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Michael S. Willner spent his entire career in the cable television industry. He co-founded Insight Communications in 1985 and served as its CEO, a director and vice chairman of the board until the company was sold to Time Warner Cable in February, 2012.

As a young boy in Miami, Florida, Michael had a fascination with the television business at a very early age. He often rode his bicycle to the local NBC affiliate after school where the staff allowed him to help out in the studio while they produced and aired a live children's puppet show and the local news. Michael began his career in 1974 as the program director and news reporter for a small suburban New York cable system after graduating from the Boston University College of Communications. Soon after, he shifted his focus to general management and eventually became the chief operating officer of Vision Cable Communications, a cable company owned by a division of Newhouse Newspapers.

After starting Insight Communications, Michael quickly developed his hands-on style of management as CEO. He is a firm believer in open, honest communication. He personally ensured that employees and customers were always well-informed and had input and influence over important Company decisions. This commitment led to a secondary career - that of a leading man in a number of Insight television commercials in which he comfortably played himself with a great sense of self-deprecating humor.

Michael also became very active in industry affairs and has been one of cable's most active and effective ambassadors on Capitol Hill, testifying regularly before Congress on industry issues and pending legislation. He has served two consecutive terms as chairman of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the cable industry's trade lobby and currently served on its executive committee for many years. Michael also served as chairman of the board of the Cable Center from 2007 through 2011. He served on the executive committee of CableLabs; on the board of directors of C-SPAN, and the Walter Kaitz Foundation.

A recipient of the NCTA's 2004 Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership and a 2005 inductee into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, Michael has yet to achieve his greatest goal of winning an Emmy for his leading role in Insight's commercials.

Wanted to let you know what I'm doing

Monday, September 10, 2012
Penthera Logo


Cable Executives Jump to New Media


PITTSBURGH, PA. – September 10, 2012 – Cable industry veterans Michael S. Willner and Sidney R. Knafel, who co-founded Insight Communications and served respectively as CEO and chairman for nearly three decades, are reuniting to invest in and lead a new media technology venture, Penthera Partners.

Insight grew to become one of the country’s Top 10 cable companies before it was sold to Time Warner Cable for $3 billion in February 2012. Willner will guide Penthera as CEO through the next phase in its evolution; and Knafel will serve as company vice chairman.

“I’ve devoted much of my career to delivering forward-looking, innovative TV and broadband services to U.S. consumers. Now, as consumers are shifting their viewing habits—they’re viewing, creating, and sharing video on smartphones, tablets, and other Internet-enabled devices. With its rich portfolio of products and IP, Penthera is uniquely poised to help the cable industry and other technology companies roll out innovative IP-based video solutions,” said Willner.

Penthera Partners is a privately-held software firm whose customers have included Tier-1 global device manufacturers and network operators. The company has developed a patented software engine that efficiently moves HD video between the cloud and smartphones, tablets and IP-enabled set-top boxes.

Willner has served in a distinguished leadership role in in the cable industry, including two terms as chairman of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the cable industry's trade lobby and served on its executive committee for many years. Michael also served as chairman of the board of the Cable Center from 2007 through 2011. He served on the executive committee of CableLabs; the board of directors of C-SPAN and the Walter Kaitz Foundation. As an industry advocate, he testified regularly before Congress on communications issues. He was honored by the cable industry in 2004 with its Distinguished Leadership Vanguard Award and named to the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Cable Center Hall of Fame in 2008.

“Our transition to a new media technology company, which is focused on next generation consumer experiences, is the next logical step for us. I have always focused on new, relevant products and services that benefit consumers,” Willner added.

Willner began his career in 1974 as the program director and news reporter for a small suburban New York cable system after graduating from the Boston University College of Communications.  Soon after, he shifted his focus to general management and eventually became the chief operating officer of Vision Cable Communications, a cable TV company owned by a division of Newhouse Newspapers led by Sidney Knafel.

