October 20, 2014
Volume XLX, Issue 1
The DCIA's IoT at CES
The Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) will present twelve hours of demos, displays, and discussions from Tuesday January 6th through Friday January 9th in daily segments webcast live from the DCIA's CES 2015 exhibit-booth studio in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Topics covered will include: Smart Objects for Fitness & Healthcare; Programmable Homes & Energy Management; Media Entertainment & Social Networking Solutions; Geolocation Services & Vehicular Automation; Retail, Public Space & Manufacturing Environments; and Power Consumption, Cybersecurity & Interoperability.
If you would like to participate in The DCIA's Internet of Things (IoT) at CES 2015, please call or email DCIA CEO Marty Lafferty at your earliest convenience.
The DCIA is especially interested in hearing from individuals and organizations involved with connected consumer device innovations, wearable creations, machine-to-machine (M2M) advances, RFID developments, remote monitoring and maintenance solutions, micro-sensor discoveries, trusted computing services, smart environment architectures, and related examples of the emerging IoT phenomenon.
Verizon Now #1 in Netflix Rankings
Excerpted from Ars Technica Report by Jon Brodkin
Netflix's direct connection to Verizon's network didn't result in immediate improvements for the companies' joint subscribers, but they're finally paying off with better video performance.
Verizon FiOS actually topped all other major Internet service providers (ISPs) in Netflix performance in September with an average stream rate of 3.17Mbps, Netflix said today.
Although Verizon FiOS led all large ISPs in Netflix performance, Google Fiber is still No. 1 among all ISPs regardless of size with a 3.54Mbps average in September.
In August, Netflix streamed at an average of 2.41Mbps on Verizon FiOS, ranking tenth out of 16 major ISPs. In July, Netflix speed on Verizon FiOS was 1.61Mbps and in June it was 1.58Mbps, ranking 12th in both months.
The Netflix/Verizon deal was announced in late April. When performance continued to get worse after the interconnection agreement, Verizon said it might take until the end of 2014 to get all the proper network connections in place to speed up video.
Luckily it hasn't taken that long. Netflix performance on Verizon DSL has improved as well, though not as much. After falling to a low of 0.91Mbps in June, it climbed to 1.68Mbps in September.
AT&T U-verse also improved after receiving interconnection payments from Netflix, from 1.44Mbps in July to 2.61Mbps in August and 2.77Mbps in September.
AT&T DSL moved up from 1.11Mbps in July to 1.81Mbps in August and 1.91Mbps in September.
Time Warner Cable, which also struck a paid interconnection deal with Netflix, had speeds improve from 2.16Mbps in July to 2.59Mbps in August and to 2.87 in September.
The interconnection deals give Netflix a direct connection to the edge of the Internet providers' networks, bypassing congested links, but without receiving priority treatment after entering the networks.
Report from CEO Marty Lafferty
Following the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated that the Commission will soon address the cloud-based online video marketplace.
From a technology and operations standpoint this segment is now more than ready to advance, but it has been held back due to challenges securing carriage rights for television programming services.
This comes weeks after an FCC spokesperson said that the agency was examining rules that would enable certain over-the-top (OTT) Internet protocol television (IPTV) providers to be reclassified as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).
The MVPD designation until now has been reserved for cable and satellite television operators.
It has been difficult for television programmers to license a new category of MVPDs -- cloud applications -- not controlled by broadband network operators that own the plant and infrastructure which deliver established multichannel subscription television services.
Specifically, Chairman Wheeler said that the Commission "has been looking into the entire question of 'What is an MVPD,' and online video will be a part of it."
Wheeler noted that HBO's and CBS's plans, announced on Wednesday and Thursday, to provide a la carte online streaming video services, which bypass the middleman by not requiring an MVPD buy-through, are obviously going to a have a marketplace impact.
And indeed, the addition of these high-profile brands to the OTT IPTV space could spur sales of Internet-video streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Nexus Player, and Roku; and bolster utility of videogame consoles like PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One.
But the DCIA believes that for the full impact of cloud-based television to be realized, multichannel aggregators — not individual standalone services — will need to be licensed to compete with traditional MVPDs by offering comprehensive packages of television programming services
Most people simply want a wide assortment of TV channels integrated into a single service for the most attractive price they can obtain.
The purpose of the FCC's involvement will be to expand MVPD competition and choice at the consumer level by providing greater access for online video services to broadcast television signals and linear feeds of cable programming services.
Presumably, on-demand services like Amazon's Prime Instant Video, Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube will not be covered by these new rules, whereas those entities that propose to deliver real-time transmissions of multiple channels of TV programming will be.
These new policies will be helpful in addressing such open issues as whether and how online video services will need to compensate broadcasters with retransmission-consent fees and enter into carriage agreements and pay license fees for other programming services.
In addition, Chairman Wheeler said that the question of whether OTT IPTV services and other online MVPDs will need to meet some kind of public interest obligations as over-the-air broadcasters and cable operators do, probably also will be answered.
