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The Economist On Television Over Broadband 220

Posted by kdawson
from the running-scared dept.
zxjio recommends a pair of articles in The Economist discussing television over broadband, and the effects of DVR use. "Cable-television companies make money by selling packages of channels. The average American household pays $700 a year for over 100 channels of cable television but watches no more than 15. Most would welcome the chance to buy only those channels they want to watch, rather than pay for expensive packages of programming they are largely not interested in. They would prefer greater variety, too — something the internet offers in abundance. A surprising amount of video is available free from websites like Hulu and YouTube, or for a modest fee from iTunes, Netflix Watch Instantly and Amazon Video on Demand. ... Consumers' new-found freedom to choose has struck fear into the hearts of the cable companies. They have been trying to slow internet televisions steady march into the living room by rolling out DOCSIS 3 at a snails pace and then stinging customers for its services. Another favorite trick has been to cap the amount of data that can be downloaded, or to charge extortionately by the megabyte. Yet the measures to suffocate internet television being taken by the cable companies may already be too late. A torrent of innovative start-ups, not seen since the dot-com mania of a decade ago, is flooding the market with technology for supplying internet television to the living room." And from the second article on DVR usage patterns: "Families with DVRs seem to spend 15-20% of their viewing time watching pre-recorded shows, and skip only about half of all advertisements. This means only about 5% of television is time-shifted and less than 3% of all advertisements are skipped. Mitigating that loss, people with DVRs watch more television. ... Early adopters of DVRs used them a lot — not surprisingly, since they paid so much for them. Later adopters use them much less (about two-thirds less, according to a recent study)."
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The Economist On Television Over Broadband

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  • I did it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by IANAAC (692242) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @07:29AM (#27720393)
    A couple of months ago, I broke away from cable for good. And for the most part, I haven't missed it.

    You really can find just about everything you want or need online.

    I had a spare computer that I loaded Ubuntu on, made sure it had the latest flash and java. I also installed Boxee, although, since the Hulu problem, haven't used it.

    Most of the entertainment type shows I get via Hulu. Their interface could be a bit friendlier (too much scrolling, really), but overall it's not bad. For news, CNN offers live streaming, which is really quite good quality at full screen. MSNBC offers all their shows for streaming - well at least the ones I care about - Countdown and Rachel Maddow. And I get local weather from WGN - also streamed full screen.There are a few European stations I like watching, and I use Livestation for that. The quality through that isn't the best, but I will say the streaming is steady.

    The one beef I have with it all is the disparate pages I have to go to/navigate to get to the content. This is where I was really hoping Boxee would do some good. Not yet. They have a section in their UI to add apps, but it looks like it's Boxee specific, so I can't just add any program (such as Livestation. As it stands, I've created a bunch of Prism desktop shortcuts to take me directly to the content I want.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder how long TV on the internet (for free) will work out. Right now all the cable/sat subscribers are funding this. If everyone starts viewing TV online only...it will start costing $$$.

      IPTV has been ready to go for years and years...the content providers are the ones holding it back. If you think TV on the internet will be the next big thing...well... I think it will be too, but magically it will still cost the same as cable TV is today.

      The content guys will always get their $$$.

      • by IANAAC (692242)

        The content guys will always get their $$$.

        Truthfully, I have no problem with this. As long as it's the content guys (ie: the networks) and they let me choose exactly what I want to watch. Commercials don't bother me nearly as much as they used to. My life is full enough that I can look away and be amused while they run. And some of them are amusing in their own right.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chyeld (713439)

        The real question is, what will the "real cost" when our current model of subsidizing unpopular channels under the guise of bundling them up with more popular ones, is replaced with an ala carte model.

        No one, with realistic expectations, expects this to be free.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Carlosos (1342945)

          Why not free? The broadcast channels are already free using an antenna and I'm assuming that those are even the most watched ones. Why shouldn't it be possible to get Comedy Central, Discovery Channel free by showing ads like FOX, NBC, etc. ?
          There are also some countries where only free exists with the exception of HBO like channels.

