[opendtv] Re: Punching Above Its Weight, Upstart Netflix Pokes at HBO - NYTimes.com

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 10:20:31 -0500

Whoops hit send by accident... Again!

> On Feb 26, 2014, at 5:47 PM, "Manfredi, Albert E" 
> <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
> Only to the extent that US broadcasters aren't streaming their live signals, 
> Craig. So what? That's not a technical limitation.

You are reading too much into what I wrote. By disconnected, I mean that one 
cannot easily move between the input sources for these smart TVs. A case in 

I have a brand new smart TV from LG. I almost never use the integrated smart TV 
features because they are all duplicated by my Apple TV, and they are not 
integrated with the other services. So the cable STB is on HDMI input 1; the 
Apple TV is on HDMI input 2; the DVD player is on the component input. And the 
ATSC tuner is on an antenna input. The cable remote can control all of these 
devices except the Apple TV, and some of the smart TV features. There is 
nothing I can do to push one button and get to Netflix; that's 5-6 button 
pushes on two remotes if the TV was last used with the cable STB.

You have a similar dilemma. The FOTA antenna is on one input; your PC us on 
another. You may have other devices on other inputs.

In short, everything is still disconnected.

As long as you need a proprietary cable STB to play in their walled garden 
these worlds are not integrated. Not at the UI level; not at the search level; 
and not at the authentication level.

Comcast is seeking to solve part of this problem by integrating their 
proprietary digital cable services (with hardware DRM), with their proprietary 
IP services; as a bonus they provide access to some OTT services.

The only way third party STBs, game consoles, etc. can play is currently with a 
cable card.

The MVPDs have held the FCC at bay with lame DRM solutions that make 
competition impractical, while they keep charging monthly fees for STBs and the 
DVR feature built into some models.

It is interesting that the MVPDs are not as concerned about security, when 
they, and the content owners, allow access to their walled garden content via 
the Internet; all you need is a user name and password, which you can share 
with friends and family.

Why "Katy bar the door" with DRM to access their video channels, but lax 
security for Internet access to some of the same exclusive content?

Have you figured this out yet Bert?

Could it be they already have your money? 

Well not Bert's, because he refuses to pay. This is something I have no problem 
with - it's a personal choice.

The MVPD subscription is where the big bucks are; a little leakage via the 
Internet is small change; you are using a username/password from someone that 
may be sending them $100/mo or more. Using your parents password after you move 
out of the house is akin to staying on their health insurance policy until you 
are 26.

There are any companies with the ability to re-invent the User a Interface to 
The TV.  Intel tried, gave up, and sold to Verizon. The rest are playing around 
the edges, with the kind of on tent bundles Bert likes - all filled with 
content licensed from the content congloms.

> In the meantime, for VOD even from within an MVPD walled garden, an 
> intelligently designed "connected TV" should be able to take care of that all 
> **by itself**. Internet Protocols are ALREADY STANDARDIZED. It's not like the 
> CE community needs to figure this out on their own. They just need to quit 
> thinking that collusion is the only way to do business. *Plus*, schemes like 
> Windows Media Center, working with an RF receiver card, can bring together 
> the live streams and recorded stuff. CE vendors could work on similar 
> software on their own sets.

Integrating OTT services and FOTA TV is certainly a possibility; but it seems a 
bit absurd that you would need to buy an ATSC card for your PC, when the FCC 
forced you to buy the ATSC tuner in your TV. The TV manufacturers could do a 
better job of integration with the FOTA tuners in the TVs and their "smart 
features," but why bother? Only a small percentage of their customers still use 
FOTA, and a large percentage of these cannot afford broadband. What most 
consumers want is better integration of live MVPD channels and OTT services. If 
we let Comcast control this, they win.

Did you read the comments of Professor Faulhaber in the K@W piece?

> But with the new competitive market, the content providers have been getting 
> a lot more money recently. They can sell to Hulu, Netflix, AT&T U-Verse and 
> Verizon, and prices for content have been going up. If Comcast-Time Warner 
> [gains] more power over content providers, I am not going to object to that — 
> the [content providers] have been raising their prices for the last year. A 
> little payback wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Actually they have been raising prices for the past two decades. Will 
Comcast/NBC use it's new muscle to cut better deals for its customers, or for 
itself?  Will they raise their subscriber fees for NBC channels, moving the 
money from one pocket to the other, while increasing these fees for the MVPD 
subscribers they do not control? Or will they use the leverage they have with 
NBC, one third of MVPD subscribers, and 40% of broadband subscribers to reduce 
subscriber fees?

It is patently absurd to believe they will sacrifice profits to keep customers 
in the garden, when they have no real competition.

> You seem to not understand how these technologies work, Craig. First of all, 
> even without using IP, what you described, assuming it's accurate, can easily 
> be improved. Like I said, in a PON, the server knows exactly how many streams 
> it is feeding out and even what the rest of the PON downstream load is. 
> Therefore, in principle, that VOD server can adjust the bandwidth of its 
> individual streams accordingly. No need for IP! Doing this with IP can 
> automate the process right out of the box, but it's HARDLY a critical new 
> feature.

Stop trying to invent stuff Bert. Obviously the generation of equipment the 
MVPDs have deployed cab be improved. They could move exclusively to IPTV 
delivery now if they wanted to. The technology is not the issue. The issue is 
maintaining their monopolies, and extending them to Internet delivery of TV.

> You obviously don't read. I never condemned bundles. I condemn only walled 
> gardens. YOU are the one who (illogically) condemns bundles.

To much word play here Bert. You condemn the MVPD bundles that use exclusive 
content to keep people in the garden. You condemn Apple because it has created 
an ecosystem that advantages their hardware, even though you can access all of 
the media content they sell on the PC connected to your TV.

But the Netflix and Hulu Plus bundles are O.K. - you want everyone to create 
this kind of bundle, despite the fact that you refuse to pay for them as well.

> Wow, you keep missing the most important point. Broadcast networks, whether 
> MPEG-2 TS or analog, become natural walled gardens. Two-way networks do not. 
> Didn't you get this? In a one-way broadcast, a single entity can, and usually 
> does, control ALL OF THE SOURCES.

Wow! Now you finally admit that FOTA broadcasting us a walled garden too. You 
have claimed broadcasters are competitive for years; thanks for finally 
admitting they are part of the problem too!

> Do you not understand that this "new TV everywhere" "revolutionary business 
> model" is used all over the Internet already, by all manner of businesses, at 
> the very least since 1994? How is it not a "no-brainer?"


Provide me an example of how you use a subscription to a non Internet service 
to access a related service via the Internet. There are plenty of good 
examples, so this part should be easy.

Now explain why I need to pay a monopolist more than $100/mo to watch exclusive 
content on my iPhone or iPad.


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