What the HBO and CBS announcements do underscore is that major traditional television brands are now confident that OTT IPTV technologies are ready for prime-time.
HBO's plan to launch a standalone OTT service in 2015 reportedly will be to target "cord-nevers," -- the 10 million US broadband households that don't subscribe to an MVPD -- as an alternative to the current on-demand online video entries.
It's also part of a larger HBO MVPD renegotiation strategy to convert 4 million non-revenue generating basic subscribers to take HBO and, given HBO's ownership by Time Warner, it's also supportive of Comcast's acquisition of that company's cable multiple system operator (MSO).
For long-term industry participants and analysts, CBS's announcement of "CBS All Access" for $5.99/month, featuring live streaming from 14 major market CBS broadcast television stations and cloud DVR access to more than 5,000 past episodes of popular program series, may seem more stunning.
But while "The Eye" may be perceived as the most venerated and therefore, one would expect, the least progressive of the major broadcast television networks, since its separation from Viacom, it has been the least encumbered of the majors in MVPD complications that come with oversight of a large slate of cable programming channels.
CBS Interactive attracts more than 280 million visitors to its websites each month.
Its standalone price suggests, if established industry practice holds, that licensing of a third-party single video program distributor (SVPD) would cost approximately $3.00 in wholesale retransmission fees, and, at volume and scale, a full-service OTT IPTV multichannel distributor, $1.50.
Online revenue will be bolstered by dynamic ad insertion, which can stream different and newer commercials to online viewers.
Chairman Wheeler on Friday also reiterated his alignment with President Obama's position against paid prioritization on broadband networks, which was reiterated in California last week when the President addressed an audience of technology sector entrepreneurs.
Wheeler said, "On the important question of paid prioritization, the President and I are in agreement and always have been." Share wisely, and take care.
FCC Could Pave Way for Aereo to Resume Operations
Excerpted from MediaPost Daily Online Examiner Report by Wendy Davis
The original version of Aereo struck out at the Supreme Court, but the company still might be able to reinvent itself -- with some help from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The online video start-up recently went to the FCC and asked to be considered a "multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD)." If Aereo succeeds, it will have a better chance of qualifying for a compulsory cable license -- which would enable it to resume service, providing it pays retransmission fees to the broadcast networks.
Until this June, Aereo offered subscribers the ability to stream over-the-air television to their smartphones and tablets. Aereo, which used antennas to capture and stream the programs, didn't pay retransmission fees to the broadcasters.
Broadcasters said that Aereo infringed copyright because it "publicly" performed the shows. The Supreme Court agreed with the broadcasters, ruling 6-3 that the startup had no right to stream shows in real-time.
Aereo stopped operating shortly after the decision, but has taken several steps to mount a comeback -- including asking to be considered an MVPD.
Today, FCC General Counsel Jonathan Sallet addressed some of the issues raised by Aereo's request. While Sallet didn't say how regulators are leaning, the way he framed the issue suggests they're at least taking Aereo's application seriously.
Specifically, Sallet said that including online-only companies in the definition of MVPDs "would not regulate the Internet," but would instead apply the law on a "technology-neutral" basis.
"Of course, the Commission doesn't root for one business model over another," he said in a speech delivered at a Duke conference. "But it does -- and it should -- look to see if any of its rules should be updated to facilitate the innovation that is occurring in the marketplace."
He went on to ask whether a "technologically neutral" standard would encourage broadband deployment.
"Demand for broadband might increase if consumers knew they could use broadband connections to access MVPD services regardless of whether the broadband network itself provided video programming," he said.
Even though Sallet didn't make any promises, advocacy group Public Knowledge cheered his remarks. "Today's speech from the FCC's General Counsel is the latest indication that the FCC might do something that is both bold, and common sense," Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer said.
"It could further open up the video marketplace to new online providers, by recognizing that any service that offers subscription 'channels' of programming should have regulatory parity with other pay TV services."
Huge News: HBO Is Cutting the Cord
Excerpted from Media Life Magazine Report by Toni Fitzgerald
Cord cutters have a new, unexpected ally: HBO.
The pay cable network said on Wednesday that it will become the first network to offer a standalone, over-the-top service, allowing people to subscribe to HBO without subscribing to cable.
In a presentation at the Time Warner investor meeting, HBO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Plepler said the company will begin offering a streaming service to non-subscribers in 2015.
"It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO," he said.
"So in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top (OTT), HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners. And we will explore models with new partners."
The first-of-its kind move could ignite a movement away from bundled services, something HBO has been exploring tentatively in recent years.
Last year the network entered an agreement with Comcast that allowed customers to get Internet access, local channels and HBO for $40 per month.
The deal was aimed at broadband-only households, those that have cut the cord from cable companies and primarily get their entertainment from streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu Plus.
But the introduction of a standalone streaming service is a much bigger deal because it is bound to tick off the MSOs that carry HBO and who stand to be hurt the most if the program takes off and spurs a flood of departures from their services.
