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View Full Version : Battle for the future of TV looms in congress


Chris
02-10-2011, 09:50 AM
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/02/can-big-cable-block-the-google-tv-revolution.ars?

Can cable block the Google TV revolution?

Behind the scenes at the Federal Communications Commission, a quiet war is being waged over the future of television. It isn't getting as many headlines as net neutrality or the Comcast/NBCU merger, but the debate is nearly as important. It's about how far Google, Sony, and their allies can take their Google TV system.

In their bid to get the FCC to help Google TV and similar devices, "Sony/Google are asking the Commission to ignore copyright, patent, trademark, contract privity, licensing, and other legal rights and limitations that have been thoroughly documented," the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) warned on Wednesday.

What is NCTA talking about? The trade association is trying to set limits on how easy it will be for devices like Google TV to access pay TV content and reassemble it into something that will reconfigure both television and the Internet.

That's at the heart of the FCC's proposal for an AllVid system, which Google very loudly supports. AllVid doesn't exist yet, but the idea is to mandate an industry-wide gadget that you could plug into your broadband router and connect to your cable TV provider, then watch online video and pay channels through a variety of AllVid-friendly devices. Not surprisingly, Google and Sony love this idea, because it could transform the Google TV from just a neat product into a revolution.

Big cable hates the proposal, because that revolution could leave multi-video program distributors (MVPDs), if not in the dust, at least working in a far more competitive video environment. But the AllVid proposal faces real technical challenges that have yet to be worked out. Continued here - http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/02/can-big-cable-block-the-google-tv-revolution.ars?

Comment quotes

I have cable tv, in my generation that's not a given. Younger people seem less inclined to drop a chunk of change a month to watch the same things they can get on Netflix and Hulu. I rarely watch my cable, but I actually have to have it for reasons I won't delve into at the moment. Here's what KILLS me though, I download most of my shows! I'm crazy busy, and travel often enough that I'm just not interested in dealing with all the DVR crap. Why?!?! Why do I, a paying subscriber, have to download my tv shows? Because content providers just will not offer content to me in a way that is simple for me to access. I'm totally not interested in sitting in front of my tv at xyz time every night to watch whatever show is on at that time. I'm also not interested in being tied down to a DVR, and having to program it to record certain shows. Finally, I'm not interested in your crappy implementation of an online gateway into said device, to stream tv or recorded shows, because so far it has failed me on nearly every occasion. I'm also more than a little ticked about spending $5 - $10 a month on your DVR for each tv I want to watch cable on. This is about big content providers finally having to meet the wants and desires of consumers due to competition, and it's long overdue. Quit forcing me to consume your content in a way that I'm not interested in... I don't care if it costs money from advertisers. Guess what? I'm not watching their commercials anyways. Do you know where I watch commercials? Hulu. Why? Because dealing with 2 minutes of commercials for the ability to watch whatever show at whatever time is palatable. I can't watch Hulu on a plane though, so when I watch tv on a plane it's currently commercial free. It doesn't have to be, it just is because big content won't offer me their content in a convenient manner. Idiots. Anything that puts independent, user-generated, and other content on the same screen (simply and easily) as traditional TV content is a huge threat to these guys. Stuff like Idol and Jersey Shore and other cheap to produce yet profitable content stops making much sense when a small crew can produce such a show on a small budget and easily distribute and monetize it on John Doe's living room TV. The pirated content thing is a distraction. As with streaming music, video piracy would likely decline massively if there were legit ways to stream a wider variety of content. As with music, it would spread the overall revenue between lots of players instead of the big 3 or 4 that divvy it up now. This would be a big win for consumers.

Tombstone RJ
02-10-2011, 10:03 AM
I have DTV and it's amazing how much I pay for stuff I don't want. 10 years ago DTV was nice and made a lot of sense and was a different option than cable, but now I look at it and wonder why I have to pay for channels I don't want. The best DTV can do is give you huge packages and then I have to go into the system and basically edit out all the channels I don't want to watch, but I'm still paying for. It's horsecrap.

Why can't I just tell DTV that I'll pay them X number of dollars a month for the channels I want? There's only about 20 channels or so I watch, I don't need all the other crap, all the music channels, all the porn channels, all the movie pay per view channels, all the QVC type of channels, I don't want any of that crap. But, I have no choice.

DTV has kinda run it's course for me. I'd rather be able to watch what I want to watch, when I want to watch it.

ColoradoDarin
02-10-2011, 12:38 PM
The only thing holding me on to still having DTV is Sunday Ticket, the NFL figures out that they can stream the games themselves and make a ton of money while cutting out the middleman and I'm dropping it in a heartbeat.

TheChamp24
02-10-2011, 01:16 PM
The only thing holding me on to still having DTV is Sunday Ticket, the NFL figures out that they can stream the games themselves and make a ton of money while cutting out the middleman and I'm dropping it in a heartbeat.

NFL gets a boatload of money from DirecTV already.

Honestly they need to drop it, and offer it to everyone.
Comcast, ATT, DirecTV, Dish, whatever.

Rock Chalk
02-11-2011, 08:12 AM
Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood) once testified to the Supreme Court about VCRs which the networks were against initially, saying that the people should not be constrained by time slots that others provide for their entertainment and that VCRs should be allowed to record television so that families could watch the show at their convenience, not the network providers.