Sidney R. Knafel served as the former chairman and director at Insight Communications until its sale.  Knafel, an early cable TV pioneer, founded and served as the chairman of Vision Cable Communications from 1971 until its sale in 1981. He later served as a director of Cellular Communications International and was director of Cellular Communications of Puerto Rico, Inc. Knafel also served as a Director of Source Media Inc.

As managing partner at SRK Management Company, he serves on the boards of several private companies. Knafel also serves as director of IGENE Biotechnology and lead Independent Director of General American Investors Company. A chartered financial analyst, he holds an A.B. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.


About Penthera

Penthera develops patented technology that facilitates the movement of rich content over IP networks, between the Cloud and smartphones, tablets, and IP-enabled TVs. One product, Ribit, is a cloud-based video sharing service that’s available in the Apple Store. Another product, Virtuoso, delivers HD video to iPhones, iPads, and Android devices for later play-out. Penthera’s customers have included tier-1 network operators, smartphone manufacturers, TV networks and other entities that need to deliver media content securely, reliably, and verifiably to their customers and employees. Please visit

Insight - Time Warner Merger Completed

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Time warner insightInsight Communications is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Time Warner Cable. The merger became official today as the two companies completed the deal that was announced last August.

No immediate changes are expected in the service to customers as Time Warner Cable begins an extended process of consolidating the Insight operations in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky into theirs.  Most of the friendly and capable Insight employees with whom customers have interacted for years will continue to provide cable, Internet and phone service on behalf of Time Warner Cable.  

A handful of senior managers, including me, will depart immediately. As a result, this is also a fond farewell post on behalf of Michael's Insight.  I have throroughly enjoyed writing about the cable business, services, and other high-tech developments over the years.  

And I have cherished the opportunity to directly interact with customers who contacted me either through comments on this blog or directly via my email address which was clearly posted on this site.  Over the years I have heard specific suggestions about how to improve our offerings, how we messed up, and what people thought of my views.  Some comments were enlightening, some made me proud, and some were painful.  But it was all in the interest of listening, hearing and communicating.

I will continue to be involved in the cable/broadband world.  I'm just not sure where or when.  Meanwhile, I will stop writing daily but may occasionally post some thoughts or an update on my whereabouts right here on this site which will become my personal blog.   

Time Warner Cable has their own blog -- "Untangled" -- which is terrific. Check it out if you want the lastest information about TWC and cable industry services and issues, much like you were getting here on Michael's Insight.

Thank you for your interest in my views.  And to those of you who are customers, thank you so much for your business and loyalty over the past 27 years!


Time Warner Cable announces trial of optional metered broadband

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Time Warner Cable Revives Usage-Based Internet Plan, But Now It's Optional [Multichannel News]



Time Warner Cable announced this week that it plans to trial an optional plan for customers to purchase metered broadband. Calling it Essentials Broadband, TWC will initally roll out the plan for customers in selected Texas markets.


Essentials Broadband will be an optional plan for customers, and TWC is offering the plan as a way for its customers to save money. If a current TWC broadband customer signs up for the plan and stays under 5 gigabyte of usage each month, that customer will receive $5 off his or her monthly bill. However, if that customer were to go over 5 gigabyte for the month, an overage fee of $1 per additional gigabyte (capped at $25) would be assessed.

As opposed to punative measures for higher-usage customers with mandatory usage limits, Time Warner Cable is offering a value to those who use less bandwidth. Further, customers who sign up for the plan will have a 60-day grace period to get accustomed to the 5 gigabyte limit. During this time no usage fees will be assessed. Instead, customers will simply be notified if they go over the limit.

Customers who sign up for the new plan will have the option to opt in or out of the plan at any time and will also have access to a usage meter that displays bandwidth usage on a monthly, weekly, daily or even hourly basis.

Google now activating 850K Android devices daily

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

850,000 Android Devices Are Activated Each Day [Silicon Alley Insider] 



Last quarter, boosted by the fact that the iPhone had been made available on all three of the largest mobile carriers, Apple took the smartphone market share lead over Android. Android isn't slowing down, however, as Google exec Andy Rubin tweeted from the Mobile World Congress that Android's daily activations have grown from 700,000 per day in December to 850,000 per day now.


