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Intel Streaming Media Service Faces An Uphill Battle for Bandwidth

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the let's-just-let-the-nsa-sort-it-out dept.

Intel 82

Lucas123 writes "Intel this year plans to sell a set-top box and Internet-based streaming media service that will bundle TV channels for subscribers, but cable, satellite and ISPs are likely to use every tool at their disposal to stop another IP-based competitor, according to experts. They may already be pressuring content providers to charge Intel more or not sell to it. Another scenario could be that cable and ISP providers simply favor their own streaming services with pricing models, or limit bandwidth based on where customers get their streamed content. For example, Comcast could charge more for a third-party streaming service than for its own, or it could throttle bandwidth or place caps on it to limit how much content customer receives from streaming media services as it did with BitTorrent. Meanwhile, Verizon is challenging in a D.C. circuit court the FCC's Open Internet rules that are supposed to ensure there's a level playing field."

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82 comments

Free market my ass (5, Insightful)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 9 months ago | (#44023239)

This is why we can't have nice things.

Re:Free market my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44023507)

what is your definition of free market?

Re:Free market my ass (1)

hsmith (818216) | about 9 months ago | (#44023813)

One where the govt isn't so powerful it controls everything, where it can be bought by the highest bidder :-)

Re:Free market my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44025623)

Either the government is powerful, or it can be bought. It cannot be both.

We need to return to our original democracy roots. Corporations are not people. Money is not speech. Our government cannot be bought.

www.movetoamend.org

Not A Good Summary (3, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#44024089)

"This is why we can't have nice things."

I think all the actions described by OP as a way ISPs may try to limit the service are already illegal.

(1) They can't legally discriminate based on source.

(2) They can't legally charge one outside source significantly more than another because that would violate (1).

(3) They can't legally charge more for services that are not their own. (There is a Federal law specifically prohibiting that.)

I suspect OP is much ado about nothing.

Re:Not A Good Summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44024191)

I think all the actions described by OP as a way ISPs may try to limit the service are already illegal.

Some of the things in the list they are already doing. For example, Comcast does not count use of their video streaming service against your monthly cap but does count use of other streaming services.

Re:Not A Good Summary (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#44024381)

"Some of the things in the list they are already doing. For example, Comcast does not count use of their video streaming service against your monthly cap but does count use of other streaming services."

But there *IS* a law against it, and they *ARE* in court over it. And I think it is pretty obvious that they will lose.

Re:Not A Good Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44024695)

Just seems silly to me that the maximum amount of live viewers for Game of Thrones on HBO was 5000 and that is the best way for them to do it.

(They tried selling it in AUS on itunes and some bollocks stopped it).

Return of the guilded age (2, Interesting)

nickmalthus (972450) | about 9 months ago | (#44024771)

Monopolies and trusts are back in style along with egregious wealth disparity. Why compete when you can collude.

Re:Free market my ass (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 10 months ago | (#44025379)

Uhhh...they ALREADY do that cap bullshit, have been for years. If I use THEIR VoIP? No cap, Vonage? Cap. I use THEIR PPV? No cap, netflix? Cap.

This is why i have the urge to fucking bitchslap libertarians, how the fuck can you keep babbling on about "the free market" when there is NO free market, has NEVER been a free market, and unless you wipe out ALL money and start everyone out at zero in your new system so the old money can't buy their advantages there will NEVER BE a free market, okay!

Re:Free market my ass (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#44026119)

This is why i have the urge to fucking bitchslap libertarians, how the fuck can you keep babbling on about "the free market" when there is NO free market, has NEVER been a free market

Why not listen to the fucking libertarians next time.. they were the ones that told you that telecom wasnt a free market. You are blaming the libertarians for what you big government fucks created.

Re:Free market my ass (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 10 months ago | (#44026351)

Why not listen to the fucking libertarians next time

Because the smart people who mentored them in Liberalism, their college professors perhaps, told them that Libertarians aren't worth listening to or ought to be ignored and these people, being intellectually lazy themselves, decided to follow that advice instead of thinking for themselves as Libertarians are fond of doing. The Liberals claim to be tolerant and open minded and yet in my experience that's only true if you agree with them.

Re:Free market my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44031829)

Right, because there's no such thing as a liberal libertarian. I am a liberal, and enjoy many of the things libertarians do. I do however, not enjoy hypocrisy of far right libertarians or tea partiers who want the government in my private life regarding whom people sleep with and what people do in private. So the knife cuts both directions. Broad generalisms do tend to help anyone see your point of view, which would more correctly be that an overreach of state in what should be private matters and creating non-competing monopolies with no oversight is a bad thing. It's worth it to note though, that the government had to step in precisely because the market was so fragmented that they were causing dangerous conditions with all the lines they were running without any unified standard and people generally refused to share line capabilities.