During the controversy surrounding the introduction of the household VCR, Rogers was involved in supporting the manufacturers of VCRs in court. His 1979 testimony in the case Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. noted that he did not object to home recording of his television programs, for instance, by families in order to watch together at a later time. This testimony contrasted with the views of others in the television industry who objected to home recording or believed that devices to facilitate it should be taxed or regulated.
The Supreme Court considered the testimony of Rogers in its decision that held that the Betamax video recorder did not infringe copyright. The Court stated that his views were a notable piece of evidence "that many [television] producers are willing to allow private time-shifting to continue" and even quoted his testimony in a footnote:

Some public stations, as well as commercial stations, program the "Neighborhood" at hours when some children cannot use it ... I have always felt that with the advent of all of this new technology that allows people to tape the "Neighborhood" off-the-air, and I'm speaking for the "Neighborhood" because that's what I produce, that they then become much more active in the programming of their family's television life. Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been "You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions." Maybe I'm going on too long, but I just feel that anything that allows a person to be more active in the control of his or her life, in a healthy way, is important.[22]

Kaylore
02-11-2011, 09:08 AM
With Netflix streaming content right to your TV and many TV's coming out with internet connections now, it's increasingly looking like eventually this will be moot as internet and TV merge.

chadta
02-11-2011, 09:38 AM
With Netflix streaming content right to your TV and many TV's coming out with internet connections now, it's increasingly looking like eventually this will be moot as internet and TV merge.


See the issues we are having in Canada right now.

Problem is the biggest ISP, are also cable and satelite tv providers, so rather than let netflix or google tv compete, they have imposed download limits on internet customers. Even tho these same companies offer download subscription services, the traffic from within the company doesnt count against your bandwidth cap for the month tho.

broncosteven
02-11-2011, 09:58 AM
With Netflix streaming content right to your TV and many TV's coming out with internet connections now, it's increasingly looking like eventually this will be moot as internet and TV merge.

Forget 3d TV, I think Internet enabled TV's (either app based or an HD TV with a basic PC built in running some small Linux build to access the internet or run games) are the wave of the future, Comcast and At&t will just be ISP's.

Rascal
02-11-2011, 10:11 AM
I'm seriously thinking about dropping DirecTV and going to OTA, Hulu, Netflix for my TV.

ZachKC
02-11-2011, 02:18 PM
I don't mess with Cable. Have the HD over air ears for network stuff...netflix...and then download anything else I am missing. Its great..saves a ton of time.

JJG
02-11-2011, 03:00 PM
What do you all do about sports? I have local channels currently, and I miss a lot of sports on espn or other networks

Chris
02-11-2011, 03:08 PM
What do you all do about sports? I have local channels currently, and I miss a lot of sports on espn or other networks

the interwebs

JJG
02-11-2011, 03:26 PM
the interwebs

is it legal and how is the quality?

Chris
02-11-2011, 03:46 PM
it's legal in sweden (this is true for a lot of things). quality varies. it can be good. usually it's ok.

Bronco Boy
02-11-2011, 04:28 PM
is it legal and how is the quality?

ESPN3 has a ton of games available for free on the internet and its very legal. It's great for college football. NFL, not so much (obviously).

I haven't had cable or satellite in years and I don't miss it at all.

broncosteven
02-11-2011, 04:44 PM
I could almost make this work and still get Ticket.

I got grandfathered into the Directv setup where you don't need a subscription to also get the Sunday ticket so I could still get all the football I want, get HD ears for the local stations and then stream the rest if I wanted to. Just for the price of the ticket and my ISP.

My wife wouldn't go for it though, she wants her Food network shows even though she could still get most of the content on the InTERWebz.

It is funny but I think this type of stuff could save broadcast TV if enough viewers went back to rabbit ears and dropped cable for TV. You still have to pay an ISP so it is not really free but your using the InteRNets anyway.

Think about it people have been using this model for porno's for years!

elsid13
02-11-2011, 04:58 PM
Wonder how the Big ISPs will figure how to over charge the end user for all the new bandwidth demands.

Rock Chalk
02-12-2011, 08:39 AM
Wonder how the Big ISPs will figure how to over charge the end user for all the new bandwidth demands.

Won't matter. By the time this really kicks off, Fiber will be far more widespread so bandwidth will be much less of an issue.

baja
02-12-2011, 09:44 AM
I'm seriously thinking about dropping DirecTV and going to OTA, Hulu, Netflix for my TV.

What is OTA?

Never mind / Over the air. right

chadta
02-12-2011, 10:43 AM
Wonder how the Big ISPs will figure how to over charge the end user for all the new bandwidth demands.

See whats happening in Canada today, it will be with throttling, and really low download limits, the big telco tried for 25 gig per month.

Please learn from our mistakes.

elsid13
02-12-2011, 11:08 AM
Won't matter. By the time this really kicks off, Fiber will be far more widespread so bandwidth will be much less of an issue.

Even if there is fiber, the marketing guys will figure out how to charge you.

That One Guy
02-12-2011, 11:30 AM
At the end of the day, the only check to the system is people being willing to walk away. As long as the cable companies know people can't live without, they'll eventually start doing just as chadta is saying. I wouldn't be surprised if they would even inhibit their infrastructure to prevent their own demise.

The cable companies have been raping us for years. They're not going to willingly lose that cash cow. Especially if they can go the way of cell phone companies and cap your usage, they'll keep that last defense.