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.
The PR tune being danced by Netflix and the cable companies is so nice, it's almost nauseating. Neither side wants to step on the other's toes, so all the press we see is PR spokespeople assuring America that, yes, there is room for both operations and no, Netflix isn't cutting into cable's customer base. A new survey conducted by the Diffusion Group suggests that might not be entirely accurate; even though cable isn't losing too many customers to Netflix, the industry's definitely losing money thanks to digital streaming.
Comcast Corp., the largest cable television operator in the U.S., posted strong quarterly earnings on Tuesday, noting a nearly 10 percent jump in first quarter earnings as it added more broadband subscribers to the fold. First quarter earnings came out to $943 million on revenue of $12.13 billion, which includes three months of NBC Universal results.
First and foremost, you might be surprised to learn that people still subscribe to AOL, the once popular ISP that fell from relevance about the time broadband came into its own. But get this -- according to The New Yorker, some 80 percent of AOL profits still come from its subscription business. It gets even better.
The New Yorker describes these subscribers as "older people who have cable or DSL service but don't realize that they need not pay an additional $25 a month to get online and check their email."
We're not talking about a small fraction of users, either. BusinessInsider said it spoke with a former AOL exec who said that AOL's "dirty little secret" is "that 75 percent of the people subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it." When you consider that AOL raked in $244 million from 4 million customers in the third quarter of 2010, you can see where this could be troubling.
It's no secret that most brick-and-mortar stores jack up the price of cables, but we still did a double-take when we saw Best Buy's listing for a $2,200.99 AudioQuest Coffee HDMI cable.
To be fair, it's 39.4 feet long, so you're only paying around $55.86 per foot, or about $4.65 per inch. And as one user points out, "the best part is that it qualified for 36 months no interest financing!" Sold!
Here's a protip: If you need an extra long HDMI cable and can make do without the additional 9.4 feet, Monoprice.com sells a 30ft HDMI cable for $27 plus shipping.
Time Warner today is launching its Look Back service, which gives subscribers an alternative to sites like Hulu for viewing shows after they've already aired. With the Look Back service, viewers can catch up on TV episodes up to three days after they've been beamed to TV sets, Reuters reports.
The service is launching nationally to nearly all of Time Warner Cable's roughly 13 million customers and includes support for 24 channels, including ABC, NBC, Discovery, and the Food Network.
Look Back users will be able to play and rewind previously aired broadcasts using their remotes, but won't be able to fast forward through commercials.
"This gives consumers more options so they don't have to think about whether they have set up their DVRs to record a show, Look Back does so automatically," said Melinder Witmer, Time Warner Cable's Chief Programming Officers.
Take note cable companies, more than a third of Netflix subscribers aged 25 to 34 have chosen the online movie rental's streaming service over pay television. That's according to a new survey by Credit Suisse, which also found that about 30 percent of Netflix's subscribers aged 18 to 24 made the same decision.
"Netflix's low cost, subscription streaming service (with improving content) is our biggest worry and could become 'good enough' for consumers with moderate income and TV usage to use as a substitute for pay TV," said Credit Suisse's Spencer Wang.
The survey only pinged 250 Netflix subscribers, but initial findings should be cause for concern for cable operators. According to the survey, 17 percent, or almost one in five, of Netflix subscribers of all ages and incomes have migrated to Netflix's streaming service in place of cable TV.
"In the near term, we submit that Big Media has a small window of opportunity to control its own destiny," said Credit Suisse. "The major U.S. entertainment conglomerates control 70 percent of all TV viewing through its various broadcast, basic cable, and premium TV networks and channels. And, content remains the lifeblood for distribution systems."
Yep, you read the title correctly. Comcast, the seemingly masochist ISP that gets repeatedly beat up in the press, is again taking a flogging, this time for billing a customer with a $0.00 balance and demanding remittance.
"To avoid an interruption of your service, please pay $0.00," the confused customer's bill reads. "As your account is currently delinquent, your Digital Voice, High Speed Internet and Cable services may be subject to interruption. While interrupted, you will retain the ability to place calls to 911 using your Digital Voice service."
According to some readers who caught wind of this quirky bill, this isn't a one-time SNAFU on Comcast's part, as others have reported receiving similar bills. And Comcast isn't alone, either. One reader said he received a notice from Charter Communications to pay a $0.00 balance, and when he failed to return a blank envelope or a check written out for absolutely nothing, the ISP allegedly shut off his service and wanted him to pay a $25 fee for the whole ordeal.
Has something like this happened to any of you? Hit the jump and tell us your quirky biling stories.
A 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst accused of having leaked classified information to Wikileaks was indicted on Monday. Private First Class Bradley E. Manning has been in military custody in Kuwait ever since his arrest on May 29. He allegedly leaked a controversial video of a U.S. Apache helicopter attacking a group of Iraqi civilians. Much to the military chagrin's, the video surfaced on Wikileaks in April. The video revealed that the attack occurred after the pilot confused a lensman for a RPG-toting insurgent. The ensuing fusillade accounted for the deaths of two Reuters employees.
Manning now faces two criminal charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. “The first charge, under Article 92 of the UCMJ, is for violating a lawful Army regulation by transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system,” reads a United States Division Center news release. The other charge, under Article 134, pertains to the unauthorized transfer of such classified data to third parties.
“The command will appoint an officer to preside over an Article 32 investigation, which is similar to a civilian grand jury hearing. The investigating officer will make findings and recommendations that the chain of command considers in determining whether to refer the case to trial by court-martial.”
Your on-demand movie selection may be about to get a lot more interesting. According to some industry rumors, Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner have agreed to consider releasing movies to video on-demand services provided by cable companies early. This may mean getting access to films a mere 30 days after wide release, but at a high cost. The figure being floated is $20-30. It could happen as early as Fall 2011.
Movie theaters are likely to feel threatened by this move. Much of the revenue from a film is generated after the initial release. Another potential victim is the plethora of digital video services like Netflix and iTunes. These services often find themselves dealing with long delays before they have access to movies as it is, this new VOD policy could hurt them further.
We also suspect this will be a time the studios will employ Selectable Output Control, as the FCC recently approved. Is this a service you'd be interested in? How much would you pay to see a film while it was still in theaters?