Re:Free market my ass (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 10 months ago | (#44036761)

I do however, not enjoy hypocrisy of far right libertarians or tea partiers who want the government in my private life

It's not accurate, in my opinion, to characterize the Tea Party groups as libertarian. While it's true that some positions of the Tea Party platform lean libertarian, taxes for example, there are many other issues on which they are much closer to the neoconservatives. For example, I doubt that you would find much support within the Tea Party for ending the War on Drugs or allowing gay marriage.

It's worth it to note though, that the government had to step in precisely because the market was so fragmented that they were causing dangerous conditions with all the lines they were running without any unified standard and people generally refused to share line capabilities.

It's the classic example of natural monopoly, the regulated utility. Even most libertarian leaning people, with the possible exception of the anarcho-capitalists, would agree that government has a legitimate role to play in regulating natural monopolies.

Re:Free market my ass (2)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 10 months ago | (#44026309)

This is why i have the urge to fucking bitchslap libertarians,

I think that your rage is misplaced. The telecom business, upon which the ISPs depend, is a natural monopoly which requires some regulation to properly align interests due to the physical impracticality of allowing competition to emerge organically in the marketplace. After all, there's only so many rights of way for digging trenches and laying fiber or setting up antennas on towers. However, a single counterexample, which amounts to a special case, does not invalidate the entire thesis of free market capitalism. Just because natural monopolies exist and must be regulated does not prove that the free market system is fundamentally flawed or broken.

Re:Free market my ass (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 10 months ago | (#44033331)

I'm sorry I'm throwing a flag, bullshit on the field. Show me ONE functional free market system, JUST ONE. Stock market? Nope [youtube.com]. in fact between government money, "too big to fail" and letting them put ultra high speed trading practically on the floor (usable only by the elite who can buy access of course) the stock market is probably one of the most tilted and rigged systems on the entire planet.

The libertarians might as well be talking about John Galt or a perfect utopia for how much their viewpoint has to do with reality. Well if you want to talk fantasy systems then Star Trek communism sounds pretty damned nice to me, we'll never fucking have it but who cares? We ARE talking about fantasy systems.

But what earns the libertarians their bitchslapping is they refuse to accept that their system IS fantasy, they will stick their fingers in their ears and go "la la la, invisible hand, free market" no matter how many times you rub their nose like rubbing a dog's in shit that their system has NEVER EXISTED and WILL NEVER EXIST because the greedy fucks (which are practically saints to most libertarians) will rig the fuck out of the system EVERY SINGLE TIME. Hell we can produce writings going back thousands of years showing this is the case, for fucks sake a good 90% of human history follows this game plan 1.-Gather wealth by any means 2.-Hire goon squad, 3.- Concentrate wealth and declare yourself ruler.

So I'm sorry but when you keep talking about a fantasy system like its a real system that has been proven to work? You deserve a bitchslapping. After all if we wanna go fantasy system if everyone would just love each other and play nice there would be world peace, i don't see that happening any time soon either. ironically we did once have pretty damned close to what libertarians considered utopia, it is now known to historians as "the age of the robber barons" and ended up with rivers and air polluted, workers enslaved, and those at the top buying the law so they could make damned sure nobody could compete....hey kinda like what we are seeing here now! Hey you know what the difference between an old boxer and a libertarian is? The boxer at least has enough sense to know he is a little off in the head.

Re:Free market my ass (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 10 months ago | (#44036873)

Show me ONE functional free market system

How about the market for crude oil? There you have a commodity that just about everyone wants and for which there are always willing buyers. You will notice that even the Iranians, who are supposed to be under economic sanction, are still able to find buyers for much of their oil, albeit at a somewhat reduced price and increased difficulty transporting it to markets. Does not oil flow almost to whomever will pay the most for it? Isn't that how markets are supposed to work, rationing based upon who will pay the most? How is this not a free market?

If you don't like that example then how about the market for drugs which governments classify as illegal. There you have a market that not only exists outside of government regulation or control but continues to exist in spite of active and ongoing attempts by governments to suppress it. Need I go on?

As for the rest of your post, I'm not really sure how to respond or even what the point would be. You're obviously pretty angry about something so what could it be? Are you mad because there are people in this world with more money than you? Are you mad because the government didn't give you a college education for free or now refuses to write off your student loan debt? Maybe you don't like how other people spend their time and money or think that the government ought to confiscate their wealth and put you in charge of redistributing it? Whatever the case may be, I don't see how continuing this conversation with you will lead to anything productive.