Up until now, subscribing to a cable bundle was the only way to get HBO, save that one Comcast deal. With the introduction of the new service in 2015, that's one less incentive to subscribe to cable.
HBO is the biggest premium cable network with nearly 30 million household subscribers.
Its HBO Go app is hugely popular and offers all the same shows and movies as the channel, only people can view them on demand.
In announcing the move, Plepler noted there are currently 10 million broadband-only households in the US that do not have cable service, and said those are some of the viewers HBO is hoping to reach.
He did not specify any pricing options for the HBO standalone service or when it will launch. But he did say the company is eyeing international revenue as well as domestic with this move.
Plepler also, in an apparent olive branch to MSOs, pledged to "work with our partners" in launching the service, which could mean nothing but reflects the delicate position HBO and other networks are in as they try to reach new subscribers while not ticking off the cable companies that distribute them.
CBS Launches $6 OTT Subscription Package
Excerpted from TV Technology Report by Deborah McAdams
CBS Corp. announced the launch of CBS All Access, a new digital subscription video-on-demand and Nielsen-measured live streaming service for the CBS Television Network, for $5.99 a month.
CBS All Access will offer subscribers thousands of episodes from the current season, previous seasons, and classic shows on demand, as well as the ability to stream local CBS Television stations live in 14 of the largest US markets at launch. CBS All Access is available beginning today at CBS.com and on mobile devices through the CBS App for iOS and Android. The service allows fans to watch more CBS programming online and on mobile devices, while introducing yet another monetization window for CBS content. CBS All Access will be available on other major connected devices in the coming months.
"CBS All Access is another key step in the company's long-standing strategy of monetizing our local and national content in the ways that viewers want it," said Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corp.
"This new subscription service will deliver the most of CBS to our biggest fans while being additive to the overall ecosystem. Across the board, we continue to capitalize on technological advances that help consumers engage with our world-class programming, and we look forward to serving our viewers in this new and exciting way."
For $5.99 per month, CBS All Access includes the following programming, with more to be added in the coming months:
Full current seasons of 15 prime-time shows with episodes available the day after they air; unprecedented ability to live stream local CBS stations in 14 of the largest markets at launch, with more to be added as affiliates join the new service; full past seasons of eight major current series, including "The Good Wife," "Blue Blood" and "Survivor;" more than 5,000 episodes of CBS Classics, including every episode of "Star Trek," "Cheers," "MacGyver," "Twin Peaks," and "CSI: Miami;" access to exclusive additional content for CBS Television's biggest special events, such as "The Grammy Awards," "The Academy of Country Music Awards," and the "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show;" ability to stream the "Big Brother 24/7 Live Feeds" service for no additional fee when the show returns next summer; and an advertising-free environment for all CBS Classics.
CBS All Access offers an even more robust viewing experience on CBS.com, and the CBS App, which has been downloaded more than 10 million times. CBS All Access brings thousands of episodes to digital platforms, making it simple for fans looking for more CBS content to get it via one easy-to-use, multi-platform service.
The ability to live stream local CBS stations through CBS All Access was built in close collaboration with CBS's owned-and operated stations. Syncbak, in which CBS has a minority investment, powers the delivery and geo-targeting of the live feeds to in-market subscribers. At launch, live streaming will be available in CBS's 14 owned and operated markets, including: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, with more to be added.
Non-subscribers will continue to have access to the most recent current episodes of CBS programming on CBS.com, select CBS Audience Network partner sites and through the CBS App. Programming will be available the day after the shows air on TV, with an eight-day delay on mobile devices for prime-time series only.
To sign-up for CBS All Access, visit: www.cbs.com/allaccess.
Playout in the Cloud
Excerpted from Newbay Media Report
The Playout function has long been the focal point for broadcasters and other media companies across the globe, integrating critical content and monetization aspects of the business such as ad sales, traffic and scheduling, playlists, stored files, and automation.
However beneficial this decades-old function has been, it is now restricting the flexibility of media companies to adapt to evolving business demands, particularly with the rapid onslaught of competitive video consumption alternatives now widely available via the Internet and over-the-top (OTT) providers.
"Playout in the Cloud" from Imagine Communications presents an entirely new range of opportunities for media companies to evolve their operations, transform and transport content free of geographic or other historical channel boundaries, extend and expand their brands, and profoundly improve and enhance the nature of their relationships with other content providers and distributors, affiliates, and video consumers.
Imagine Communications is a global leader of media software and video infrastructure solutions serving more than 3,000 broadcast, multichannel video programming distributor, government and enterprise customers spanning 185 countries.
HBO & CBS Tipping Point for A la Carte Pricing
Excerpted from LA Times Report by David Lazarus
In the Game of Thrones that is the pay-TV industry, HBO has unleashed the dragons.
The premium network said it would offer an online streaming service next year, making its programs available for the first time to anyone with an Internet connection rather than a cable or satellite box.
It's an understatement to say that this will shake up the pay-TV business as we know it.
