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  • Mar 30th, 2016 @ 10:16am

    (untitled comment)

    This applies to:
    Customers who subscribe only to our home Internet service

    Whenever I've signed up for either company's Internet service (the only two options I have), they give me a "deal" on the first year, where it's actually cheaper to bundle basic TV service than to get naked broadband. So they can continue to pad their tv subscribers numbers and deny cord cutting.

    Of course after that first year the promo expires, and all the sudden the price jumps about 100% because of the tv service. That's when I either drop the TV service or switch to the other company again. So with these new caps, if you call them up after the promo ends, I'm guessing they'll gladly sell you basic tv service (pretty much the same you can get OTA) for less than or equal to that $30-$35 fee, "to avoid overage fees," so either way, they're going to get your money, and they can keep saying, "See! An overwhelming majority of our broadband customers also subscribe to tv service!" and continue to put their heads in the sand about cord cutting.
  • Nov 23rd, 2015 @ 6:32pm

    (untitled comment)

    So Comcast is keeping their proprietary, non-public ("Comcast's cable system") pipeline nice and fat, so their streaming service will always be higher quality than their competitors running over their own public internet lines. But, it's all the same cable, is it not? Couldn't they allocate more bandwidth to the public internet line, and pipe their own service over that instead? Which in turn would create more bandwidth on the public line, and less "need" for data caps. If it is technically possible, it just shows a stronger case for how anticompetitive they're being. And if they converted all their content to streaming (like Google Fiber), how much faster could our internet access be, without even needing to upgrade the lines?
  • May 23rd, 2014 @ 11:00am

    Re: Data Caps

    Just curious, who's your provider, and what other ISPs (if any) are in the area?
  • Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 11:27pm

    What if it's not "degradation"

    Look at what AT&T is trying to do right now with wireless. They're "allowing" companies like Netflix to pay for the amount of data that their customers use, with a new "sponsored data" option. AT&T can argue that there's no "degradation" or "prioritization" of data - they're just shifting who pays for the data from the consumer to the website owner / content provider. Of course we know this is BS because data caps are BS, but they've been able to convince a lot of people that they're necessary (including government), so they're just making the next logical step by shifting who pays off the consumer.

    The companies that buy (literally) into this scheme would have a clear advantage over those that don't, because users would have "free" access to their site, without needing to worry about approaching their monthly data cap. This is especially an issue with streaming video. Someone with a more expensive data plan might be able to downgrade & save some money, which seems like a good deal for the consumer (and of course, that's how AT&T is pushing it).

    Now imagine the same thing on landlines. Comcast has suspended their data caps for the time being, but there's nothing stopping them from reinstating them - and if they were to introduce the same kind of "sponsored data" option as AT&T, they could argue that customers don't need such a high data cap, because companies can pay for their data. So maybe their new plans only allow 20GB/month, and higher caps are much more expensive. We've already seen Comcast try to do something similar with their Netflix clone "Streampix" - they initially exempted the service from contributing to customers' data cap "bucket" but they got too much backlash because it was obviously anti-competitive for companies like Netflix, and that's when they suspended data caps all together. Well now there's nothing stopping a new Netflix clone, let's call them "Streamflix," from signing up for Comcast's "sponsored data" program. And maybe they have some kind of agreement whereby they get all their content from Comcast, but they're an "independent" company, so, you know, no issues there. But since they have this agreement, they get their content cheaper than, say, Netflix. So while they have to "pay" for their customers' data, they're getting the content for cheaper, so they can still charge the same price as Netflix but their data won't go against your cap. Once again Netflix is the loser, but there was no "degradation" or "prioritization" of data.

    The other advantage this gives the internet providers is driving up the cost of streaming video. The company that pays for your data would have to start charging more for their video offerings to make up for it - but this is exactly what AT&T, along with the rest of the internet providers, want - all the sudden, streaming video costs almost the same as cable, so we're stuck right back where we have been.

    And all of this without "degradation" or "prioritization" of data, so they can still claim it's an "open" internet. We can only hope that companies don't buy into these new "sponsored data" plans, because once a few big ones do, the rest will all have to fall into place just to compete, and then there's no going back.

    And now we finally see the end-game for data caps. Hopefully Netflix has enough in its coffers to fight the good fight.
  • Jul 17th, 2013 @ 4:38pm

    (untitled comment)

    So how many more of these "identity theft tax refund fraud" criminals are out there that aren't boasting on Facebook, and are getting away with it? It sounds like they only caught this one because she was a complete idiot about it.
  • Mar 6th, 2013 @ 11:40am

    Wicked (the musical) walks the same tightrope

    In the book, the slippers were silver - they were changed to ruby for the movie. So none of the non-MGM properties can use Ruby slippers. For the musical Wicked (owned by Universal Pictures), I noticed that they were in fact silver, but almost the entire time they were on stage, all the lights pointed at the stage were red, so most of the audience would have had no idea the slippers weren't actually ruby. colored. Pretty clever way around that little copyright claim, if you ask me!
  • Jul 6th, 2012 @ 3:19pm

    (untitled comment)

    Universal claims digital sales are not considered 'licenses,' but rather 'sales' - which means they're able to deduct the costs associated with manufacturing, shipping, and selling physical copies of media at retail locations. That includes, for example, a 'breakage' cost to account for the percent of vinyl records & cd's that break before they reach the customer. 

