Tag Archives: cable

HBO give us free! Cable, your days are numbered.

hbogo

I’ve been trying to contain my excitement over something I just heard.

“What’s that?” you ask.

Brace yourselves…

Next year you can get HBO without a cable subscription.

Now let it sink in.

Awesome right!?

I know.

Like many of you, I’ve got a two year contract with Fios for my TV, internet and phone.

When I switched from Comcast to Fios, I signed up for the bundled service with that great introductory price.

Once I added the DVR box, the additional set top boxes, and premium channels to the mix, that “great introductory price” went away.

And I end up with a bundle costing me a cool two bills a month.

Outside of the occasional on-demand movie or DVRd show I missed when it originally aired, I was just throwing away money with my cable subscription.

With the exception of HBO, I rarely watch anything on EPIX, STARZ, or any of the other premium channels I pay so dearly for.

So you can imagine my delight to hear that I’ll be able to decouple from cable and still get my HBO on.

Well maybe you can’t actually imagine my delight – but I am delighted damn it!

It’s true.

I started transitioning away from cable a few years ago when I got my Apple TV.

With Hulu Plus, Netflix, and iTunes, I’ve got access to virtually the same content as if offered on premium cable channels.

And the HBO GO app also allows me to watch all the content on that channel (albeit with my cable subscription) on the go.

The bigger thing for me, though, is not the decoupling of HBO from cable, it’s the precedent that HBO has set with this move.

Already, premium networks like EPIX, STARZ, ESPN, and Showtime have apps that let you access their content on demand.

With Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire and gaming systems like Xbox and Playstation all offering streaming services, once other broadcast companies follow suit, you’re no longer going to be beholden to the cable companies.

And soon(er than later) you’ll be able to cut the ties that bind (literally and figuratively) and get rid of that stupid cable bill.

We’ll have to see what kinds of deals HBO is able to strike with other set top box manufacturers, and how many of them ultimately end up carrying the channel.

But it’s definitely a sign of things to come.

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Fight for your right to Internet. Net neutrality threatened.

Net neutrality is under attack.

Net neutrality is under attack.

Trolling my tech news sites yesterday, I came across a story that is most people probably missed.

Did you know that the phone and cable companies are now legally able to block internet sites?

Or charge different rates for access?

I’m not talking China or some other draconian foreign communist regime that you would expect to restrict access to the internet.

This is happening right here in the good ole US of A.

What am I talking about?

Net neutrality, of course.

Yesterday a D.C. Circuit Court issued a decision striking down much of the FCC’s network neutrality rule.

What’s net neutrality?

Per Wikipedia:

Net neutrality (also network neutrality or Internet neutrality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.

Net neutrality=free, open and equal access to the net.

Why is net neutrality important?

Without net neutrality, cable and phone companies can use differential treatment in the application of their policies.

They can elect to give preference to whoever pays them more.

Worse than that, phone and cable companies can legally block certain sites wholesale, preventing internet browsers from accessing content at any time for any reason.

And who loses?

Everyone!

For some of you, this may be news.

But the reality of the situation is that this fight has been brewing for years.

This issue goes all the way back to 2007 when Comcast tried to block user access to peer-to-peer networks.

The FCC stepped in and told them that they couldn’t restrict user access, and Comcast sued – and won.

At that time, it was determined that the FCC while they had overstepped their bounds with respect to how they responded to Comcast’s restriction of user access, the FCC did have the ability to regulate internet access, but they had to go about it a certain way.

The rules they issued, were challenged by Verizon, and the ruling yesterday, struck down major aspects of the net neutrality rules.

Now the FCC must act expeditiously to protect Internet users from the (potential) arbitrariness of cable and phone companies.

Although many analysts suspect that the cable and phone companies won’t necessarily block access to sites, they do believe that there is very real incentive (read “$”) for throttling certain sites in favor of others.

In the final analysis, if the FCC doesn’t immediately move to reclassify certain types of cable and phone services, and thereby bring them squarely under their jurisdiction and rule-making authority, we could all be screwed royally.

Mind you, this post is really an extremely abbreviated summary of the Court’s decision and it’s impact on net neutrality.

For a more comprehensive dive into this issue and the court’s ruling, check out SlateFree Press or Wired’s reviews of the case and it’s implications.

But, all is not lost.

There are folks out there fighting to ensure that this eventuality never comes to pass.

Organizations like Free Press, Public Knowledge and the New America Foundation, are Internet crusaders devoted to ensuring unfettered access to the internet for all.

And now that you know, perhaps you too could get involved.

Don’t be one of those cats who sits by idly in the sidelines thinking it’s someone else’s resposibility.

Or one day you may wake up to find the internet you once knew and loved – gone.

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Filed under advocacy, digital advocacy

I love Netflix. Now if they only streamed the movies I wanted to see.

No Fios

I’ve been a cable subscriber for years.

Even though cable sucked, they were the only game in town.

Then came Blockbuster.

Like cable, they had a super selection of movies, which you could watch when you wanted.

But their expensive rental and draconian late fees, made them a not-oft-used luxury.

And it was inconvenient.

Unlike cable, if you wanted a movie, you had to get into your car.

Drive to your local Blockbuster.

And hope that the movie you wanted was in stock.

Netflix_logo

When Netflix arrived on the scene, they gave Blockbuster a run.

As long as you were willing to deal the whole snail mail thing.

And didn’t have a problem waiting until your movie was returned before you could get a new one.

Netflix wasn’t totally intolerable.

And they were dumb cheap.

But they weren’t really an alternative to cable.

You couldn’t just plop onto your couch, point your remote and wham – instant gratification.

But that was yesterday.

Netflix realized that the landscape for movie rentals was going the way of the dinosaur.

And they adapted.

Added streaming to their offering.

Changed to a subscription model.

And watched as Blockbuster folded, under the unbearable weight of it’s brick-and-mortar infrastructure.

Like cable, Netflix offers streaming television programs and movies.

Like cable, Netflix allows you to stream to your television, mobile and tablet devices.

But unlike cable, Netflix is DUMB CHEAP!

And you can stream your movies anywhere – not just in your crib.

I pay like $200 a month for my Verizon Fios.

To be fair, it’s a bundle: internet, phone and tv.

If I just had Fios TV, I’d be paying like $90 a month.

I pay $7.99 a month for Netflix.

$7.99!

If I wanted to add the ability to receive multiple DVD’s at home, it would be another $4.

So for like $12 I could get my movie on.

There is, however, one serious drawback to Netflix…

Most of the good movies are on DVD.

No seriously.

Sure, every once in a while, a movie you want to see is available for streaming.

But for the most part, the really good stuff isn’t available.

Trust me.

I’ve been down this road before.

Since wifey is a night owl, she’s constantly trolling the channels to find something to watch.

Cable routinely fails to deliver.

So Netflix has become the good old go-to.

And while there are literally hundreds of thousands of movie titles to chose from…

The movies we want are never the ones available to stream!

Netflix get your shit together!

I’m just bitchin’.

Cause there’s nothing on tv.

And the movie I want on Netflix is only on DVD.

Which means I can’t watch it right now.

And I’m a big baby.

First world problems.

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