Re:Free market my ass (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 10 months ago | (#44041669)

The oil market is as rigged as any other thanks to futures trading and how those at the top have the ability to influence the market with HFT which Joe Average will never have access to. As for dope dealing? That is ruled by the gun, same any other illegal market, so it all comes down to who can hire the biggest goon squad, see large parts of mexico controlled by the cartels for an example. Again Paco isn't gonna rise to become a rival to the cartels just by selling his product cheaper and providing a better service as the goon squad will just pop a cap in his ass.

I'm sorry but I once spent over a month arguing with a VERY well educated libertarian and he finally had to admit that "while there is currently NO FREE MARKETS that doesn't mean the theory isn't sound" and as I retorted Star Trek communism has never been implemented either, doesn't mean the theory isn't equally as sound. At the end of the day whomever gets there first WILL begin rigging the market to cut down on competition, that is because humans are greedy douchebags and there is NEVER such a thing as "enough". Again I can cite all of human history as an example, from the rise of the Holy Roman Church to the various empires to our own "greed is good" rigged all to fuck system which now gives 74c of every dollar to the top 5% and is climbing,

At the end of the day capitalism, like communism and fascism and every other ism, is doomed, not because of the idea, but because you will never get humans to not be greedy and fuck the shit up.

Re:Free market my ass (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 10 months ago | (#44026285)

How is that the fault of the free market? Even historically it has always been difficult for technology companies to break into the content business without either owning or partnering with studios and content delivery companies. The interests of a business of a company built upon copyright are not the same as those of company whose business is technology and even when the corporate ownership structure exists to compel cooperation between technology and content units, as in the case of Sony, the cooperation is often grudging and half hearted at best. The content companies aren't going to kiss Intel's ass just because they're Intel and they've got a cool technology to sell.

Re:Free market my ass (2)

adolf (21054) | about 10 months ago | (#44027333)

Regulations are nice and all, but in a free and competitive market (please note that these may be mutually-exclusive in some cases) it still sorts itself nicely:

Person A: "I need to find Internet for my new house. I'm not sure what to pick."

Person B: "Don't get $ISP. Netflix doesn't work very well with it. I've been using $competitor, and it works great."

Person A: "Ok, thanks!"

$ISP's subscriber base drops, $competitor gets more business, and $ISP is forced to change their ways or leave the party.

Re:Free market my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44031859)

I have no one to switch to. How would you suggest the market handle finding a competitor in a monopoly. DSL and broadband are also not equivalent. While DSL may have been useful for email and small files, it's nearly useless to anyone who does business on the internet or downloads streaming video in any form of good quality.

Re:Free market my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44030491)

Have you ever complaned when you buy a PC and pay MS-taxes?
Free market...

Consumer overload. (1)

JRowe47 (2459214) | about 9 months ago | (#44023287)

The illusion of choice is a powerful thing. The internet almost gave us the real thing, but the content and music is still firmly under the control of RIAA and MPAA. When their stranglehold ends, the last ISP standing will either be the most open, or the one with the best walled garden.

There's still room for competition, so lets hope it leads to a free-er market, at least.

Re:Consumer overload. (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 9 months ago | (#44024319)

The solution to the RIAA and MPAA problem is for powerful companies such as Google to BUY member companies and use their content for their own revenue models while giving them appropriate marching orders to relax content controls.

Google alone makes far greater revenue than all RIAA members combined. Buy a few member companies, fragment the enemy and profit thereby, then press on.

Re:Consumer overload. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#44026125)

Do you really think that the solution to the RIAA/MPAA is for further consolidation?

Really?

Thats just dumb.

Re:Consumer overload. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44027147)

I think the RIAA/MPAA will be their own undoing.

I wonder if I have a unique experience while sitting in a Carl's Jr. burger restaurant. They have a video display in the dining area. It was announcing the "top ten" music ratings. I did not know a single one of them; albeit I recognized one of them because I had heard it played earlier in a teenage clothing store. I did not know this timberlake fellow or this beiber guy was a singer - matter of fact I did not know exactly what they did. I did not much like the music either, as I had not heard much of it and it just hadn't "sunk in" yet.

I thought RIAA had done a wonderful job of restricting exposure of their artists to where few people even knew of them, much less likely to pirate their work.

I would gladly pay to go see a Moody Blues concert, but I would not attend a concert given by any of those shown on the Carl's screen - even if it was free. Not worth the time.

I guess things have changed a lot since I was a kid. I still remember the "labels" actually PAYING the DJ to play their disks. It was known as "payola". Today, I guess even sharing a song or singing it is a crime, thanks to the efforts of RIAA.

I guess RIAA is to a musician about like a fire is to an artist. If the artist burns his work, few see it, and no-one remembers or makes a copy of it. Gone. As if it never happened. Few see the work of the artist, and the fire grows bright as it exacts its energy from the burning art.