    So it's not just Def Leppard crying that they want different contract terms - Universal is manipulating the terms of their pre-digital distribution contract to keep more of Def Leppard's royalties for themselves. 

    Maybe the guys in Def Leppard would rather spend extra months/years in the studio re-recording, than in the courtroom fighting over the definition of 'sale' vs 'license.' 

    More info on some other lawsuits: tribution-dollars/
  • Apr 17th, 2012 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re:

    Jake's shower analogy is dead on. Users that are contributing most to the real problem (using for a short time during peak hours) are not being penalized, while users who do not contribute at all to congestion (extended usage during non-peak hours) are penalized with a cap. The only bottleneck is during peak usage hours, but there's no incentive not to use the network at that time.

    If the carriers really wanted to address the problem, they'd implement something more akin to the unlimited nights & weekends they've been using with 'minutes' for years, but with data, and a time scheme that addresses peak data usage times. Then if their networks really are getting hammered at a certain time every day, they can set a lower limit for 'anytime' data, in turn curbing use during high-traffic hours.

    I'm not a fan of any caps, but if they really wanted to address the actual problem, that kind of solution would make a lot more sense than just setting everybody's cap really low, no matter when they use the data.
  • Apr 16th, 2012 @ 1:48pm

    caps + lack of net neutrality = no more Netflix

    I have Comcast, and often come close to reaching my 280GB data cap every month. We get most of our video content from Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, etc.. I also back up my computer online, and regularly transfer files to/from work. As time goes on and my data needs increase (video bitrate/quality increase, more data to back up, bigger files to transfer) I'm going to regularly exceed Comcast's data cap. If I were to stop streaming video, or switch to Comcast's new Netflix clone (StreamPix), which conveniently does not count against my cap, I would probably be able to stay safely under the cap, at least for a while. So, clearly Comcast has given themselves an unfair advantage, leveraging their position as my ISP to force me to use their other service as my online video provider as well. This is exactly why the idea of Net Neutrality was conceived several years ago, and why we can't depend on the ISP's to regulate themselves. If the rest of the ISP's implement similar caps + their own 'private' video services, then Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, et al are doomed, as customers will have no choice but to use their ISP as their sole video provider, or have to cut back on all their other internet use. And with the other video providers out of the way, the ISPs will be free to raise their video service prices, much like they all did with text prices a few years ago. Comcast claims it's not a net neutrality issue, because their videos are going over a 'private line' -- but I will bet you, if I watch something on StreamPix, and try downloading a big file at the same time, my download will be slower, and/or my video quality will be lower -- which means it is the exact same line coming into my computer, and it most certainly is a net neutrality issue / service bundling issue.
  • Feb 24th, 2012 @ 5:17pm

    Re: AT&T is screwed at least

    Yeah.. but how many people can afford to spend a few months (or more) going to court, for a possible $850? This is why we have class-action lawsuits; but wouldn't you know it, AT&T expressly forbids those in the agreement they all had to sign in order to get their 'unlimited' service in the first place!

    So, hopefully a million people sue individually.. but it doesn't really seem likely.
  • Feb 10th, 2011 @ 8:53am

    They should have mimicked iTunes

    I don't understand why, rather than killing off the games completely, they didn't transition them to be more downloadable-content-centric. I'm not going to buy a new version of the game for $80 every year, but that's all they were marketing. They should have concentrated more on marketing the new music that was available to add to the game people already owned. They could sell new guitars with a smaller sample of songs, say 10, to keep the price down by not paying so many song royalties right off the bat - and allow users to download whatever songs they want to build their own library. Activision wouldn't get buried in song licensing fees, and we users could get the songs we wanted to play.

    As for the labels - I already have most of the songs on iTunes, but I'm willing to buy them again so I can play them on Guitar Hero. Why in the world would you over-charge for that? That and the fact that guitar hero songs lead to more purchases outside the game. It just seems like a missed opportunity on both sides.
  • Nov 13th, 2010 @ 3:13pm

    They're both greedy AND stupid.

    I get 100% of my TV from the internet, through my HTPC - exactly what Google was trying to make easier & more mainstream with the GoogleTV. The problem with (the legal options for) my setup is, the content is all over the place, and I'm not going to skip around from Hulu to to to get it. If it were all on Hulu (or even Hulu Plus), or easily accessible like it should be on GoogleTV, I'd probably get it all that way - and watch their (*targeted*) ads. But instead, it's much easier for me to just download it all from the same ('underground') place. If they allowed devices like GoogleTV, I wouldn't have to work around their system. They may not get as much in advertising revenue if it's streamed online - but they get *something* - which is more than they're getting from me now.

    They also need to figure out that targeted ads are exponentially more valuable than blanket ads. I would have no problem allowing them access to my Google or Facebook data, so they could better target ads for me. I'd much rather sit through computer ads than, say, tampon ads, and they should be able to figure out which one to serve up to me based on my Facebook profile. Even without the Facebook integration, just the data Hulu collects should be enough to more accurately target ads at me, just based on all the videos I watch. They're missing a huge opportunity to actually make *more* from advertising, but they're missing it because they're just too stupid & stuck in their old ways to see it.

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