          I'm already getting almost everything free that I watch (or everything after dropping cable). I get the broadcast channels and with hulu I also get the things that I watch on co

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Chyeld (713439)

            Broadcast TV isn't free, it's just the currency isn't one you are trained to recognize as such, advertising. Why do you think broadcasters fight so hard to prevent PVR's from cutting out commercials, why even the companies that formed Hulu fought to keep it off Boxee. Because these things hurt their ad revenue. If you aren't willing to pay for broadcasting with your time and eyeballs in 'ad dollars' then eventually it'll either not be produced or it'll be paid for some other way. For instance, by the govern

      • by RDW (41497)

        'IPTV has been ready to go for years and years...the content providers are the ones holding it back. If you think TV on the internet will be the next big thing...well... I think it will be too, but magically it will still cost the same as cable TV is today.'

        Here in the UK, where Cable has much less of the market, all the major content providers (with the obvious exception of Satellite-based Sky) are pushing free to view on demand IP TV pretty hard. After a false start with a dreadfully clunky Kontiki-based

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by value_added (719364)

      A couple of months ago, I broke away from cable for good. And for the most part, I haven't missed it. You really can find just about everything you want or need online.

      PBS and CSPAN programming are generally not available online. I couldn't (or wouldn't) do without either, so for me, the cable subscription is worth the trouble and cost.

      That said, I agree with your general sentiments. If you're looking for entertainment, there are alternative sources. And if HBO's lineup (since the Sopranos ended) is a

      • Re:I did it. (Score:5, Informative)

        by IANAAC (692242) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @08:14AM (#27720577)
        Can't speak for CSPAN, but PBS has an awesome video portal to most of their content now... http://www.pbs.org/video# [pbs.org]

        It was just launched last week.

        • Good point, but I was aware of it. PBS seems to be ahead of the curve (for both music and video), but they're a ways off from being able to provide complete coverage for their TV lineup. I mean, seriously, what's a self-respecting geek kid supposed to do with their laptop if Sesame Street isn't available online?

      • by metamatic (202216)

        PBS and CSPAN programming are generally not available online.

        PBS programming is available from the iTunes store. C-SPAN is available as live streams from their web site. In addition, some PBS stations have online streams of their shows.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xebikr (591462)
      I canceled DirecTV a month ago. I get my tv through eztv.it and Torrent Episode Downloader (TED). I have two XBOX's (original, not 360) that I've loaded XBMC onto. I get movies through thepiratebay and Netflix. I don't have the fastest internet speed in the world, just 1.5mb, but it seems to work just fine for everything I want to do.

      Before I got rid of Dtv, I had paired it with ReplayTV, which we loved. We watched a reasonable mix of live and recorded tv. I might still be with Dtv and replaytv if
  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @07:33AM (#27720413) Homepage Journal

    A torrent of innovative start-ups, not seen since the dot-com mania of a decade ago, is flooding the market with technology for supplying internet television to the living room."

    Torrent was EXACTLY the word I was looking for. Thank you, The Economist!

    • yaaaaarrrr

    • by Animats (122034) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @10:30AM (#27721251) Homepage

      Torrent was EXACTLY the word I was looking for. Thank you, The Economist!

      If you think that happened by accident, you don't read The Economist regularly. That's exactly the sort of dry wit their writers use.

      Some years ago, The Simpsons had Homer traveling by air in first class, and he says "Look at me, I'm reading The Economist. Did you know Indonesia is at a crossroads?" The Economist published an article titled "Indonesia at a Crossroads" that week.

      • by u38cg (607297)
        Indeed. Keep an eye on the Democracy in America blog, too - whoever writes that has a habit of trying to slip in as many Dylan lyrics as he can get away with.
      • "Torrent was EXACTLY the word I was looking for. Thank you, The Economist!"
        If you think that happened by accident, you don't read The Economist regularly. That's exactly the sort of dry wit their writers use.