With one of the most popular networks circumventing conventional delivery systems, experts say we've taken a big step toward allowing consumers to choose some or all of their TV channels, rather
"This is a landmark," said Brian Mahony, principal analyst with Trender Research. "You might now get 300 channels, but there are only three or four that you can't live without. HBO is one of them."
CBS is hoping people feel the same way about its network. CBS followed HBO's lead Thursday, announcing that it too will stream programs online for viewers to watch whenever they please. It's just a matter of time before ABC, NBC and Fox jump on the bandwagon.
Mahony said HBO taking the online plunge represents a tipping point for TV content. It validates that a network can potentially thrive outside the established pay-TV universe and demonstrates that a market exists for a so-called a la carte system — paying only for the channels you want.
"A lot of people think about cutting the cord, but they don't do it," Mahony said. "That could all change now."
An estimated 7.6 million US homes already have cut the cord, up from 5.1 million homes in 2010, according to Experian Marketing Services.
The success of independent services like Netflix and Hulu has provided an incentive for many households to ditch cable. HBO's availability will only take that up a level, as will the entry of CBS and likely others soon.
John Fetto, a senior analyst at Experian, said "the definition of television" is changing as an increasing number of viewers — especially younger viewers — turn to online streaming services to watch what they want when they want.
Many details of HBO's planned service are still unknown. How much will it cost? Will it partner with Netflix or Amazon Prime or go its own way? Will the online service mirror what's available on cable?
The company has said only that its goal is to find a way into the 80 million U.S. homes that don't currently subscribe to HBO.
Tony Wible, a senior analyst at Janney Capital Markets, called HBO "a pillar of the TV ecosystem," with the clout to be a trailblazer in doing an end run around the existing pay-TV infrastructure.
He predicted that while other pay-TV networks will try to follow suit, not all will succeed. The key, Wible said, is having must-see programming that can distinguish a network from the rest of the herd.
HBO has this with top Hollywood movies and shows such as "Game of Thrones," "Girls" and "The Leftovers." CBS has the likes of "The Big Bang Theory" and "The Good Wife" as digital calling cards.
Among non-premium cable channels, AMC could possibly offer a streaming service on the strength of such shows as "The Walking Dead" and "Mad Men." Sports behemoth ESPN would have little difficulty finding an online audience.
But less-popular channels would have a tougher time attracting subscribers. For this reason, Wible said, it's unlikely that Time Warner Cable, Comcast and other pay-TV companies will suddenly go belly up or begin offering all channels on an a-la-carte basis.
"However, they're going to have to change their mind-set," he said. "There are probably a lot of conversations going on right now about how to shift their business model."
Verizon Communications said last month that it plans to offer its own streaming service next year, which will likely include small groups of channels as base packages and allow subscribers to fine-tune their programming with "custom channels."
The moves by Verizon, HBO and CBS suggest the shape of things to come for U.S. consumers.
The popular channels and networks will go rogue with their own online services, while the companies that dominate the pay-TV landscape now will try to retain customers with smaller, cheaper bundles and perhaps a smidgen of a la carte.
Would total a la carte be better? Of course it would. Consumers should never have to pay for products they don't want. And it seems as if we'll get there eventually as the pace of cord-cutting picks up.
In the meantime, the big networks will get bigger as they attract more online viewers, and the big pay-TV bundles will get smaller as cable and satellite companies adapt to changing times.
It's about time.
Cable Cord-Cutters Beware: Prices Could Be Higher
Excerpted from Wall Street Journal Report by Joe Flint, Shalini Ramachandran, and Keach Hagey
With HBO and CBS planning stand-alone streaming services, the oft-maligned pay-TV bundle has begun to loosen. But it's not clear the brave new streaming world that replaces it will actually be cheaper for consumers.
By offering their networks directly to consumers via the Internet, HBO and CBS are cutting out the middleman— cable and satellite companies — and potentially undermining the backbone of the television business.
On the surface, this is seen as a win for people frustrated with rising monthly television bills and paying for lots of channels they don't watch. Other networks are following the lead of Time Warner 's HBO and CBS, including Univision Communications Inc. and possibly Showtime, which is a unit of CBS Corp.
Walt Disney's ESPN is also developing online-only platforms that would be offered separate from traditional channels.
"It seems to me that a la carte, which seemed like a distant reality a few months ago, has become a much more viable option," said Tuna Amobi, an analyst at S&P Capital IQ. "This is a watershed moment for the industry."
But cord-cutters should be careful what they wish for. A future where television viewers subscribe to each channel individually could be cheaper for young people who only watch two or three channels, industry executives said. But analysts say that for households filled with people of differing tastes or fans of many channels, this future could make the average cable TV bill—which hovers at around $90—seem like a bargain.
CBS has set a price of $5.99 a month for its service, which launched Thursday. Initially, it will be available only in the 14 big cities where it owns TV stations, but the network aims to make it national in the coming months. Not all CBS content will be available. The biggest missing element is the National Football League, which CBS carries on Thursday and Sunday. CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said he hopes that will be part of the offering.
