video killed the _____ star
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 19, 2014 07:32 PM
As the battle between Netflix and major internet service providers rages on, consumers are paying the price with degraded service.
The complicated plumbing required to deliver a Netflix video to a consumer’s computer or TV is near invisible to users, who are unaware of the bandwidth that companies have to put out in order to transmit such content. The actual data transfer occurs at global “interconnection” hubs, aka, “telecom carrier hotels” where companies like Time Warner Cable, Verizon and AT&T share space. Born in the days of high volume landline telephone traffic, the telcos shared amiably enough, but with the addition of high-bandwidth services like Netflix creating a drain, those relationships have broken down. And now broadband companies are increasingly charging "tolls" to third-party intermediate players like Level 3 and Cogent.
“This is a scenario that open Internet advocates have been warning about for years," Time notes. “It’s no secret that the big telecom and cable companies resent the fact that they are obliged to deliver high bandwidth content like Netflix—which competes against their own video offerings—in addition to less bandwidth-intensive traffic like emails and chats.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 13, 2014 12:07 PM
Following a failed takeover bid by Charter Communications, Comcast announced it would acquire Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal for $45.2 billion. If the merger is approved by regulators, Comcast will return to its top spot as the largest cable operator in the world.
The merger, which could send waves through various television networks, national sports markets, TV technology and streaming companies is already a cause for concern among consumers and other pay TV companies, including satellite television networks, as well as AT&T, Verizon and Google, all of whom have made inroads into the cable and internet-providing business.
At about $159 per share, Comcast stands to adopt Time Warner Cable's 11 million pay TV customers, highly concentrated in Manhattan and Los Angeles, where it owns two sports networks and has lucrative deals with local sports teams. As part of the deal though, Comcast said it will divest about 3 million of TWC's customers to appease regulators.
As far as Comcast is concered, gaining regulatory approval from the federal government, including the FCC, shouldn't be too hard since Comcast and TWC aren't actually direct competitors (as far as carved-up cable provider boundaries go). The approval would follow Comcast's nearly $17 billion buyout of NBCUniversal from GE last year.Continue reading...
brands with a cause
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 4, 2014 01:56 PM
President Obama has scored some major progress on his ConnectED initiative thanks to a little help from some major brands. The program, which was launched in June, advocates for high-speed internet and education technology in every classroom, as well as training teachers on the benefits of tech in the classroom by 2017.
The President has challenged the FCC, Federal agencies, Congress, the private sector and communities to rise to the test. As announced today as part of the White House's ConnectED (or #ConnectED) initiative, US companies are answering the call by committing more than $750 million to deliver cutting-edge technologies, devices, free software, teacher professional development, and home wireless connectivity.
“Today, fewer than 30 percent of schools have the broadband they need to teach using today’s technology; under ConnectED, 99 percent of American students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2017. That connectivity will be the bedrock of a transformation in the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income," the White House said in a press release.Continue reading...
follow the money
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 29, 2014 04:46 PM
The mobile market is an industry full of intense competition and some larger than life personalities (we're talking to you, John Legere). And so while Verizon and AT&T jockey over who has the fastest speeds and lowest prices, T-Mobile and Sprint are taking the battle in a whole different direction. In fact, they're taking it to a whole different industry: banking.
Falling under its "Un-Carrier" campaign, T-Mobile recently launched "Mobile Money," a full-fledged banking service that allows consumers to “do their banking via mobile app and also in the company's 3,000 storefronts” while not charging monthly maintenance or purchase fees and requiring no minimum balance.
"Millions of Americans pay outrageous fees to check cashers, payday lenders and other predatory businesses–just for the right to use their own money,” John Legere, chief executive officer of T-Mobile, said in a statement, according to The Street. “Mobile Money shifts the balance of power for T-Mobile customers and keeps more money in their pockets."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 28, 2014 10:52 AM
Following months of back and forth after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed widespread data collection by the US National Security Agency, the US government and leading internet and communication companies have reached an agreement on what companies can disclose to consumers.
Bowing to pressure from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo over the controversial NSA Prism surveillance program, the government will now allow companies to reveal more details about the "administrative subpoenas" issued by the Justice Department that require tech companies to hand over reams of data on users.
US Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a joint statement:
"The administration is acting to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, and the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests including the underlying legal authorities. Permitting disclosure of this aggregate data resolves an important area of concern to communications providers and the public.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 24, 2014 09:33 AM
Neiman Marcus reveals over 1.1 million credit cards exposed to data breach.
Apple celebrates 30 years of the Mac computer and making PCs "cool."
Samsung's profit growth slows on success of new iPhone.
Starbucks enthuses about sodas and mobile pre-ordering in wake of strong holiday sales.
Audi plans to narrow global sales gap with BMW in 2014.
CNN social media accounts hacked by SEA.
Facebook pokes fun at Princeton following research report.
GM looks to axe 1,100 South Korea jobs ahead of Chevy's pullout from Europe, report says.
Google reaches out to GOP.
JPMorgan gives CEO Dimon a big raise.
Lexus taps into Milan Design Week.
Lincoln sees customer-experience enhancements begin to pay off for dealers but product depth remains a problem.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 21, 2014 09:08 AM
Nestle opens world's first Kit Kat boutique in Tokyo as Cadbury keeps fighting candy bar's trademark shape in UK.
PepsiCo axes stevia-sweetened Gatorade products as Mtn. Dew plans big spending boost behind Kickstart and Diet Dew.
Twitter makes racial diversity an ad-selling point.
AT&T plans to take orders this week for new flexible-screen smartphone from LG.
Build-a-Bear appoints new CMO and "brand bear."
Burger King wins free primetime Super Bowl radio ads in UK.
Facebook sees leveling off of decline in teens.
Ford embarks on quality push in time to improve before important '14 product launches.
Infiniti eyes bolder sub-brand.
Intel sells under-developed online-TV line to Verizon.
Jeep eyes 37 percent sales boost this year as feds end controversial recall investigation of Grand Cherokee and Liberty models.Continue reading...
masters of their domains
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 16, 2014 03:58 PM
A bunch of bright, shiny, new toll booths may soon be erected on the information superhighway and it doesn’t appear there is much consumers can do about it. A federal court ruling on Tuesday that struck down "net neutrality" rules would allow companies like Verizon, Time Warner Cable, AT&T and other internet service providers to change the way they treat different websites.
The ruling, in favor of Verizon, means that one site may be allowed to load content faster while another's is slowed down. Such a situation means that consumers and companies may be paying more to get what they have now: the ability to travel to any site and expect it to download high-quality content at the same speed, the so-called “open Internet.”
What’s been called “net neutrality” may soon be disappearing, which isn’t a good sign for brands like YouTube and Netflix, whose businesses are built upon serving up high-quality video content at fast download rates for little to no cost to consumers. It is good for the aforementioned web-service providers, though, who can surely find new ways to pad the growing amount of consumers who pulled the plug on their cable providers so they could do all their TV watching online.Continue reading...