Honoring 20 years of the World Wide Web by looking forward at the future of broadband Internet
Broadband has evolved considerably over the last decade or so in the United States. Whereas just a few years ago, large parts of the country were relegated to pokey 56K dial-up connections over standard phone lines, now multi-megabit broadband connections are commonplace and speed increases are being introduced regularly. In fact, in some test markets, broadband at gigabit speeds is on the way. And yes, that’s gigabits with a “G,” as in roughly 17,800x more bandwidth than 56K dial-up.
Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
Apparently the mobile market isn't the only non-desktop/server space Intel is interested in encroaching; the world's largest semiconductor player also wants to dip its toes into the cable TV sector, as has been previously rumored. Word on the web is that Intel has grown frustrated with smart TV manufacturers who have bungled the whole Google TV initiative, so it's taking matters into its own hands and plans to launch its own hardware.
The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii might not be the best of friends, but together, the trio own the living room when it comes to gaming. The question is, for how long? Devices like Ouya, a $99 Android console, threaten to whittle away at the big three's userbase, though perhaps the biggest threat will come from cable companies. AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable are all reportedly getting ready to roll out cloud-based gaming service.
The U.S. Department of Justice said it would approve a $3.6 spectrum deal between Verizon and four cable companies -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, and Cox Communications -- if certain changes are made to a series of agreements that it deemed anti-competitive. As originally constructed, the DoJ feared the deal would ultimately harm competition and lead to higher prices and lower quality service for consumers.
Netflix honcho Reed Hastings became mighty upset when it was revealed that Comcast's Xfinity TV app for Xbox 360 doesn't count against subscribers' Internet bandwidth cap, and he took to the Net to voice his displeasure with a barrage of Tweets, comments, and diatribes. Apparently, someone listened to his ranting: a new report claims that the Justice Department is quizzing streaming media companies and cable providers alike to determine if the cable companies, who also control Internet access for many, are "acting improperly" to reduce the threat of Netflix and co.
To answer Rodney King's question, yes, we can all get along, even U.S. cable companies, a handful of which formed a super alliance of sorts to give subscribers access to tens of thousands of hotspots. Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications, and Time Warner Cable are the five stateside cable companies working together to expand what's known as 'CableWiFi' into more areas other than New York City and central Florida, where the hotspot service has already launched.
Netflix is killing cable. How many times have you heard that? (Admittedly, you probably heard it a lot more before Netflix's price hike and the whole Quikster thing.) But after years of painting streaming services as the devil, a new report says that the cable companies may be considering a Faustian deal: signing a pact with Netflix and offering it as an optional service straight from your cable box.
Every quarter it's the same old story for cable companies. Subscriber losses have become the norm as streaming continues to pluck more viewers away from tethered cable, and in the fourth quarter of 2011, Comcast lost 17,000 TV customers. That might have been cause for panic a decade ago, but in today's landscape, Comcast has reason to celebrate.
If you want to know what's all that and a bag of delicious potato chips (preferably Sea Salt & Vinegar, mmm), look no further than your HDMI cord and compatible electronic devices, of which you should have many. In 2012, market research firm In-Stat expects 1,150 licensed HDMI Adopters to ship more than 800 million HDMI-compliant products, a prediction HDMI Licensing, LLC and the HDMI Forum, Inc. are all too happy to announce.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told attendees at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York that streaming video will grow to replace cable as the viewing option of choice within 3-5 years. In reality, streaming video could leapfrog ahead of cable even sooner than that, but as Netflix gets ready to renew contracts with Hollywood studios, he might want to keep his cards closer to his chest.