have to use Airplay with the service as it's currently setup. But if Xfinity came out with an AppleTV channel for this, I think they'd have the best service on the market. That is, if this deal isn't some sort of 12 month intro price or other sneaky scheme.

Source: Introducing a New Streaming TV Service From Comcast

June 25, 2015 - Comments Off on Showtime and Hulu Explain Why Their Brands are Pulling Double Duty

Showtime and Hulu Explain Why Their Brands are Pulling Double Duty

Jason Lynch for AdWeek…

Hulu said it made the change after noticing that consumers were confused about the Hulu and Hulu Plus brand distinctions, with Hulu being the far more recognizable brand of the two. By eliminating Hulu Plus, the company hopes to create a consistent brand and alleviate—not cause—market confusion.

I think that's the right call by Hulu. We had many discussions at PBS when we were launching products for XBOX, Hulu, AppleTV and many more about what to call our service. HBO had a very strong brand with HBO GO and other networks were beginning to roll out their services with names like FX NOW and Showtime Anytime. But ultimately we felt PBS didn't need a secondary signifier1. After all, this was still PBS - same great content but on a different platform. A viewer/user just happened to be watching it on their AppleTV or iPhone, which is why all our apps and OTT services are simply named PBS2.

My personal feeling is that by segmenting your brand into different services with different names for the same content is going to cause confusion in the long run with viewers and consumers. I think HBO is seeing a bit of that now with HBO, HBO GO, and HBO NOW. Try explaining the differences between them to the average person.

Source: Showtime and Hulu Explain Why Their Brands are Pulling Double Duty


  1. That's not to say, that in the future, if PBS has a service that is different from it's normal content, we won't create a marketing name for that service. 
  2. Our marketing campaign was called "PBS Anywhere" - not to be confused with the actual product which is just named PBS. It was meant to convey the message that PBS is "anywhere you want to be". 

June 1, 2015 - Comments Off on Netflix is testing ads

Netflix is testing ads

Anxious to see what happens next in Daredevil? In the future, you might have to endure an ad first. Netflix has confirmed to Cord Cutters News that it's publicly testing ads both before and after shows.

This would be a pretty big change for Netflix and the shows it's purchased. I think Netflix would need to renegotiate all of their contracts for this to happen and I bet a lot of networks would increase their selling price if this were the case. So, I wouldn't bet on this happening anytime soon with 3rd party content. Just worry about the next season of House of Cards.

Source: Netflix is testing ads surrounding its shows

May 4, 2015 - Comments Off on TV Stars and the Live Stream

TV Stars and the Live Stream

Since live tweeting is expected behavior these days for a lot of TV stars, and with the advent of live streaming apps like Periscope, how long before we expect TV stars/hosts to live stream themselves with commentary as the episode airs?

April 30, 2015 - Comments Off on NBC releases all 13 episodes of Aquarius for binge watchers

NBC releases all 13 episodes of Aquarius for binge watchers

The entire season of the show — which features X-Files star David Duchovny as a detective looking into the activities of the Manson family in 1967 — will become available on NBC.com and via the network's app, in addition to cable VOD platforms, shortly after the first episode airs on TV

Nice. But what would be very interesting is if NBC released all 13 episodes across ALL platforms1 - including Netflix, Hulu, Playstation, and Roku - at once. Then, evaluated which platform performed best for their audience and used that information to drive ratings of the next show.

Source: NBC copies Netflix by making David Duchovny's new show available to binge-watch on day one | The Verge


  1. I know Netflix and other platforms don't make streaming data available to outside parties. But if they could be convinced this was a worthy experiment, they might make an exception for access to all episodes at the same time as broadcast. 

April 15, 2015 - Comments Off on Netflix to improve it’s TV UI

Netflix to improve it’s TV UI

We plan to roll out an improvement to our TV UI in the second half of 2015. The enhancement will bring video playback forward into the browse experience. We are also developing improved ways to promote Netflix originals to our members, using our data to help identify which members would be most likely to enjoy each original title.

Interesting. Since what Netflix does, others tend to copy.

In the US, HBO began offering its $15 per month “HBO Now” service last week. As we have said in the past, Netflix and HBO are not substitutes for one another given differing content. We think both will continue to be successful in the marketplace, as illustrated by the fact that HBO has continued to grow globally and domestically as we have rapidly grown over the past 5 years.

We view “Internet MVPD” offerings like the rumored Apple offering, Sony’s Playstation Vue and Dish’s Sling TV as more competitive to the current pay TV bundle than to Netflix which is lower cost, has exclusive and original content, and is not focused on live television.

Piracy remains a considerable long-term threat, mostly outside the US.

I think both will be successful as well. In fact, I'm really curious to see which one flinches first in the price department. Will Netflix increase it's price if HBO NOW is successful at $15/month? Or with HBO reduce it's price to compete better with Netflix's $8/month?

via: Netflix

April 15, 2015 - Comments Off on People are going to find a way to watch what they want

People are going to find a way to watch what they want

It seems a few people used Periscope to live broadcast the premiere of Game of Thrones. How dumb can you be? Nevermind, that is a rhetorical question.

…with all of the ways to watch Game of Thrones right now, would you really want to watch it second-hand over Periscope’s tiny, low-res video streams?

Well, that’s what I said about video on the iPhone too and look how that turned out. I’m now asking the same question of the Watch, “Will people one day want to watch video on this tiny device?” And the crazy answer is, yes. It seems history has proven time and again that people will use any opportunity to consume good content, no matter the device or the quality.

To quote Dr. Ian Malcolm from the great Jurassic Park:

If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life Video will not be contained. Life Video breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh... well, there it is.

I should make a t-shirt with that saying on it. Somebody email Cotton Bureau for me.

via: The Verge

April 14, 2015 - Comments Off on Evolution of TV

Evolution of TV

With a bit of bias towards Chromecast, GoogleTV and YouTube, there’s still a wealth of knowledge (beautifully presented I might add) here for anyone interested in “TV Everywhere”[1].

Google’s Evolution of TV


  1. In fact, I’m still going through it all. I might have to do individual posts on each entry.  ↩