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.
Wireless spectrum: it’s what powers mobile communications and wireless carriers have an insatiable taste for more, more, MORE of it. The need for more spectrum is the reason Sprint keeps bailing Clearwire out of financial hot water and why AT&T is pushing so hard for a merger with T-Mobile. Verizon has pretty much been the only major carrier that hasn’t engaged in major spectrum-related deals this year – until now, that is. Today, Verizon announced it has reached a $3.6 billion deal to gobble up 122 spectrum licenses from three major cable companies.
If you’ve cut the cable and switched to streaming services like Netflix or Hulu to fill your Sons of Anarchy viewing needs, you might be in for a nasty shock before long: higher prices. No, Netflix isn’t raising its rates again. It’s your Internet connection itself that your wallet should be worried about! Reports say that major U.S. ISPs, including Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox and AT&T, are experimenting with usage-based Internet fees – not just to quell streaming users’ massive broadband needs, but also to make Netflix less attractive (and traditional cable more attractive) to TV watchers. Most of the largest ISPs sell digital TV services as well, remember?
We had a recent incident in our lab where SATA 6Gb/s performance inexplicably dropped going from one motherboard to the next. In theory, both boards should have offered the same performance on the SATA 6Gb/s port as both used the same south bridge chip in the board and the same SSD. When we couldn’t diagnose it as drivers or a mis-configured benchmark run, we decided to swap out the SATA cable for a “real” SATA 6Gb/s cable. Like magic, the performance went back to what we expected.
This got us wondering if there is actually a need to run “real” SATA 6GB/s cables with high performance SSDs. The official word from the SATA International Organization is no, not at all. We decided to test it and see.
Comcast has officially expanded its low-cost Internet Essentials program nationwide today. This service offers $10 per month internet access to low-income families, as well as access to $150 computers. The speeds aren’t what users of the regular cable internet service will see, at just 1.5Mbps, but Comcast has agreed to keep Internet Essentials alive for at least three years.
If you're looking solely at transfer rates, the USB 3.0 specification – with its 5Gbps speeds – may be plenty fast, but it already can't push the same amount of raw data as, say, Thunderbolt. New specifications coming down the pipeline, like SATA Express and external PCIe, are promising speeds that flat-out blow USB 3.0 out of the water. The USB Promoter Group's aiming to stay in the race with an innovative tactic; rather than compete solely with transfer rates, they're also turning the familiar USB connection into the equivalent of a 100W power cord.
Remember Jim Carrey as the Cable Guy? He was obnoxious, overstepped numerous boundaries, and even broke a few laws. Be he never stole jewelry from Matthew Broderick. Perhaps Hollywood viewed such an act as too low for the big screen, one in which a cable company adds insult to injury by having its customers wait around all day for an installer to show up, only to have valuables go missing at the end of the day. It wasn't too low for Comcast.
People say "You have your mind in the gutter" like it's a bad thing, but the adult video industry has actually spurred on a lot of the technology we now take for granted in the mainstream. Online payment systems? Thanks, porn! Streaming content? Internet users were streaming nude flix a long time before they began streaming Netflix. A lot of modern-day traffic optimization techniques also owe their origins to the skin trade. Soon, we may have something else to thank porn for: higher cable bills.
Remember everybody's favorite pair of deliberately acting turtles, the Slowskis? Comcast used the commercials to poke fun at the slower speeds of Verizon's DSL service back when the cable company was trying to break into the broadband provider scene. Well, the tables have turned; even Comcast's 20Mbps speeds end up looking more tortoise than hare when compared to Virgin Media's blazing new 1.5Gbps down/150Mbps up connection.
They say you can never have too much of a good thing. That theory's being put to the test by computer transfer technology. We've already got FireWire, USB, Ethernet, eSATA, et cetera, et cetera. Now, an old contender is entering the field sporting new technology; the PCI Special Interest Group recently announced that they're developing a new standard for an external, cabled version of the formerly internal-only PCI Express. Watch out, Apple and Intel – this tech's set to collide with Thunderbolt in the marketplace.