HBO, which announced plans for its stand-alone service on Wednesday, has offered few details, except that it will debut sometime next year. HBO costs an average of $15 a month and the price for the stand-alone service isn't expected to be cheaper and could be more costly.
Univision, the dominant Spanish-language broadcaster, is working on making its UVideos website and app available to non-cable subscribers, according to Tonia O'Connor, president of content distribution at Univision. UVideos streams live and on-demand content from Univision's broadcast and cable networks today, but most content is limited to pay-TV customers.
Univision is working on offering solutions that bypass the pay-TV bundle in part because 76% of its flagship network's viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 watch that channel alone — no others, Ms. O'Connor said.
She added that the industry's streaming effort so far—known as TV Everywhere—is "not reaching all of our viewers."
Driving the change is the growing popularity of online streaming services from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon's Prime Instant Video. In response, many networks have started making their own content available online or selling it to such services, but usually after it debuts on their linear service.
Now, though, as the number of people either abstaining from pay-TV or opting for smaller packages with fewer channels grows, traditional networks are starting to hedge their bets. "There is no question that streaming, in terms of consumer options, is becoming a reality," said Mr. Amobi.
Technology may be doing what consumer advocates and many lawmakers have long argued for—making programming available on an a la carte basis, which they believe will result in smaller bills.
Some analysts however, paint a grim portrait of an unbundled world. Laura Martin, an analyst at Needham & Co., estimates that unbundling would drain half of the revenue, or $70 billion, out of the television industry. Moreover, today's hundreds of channels would shrink down to about 20, she wrote. That is because advertising would decrease substantially on channels with reduced audience reach, forcing consumers to pay the entire cost of running the channels, instead of splitting that cost with advertisers, as is done in basic cable.
Sports networks could be most at risk in an unbundled world. About half of the subscriber fees paid each month by consumers go to channels with sports, even though these channels account for less than a quarter of viewership, according to Nielsen data analyzed by Needham.
If ESPN were taken out of the bundle, for example, it might need to cost as much as $30—instead of the roughly $6 per subscriber it currently charges as part of the bundle, according to SNL Kagan—to recoup its losses from reduced distribution and continue to afford its content.
"We believe that only 20 million 'super fan' homes would pay $30/month for ESPN's group of channels"—not enough for ESPN to have a meaningful advertising business, Ms. Martin wrote.
Programmers, meanwhile, are protective of the bundle because it allows for the pairing of weaker channels with strong ones. Content companies often offer discounts to distributors for taking weaker channels along with strong ones.
"All these things are so much more expensive when you separate them out," said David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets. "You are going to have to pay more for less choice."
But some distributors are trying to do just that. Cablevision Systems is suing Viacom over bundling in a case that will be closely watched by the industry.
Some cable operators, reading the tea leaves, are shifting their emphasis away from providing video to broadband in the hopes of still being the gateway to the consumer, albeit through a different pipe.
"Cable has known for a long time that video is going to becoming increasingly on-demand and online," said John Bergmayer, a senior staff attorney at Public Knowledge, a media watchdog. "Cable's goal is to manage the transition and come out the other side still in control."
But other distributors fear all these changes could be bad for their bottom line..
DirecTV warned in a statement that if the ecosystem isn't kept "in balance" programmers and providers could "risk losing" significant revenue streams "that could drive our collective businesses backwards."
Standalone Products Risk Alienating Cable & Satellite Companies
Excerpted from Reuters Report by Jennifer Saba
Time Warner's decision to make its prized HBO channel available to people who don't subscribe to "Pay TV" may delight such "Cord Cutters" but will likely crank-up tensions with cable and satellite TV service providers.
By going over-the-top (OTT) — media lingo for being able to watch TV with only a broadband connection — HBO has paved the way for a rocky period of negotiations with cable and satellite companies - with issues of pricing and distribution likely to loom large.
Indeed, CBS upped the ante when it announced on Thursday a digital product that provides content like "The Good Wife" without a cable subscription for $5.99 per month.
"Truth be told, there is no way to put a positive spin on this for the distributors," said Craig Moffett, Senior Research Analyst at Moffet tNathanson.
Details about HBO's standalone product, slated to launch next year, were scant. HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler did not discuss price or potential partners on Wednesday when he revealed the news before Time Warner investors and analysts.
Still, the proposed online streaming service adds to a lengthening list of ways for consumers to circumvent pricey cable subscriptions, from Hulu to Netflix and even a possible ESPN Internet channel. ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Company
HBO is likely to face pressure from distributors to set the price for its new offering at a level that will not cannibalize existing subscriptions within the cable bundle. Barclays analysts speculated in a research report that the service was likely to cost $18 a month, which would be higher than the roughly $15 a month that cable systems typically charge for HBO.
Some cable executives, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they expect price and other issues to be points of tension in looming talks over how the service will work.
