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Intel to Offer A La Cart?


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#161 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:09 PM

I honestly think some people think every show is a hit and guaranteed. If that were the case, it would be much easier argument to make, but of course that isn't the case. Content creation costs a TON of money, fortunately or unfortunately, it is simply reality.


Perhaps content creation costs too much. I suspect too many overpaid middleman. You don't see the big expensive actors in too many losers.

The average person watches a very small percentage of what is broadcast. Cut the channels and programs by 75% and increase the quality of the remaining stuff by 50% and most people will not only be just as happy but probably happier.

I find it hard to believe that all the ad revenue they get on those piles of weak channels with weak programs somehow subsidizes my viewing. People who buy ads aren't stupid - they pay only what they deem the slot to be worth and for much of that stuff it isn't worth much. People buying ads are "business" people too - they aren't getting suckered more than consumers.

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#162 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 01:47 PM

Perhaps content creation costs too much. I suspect too many overpaid middleman. You don't see the big expensive actors in too many losers...


Perhaps, but those "big expensive actors" were once small inexpensive actors that performed in programs of questionable quality but made an impression. A perfect example is the medical dramas St Elsewhere (which, among other then unknowns, featured a young Denzel Washington) and E.R. (which launched the careers of George Clooney and Juliana Margolies). Neither of those shows were sure fire hits (and while E.R. did very well, St. Elsewhere lasted 6 seasons, won a number of awards, but was never a huge hit).

Just be careful what you wish for...al a carte pricing would have a huge and far reaching effects on the basic fabric of broadcast entertainment - with no real evidence that the difference would be an improvement.

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#163 OFFLINE   tulanejosh

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:51 PM

That's what they used to say about the old model too. Who got most the $? The distributors and retailers.

If it weren't for people willing to pay for entertainment they wouldn't have a job. They create a product like anyone else and that product has a value - set by a complicated set of conflicting interests. When the consumer's view of the value changes then so be it. That's the way the world works.

This is all really just a microcosm of a much bigger problem with the entire economic system. The game is about prying as much money out of the consumer as is possible. If you can manipulate long enough you can build a system that sustains disproportionate reward. Rarely the "system" becomes so bloated and obvious that it fails under it's own abuses. Then they cry relentlessly when there is a challenge to their gravy train.

In a nutshell that is the root of all these discussions.


Or they just stop producing the product because its no longer worth their time. How does that benefit anyone? I think your mistake is thinking that consumers have all the power. It would be nice if that were the case - but I don't personally believe that to be true. Your arguments are just a little too utopian for me.

So you are saying basically that consumers have decided it costs too much. But where's the proof if that? There is nothing in subscriber or revenue numbers that bear this out. In fact what you are actually seeing is that even in a time of great economic distress - many customers view pay tv as good value and a must have service despite the availability of other services. Directv as an example has added net subscribers this year. As it has nearly every year. Yes subscribers have also grown for Netflix etc but not at the expense of most video services as you would expect if this was really happening - meaning its a companion service for most not a replacement.

So where is the evidence that consumers have spoken? I'm supposed to take message boards filled with people who aren't exactly unbiased as proof of a great paradigm shift?

Have you personally cut the cord?

Edited by tulanejosh, 13 January 2013 - 03:09 PM.


#164 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:03 AM

The REAL Death Of The Music Industry (iTunes was announced in January of 2001)

I'm certain all the same arguments were presented about the music paradigm in 2001.

Look how sweet the money was before 2001 (the small dip 2000-2001 about the same as 1996-1997).

If the "TV" industry wasn't rapidly putting out internet-oriented extensions to their services I might believe that there is no cliff ahead. Unlike the music industry they have the benefit of a historical lesson. No doubt that is why they resist supplying their content to Apple for example.

Note how the book industry may have saved themselves - not by fighting the trend but by making it their own. Apple does book sales yet nothing like the success of music. Amazon and B&N were there right at the start with their own devices and their own estore. There is no Windows in our house - we are almost all Macs (except for server) - yet my wife and son, both big readers, use B&N for books (iPad & Nook).

