Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cable TV: New methods of delivery, why not??

Today's post/rant will be aimed towards an easy target, cable tv companies and why they need to rethink how they deliver digital tv services. Keep reading for the juicy, geeky rant and a few of my own suggestions.

I should preface this post with a few facts about myself and my perception of the cabletv industry.  I've been a Home Theater PC (HTPC) guy since the idea of HTPC became a reality back in 2003 and the release of Microsoft's XP Media Center version and have since progressed my setup with the times.  I currently have a custom built 6core desktop running Windows 7 Ultimate and sporting a dual Clear QAM digital tuner and an ATI Cable Card Digital Tuner (first gen) to get both my OTA HDTV channels and also my Comcast digital/HDTV channels without a box.  I've messed around with nearly every PVR/DVR software suite made for Windows XP and several Linux flavored ones too.  So yes, I've been in the industry for a while I'd say. :)

I personally believe that CableTV companies should really start looking into and piloting new ways to deliver their digital tv services.  Recent trends and articles show a definite trend in people cutting the cable in regards to cabletv services and going internet tv.  If we are going to see commercials anyways, why not getting your tv the most convenient way (ie Hulu or Netflix online)?

Comcast could be seen as a revolutionary cable company by doing one of the easiest and, in my opinion, greatest revenue boosting things in a long time:

Offer all cable tv packages that subscribers with a box get available over the internet and online.  Let us be able to watch normal live tv over the internet without having to have a cable connection.  Basically give us our IPTV but delivered via a webbrowser or even better....

Work out an agreement with Hulu to create a special Comcast Hulu channel that would allow Comcast subscribers access to all shows and tv channel lineups they would normally receive if they owned a cable box and get live streams of it.  This method of delivery is superior to current methods in that:

1. You need to have internet, so if the person is in a comcast internet area, they'll most likely be buying their internet service from comcast and also be buying Cabletv Over The Internet (COTI, my new acronym! hehe).  With COTI, you would need fast internet service!

2. You can sell your cabletv to ANYONE! not limited by physical lines or geographic areas.  Less money spent on in home calls on fixing broken cable boxes.  Plus, you already have the advertising from the live broadcast in the stream so in turn your probably double dipping in ads (add a very unobtrusive bottom text banner ad or background image type add the goes behind player window, similar to how was doing the kfc adverts).

3. Consumers could hopefully be able to view TV anywhere they have internet service!  Of course Comcast would need to create a check system so people wouldn't abuse their accounts but if they did this in a proper way (ie let you have a number of activated devices, up to 10 per account and do it by a combination of mac address, serial number, ip subnet).

However, the biggest problem or hurdle this new method of delivery would need to get past would be making the agreements between the networks, Hulu and the cable companies.  We all know how big business works; usually it doesn't since the head of the business is a person that doesn't even recognize what is currently happening in the tech space or heck even what was happening last in the tech space.  I really think this is a biggie for the industry and for us consumers.  It pushes us one step forward to a la carte packaging!  Heck, Comcast could potentially then offer a la carte packaging to cabletv subscribers that use a box or cablecard as an incentive keep your cable connection.

Or better yet, Comcast team up with Google TV and sell their own Comcast hardware to subscribers. :) oh, that could be very sweet but very doubtful since we know again how good at embracing new tech cable companies are or aren't

Well, thats about all for now. Till next time, peace.