        Agree, especially since the writer is savvy enough to build his own media centre with Ubuntu and Boxee. He knew exactly what he was writing, and I'm sure the editors did, too. For all we know, the writer probably reads Slashdot.

        Okay, Economist-correspondent-writer-in-Japan, reply to my post and prove

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @08:07AM (#27720543)

    Mythbuntu allowed me dodge the expensive DVR and accorded me the freedom to skip commercials from recorded programs. My Mythbuntu, connected to a wireless router, quietly runs in the basement and through a netbook connected to an LCD TV, I watch these shows. Sweet.

    I just hope that folks at Mythbuntu can integrate the script [mythtv.org] that removes commercials. Right now, you must be a semi geek to set this up. The other problem too is the trouble with remote controls. It appears that there is no way of getting a remote control configured without editing some text file. This can be scary with the enormous number of options. Even with this, you will be lucky to have it working.

    My experience has been rewarding. To save on power bills, I would like to use a notebook based TV card if I can find one.

    For those who might be wondering whether Mythbuntu 9.04 has solved anything, I can say not much over here though boot time is faster with 9.04 as compared to 8.10.

    My next task will be to grab free "Free To Air" signals in my area. I understand there are many channels around. This means folks, that I am not very happy with my cable TV company.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by idiotnot (302133)

      And lots of cable providers are trying their best to kill off anything that doesn't require a monthly rental box. So far as I can tell, there aren't any clear QAM channels available from my provider where I live (they do have them in other places, but my city is often used as a testbed for the provider.

      Sadly, I haven't found a tuner card nearly as good as even my free DTV converter box. Certainly none as good as an ATSC tuner in a modern TV.

      My DSL provider pulled the plug on its IPTV service a few months

    • by antdude (79039)

      Over the air (OTA) has been around forever. You could had done that long ago. :) I haven't had cable since the mid 80s (back when the transmitters were way too far).

    • by segedunum (883035) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @12:16PM (#27721953)

      I just hope that folks at Mythbuntu can integrate the script that removes commercials. Right now, you must be a semi geek to set this up.

      Really? I have Mythbuntu installed and this stuff is built in. You can set up the auto detection methods and there is a commercial flagging job. Sometimes it doesn't always detect commercial breaks, but it's been impressive on the ones it has detected.

  • Netflix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stomv (80392) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @08:23AM (#27720609) Homepage

    I haven't had cable television in 7 years. I don't miss it. For the money I save, I
      * Netflix
      * Go to the movies
      * Pay for the newspaper
      * Pay the late fees on my library books
      * Pay admission to museums

    At the end of the day, cable isn't offering us anything we can't see already on Netflix or on youtube or hulu et al. So really -- why pay $700/yr or whatever when we can watch all the programming that we really like by pulling it instead of waiting for it to be pushed?

    P.S. Take a Kill-A-Watt [amazon.com] and check out how much electricity your cable box + DVR + ??? are using on standby and calculate the additional burden on your electric bill. I'd bet it's a combined 40W or so, good for another $50+ a year.

    • True, the combination of Netflix, Netflix, and online news can replace films, scripted TV series, and news on cable TV. But what replaces live sports on cable TV?

      • by McGiraf (196030)

        You can find this too, here for hockey i use cbc.ca (free) and rds.ca (pay per view and subscription). For F1 races I use torrents, they are available a few hours after the event.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by evilviper (135110)

        But what replaces live sports on cable TV?

        Maybe live sports on the dozens of free, over-the-air, broadcast TV stations? The ones you can get in vastly higher quality with a bent piece of wire and a $15 converter box?

        You know, the channels you currently watch through your cable/satellite service, which buy up and broadcast ALL of the remotely popular sporting events. Remember those?