I suspect that the "TV" industry will eventually see the writing on the wall and will adapt themselves.

#165 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:11 AM

Barnes and Noble is a bad example of "success" in on-demand electronic delivery. They are struggling to make any money at all, let alone money selling Nooks and the associated eBooks.

Barnes & Noble Faces Steep Challenge as Holiday Nook Sales Decline

Edited by Diana C, 14 January 2013 - 09:23 AM.

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#166 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:40 AM

Have you personally cut the cord?


Not yet. Still on Premier. Held hostage by a few series we like on SHO/HBO/MAX. (Choice Extra + SHO/HBO/MAX is only ~$10/mo less than Premier.)

I'm on the verge of reducing my package down to Choice Extra only and then cutting when my contract is up in ~18 months (got HR34 last summer).

My wife and I watch almost nothing live. Our DVR series list breakdown is:

  • 3 news (6%)
  • 19 OTA-available (40%)
  • 3 Showtime (6%)
  • 2 HBO (4%)
  • 2 MAX (4%)
  • 18 other of questionable value (38%)
SHO/HBO/MAX costs ~$504/yr. Those 7 series we watch are all on Vudu for a season total of $211 (full 1080p format); granted they are a few seasons behind. So 504-211=$293/yr for movies. @ $6 each that's ~48 movies a year or around 1 a week. We watch about that many movies but many are not worth $6. Vudu has all the same movies for the same price (and less for lower resolution).

That leaves over $100/mo for essentially junk content and the privilege of leasing a DVR.

In ~18 months I expect the next version of Channel Master TV to be available with the (apparent) kinks worked out.

What is DTV doing to keep customers like me? Nada. In fact they go out of their way to milk me ($10/mo for HD :nono2:).

Of course nearly everybody has different viewing habits. For many it will still make sense to stay with sat/cable. As prices continue to rise, and the average joe's income continues to not, more and more people are going to do these kinds of calculations.

#167 OFFLINE   tulanejosh

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:54 AM

The REAL Death Of The Music Industry (iTunes was announced in January of 2001)

I'm certain all the same arguments were presented about the music paradigm in 2001.

Look how sweet the money was before 2001 (the small dip 2000-2001 about the same as 1996-1997).

If the "TV" industry wasn't rapidly putting out internet-oriented extensions to their services I might believe that there is no cliff ahead. Unlike the music industry they have the benefit of a historical lesson. No doubt that is why they resist supplying their content to Apple for example.

Note how the book industry may have saved themselves - not by fighting the trend but by making it their own. Apple does book sales yet nothing like the success of music. Amazon and B&N were there right at the start with their own devices and their own estore. There is no Windows in our house - we are almost all Macs (except for server) - yet my wife and son, both big readers, use B&N for books (iPad & Nook).

I suspect that the "TV" industry will eventually see the writing on the wall and will adapt themselves.


Big difference between where the music industry was and where the video industry is. The music industry was getting decimated by piracy and was on life support when Apple came knocking. Video not anywhere near that shabby a state and has learned its lessons in minimizing it's piracy risks. I'll agree with you if that consumers start to move in mass, then the industry will shift. But not before then. And i see nothing in the tea leaves that suggests such a consumer shift is imminent.

#168 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:59 AM

Barnes and Noble is a bad example of "success" in on-demand electronic delivery. They are struggling to make any money at all, let alone money selling Nooks and the associated eBooks.


They are still in business. If they had followed the retail record store model they would have been gone years ago. They are not selling devices because people want iPads which also have a Nook app. They will probably go out of business. It's inevitable due to the retail stores.

My wife and son are big time readers. They almost never go into the store. They could care less where they buy their ebooks from - Amazon or iTunes or whatever. They will hardly notice if B&N goes.

It's harsh but it's reality.

That REAL Death of Music Industry post shows an overall decline in music revenue. Maybe that is coming to books as well. Just like music was, books are too expensive.

Will B&N going under do anything to reduce the production of books? Nope. They are just a distribution channel - just like DTV.