Net neutrality (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 9 months ago | (#44023387)

That's what you get with vertically integrated companies. If you buy into one part of their "stack", they will ensure you will not go to their competitors for the remainder of the stack or try and tax you if you do, if they can get away with it. In the case of ISPs who also sell content, that's why we need net neutrality.

Re:Net neutrality (1)

jdogalt (961241) | about 9 months ago | (#44023567)

My conversation with Anna Baughman at the F.C.C. - (see this mod5 comment for the GoogleFiber/NetNeutrality/USNavyInformationWarfareOffice context http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3643919&cid=43438341 [slashdot.org] )

Incoming from 717 338 2772 to 785 979 7723, 13:26CDT 2013/06/12
--
A: Anna Baughman, FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs
D: Douglas McClendon
--
A: Hi, it's Anna from the FCC, how are you?

D: Hi, I'm OK, uh, I don't suppose I could call you back in 5 minutes

A: Well, Um, Actually I'm leaving here in 5 minutes

D: Oh, never mind then, it's not that big a deal

A: I just wanted to let you know that umm we are again having the Enforcement Beaureu look at this complaint and someone from that office will be in contact with you ... we are not ignoring you

D: (laughs) Ok, that's nice to know, umm, I, I have been worried and the fact that I suppose after nine months (A: right) i can say that its still under some kind of enforcement review should indicate to me that there is at least you believe there is at least some substance even if its confused that you need to educate me about right?

A: right, but we're going to um, i just spoke with my supervisor again and we're going to um hopefully, well no we *will*, someone from E.B. will be in contact with you (D: and). It may take a couple of days but we are on/

D: Ok, a couple days, but, but, not a couple weeks? but not a couple weeks, or a couple months?

A: I would say next week sometime

D: Ok, so if I don't hear back in, if I don't hear back in 2 weeks then I can be worried or call back and start annoying you again

A: just call me back, feel free to call me back anytime but if you want to hang tight for a week or two

D: that thats fine, as long as you tell me that things are being worked on that thats the feedback I need to know to stop bugging you every day

A: Oh, well that's OK, Oh all right, well you have a good day

D: you too thank you

A: bye now

D: ok bye bye

Re: Net neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44024459)

WTF is up with all the "umm". Are you two GF and BF now having to work together professionally?! Or just a bunch of teeny boppers in infatuation with each other? Umm, ummm ummmmmmmm ya!

Re: Net neutrality (1)

jdogalt (961241) | about 9 months ago | (#44024499)

honestly on my end, it was in part due to the fact that I had had to immediately end a #2 ahead of schedule to take the call. On her end, my best guess is that it could betray a slight sense of non-straightforwardness that is not hidden by the fact that the complaint has remained live, and unanswered with a single sentence of explanation for 9 months now. And how it might relate to the interrellation between my complaint and it's fight to enable U.S.A. citizens to host their data on their own services on their own servers at their own homes. (GoogleFiber prohibits any kind of server hosting for residential users in terms of service, and selectively enforces, effectively putting a muzzle on the market for home-server software that could compete with things like gmail/ghangouts/skype/etc)

Re:Net neutrality (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 9 months ago | (#44023765)

You should break up these large multi-faceted companies. Keep ISPs and content providers separate. It's a huge conflict of interest and leads to a bad deal for consumers.

Re:Net neutrality (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44024847)

...it's almost like all of the relevant acquisitions that lead to the creation of these monsters should have been supressed by the FTC to begin with.

You're asking the same entity that allowed this nonsense to happen to fix this nonsense. A bit like letting the fox guard the hen house.

I am sure slashdoters objected to many of these mergers when they happened in the first place.

Set Top Box going nowhere (1)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#44023393)

Intel's larger problem will be that as soon as it is widely recognized by the public and the press that their set-top boxes have build in cameras and microphones their market will dry up instantly. There is already a bill in congress to put a stop to this sort of thing [slashdot.org].

Re:Set Top Box going nowhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44023791)

The new Xbox also has a mandatory always on camera and mic, and it has millions of preorders.

It's not realistic to think that having a mic and camera will "dry up the market instantly". The average consumer reads the marketing bullet point, thinks that voice activated fluff is pretty nifty (see Siri), and moves on without a second thought.

Re:Set Top Box going nowhere (1)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#44023851)

The average consumer is smarter than the 15 year old gamer living in his parent's basement.

Re: Set Top Box going nowhere (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 9 months ago | (#44023991)

And the 15 year old gamer living in their parents' basement is not the primary demographic for the new Xbox.

It is 25-35 year olds.

Re: Set Top Box going nowhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44034029)

and if you check reddit and facebook, xbox is currently having a bit of a crash and burn going on because of the always online DRM and always on camera.
Time to get out of the AARP bubble and pay attention.