        Hell, NBC's Universal-Sports DTV sub-channel broadcast at least here in the greater Los Angeles area is VASTLY better than ESP

        • by tepples (727027)
          stomv wrote:

          I haven't had cable television in 7 years. I don't miss it.

          tepples wrote:

          But what replaces live sports on cable TV?

          evilviper wrote:

          Maybe live sports on the dozens of free, over-the-air, broadcast TV stations?

          But the local CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox affiliates don't broadcast the sport that I like to watch. For instance, only one game of this round of the NHL playoffs is on a broadcast network; the rest are on channels exclusive to cable or satellite. Instead, the major networks they broadcast some strange "sport" that they call Reality TV. Should I just learn to like a different sport?

          Hell, NBC's Universal-Sports DTV sub-channel broadcast at least here in the greater Los Angeles area

          WISE-TV [indianasnewscenter.com], the NBC affiliate in Fort Wayne, Indiana, doesn't have Universal Sports.

      • True, the combination of Netflix, Netflix, and online news can replace films, scripted TV series, and news on cable TV. But what replaces live sports on cable TV?

        The satisfaction of not seeing a bunch of jocks demonstrating why the college dean fiddled the entrance criteria to get them on the team.

      • Live sports streamed over the Internet.

        Granted, it sucks compared to what you'll get via satellite or cable. Last I looked, they were generally all in WMV or some Silverlight crap, and pitiful quality compared to the HD you might be used to. And HD does actually make a difference with sports.

        Of course, personally, I agree with Ronald -- sports are pretty boring.

        • by tepples (727027)

          [IPTV sports] sucks compared to what you'll get via satellite or cable. Last I looked, they were generally all in WMV or some Silverlight crap

          And a lot of these are Silverlight 2, not the Silverlight 1 that Moonlight supports. So in other words, I'll need a newer PC, one with more CPU and more RAM to run a virtual machine, and I'll need a copy of Windows to install into that virtual machine. That could cost as much as a year of cable TV.

          I agree with Ronald -- sports are pretty boring.

          Unless a fan of boring is paying the utility bills.

      • But what replaces live sports on cable TV?

        Going outside and playing them yourself?

    • I haven't had cable television in 7 years. I don't miss it. For the money I save, I
      * Netflix
      * Go to the movies
      * Pay for the newspaper
      * Pay the late fees on my library books
      * Pay admission to museums

      At the end of the day, cable isn't offering us anything we can't see already on Netflix or on youtube or hulu et al. So really -- why pay $700/yr or whatever when we can watch all the programming that we really like by pulling it instead of waiting for it to be pushed?

      P.S. Take a Kill-A-Watt [amazon.com] and check out how much electricity your cable box + DVR + ??? are using on standby and calculate the additional burden on your electric bill. I'd bet it's a combined 40W or so, good for another $50+ a year.

      I've never had cable and rarely watch broadcast. I've been with Netflix since its creation. Last time I watched broadcast was when Obama was on Leno. I picked up a converter box at Fry's because it was cheap, but it's been at least a month and I have yet to plug it in. I'm starting to think I wsted the $9.99 I gave to Fry's.

      Throw in one of these [amazon.com], and live broadcast is completely unnecessary, except possibly for emergency broadcasts when internet is down.

      The cable adapter takes no juice at all. Imagin

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @08:25AM (#27720611) Journal
    Most would welcome the chance to buy only those channels they want to watch, rather than pay for expensive packages of programming they are largely not interested in.

    I'm sure they would, but the economics of television channels doesn't work like that.

    Let's suppose person A is willing to pay $5 a month for the sport channel and $10 per month on the news channel. Person B is willing to spend $10 a month on the sport channel and $5 a month on the news channel. If the package of 2 channels costs $15 they'll both be willing to pay for the channels. If the cable provider charges $7.50 for each, then each subscriber only pay for one channel since the other one is not worth the amount they're charging to that customer. So, the cable provider has lost out on $15, and each subscriber has lost out on a channel that they're reasonably interested in.

