Are Telcos Being Too Conservative With Their TV Plans?

from the seems-like-it dept

The story of telcos getting into the triple play business is nothing new. We noted a few years ago that the cable guys had the early lead, since it was much, much, much easier for them to just add VoIP to a TV/broadband bundle than for the telcos to figure out a way to add TV to a phone/broadband bundle. The telcos tried to take a shortcut by partnering with satellite TV providers, but that doesn't allow them to have a truly bundled solution, and takes away many of the advantages. So, now, with AT&T and Verizon pushing hard to upgrade to fiber and offer TV over it, the NY Times is taking a look at the challenges both companies face -- mainly in signing content deals. The thing that's most striking about the article, though, is how it looks like they're taking a typical broadcast view of things -- basically trying to just replicate what cable offers, perhaps with more channel choices. However, that seems silly. With fiber they have the opportunity to offer a completely different experience that the consumer can't get from cable. Why not offer a much more interactive experience, where the user could really "subscribe" to any shows they wanted, regardless of what channel its on? The channel is an outdated concept, and the telcos have the chance to prove that -- but it looks like they're not even trying. Of course, the obvious response is that it's the TV networks who won't allow this to happen, and maybe that's true, but the telcos should be pushing hard for this -- and the idea that they don't have enough clout to pull this off is laughable. They'll clearly be in a position to offer plenty of subscribers along with lots of advertising dollars.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    ant 0ne, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 6:44am

    great idea... now just get the board to vote on it

    the register per show idea is great... but it would likely be stopped by current legislation. i know most data carriers are working on getting TV (or video shows) to every and any platform known to man: Apple sells shows on the iTMS, canadian (being in canada, i know about these...) cell companies BellMobility and Telus are offering TV-On-Your-Cell services (europe has those also), NBC and CBS are in talks to get shows on the web. No question the industry is reacting to the P2P phenomenon. But the current channel-based model still holds because big coroporations will want a slow transition.

    Also, a show-based registration would shift the entertainment paradigm from a brodcaster controlled world to a production company-based one, and the Channel companies are not going to let that happen overnight.

    And then there are legal instances... the FCC in the US and the CRTC in Canada, to name only 2, which have specific legislation regarding telecommunications. These bodies are even slower than corporate entities to shift around and adjust to a new reality...

    Technolog is far ahead of all these instances, sadly.
    but dont despair, IPTV (services such as the french Freebox -- www.freebox.fr -- , a truly integrated voice+broadband+tv over fiberoptics service) are bound to be introduced here within the next few years, if not months. Maybe then will a pay-per-show will be introduced.


    ----
    ant
    Do not fold, spindle or mutilate

     

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  2.  
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    Tony, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 7:45am

    No Subject Given

    Yes you are correct to a point. but fiber is nothing new. I was designing fiber networks for the cable companies back in the early 90's, the telcos arent doing much more than the cable companies did. although most cable companies did fibwer to the node and coax to the home the telcos are looking to do fiber to the house. Fiber to the house is great but it is a bandwidth glut, no normal homeowner will use anywhere near the capacity of that pipe. they are not even coming close to using the capacity of the coax coming to thier house. The only real advantage I see of Fiber to the house in the next 10 years is more small hosting companies springing up. people buying three or four servers, and setting up a home business hosting websites etc. that will bring hosting prices down and bring more business onto the web. The Telco's will never realize what they could be doing until its too late since they are playing with a 100 year old handbook and waaaaay to much overhead.

     

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  3.  
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    Charlie Hedlin, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 8:39am

    Companies and average consumers will want it gradu

    Cable is already doing a lot of this with Video on Demand (offering it for many regular shows at no additional cost). If the phone companies tried to change the way people watched TV on their initial implementation most consumers would be overwelmed and want their cable back.

    Change is good, but drastic change will be restisted across the board.

     

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  4.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 28th, 2005 @ 9:09am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I was designing fiber networks for the cable companies back in the early 90's, the telcos arent doing much more than the cable companies did. although most cable companies did fibwer to the node and coax to the home the telcos are looking to do fiber to the house.

    Just to clarify, Verizon is doing fiber to the house. AT&T (SBC) is doing fiber to the node.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Steve Baker, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 9:17am

    Re: Companies and average consumers will want it g

    Yep, there's a full video-on-demand service in London called HomeChoice. I had a subscription a few years ago and realised that full VOD is quite overwelming and there is more to be said for the concept of channels than I'd realised. It really depends how you watch TV - VOD is great for the occasional dip into telly, but no good if you watch tons (I was a student). Incidentally HomeChoice have now added ordinary channels to their service.

     

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  6.  
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    Sissy Pants, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 10:46am

    Re: No Subject Given

    FIOS Baby! It's awesome! I have it and it smokes... It's like having your own personal T3 into your home. http://www22.verizon.com/FiOSforhome/channels/FiOS/root/about_FiOS.asp

    It makes DSL and Cable completely obsolete. There is no comparison... of course it's only in limited area's and I happen to live in DC so I'm set.

    Does anyone else have it? I'm the only person I know that has it.

     

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  7.  
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    Rick, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 10:54am

    What about TIVO?

    Maybe it's just me, but isn't this what DVR is all about? Personally, I never channel surf anymore and for some shows I have no idea what channel they are on, or their schedule. I watch a LOT of TV. I watch up to 8 hours of television/movies a day - all on my DVR and commercial free (I love fast forward).

    I have created my own TV network with the help of my DVR and the On-Demand services for the pay channels. So everything this article expects the telcos to be doing, is already being done - by the consumers (like me).

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 1:12pm

    Re: What about TIVO?

    DVR allows you to convert the broadcast paradigm into a more on-demand paradigm. However, there's no reason for the telcos to implement a broadcast paradigm if people are just going to Tivo everything and pretend it's on demand. Why not just implement TV on demand in the first place?

     

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  9.  
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    nonuser, Dec 8th, 2005 @ 9:05pm

    the channel concept is still useful

    for the same reason a shopping mall is useful, it allows consumers to check out lots of different stuff with little incremental effort. VOD is more like big box destination stores where you plan your trip in advance. Seems there should be room for both.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Ex-COX, Jul 21st, 2006 @ 3:35pm

    Just say no

    I was sick and tired of paying for religious propaganda channels, so-called news from CNN, FOX et al., BS from deadbrain channels like TLC, Discovery, covered boobs everywhere, and the constand Ad Terror. Cox gave me no option. They could. After all they can give me more channels for extra cash. Thus I cancelled the service and I must say, I do not regret it.

     

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