Success can come in many forms but I think people are too worried about the business-persons view of success. Power and gas companies would be the last to claim that kind of success yet they are still here making money and consumers are still getting all the services they have always had. The computer industry is a more tech example - times are tough as valuation of products declines rapidly but does any consumer feel they have lost anything?

#169 OFFLINE   tulanejosh

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:03 AM

Of course nearly everybody has different viewing habits. For many it will still make sense to stay with sat/cable. As prices continue to rise, and the average joe's income continues to not, more and more people are going to do these kinds of calculations.


I can agree that services like these (Channel Master TV, Vudu, etc) will be around and have a place for a certain type of niche customer. Where we disagree is just how big these alternative services are going to get, and why.

From my perspective, if there was ever a time for people to do those cost/benefit calculations - it would have been during the last 3 or 4 years when much of this country was gripped by the worst economy in our lifetimes. But they didnt. You didn't see a massive shift from Pay TV to a cord cut model, a la carte model. In fact, what you saw - as i noted earlier - was a net subscriber increase for many companies - like Directv. If what you are saying is as true as you think it is, we should have seen the opposite. If customers aren't going to do those calculations at a time like that, what makes you think that they're going to do them when things are actually good again?

#170 OFFLINE   tulanejosh

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:08 AM

Success can come in many forms but I think people are too worried about the business-persons view of success.


It's not that we're too worried about the business's perspective, it's that many of us recognize that "the customer is always right" is an intensely outdated concept and doesn't pay enough attention to the wholistic view of why things are the way they are and how current realities influence future change.

#171 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

From my perspective, if there was ever a time for people to do those cost/benefit calculations - it would have been during the last 3 or 4 years when much of this country was gripped by the worst economy in our lifetimes. But they didnt. You didn't see a massive shift from Pay TV to a cord cut model, a la carte model. In fact, what you saw - as i noted earlier - was a net subscriber increase for many companies - like Directv. If what you are saying is as true as you think it is, we should have seen the opposite. If customers aren't going to do those calculations at a time like that, what makes you think that they're going to do them when things are actually good again?


I have no data on this but here is a thought to consider...

TV is but one thing in the entertainment pantheon. Lots of other things are far more expensive - pro sports tickets, live concert tickets, movie tickets, vacation trips, bars & restaurants, etc, etc, etc. Perhaps people have cut back on those and spent a portion of the savings for TV.

We recently did the same kind of cost evaluation for our cell phones. For our usage pattern (even with iPhones) we are saving a huge amount of money by going to the prepaid model (Airvoice Wireless). For us the only difference is one minor irritation ($0 popups every 20 minutes or so when cell data is on) so we turn cell data on and off as we need it. Rather not have that irritation but it isn't worth ~$100/mo to get rid of it. Even if I was getting a 5% increase in income every year I don't think I'd go back.

Taking the whole population into consideration... I agree that most will not bother to look in detail. Many people still go to BestBuy. Here in BB HQ country it seems we have a store every 5 miles. They are in trouble too. Another business doomed.

In the big picture it's a herd mentality. A critical mass is all that is required to massively change direction. Time will tell for TV.

#172 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:48 PM

It's not that we're too worried about the business's perspective, it's that many of us recognize that "the customer is always right" is an intensely outdated concept and doesn't pay enough attention to the wholistic view of why things are the way they are and how current realities influence future change.


Actually, having been an engineer in a Fortune 500 software company, I can emphatically agree that "the customer is always right" is often very wrong. For the most part companies are tactical and that mentality rules. The end result is rushing to build products that customers think they want (or Product Managers believe they want) that are of low quality. It consumes an enormous amount of resources and produces little of value. Might make some customers happy in the short term but it never lasts. It takes away most investment in real innovation. (The stock value and revenue for that company have been flat for 7 years.) There are a few exceptions. Apple is one. Apple would not exist today if they followed that typical approach.

Conversely, the customer is always wrong (the company is always right) is likewise a recipe for failure. The last decade has seen a lot of industry crashes.

There needs to be a balance and for "TV" it's getting out of balance.