According to a recent Google blog post Android has now activated more than 300 million devices total. For comparison's sake, Apple's most recent reports shows 315 million iOS activations so far.

Regardless of which mobile OS is in the lead at any particular moment, it's clear that the competition remains stiff between the two leading options.

TiVo announces new integration for Comcast customers

Monday, February 27, 2012

Comcast On Demand TiVo Integration Weeks Away [Zatz Not Funny!]

TiVo-Comcast-Xfinity-On-Demand-420x236Comcast's partnership with TiVo is a mere weeks away from coming to market, according to TiVo's quarterly earnings call. The partnership will first be unveiled in the San Francisco area with plans for a wider distribution later this year.

These two companies have a history of working together, but the partnership has been limited to integrating TiVo's software into Comcast's set-top boxes in their New England markets.

This time the two companies have collaborated on a "hybrid" approach, according to TiVo CEO Tom Rogers. The same TiVo DVR hardware customers can get at various retail stores will also be sold by Comcast. In addition, in Comcast's service area TiVo Premiere users will gain access to Xfinity On Demand that offers both free and pay-per-view on demand content. The Xfinity On Demand features will be fully integrated into TiVo's search functionality. Plus, because cable operators aren't subjected to the new release waiting periods that other video on demand services are, Xfinity On Demand will be able to offer TiVo customers new releases much earlier than competitors.

Nielsen finds women watch more streaming video than men

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hey Ladies! Guess Who Loves Web Video? [All Things D]

Netflix-hulu-wire-postA recent Nielsen survey of web video viewing by gender found that, at least when it comes to Netflix and Hulu, more women are watching more web video than men.

The Nielsen report shows that 57 percent of Netflix viewers and 59 percent of Hulu viewers are women. The report is based on data collected in the fall of 2011.

On top of that, women are also spending more time watching video once they get to Netflix and Hulu. On the two video streaming sites, 64 percent of the overall viewing time is coming from women.

Botnet computers at risk due to ending of court order

Friday, February 24, 2012

500,000 zombie PC imperiled as expiration of court order approaches [Ars Technica]

ZombiecomputerBack in November a federal judge allowed the not-for-profit Internet Systems Consortium to operate replacement domain-name-system servers for the purpose of replacing a rogue DNSChanger botnet that was directing users to various sites they did not intend to visit. The reroutes caused by this botnet could have resulted in Internet failures were it not for ISC's replacement servers.

Now the computer systems that would have otherwise lost their connections but for the replacement servers could be in trouble if a federal judge does not extend the court order originally granting the authorization for ISC to operate the servers. According to ISC's founder Paul Vixie, there are still about 500,000 end users that rely on these replacement servers. At the botnet's peak of performance it was reported that the number of infected end user machines could be as high as 5 million.

Prosecutors have asked for an additional four months before discontinuing the authorization so that they can notify all users who are still affected by DNSChanger to remove the malware from their systems. Several ISPs have bolstered the claims that many users remain infected. These ISPs, through the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group, have informed authorities that they are working hard to notify users and eliminate the malware. 

Google files for permission to offer TV service

Friday, February 24, 2012

Google Seeks Approval for Kansas City Video Service [All Things D]

Google_FiberGoogle tipped its hand earlier this month that it was making plans to provide a video product for its Kansas City fiber project with an FCC application for a satellite facility to be located in Iowa. Now, it's confirming those plans by a filing with the Missouri Public Service Commission asking for an authorization to provide video service.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the search giant will be officially rolling out its TV service in the next couple of months, according to a source involved in the licesning of channels for the service. The Journal's story indicates that there is an expectation that the video service will cover live television, on demand offerings and online access to streaming content.

Currently, Google only plans to build a fiber network in the Kansas City area and it is unclear when the company will finish construction of that network and begin offering service to customers.