    It's not like other purchases. The cable provider doesn't have to buy a selection of channels and resell them. They pay a fixed fee to the station, based on the expected number of subscribers, and price their offering so as to maximise their profits.

    Internet based TV services aren't going to change this offering. They'll still offer a selection of "channels". You'll still end up with a package of programmes, most of which you don't want to watch.
    • by metamatic (202216)

      There's no reason why cable companies can't continue to offer bundles of channels for those who prefer bundles. But they're going to need to start offering a la carte if they want to get back people like me. (Just canceled my satellite subscription for AppleTV.)

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      But Sci-fi (syfy?) + CN + local channels isn't worth $60, and even though I'll admit a lot of people I know watch ESPN and CNN, no one I know watches those 10+ shopping channels. The two channels I would watch are worth $10 total to me, not more. They're missing out on $120/year from me, and several friends are dropping too.
  • by xmousex (661995) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @08:26AM (#27720619) Journal

    in my house its usually on cartoon network or the news and its just been sitting there playing while we are online, gaming, or doing things around the house. we watch important shows on hulu if we care about it, or we look through ovguide.com, so we can start and stop and go back to previous episodes. we have a tivo someone gave us but never saw justification for the subscription fees.

    shows that we really care about and want to keep come in from netflix and copied to external hard drive.

    we search for the ultimate device to make use of this collection. that device would read through all the episodes of each show we have and play them back like itunes on random and broadcast those to all the tvs in the house on our own custom tv channel. we dont want to have to pick a show to watch, we just want them all playing on their own and we can either sit down and watch if were interested at that moment or not.

    my younger sister lives in an apartment but is rarely ever there because of work or social activities. she just has her laptop with her always and a sprint card. this is how she watches her tv shows and gets her news. if that device gives her whatever she needs, why pay the extra money for something that only works when she is in one particular spot?

    the people i know that care about the tivo are older, they are settled into houses, have a big entertainment center hooked up, and do not spend alot of time buzzing about. like my dad, he loves tivo. the difference i think is he specifically spends an hour or more sitting in front of the tv and thats all he does, his purpose is actually to just sit there and watch... just sitting and watching tv would drive me nuts.

  • USA only (Score:5, Informative)

    by Exp315 (851386) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @09:07AM (#27720795)
    Whenever you list online media sources like Hulu, you should remember they are available in the USA only due to restrictive regional licensing agreements by the major media cartels. The rest of the world can only download the same content illegally.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tepples (727027)

      The rest of the world can only download the same content illegally.

      Immigration to the United States [uscis.gov] is not necessarily illegal.

    • by IANAAC (692242)
      The reverse is also true. There is a lot of really good programming outside the US (for my interests, that would be Europe), but cannot be had in the US. Sure, there is Livestation, but for individual programs, control is control, no matter what part of the world you live.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kwark (512736)

      But is the rest of the world paying $700 yearly for television? I only pay 9.50 EUR/month for the basic subscription (26 channels). Throw in the FTA channels, about 15 interesting enough and I still don't watch more then 15 of them.

      The max. subscription price is 53 EUR/month (for about 65 channels), but I can't imagine anyone willing to pay that amount when you have the ability to (illegally) download most of it for your own convenience.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by williamhb (758070)

      Whenever you list online media sources like Hulu, you should remember they are available in the USA only due to restrictive regional licensing agreements by the major media cartels. The rest of the world can only download the same content illegally.

      Stunningly enough, however, the rest of the world does have some technical nouse of its own, and isn't just twiddling its thumbs in the dark. iPlayer, iView, 4od, ... rather a lot of channels in non-US countries provide their own Web TV services.

    • by Ifandbut (1328775)

      Yes, and I have to download Dr. Who via PirateBay or wait 2 years for SyFy to catch up. Not to mention Anime which is harder to find on torrents with decent fan-subs so I have to start trolling IRC.

  • All DRV boxes I've gotten to play with have 1. been noisy even when not in use and 2. require you to target the remote directly towards the sensor.