Re:Set Top Box going nowhere (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#44024005)

The average consumer is smarter than the 15 year old gamer living in his parent's basement.

You have something to back up that statement?

The full Wal-mart parking lot that I drove by this morning is evidence that the opposite is true.

Radical Change (1)

b4upoo (166390) | about 9 months ago | (#44023403)

It is time to allow multiple cables into a home. There is simply no excuse for allowing one company to control cable access. I am aware that technology is allowing cable to carry more and more data or content but allowing one company to set rules, speeds, limits or prices is wrong. In my home only one miserable TV channel can be had without cable. Home dish services generally do not have good reputations here. So why not have five separate cables running into a home? Many areas can support such an idea.

Re:Radical Change (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 9 months ago | (#44023459)

Would the five separate cables be maintained in some sort of coordinated way, or would they each dig up the street whenever they felt like it?

If maintained in a coordinated way, what's the advantage of literally running five cables in the same trench, instead of running one cable but having it owned by a neutral entity, like a municipality or regulated utility, which sells access on equal terms?

Re:Radical Change (1)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#44023609)

>If maintained in a coordinated way, what's the advantage of literally running five cables in the same trench, instead of running one cable but having it owned by a neutral entity, like a municipality or regulated utility, which sells access on equal terms?

This!.

Allowing cable companies to own/be content providers was a huge mistake. One it will take years to overcome. ]
It was a stupid mistake.

Local loop ownership by municipalities might work. but I would expect the religious wackos and budget cutters would ruin that
in short order. Something along the lines of a new Public Utility District with specific legal protections and firewalled from political entities
is needed.

But in the mean time, pulling multiple fiber to the neighborhood (if not actually to each house) is not that unreasonable. You can multiplex
several signals onto the premises fiber from the local junction or switch providers on a whim.

Re:Radical Change (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 9 months ago | (#44024437)

The mistake was that in a number of cases, the laying of the cabling was paid for or subsidized by the local government, with contracts written by the cable company, who got full ownership after some short service time. The towns should all be laying their own fiber to the cabinet (at least), and letting others buy access from there. But the physical monopoly, often backed by protectionist laws, is bad for the user and bad for the market.

Re:Radical Change (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#44026137)

But the physical monopoly, always backed by protectionist laws, is bad for the user and bad for the market.

FTFY

Re:Radical Change (1)

nmr_andrew (1997772) | about 10 months ago | (#44033203)

We also shouldn't forget that providers often pay municipalities a franchise fee, conveniently billed to you the account holder, in exchange for being the "exclusive" cable provider in that area. This guarantees that even if the town did lay their own fiber to the curb, there's still not a free market for service.

Re:Radical Change (1)

Technician (215283) | about 9 months ago | (#44023531)

How different is this than Netflix or Hulu, other than the inclusion of a set top box? Many smart TV's now include Netflix and Hulu capibilities.

The question is will Intel license the tech to TV manufactures to include it along with Netflix and Hulu. If so, what is the future of a dedicated settop box along the lines of Boxee? http://www.amazon.com/Boxee-D-Link-Streaming-Media-Player/dp/B0038JE07O [amazon.com]

Will it be able to include Hulu and Netflix? If not, I suspect the sales of a single supplier solution for content and hardware will limit it's target demographic. Customers are not looking for another monthly subscription.

For a while Intel did have a streaming service where they provided services for media companies. It steamed the Rush Limbaugh show for a while and other talk radio. The old media services center was on a good fat pipe in Hillsboro Oregon with a link into the backbone in the Qwest hub. If they do provide service, they know how to get a good backbone connection.

As far as 5 cables running into a home, how many homes consume enough content to justify the cables at $50-150/month each. I pay for just internet, bundled with pots to get the discount. The POTS is stripped bare, eg no long distance, as these legacy items have been way surpassed by other survice providers in value. I have 4 other sources of no fee long distance so paying the incumbant their prices for it is a waste of money.

Want must have content does the new kid on the block plan on providing?

Re:Radical Change (1)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#44023695)

There is no reason you have to pay for $50 bucks to EACH provider if you mandate cafeteria pricing of each channel.
Less than a Penny per day per channel would become the norm.

But more to the point, bundling all on-demand video on top of the TCP/IP internet is probably not sustainable.
A separate stream for each viewer in the household is simply more bandwidth than the internet can handle well.
Do the math. You can't even handle that on the local links, let along the national backbones.

We really would be better finding another (parallel) solution. A separate stream might make sense if it could
be served from each cable system's head end controllers, but running the numbers says you can't serve this
from Hulu central across our existing internet.