Google to make augmented reality glasses

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Google's 'Terminator' Glasses Will Contain A Camera And Track Your Location [Silicon Alley Insider]

Screen-shot-2012-02-06-at-10-42-39-amGoogle has picked a new market to attempt to revolutionize. This time it's eyewear.

Google's X Lab has been working on augmented reality eyeglasses. Resembling something from Terminator movies, the glasses will have a built-in front-facing camera and a heads up display (HUD) that can overlay information onto the side of one lens of your view. If you're looking at a restaurant, for example, the glasses could overlay information about the restaurant – name, reviews, phone number, etc.

Ever meet someone you have met before but can't quite place them? The glasses could even show information about people, particularly your friends. Obviously, there will be serious privacy implications to this type of technology but hey, that never stopped Google.

Reports suggest that the glasses will also have augmented reality apps, location-based services, and the ability to react to voice commands or even head tilts. Think of it as a smartphone in the shape of sunglasses, and expect the glasses to have a similar price tag to smartphones as well. Reports also suggest that the glasses resemble the Oakley Thumps sunglasses currently on the market.

These glasses are just an experiment for Google right now, being developed at the top secret, offsite Google X venue.  They are not being pursued as a major source of income at this point. However, the New York Times reports that the glasses will be available for purchase by consumers by the end of this year.  It also reports that users will probably appear to be acting very strange while wearing them -- physically reacting to the cyber information they are receiving.

Comcast launching Netflix competitor

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Comcast launching Xfinity Streampix to compete with Netflix [Ars Technica]

ComcastThe latest Netflix competitor comes from the nation's largest cable provider - Comcast. Comcast's Xfinity Streampix service and is expected to be launched later this week. It's the first effort by a cable provider to provide customers with streaming services similar to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime.

Comcast's Xfinity TV already offers certain streaming capabilities to its cable customers, but Streampix will offer a more expansive selection of movies and TV shows. The service will likely be included in certain bundle offerings and will also be available as an add-on service for current Comcast customers. 

Upon release, Xfinity Streampix will be available through the Xfinity TV site and iPad app for mobile viewing. Within the next year Comcast plans to add devices like the Xbox 360, as well as Android devices. Comcast already has inked deals with many major content providers, including ABC/Disney, Sony, and Warner Bros.

Court in Britain gives ISPs the ability to block The Pirate Bay

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Pirate Bay Faces UK Blockade [Mashable]

The_pirate_bay_logoA High Court Justice in Britain has declared that The Pirate Bay violates that country's law by enabling and assisting users to share copyrighted material. In fact, the justice went as far as to say that the site actively encourages copyright infringement.

The ruling essentially gives courts in the UK the ability to order that country's ISPs to block the site, a move that ISPs are already being asked to take by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). CEO of BPI Geoff Taylor expressed his satisfaction with the High Court's ruling and reiterated that his organization would move forward with an effort to get courts to order the blocking of the site.

This wouldn't be the first time a court in the UK ordered that a site be blocked. In October of 2011, courts ordered telecom companies in the UK to block user access to Usenet.

Google now stands accused of bypassing cookie settings in Internet Explorer

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Google also bypasses user privacy settings in Internet Explorer, says Microsoft [The Verge]

Internet_Explorer_7_LogoThe Wall Street Journal was first to report that many of the biggest tech companies, including Google and Facebook, had circumvented user privacy settings in Apple's desktop and mobile versions of its Safari browser. The settings in question limit third-party cookies kept in a user's browser.

Now Microsoft is alleging that Google is also applying this workaround to the settings of Internet Explorer. Apparently, Google is masking its cookies behind a non-standard P3P cookie statement that prevents Google sites from being restricted under the user settings. This non-standard statement actually can still be restricted but just not under Internet Explorer's default settings. Since the first Wall Street Journal, story Microsoft has been publicly urging Google to switch to a standard P3P statement and has been telling IE users to upgrade their privacy settings to restrict Google's cookies.