    As a result we got rid of the DRV/Digital decoder and we'll be sticking with analog TV for as long as that lasts.
  • The Economist article on Internet TV says all the right things. But never underestimate the ability of the incumbent broadband ISPs in North America to leverage their near-monopoly control of last-mile facilities. In Canada, as well as the US, the incumbent telcos and cablecos have both the opportunity and motivation to use traffic-shaping, bandwidth caps and exhorbitant fees to discourage the use of the local loop for any service that threatens an established service of their own - especially video. Ever
  • The real issue is how few know about open source codecs like Ogg Theora.

    I live in Canada and CTV for instance has both Discovery Channel material and BNN material online. However their websites are so broken that its not worth the trouble to even try to access the material.

    Calling them and sending emails doesn't help. They are really thick.

    Maybe if more people get on the phone and start demanding support for Ogg Theora then things will get better. Another option is to contact their advertisers and tell t

  • >>A torrent of innovative start-ups

    Nice choice of words :-)

  • by general_re (8883) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @10:34AM (#27721273) Homepage

    Cable-television companies make money by selling packages of channels. The average American household pays $700 a year for over 100 channels of cable television but watches no more than 15. Most would welcome the chance to buy only those channels they want to watch, rather than pay for expensive packages of programming they are largely not interested in.

    It's not the cable companies that are selling packages of channels, it's the content producers - cable companies don't much care beyond the technical details of access control and so forth.

    Everyone thinks they want a la carte programming, but the reality is that if it ever came to pass, most folks would pay pretty much what they pay now, except they'd get fewer channels in exchange, particularly for those who are interested in niche or specialty channels. Without the producers being able to subsidize niche channels through fees for their popular, flagship channels - which is, of course, exactly why they sell channels in packages like they do now - the price of those niche channels will go up dramatically for those who choose to subscribe to them. Not a problem if you're only interested in ESPN 1 and MTV 1, but if your tastes are even slightly outside the mainstream, you won't wind up saving much money at all.

    • by metamatic (202216)

      Without the producers being able to subsidize niche channels through fees for their popular, flagship channels - which is, of course, exactly why they sell channels in packages like they do now - the price of those niche channels will go up dramatically for those who choose to subscribe to them.

      I think you're wrong. The truly niche channels are currently usually sold only as add-ons or in premium packages, precisely because they don't have the clout to force their inclusion in the core packages. For example

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by steveha (103154)

      Everyone thinks they want a la carte programming, but the reality is that if it ever came to pass, most folks would pay pretty much what they pay now, except they'd get fewer channels in exchange

      Nope, not buying it. You can't convince me that having a choice is worse than having no choice.

      I have some friends who used to live in Japan. When they moved to the USA, I checked to find out how much it would cost to get them one channel of Japanese TV programming on Comcast cable; it was heinous. They would hav

  • While stories of the cable companies running in fear from the impending flood of online content and restricting bandwidth in response have been common on slashdot for a while it's disappointing that something like the Economist has picked up this fable.

    The reality is that most of the content that offered on cable today won't make its way to the web for free under the current revenue models of content providers (not cable cos). Currently half of the revenue that channels like TLC get is from cable subsc
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Discovery has 100 networks that earns them 3 billion from 1.5 billion viewers. Whats to stop them from starting their own over-the-internet subscription service? If their viewers bought only one channel a-la-cart, they could pay 17 cents a month and Discovery would still net 3 billion in a year. With their viewers buying even more channels, or packages, the price per channel could drop even lower, or they could simply pocket more of the revenue.

      Channels that are unpopular should die, not be subsidized b
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PPH (736903)

      So what will happen? I think content providers will partner with cable cos to provide their content online.

      That might bite the cable companies in the ass. Certain content providers [slashdot.org] are waiting eagerly for them to open the doors on such negotiations. That'll make cable dumber than a dumb pipe.