So 5 cables isn't as silly as it sounds.

redefining broadcast engineering (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44023407)

After years working in broadcast engineering on the development end I do have to say this would cause a paradigm shift. The provider of the hardware wants to enter the commercial space for television? As much as Intel would want to remain a separate entity many more operations would adapt to their practices inevitably. Rather than challenge Intel I think these telecom companies should allow Intel to offer their services and really put the customer in control. Everyone should be able to choose what they want when they pay for television and internet services it shouldn't be the provider who makes that decision for you.

In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (3, Interesting)

Cassini2 (956052) | about 9 months ago | (#44023467)

In Canada, the HDTV transition has been an usability disaster. The cable boxes are simply to complex. If someone puts an easy-to-use HDTV-over-internet product together - the cable companies are dead. It might take a while, but almost anyone can put together a device with more commercial appeal than a Canadian Cable Company or Telco.

My Dad has Alzheimers and cannot remember anything. The Cable companies' HDTV remote is impossible to use. It has two different methods of adjusting volume. Powering on/off the TV takes 4 button presses. 6 different buttons can be used to change channels in various ways, and each way is inconsistent. For instance, pressing "up" will either increase or decrease the channel number depending on which up-button is pressed. With the old analog TVs, things were so much simpler: Power On, Volume Up/Down, Channel Up/Down - easy.

In comparison, an Apple TV box has a much simpler user interface. However, the main problem with Apple TV is that it won't receive cable channels. If I could purchase a set top box that simply displayed a few key channels - then it would be game over.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44023521)

Dont forget in Canada once you move to "digital" the local cable company (Rogers in my case) is very fast to cut the analogy signal.

Now you have to pay to rent super-secret decoder boxes for every TV, and an "extra outlet" fee for good measure.

All my TV's are "digital ready" but that is basically a sales scam since they wont decode anything.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44024455)

All my TV's are "digital ready" but that is basically a sales scam since they wont decode anything.

Chances are that "digital ready" in this case means that your TVs have an ATSC tuner. That means your TV can make use of the free digital over-the-air transmissions that are now mandated in most of the larger markets in Canada. It works (and looks) fantastic by the way. TV probably has a QAM tuner too, which means that if your cable company cared about you and didn't encrypt every channel they possibly could, you wouldn't need that set top box.

So it's not a sales scam. The TV manufacturers did their part and your TV can handle a digital signal. It will handle digital OTA. If Canadian telcos/cablecos become customer-oriented one day, it will handle that digital cable without a setbox too.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#44024595)

in canada you can buy the box and most systems have no outlet fees for at each the first 3-4 boxes

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44025161)

How is this better then when i had Analog tv, no need to purchase any boxes and no extra outlet fee? They could have put the signal in ATSC to my house. All digital, and no need for a decoder box. This would work fine for "basic" cable and saves everyone money.

As for my comment about "digital ready", i am aware of OTA and agree it is amazing. Most OTA signals are not compressed and actually look better then over-compressed cable channels.

" If Canadian telcos/cablecos become customer-oriented one day"

That is a good one, and if the world got along the likelyhood of war would be low.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#44025983)

clear QAM = may need to use traps and traps are not very flexible to move stuff to different QAM slots. Some cable systems do put the old analog line in digital SD qam + the local HD channels in clear QAM and some systems due list the qam numbers. But that does make have less flexing in moveing stuff to make the best use of space.

Also satellite tv needed boxes for years. and direct moves channels to differnt satellites transponders quite a bit and uses at home don't have to do anything to keep viewing them.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44034589)

Dont forget in Canada once you move to "digital" the local cable company (Rogers in my case) is very fast to cut the analogy signal.

Cutting the analogy signal? Holy metaphors, that would be like cutting o-...

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#44023711)

If someone puts an easy-to-use HDTV-over-internet product together - the cable companies are dead.

If someone puts an easy-to-use HDTV-over-internet product together - the internet itself is dead.

Fixed it for you.

There isn't enough bandwidth on the internet to even remotely handle on demand streams for every viewer.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 9 months ago | (#44023887)

Content distribution networks provide local cache for high bandwidth content to reduce transport costs and improve quality of service.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (2)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#44023907)

And that's why big cable has veto power over new entries.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44024073)

Content distribution networks provide local cache for high bandwidth content to reduce transport costs and improve quality of service.

Distribute it over port 119 and you just might be onto something :)

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44023927)

Yeah, if only someone would invent caching servers and multicast...

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (2)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#44023967)

Nobody uses multcast because it won't handle on demand viewing, and since the WHOLE POINT OF THE STORY seems lost on you, the control over local caching is EXACTLY why new entries to the market, like Intel, are essentially frozen out.

You have a forest and trees problem, son.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44024163)

Nobody uses multicast for IPTV, you heard it here first.