Google originally said that it mistakenly labeled its cookies in Safari, resulting in the bypass of user settings and that no other browsers would be impacted by the mistake. The claim by Microsoft is the first implication that Google's assertion that others were not affected may not be entirely true.

Is it me or does Google remind you of this massively oversized, gawky 'tween -- the kid who looks twice his age but doesn't act it?

Some changes to March Madness online streaming for 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

March Madness streams to more platforms in 2012, but not everything is free [EngadgetHD]

Mmlive-vertCBS and Turner Sports received rave reviews for their coverage of the 2011 NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament for showing all games in HD across four cable channels and also streaming free coverage to PCs and iOS devices.

There are some new plans in the works for coverage of this year's March Madness. While all games are scheduled to be aired on television the same way they were in 2011, PC or Mac streaming will only be available to authenticated cable customers for games on TNT, TBS, or TruTV. Any games broadcast on CBS will still be streamed to all broadband users via

As for mobile streaming, Android devices have been added to the list of compatible devices. Both Android and iOS apps are available for purchase from their respective app stores.

French three-strikes law reducing piracy

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Copyright Cheats Face the Music in France [New York Times]

PirateFrance has been on a two-year crusade to end digital content piracy and recently stepped up its efforts by sending its first anti-piracy cases to court. 

A French law, commonly referred to as the three-strikes law, imposed a program for diminishing piracy that began with issuing warnings to suspected digital pirates, those sharing copyrighted content over the Internet.

Over 822,000 email warnings were sent out as "strike one" of the program. The second strikes were issued by registered mail and hit roughly 68,000 different suspects. Now 165 have received their third strike, which includes a fine of 1,500 euro and a month suspension of their connections to the Internet.

Given the signifcantly reduced number that made it to a third strike, piracy has dropped fairly significantly since the law was initially put into place, while digital sales and revenues for the music industry have begun to stabilize.

Researchers find vulnerability in online encryption

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flaw Found in an Online Encryption Method [New York Times]

LockThe protocol used to encrypt certian online transmissions might have flaws that could expose encrypted data to exploits. Used for online shopping, banking and other secure services, the protocol is supposed to keep data like credit card numbers secret from hackers that might attempt to snoop on Internet transactions.

Recently a group of computer scientists released a paper that indicates the system is not as secure as it should be.

From a basic level, data is encrypted with two sets of keys. The first is a random combination of two large prime numbers. The second is the product of the multiplication problem of those two numbers. Critical to encrypted data being impossible to break into is the randomness of the first two numbers. 

The scientists used a database of publicly available keys to determine that many of the prime numbers used in the first key were not as random as they should have been. In fact, in around two of every one thousand uses, the numbers weren't random. While that's a small percentage of all uses of the encryption protocol, it represents a small number of supposedly secure transmissions that could be cracked into by hackers.

Because the problem originates in the protocol itself, there's not a solution for end users. It will be up to individual web sites to make changes that eliminate the vulnerability.

Google circumvents Safari privacy controls

Friday, February 17, 2012

Google Under Fire For Circumventing Safari Privacy Setting [TechCrunch]

Google+1Google was caught last week circumventing the built-in privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser to install third-party cookies on users machines. Third-party cookies are typically used to track user web surfing habits across all web sites, not just the site that installed the cookie. The exploit could have allowed Google to follow all Safari users' web activity.

Safari is the default browser on all Macs and iOS devices. There's also a PC version available.

The problem was first documented by a Stanford graduate student and later became the subject of a Wall Street Journal article. Google used a hidden Javascript form to opt-in to third-party cookie installation, even if users had explicity blocked third-party cookies in their Safari settings.

Google claims the workaround was designed to allow its "+1" buttons to serve up personalized advertising for users with accounts on the search engine. Obviously, given the way Google achieved the third-party cookie installation and the lack of disclosure is concerning to privacy advocates.

Apple to preview next version of Mac OS

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Meet Mountain Lion: The Latest Mac OS [All Things D]

Mac-OS-X-Mountain-LionMac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion will be released in a preview version this summer.