      Second, they are waiting for the end of analog signals so they can reclaim some bandwidth.

      Huh? Cable bandwidth is unrelated to the OTA switch to digital signals. Some cable companies will continue their analog basic cable services long past the switchover date. Others have already abandoned analog, requiring their customers to use a digital set top box, with whatever DOCSIS version or other protocol they deem app

    • by Qzukk (229616)

      You'll see reasonable network caps like comcast's 250GB a month

      And unreasonable caps like Time Warner's 5GB a month? I guess that's a "fable".

    • Second, they are waiting for the end of analog signals so they can reclaim some bandwidth.

      Sorry, but that's not going to help you. The whole point of cable for many people is that the digital transition in February, excuse me June, excuse me whenever, doesn't affect cable viewers since they will continue to receive the same analogue signal they have to this point.

      Your other points might be more valid.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah (1196)

      > The reality is that most of the content that offered on cable today
      > won't make its way to the web for free under the current revenue
      > models of content providers (not cable cos). Currently half of the
      > revenue that channels like TLC get is from cable subscriptions. The
      > other half is from advertising. These channels aren't interested in
      > cutting their revenues in half on the hopes that on-line advertising
      > somehow doubles in profitability. This is especially the case when
      > it's cu

  • by Pathway (2111) <pathway@google.com> on Sunday April 26, 2009 @12:14PM (#27721937)

    I'd like to point out something I've observed over the years I've used my DVR: I watch the commercials.

    I'll be watching my show, and I'll be using the 30-second skip feature to skip commercials during the show... but in the act of flipping through the commercials, If I see something that looks interesting to me, I'll actually go back and see what the commercial is about.

    Reasons I skip commercials include: The commercial is annoying, I've seen it several times, or I am defiantly not the target audience.

    I've also experienced where I am watching with somebody else, I skip a commercial, and the other party asks to go back to see it because they were interested in it.

    I'm sure I'm not alone in this observation. So, I think all commercials get a fair showing in most cases with DVR.

    • by Ifandbut (1328775)

      True. If I pass by a commercial for a new show/movie/video game I'll rewind if it looked interesting, however there are so many trash commercials (no, I dont want term life insurance from the oxy clean guy) that I really dont miss much anyways.

  • The problem in streaming is as follows:

    Netflix Streaming Censored Movie Versions

    What you see with Netflix is definitely not what you get. Or to put it more precisely, what you see with their streaming Watch Instantly service is not what you get when you get the DVD version in the bright red envelope. Not only is the quality far less than the DVD version (a known feature of their streaming that only got worse with their new optional player that they try to trick you into installing), but it's not even th

  • They most of been slashdotted as neither is available for me.

    Falcon

  • by meehawl (73285) <meehawl@spam.gmail@com> on Sunday April 26, 2009 @04:12PM (#27723723) Homepage Journal

    Ironically, the Economist misses an important piece of the puzzle. It writes:

    The 1999 CES awarded the "Best of Show" video category to ReplayTV [findarticles.com], with Tivo as the runner up.

    Marc Andreessen, Netscape Communications co-founder and recently named Replay-Networks board member, calls ReplayTV "just about the coolest thing I've ever seen." [findarticles.com]

    The man who made the Internet accessible to millions of people worldwide thinks ReplayTV and Replay Network Service will fundamentally change how people watch and interact with television. "Replay could do for television what Netscape did for the Internet," Andreessen said.

    ReplayTV was the DVR to own during the analog era. It offered built-in autoconfiguring ethernet, automatic user-oblivious commercial skip (using detection heuristics similar to those now employed by MythTV) and the ability to exchange show recordings over the internet. The last two features were potentially massively disruptive to the TV/movie industry and landed the ReplayTV people in court. The protracted legal battles drained the company's finances and attention, and in the end they consented to remove the coolest features from their newer units. By then Tivo, which always played well the media conglomerates, had taken most of the market by offering units with significantly less disruptive potential.

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