Re: In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 10 months ago | (#44025021)

Back in 2005, I was working at Time Warner in Austin, TX. The networks were just getting upgraded segment by segment to support Switched Video technology. HDTV was just now getting rolled out for the masses that the need for more digital bandwidth was imperative. Basically, only the channels being requested per segment got transmitted. Each node (cable box) was updated to map the channel to broadcast in real-time. Essentially the technology was abstracted out from the viewer.

If local cable companies were facing a bandwidth shortages in 2005, I can only imagine the requirements of HDTV content is today. Of course, the Scientific Atlanta boxes then did not use or support H.264 yet but an older MPEG standard if I recall. I doubt the current backbone and ISP infrastructure can support 3rd party IPTV services. Perhaps some of the newer specs of IPv6 will make it possible coupled with H.264.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 10 months ago | (#44027139)

Nobody uses multcast because it won't handle on demand viewing,

There are a whole series of algorithms to use multicast IP to deliver VoD, for example pyramid broadcasting [emory.edu].

No one uses multicast on the Internet because in general there is no carriage of multicast over the Internet (mainly due to security and stability concerns). But multicast IP is used for VoD within closed networks, such as inside a hotel.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#44035009)

Multicast handles on demand just fine. I've seen systems that would allow instant-play unicast, and a background stream collection via multicast. When the unicast catches up with multicast, the unicast stops, and the entire item is played. This saves about 50% of the bandwidth statistically, so long as a large number don't stop playing the moment the unicast catches up. There's no reason you can't stagger multiple multicast of the same thing, for more savings of unicast at the cost of using more permanent dedicated multicast bandwidth.

As usual, someone's inability to solve a problem becomes proof it's impossible. Chances are, if you can't think of a solution, many other people can. Unless you think yourself to be the smartest person on the planet.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#44035315)

The problem is there are simply not enough Multicast IPs allocated to cover every possible program demanded by a large number of users at any hour of the day.

Yes it works in small situations with small numbers of available programs such as you might find in hotels.

But it doesn't scale well to the internet, which is precisely why is it virtually never used.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multicast#IP_multicast [wikipedia.org]
There are serious limitation in layer 2, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_multicast#Layer_2_delivery [wikipedia.org] , that can literally flood your local lan if more than one stream is running at once.

Your scheme of single casting enough to catch up only works if there is already a stream running somewhere on an already scarce channel, that could be "caught up" with. This assumes the receiver has adequate caching capability (not assured with portable devices) and that you have enough extra bandwidth to unicast fast enough to actually catch up. Neither of these is assured.

When the sources can literately be ANY movie or video or event, and the user base is high, you would have a situation of ZERO available multicast channels, everything forced to unicast, and unlimited bandwidth demand (which actually impacts the sources more than the sinks).

Will IPV6 fix this? Perhaps, as far as potential multicast channels.
But the facts on the ground today is that multicase is virtually never used, and when it is it is used for
things like conferences or TV programs that users are perfectly willing to join "In Progress" rather than "on demand" starting from the beginning at any time of day or night.

Because even assuming enough channels such that another multicast stream could always be started, whether it be your alleged uni-cast to catch up with a new multicast stream, you simply don't have the bandwidth to send that much video from that many sources to that many sinks simultaneously.

It would be a bad choice for TV. The only way TV survives in the bandwidth available to it is because it is broadcast. (Single stream).
You might be able to move broadcast tv to unicast, but not when you try to do on-demand.

 

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44024637)

I've started using "designed like a cable box" as a euphamism for "horrible trash that no one would ever buy". There exist whole ranges of devices that NO ONE ever purchases, but are rather foisted unwittingly upon cable customers. The last cable box I was forced to rent was a monster - larger than an Xbox - and would "wake up" at random times of the night to start spinning and clattering the hard drive (!?!?). It was a massive ugly beast that was physically designed like an old VCR, with an aluminum clamshell over a single hugeass circuit board. It took FOREVER to come up after a cold boot and wasn't exactly quick on a warm boot. Apparently (from knowing a guy who worked at Intel's video processor division) they run Pentium 4-based chips. What the hell?

In contrast, the FTA satellite boxes I've owned are all about the size of a Wii, sip practically no power, turn on/off instantly, run tiny little ARM cores, and DON'T EVER SAY NO TO THE USER ("not allowed on this channel" - horseshit).

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44024717)

Canadian cablecos and telcos have seen it coming for years, that's why they all implemented drastic data usage caps. This way, if you don't want TV from them, you'll use enough data in your month that they'll still get to charge you a lot of money for the extra usage. You don't want cable TV and want to use Netflix? Sure, but you'll pay them an extra $50/month for your internet usage.