In setting the price, HBO will face a balancing act between growing its subscriptions and undercutting the cable companies, analysts said.
Both Time Warner and its distributors are expected to bring carrots and sticks to the negotiating table. HBO is targeting the 10 million broadband only households in the United States who do not have cable subscriptions.
Part of the reason Time Warner is launching a standalone product is to gain more leverage against the cable companies that it feels do not do enough to promote HBO as a premium channel. Some cable systems have as few as 14 percent of their subscribers taking HBO, while others have as much as 44 percent, according to Plepler.
"They want to have the threat," said Thomas Lieu, portfolio manager with Westwood Group, which has a stake in Time Warner.
Cable companies unhappy at being undercut by the freestanding HBO Go could retaliate by cutting their promotion budgets for the premium channel, one cable industry source said.
Other "sticks" could include slowing down delivery of the freestanding HBO Go, reviving battles that cable operators such as Comcast fought earlier this year with Netflix, which ended with the streaming service agreeing to pay the cable operator for faster transmission speeds.
Plepler invoked "The Sopranos" mob character Paulie Walnuts when he said that when these deals come up, "we will get our taste."
But as HBO thrashes out new commercial arrangements with distributors, it will hardly have a monopoly on strong-arm tactics.
Verizon to FCC: Abolish Set-Top Rules
Excerpted from Multichannel News Report by Jeff Baumgartner
Verizon Communications is taking advantage of a petition by TiVo to urge the Federal Communications Commission to "seize this opportunity" to waive all technology mandates tied to set-tops and other navigation devices that are distributed by multichannel programming distributors (MVPDs).
Verizon's comments are in response to TiVo's request for a waiver or a clarification on rules that it use a standardized home networking interface on products supplied wholesale to pay-TV providers.
Verizon, in comments filed October 6th, argued that TiVo's petition shows that not even companies that were supposed to benefit from the FCC's mandates "want to abide by all of them," and offers further proof that CE technology "is fast outpacing the Commission's regulations."
"Given these marketplace developments since this rule was adopted, the Commission should seize this opportunity to waive all technology mandates related to navigation devices distributed by MVPDs, and let consumers enjoy the multiple and diverse market-based solutions that are rapidly being developed and implemented by MVPDs and the consumer electronics industry," Verizon argued.
Verizon said it is taking no position on whether TiVo's solution complies with the home networking interface rule, and does not oppose TiVo's request, but it did urge the FCC to "recognize the futility of further attempts to dictate standards in the innovative and rapidly changing market for devices and software applications that consumers can use to access video programming from their MVPDs."
At a minimum, should the FCC grant TiVo its proposed waiver, it should similarly grant a waiver of the IP-networking requirement for all providers, Verizon said.
Verizon's position to phase out the current separable set-top security rules is one that is shared by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, which has repeatedly called on the FCC to phase out a mandate that took effect in July 2007.
Last fall, Reps. Robert Latta (R-Ohio) and Gene Green (D-TX) introduced legislation that aims to "remove the unnecessary and costly" set-top security integration ban, and follows a court decision in which EchoStar won its challenge to FCC rules on the ability to record TV programming. Additionally, a provision in the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) seeks to eliminate the FCC's integration ban, though it would aim to retain the FCC's power to reinstate the ban on any successor to the CableCARD regime.
TiVo, which is working on a non-CableCARD approach with Comcast, wants the current CableCARD rules to stay in place until a next-gen solution is developed. The cable industry has argued that the FCC should refrain from creating any new set-top rules and to instead let market forces decide the path forward.
TiVo filed its petition on August 29th, requesting further waiver or clarification with respect to the requirement that TiVo products supplied wholesale to cable operators much include an industry-standard, interactive, and recordable home networking interface.
TiVo acknowledged in the petition that TiVo products leased by MSOs don't support "all elements of an open industry standard as that term has been defined by the Commission, and thus does not meet the letter of the rule." TiVo argued in part that strict compliance of the rule would harm smaller cable operators that use TiVo products, that it would serve no public interests, and would be "extremely expensive" for TiVo given its historic investments.
TiVo noted that it had to work ahead of the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), which released the CVP-2 guidelines in March, and followed in September with the debut of the "VidiPath" brand and a certification program -- initiatives that will provide a secure, in-home IP networking path that will allow MVPDs to deliver subscription TV content (and bridge their user interfaces and navigation systems) to VidiPath-certified retail CE products such as set-tops, gaming consoles and streaming devices.
TiVo said it's "generally supportive" of the DLNA initiative, but said it couldn't anticipate the outcomes of the organization's process and the timing and content of published specs, so therefore had to develop its own solution, which it claims to provide more features and functionality than the DLNA's baseline specs.
"Even after the release of the DLNA CVP-2 specification, it is too soon for TiVo to anticipate precisely how these specifications will be implemented by major cable operators," TiVo said.