The only reason a la carte is a warm topic is because of the costs. They need to address that and offer reasonable alternatives. I would be perfectly fine with staying with DTV if I could get the cost under control - i.e. value for what I get.

#173 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:54 PM

http://www.dbstalk.c...ad.php?t=212819 (Intel confirms it's building an Internet TV service and box)

Not a la cart.

#174 OFFLINE   tulanejosh

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:12 PM

http://www.dbstalk.c...ad.php?t=212819 (Intel confirms it's building an Internet TV service and box)

Not a la cart.


I'm curious to see how they are going to get content onto the box... Using someone else's pipe is the most likely option (maybe in combination with an OTA antenna).

I see that as a dicey proposition. If it takes off and cablecos start to see that they are losing their video customers to it - say hello to restrictive data caps and goodbye to Intel's offering.

#175 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:39 AM

I see that as a dicey proposition. If it takes off and cablecos start to see that they are losing their video customers to it - say hello to restrictive data caps and goodbye to Intel's offering.


It will keep the lawyers in business. :lol:

While I realize it's vastly different in terms of data volume, one can get a dry DSL (no phone service) from the phone company and run VOIP over it.

One would expect that Intel will have to price it such that there is some compensation for higher internet service fees.

Should be interesting. If it takes off I think a bigger problem is cable internet technology being able to handle the load.

#176 OFFLINE   tulanejosh

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:23 PM

It will keep the lawyers in business. :lol:

While I realize it's vastly different in terms of data volume, one can get a dry DSL (no phone service) from the phone company and run VOIP over it.

One would expect that Intel will have to price it such that there is some compensation for higher internet service fees.

Should be interesting. If it takes off I think a bigger problem is cable internet technology being able to handle the load.


In many places - valid concern. Personally I have a DOCSIS 3.0 50 down / 5 up connection from Time Warner at my house. Im sure it would be able to handle it. But I'd think twice if TWC tried to re-introduce bandwidth caps in Austin like they did about 5 years go. And they were draconian - 50 GB limit.

#177 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 04:54 PM

In many places - valid concern. Personally I have a DOCSIS 3.0 50 down / 5 up connection from Time Warner at my house. Im sure it would be able to handle it. But I'd think twice if TWC tried to re-introduce bandwidth caps in Austin like they did about 5 years go. And they were draconian - 50 GB limit.


That isn't the whole picture. Cable internet service speeds depend on overall load in the network being bursty. That is, when anyone runs speedtest the cable company, for example, has a few percent of customers doing high bandwidth transfers. My speeds vary depending on the time of day, day of week, weather, etc. By weather I mean if everyone is snowed in (here in MN) then a lot more people are on the system and it's significantly slower. Cable broadband is a shared media, not switched. (And even if it was switched it still passes through a bottleneck upstream.)

Video isn't bursty. Put a few thousand households (with multiple TVs going in each) in a given cable area on 6 hours of continuous HD streaming every evening and things will get ugly quickly.

#178 OFFLINE   tulanejosh

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:07 PM

That isn't the whole picture. Cable internet service speeds depend on overall load in the network being bursty. That is, when anyone runs speedtest the cable company, for example, has a few percent of customers doing high bandwidth transfers. My speeds vary depending on the time of day, day of week, weather, etc. By weather I mean if everyone is snowed in (here in MN) then a lot more people are on the system and it's significantly slower. Cable broadband is a shared media, not switched. (And even if it was switched it still passes through a bottleneck upstream.)

Video isn't bursty. Put a few thousand households (with multiple TVs going in each) in a given cable area on 6 hours of continuous HD streaming every evening and things will get ugly quickly.


yeah i agree with that. I do not think the infrastructure can support millions of ten of millions of digital streams, particularly not at peak times.

#179 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:58 PM

yeah i agree with that. I do not think the infrastructure can support millions of ten of millions of digital streams, particularly not at peak times.


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#180 OFFLINE   Paul Secic

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:31 AM

Reports indicate Intel may offer a set top box with a la cart programming.
http://www.businessi...el-cable-2013-1


It's not happening!

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