What we need is better internet (and better mobile plans), and that means opening ISP ownership to other parties outside of Canada. This way there would be competition instead of market collusion and price fixing, but the CRTC is in bed with the ISPs so it's not gonna happen anytime soon. Meanwhile, we're slowly becoming the 3rd world of internet.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 9 months ago | (#44024727)

You could record on a Win7 DVR, compress to Mp4, and then feed those to the AppleTV through itunes. For my aged in-laws i gave them a Micca PMP (personal media player) and a NAS device with a USB port. I send movies to the NAS USB port with a thumbdrive in it. They pull out the drive, stick it in the PMP and their movie autoplays. Simpler then a DVD player. The last hurdle is getting CEC control so that the PMP automatically switches inputs on play.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44024869)

> You could record on a Win7 DVR, compress to Mp4, and then feed those to the AppleTV through itunes.

Or you could just skip the strange and unecessary step of trying to marry an AppleTV to WMC. Your proposal would probably fail for the target demographic even harder than a conventional WMC setup.

For a pedestrian user that has no interest in multi-room viewing, a solution that requires no PC and neither of the big PC vendors would likely be the most logical option (namely, get them a Tivo).

Alternately, just use a single WMC box.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44024885)

Give your Dad a break and get a simple programmable remote (not one with a display), one that has some macro buttons that can send several signals when a single button is pressed. Program it for him. You should be able to find one for about $15.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (2)

trawg (308495) | about 10 months ago | (#44025643)

In comparison, an Apple TV box has a much simpler user interface. However, the main problem with Apple TV is that it won't receive cable channels. If I could purchase a set top box that simply displayed a few key channels - then it would be game over.

Fortunately for them (if Canada is anything like Australia and the US), the utter stranglehold control the cable companies seem to have on all the content will ensure that they can continue to peddle their crappy wares and not have to deal with competition.

Our main cable provider here in Australia recently was able to stop iTunes [delimiter.com.au] from carrying Season 4 of Game of Thrones. They have some exclusive license to HBO content and are leveraging their weight (I assume by throwing giant bags of money at HBO) to stop anyone getting it unless they sign up for an expensive cable service.

Needless to say, not many people are interested in paying $60-90 a month (the first package I can see with GoT included is $75/mo, but there might be slightly cheaper options) for a bunch of channels that they're not really interested in just to get access to one show. And Australia has the highest rate of GoT piracy in the world.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44027687)

So its a win-win?

HBO and the cable companies chose to be priced outside the market and alternative solutions were found.

Re:In Canada, Cable HDTV is a usability disaster (1)

nmr_andrew (1997772) | about 10 months ago | (#44033265)

In Canada, the HDTV transition has been an usability disaster. The cable boxes are simply to complex. If someone puts an easy-to-use HDTV-over-internet product together - the cable companies are dead.

Unfortunately, unless things are quite different a few hundred miles to the north, this just won't be the case because for many of us, the cable company is also the ISP . Unless and until cellular data plans become faster and much cheaper.

Corporate Censorship (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 9 months ago | (#44023799)

So in one type of place the internet content is controlled based on political affiliation, the other by company fiefdom.

It's hard to see a major difference. Hopefully the courts will realize this and through these suits out on their arse.

We've shot ourselves in the foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44023855)

By allowing only a few companies to own cable infrastructure, competition has become stifled, and consumers must choose between terrible and atrocious when considering their options.

they also own of alot of the channels as well as l (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#44024607)

they also own of alot of the channels as well as local sports channels as well.

Just look at the low uptake of channels like CSN Houston and CSN NW.

Oh, this is just adorable. (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 9 months ago | (#44024079)

Look at the cute little Intel try to do things. Awwwww.

It's like somebody in their boardroom thought that just making boneheaded decisions about their processors wouldn't make AMD competitive enough, so he invented a massive boondoggle that nobody has any need for.

Are ISPs really throttling bandwidth? (2)

aegl (1041528) | about 10 months ago | (#44025755)

Lots of talk about how ISPs could do this to protect their own video offerings. But are they really doing it? My current ISP is Comcast, previous was AT&T U-verse. In both cases I did not subscribe to their TV option - just to internet and voice.

I have had no problems streaming video from Netflix, Amazon or Hulu+ through my Roku box. Base bandwidth to maintain a video stream is only 5 Mbits or so, so it would seem to be increasingly difficult for ISPs competing for customers in the Mb/s battles to throttle things so much as to prevent streaming video.

Re:Are ISPs really throttling bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44026063)

Probably not that difficult to do. Simply throttle particular connections or type of traffic. It makes it very difficult for consumers to tell where the problem actually is. Ie throttle to 1/100 of the connection but just video streaming from services like netflix and netflix is dead.

Poor Intel, that's too bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44027095)

Let's just google suggest "intel unfair", oh wait we get...

"intel unfair business practice"
"intel unfair competition"

No really that's too bad for them.

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