Millennial Generation Understands & Embraces Big Data
Excerpted from Telefonica Report
The Millennial generation is happy to embrace the concept of Big Data — with three quarters saying they fully understand the types of information and data that companies collect and share about them — a new global study has revealed. And nearly 80 per cent of young adults aged 18-30 feel in control of their personal online data, according to the findings of a Telefonica-commissioned survey of 6,700 Millennials across 18 countries.
While this generation is confident online — 85 per cent believing they are on the cutting edge of technology — young digital natives did express concerns about digital privacy and security. The Telefonica study found that eight out of 10 Millennials are worried about getting hacked or someone stealing their information online, and nearly 90 per cent are taking active steps to protect themselves online.
The findings of the Global Millennial Survey — announced today in Brussels at the European Voice 'Data: the New Currency?' summit — led to calls for European policy makers to create an environment that will help extend the levels of confidence demonstrated by Millennials to every generation in Europe.
"We all agree that data is the lifeblood of digital technologies. It is therefore vital that the reform of the legal framework for data protection results in a trusted digital environment," said Dr Richard Benjamins, Telefonica's Group Director of Big Data. "Policy makers should take a risk-based approach which considers not only how data is collected but also how it is used. They should aim to protect people first, rather than data, and must prevent the use of data in ways that might negatively impact individual people's lives."
Dr Benjamins added: "Proper mechanisms need to be in place to effectively evaluate risks to individuals and ensure that people have control over how their data is being used — mechanisms that will build far more confidence than unread terms and conditions or check-box consent. Gaining the public's trust and confidence must be the prime focus of the data protection legal framework reforms — which will be pivotal in opening the door to a European digital economy that is innovative, competitive and successful."
Mobile Revolution Shakes-Up Silicon Valley
Excerpted from TribLive Report
Smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets aren't just changing the way we live and work. They are shaking up Silicon Valley's balance of power and splitting up businesses.
Long-established companies such as Hewlett-Packard and eBay are scrambling to regain their footing to better compete against mobile-savvy trendsetters like Apple and Google, as well as rising technology stars that have built businesses around "cloud computing."
That term covers a swath of Internet-driven services that shifted technology from the days software users paid a one-time fee to buy and install programs on individual machines where they stored all
But with the advent of the "cloud," people can rent software to use over the Internet. This enables customers to access documents, pictures and other vital information from any kind of Internet-connected device, a convenience that's become a necessity during the past few years as people increasingly rely on smartphones and tablets instead of laptop and desktop computers.
Business software makers such as Salesforce.com, VMware, and Workday built their business models around the cloud. All have delivered impressive revenue growth that turned their stocks into hot commodities.
Online storage services Dropbox and Box have yet to go public. But they have been minted with big valuations from venture capitalists who believe they will thrive amid the increased usage of mobile devices and cloud-computing services. Meanwhile, Apple and Google are prospering from the rise of mobile devices now that their competing software systems — iOS and Android — run most of the smartphones and tablets in the world. Apple reigns as the world's most valuable company at roughly $600 billion while Google ranks third at about $400 billion.
The rise in mobile popularity has taken a big bite out of personal computer sales. That's slammed Silicon Valley pioneer HP, once the world's biggest seller of PCs.
Mobile & Cloud Have Become Almost Basic Needs
Excerpted from Telecompaper Report
Belgian companies are increasingly using cloud services and applications —consciously or unknowingly- and employees are working more with mobile devices, with both trends reinforcing each other, a study from Base Business showed, conducted with Trends and Datanews. The study asked 1613 business customers about their mobile communication behavior.
Mobile has become a basic need, Base said. People increasingly communicate through different channels and mobile devices. An overwhelming majority of respondents make daily use of mobile data. Mobile has become the new way of working and taken on an important strategic role, Base CEO Jos Donvil said.
Over a third (36%) of respondents believe mobile working is strategically important to their business. For 22 percent, it is a top priority. At the same, 4 out of 10 respondents did not really know what cloud computing was, and so used the cloud unknowingly. Companies that are aware of using cloud services, said these were positive and gave them a competitive edge. Almost a fifth (19%) of companies surveyed say they will in the future consciously use cloud services.
Around 70 percent of respondents use external data on a daily basis, mostly from home (91%), from customers/suppliers (55%), or in the car (49%). The most used application is the cloud backup. Protection of all mobile applications, devices and data in the cloud is a major topic of concern. Many companies find it important that information does not end up on the personal mobile device of the employee. At the same time, employee must always have access to that data.
How to Create a Secure, Easy-to-Manage Private Cloud
Excerpted from WhaTech Report
While cloud-based data storage services have become synonymous with reliability, high-performance and accessibility, there are escalating concerns about privacy, performance, cost and the capacity limitations of cloud architectures.
Most cloud services began as personal options for individual client storage and have expanded into the enterprise with additional security and management options for administrators. As businesses adopt these still-maturing cloud infrastructures, they face cloud architecture concerns head-on.
Fortunately the issues can be overcome by deploying an in-house private cloud solution. Taking advantage of high quality, scalable network-attached storage (NAS) systems and the free BitTorrent Sync utility, administrators can create a secure, easy-to-manage private cloud that is free of subscription fees.
Traditional cloud-based backup and sync services direct data traffic through their own servers and store customer data in various geographic distributed data centers. As a customer, administrators must completely relinquish control of their data to these distributed storage servers and are left vulnerable to external threats or outages.
Since SAN-BitTorrent servers or clients contact each other directly, there is no need to copy data to, or rely on, external cloud servers or storage. With BitTorrent Sync and a smart SAN, an organization will retain exclusive access to, and complete control of its information.
Unlike traditional cloud services, BitTorrent sync has no associated costs. There are no monthly or yearly fees to create and grow an expanding SAN setup with BitTorrent Sync private cloud.
BitTorrent Sync will utilize the available storage behind the corporate firewall with encrypted access from client systems. Infrastructure capacity can grow seamlessly by adding additional expandable SAN storage, and by taking advantage of the flexibility of dynamic RAID, administrators can add new hard drives or replace hard drives without disrupting storage sync processes.
Bundled with an optimum NAS, BitTorrent Sync will deliver free data replication, disaster recovery and mobile access. Install a local or remote NAS with the BitTorrent Sync package, allowing administrators to sync data between other servers, desktop clients, and mobile devices. The resulting network storage cloud is spread out across many nodes.
With BitTorrent Sync, all participating systems take advantage of the maximised bandwidth to replicate files. Performance increases as files are propagated to more devices. Users will realise better performance as data is more widely distributed.
BitTorrent, Inc. pioneered the world's fastest P2P sharing protocol that is used by more than 170 million people each month, and moves around 40 per cent of the world's Internet traffic each day. With its peer-to-peer architecture, BitTorrent Sync requires no third party cloud provider and is able to achieve inherently faster speeds by sending files directly between devices.
The ideal NAS series to partner BitTorrent should feature an array of high performance, scalable network attached storage servers, built for data protection and seamless growth. The NAS should utilize dynamic RAID, allowing hard drives to be added or replaced at any time to grow thinly provisioned storage pools. Volumes will grow automatically as drives are added, simplifying management and reducing time required to adapt to changing requirements. Scalable servers will grow with data and ensure that file access remains secure and online.
BitTorrent Sync is a secure, efficient and simple way to manage data replication and sync package. It takes advantage of the efficient BitTorrent protocol. BitTorrent Sync automatically syncs data between directories across a wide variety of client computers and mobile devices.
Once configured, BitTorrent Sync runs as a background process to monitor incremental data changes and syncs changed data with one or more target directories on geographically distributed devices. Users access and update data from any device connected to the Internet. Syncing directories across multiple platforms is as simple as generating and exchanging private keys for each directory.
Notable Features include: free and unlimited syncing, encrypted transfers, full access, read only or one-time secrets; and sync any platform by exchanging secret keys. They also include: incremental file transfers, file versioning, and deleted file archive, as well as the ability to connect mobile devices with a key or by scanning a QR code.
Coming Events of Interest
CloudComp 2014 — October 19th-21st in Guilin, China. The fifth annual international conference on cloud computing. The event is endorsed by the European Alliance for Innovation, a leading community-based organization devoted to the advancement of innovation in the field of ICT.
Should You Move to the Cloud? Advantages, Pros, and Cons of the Cloud for Hotel Operators — October 21st at 1:00 PM ET. Webinar presented byFrontdesk Anywhere, provider of award-winning cloud-based hotel management software, and InnLink, a leading provider of central reservations services (CRS).
International Conference on Cloud Computing Research & Innovation — October 29th-30th in Singapore. ICCRI:2014 covers a wide range of research interests and innovative applications in cloud computing and related topics. The unique mix of R&D, end-user, and industry audience members promises interesting discussion, networking, and business opportunities in translational research & development.
GOTO Berlin 2014 Conference — November 5th–7th in Berlin, Germany. GOTO Berlin is the enterprise software development conference designed for team leads, architects, and project management and is organized "for developers by developers". New technology and trends in a non-vendor forum.
PDCAT 2014 — December 9th-11th in Hong Kong. The 16th International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Computing, Applications and Technologies (PDCAT 2014) is a major forum for scientists, engineers, and practitioners throughout the world to present their latest research, results, ideas, developments and applications in all areas of parallel and distributed computing.
Storage Visions Conference — January 4th-5th in Las Vegas, NV. The fourteenth annual conference theme is: Storage with Intense Network Growth (SWING). Storage Visions Awards presented there cover significant products, services, and companies in many digital storage markets.
International CES — January 6th-9th in Las Vegas, NV. The International CES is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Held in Las Vegas every year, it has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years — the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.
The DCIA's IoT at CES — January 6th-9th in Las Vegas, NV. Twelve hours of demos, displays, and discussions of the the Internet of Things (IoT) in daily segments webcast live from the DCIA's CES 2015 exhibit-booth studio in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.