The most significant feature included in the newest Mac OS X version is full iCloud integration, including "Documents in the Cloud," which will allow documents created on a Mac to sync to the Cloud for use on iOS devices. 

Mountain Lion will also have extensive Twitter integration. Numerous applications will allow tweeting directly from the program. It will also include a new feature called the Tweet Sheet, which can be accessed through a new Share menu and will allow for sharing various kinds of media and writing tweets directly from the OS. Facebook integration is, expectedly, absent.

Mountain Lion also includes many popular iOS features, further blurring the lines between the two operating systems. For example, Messages will be added to Mountain Lion to replace iChat and sync with iMessages on other devices. Other iOS features Notification Center, Reminders, Notes, Game Center, and AirPlay will also be included in the Mountain Lion. 

In the past Apple has waited 18 to 24 months between OS upgrades, but Lion was released just last summer, so the release schedule appears to be speeding up. 


Kindle Fire is 14 percent of tablet market share in last quarter of 2011

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Amazon Steals 14% Tablet Market Share In Q4, Apple Share Drops To 57% [Tech Crunch]

KindlefireA recent report from iSuppli shows that the Amazon Kindle Fire has made an impact on the tablet market, which had previously been dominated by Apple's iPad.

Apple still has the lion's share of the market with 57% in the fourth quarter of 2011, but has seen its share drop for the first time. Apple had 64% of the market in the third quarter of 2011. Amazon, on the other hand, picked up 14% of the market in the fourth quarter after the Kindle Fire was released. Apple still shipped 15.4 million iPads in the quarter, while Amazon shipped 3.9 million Kindle Fires. 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab and Barnes and Noble's Nook, which have both been around longer than the Kindle Fire, took third and fourth place with 8% and 7% of the market respectively.

Startup plans to stream broadcast television channels

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

'Aereo' To Test Copyright Law With Internet-Streaming TV Service [Multichannel News]

AereoA new startup company backed by Barry Diller has launched in the New York City area and proposes to offer a novel way to watch broadcast television. Aereo will give customers access to live programming from FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS over the Internet.

The service also includes Internet-based DVR functionality and a guide. It will be available for viewing on phones, tablets, and connected TVs, as well as a few devices like Roku and Apple TV. It will also involve a monthly subscription that costs a bit more than Netflix.

But how is Aereo getting around the legal challenges that are sure to start popping up for offering this type of broadcast programming over the Internet? Other startups have attempted to stream over-the-air television, only to find themselves on themselves on the losing side of lawsuits launched by broadcasters.  

Aereo's headquarters is currently housing thousands of thumb-sized TV antennae – one for each Aereo subscriber. The company, with full expectation that broadcasters won't be happy about having their channels streamed over the Internet outside the retransmission consent process, plans to argue that because customers are technically watching TV via their own over-the-air antenna there is no difference whether they're streaming the channels or watching them on their own TV.

If Aereo's strategy is successful against an expected challenge, one wonders whether traditional multichanel providers could do the same thing.

Netflix planning additional original programming

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Netflix Planning More Original Series [Broadband Reports]

NetflixNetflix's customer growth has begun to create larger demands from programmers whose core businesses are in competition with Netflix's on demand, commercial-free streaming. Several programmers and studios have been raising rates and creating longer delays in releasing programming in licensing deals with Netflix.

In response to the increase in fees being imposed on content, Netflix is investing in original programming. News of Netflix's original content investment broke when they announced plans to air a new show from David Fincher and Kevin Spacey named "House of Cards." At the time, Netflix said it was not considering original programming as a major future business, but since that time other original programs have been announced for the streaming service.

Netflix will soon be airing new episodes of the cancelled Fox show "Arrested Development."  The company has also committed to a new show called "Lillyhammer" starring Steven Van Zandt, and is also reportedly working on a comedy with the creator of Showtime's "Weeds."

Today's Netflix may have a different look in just a couple of years, with significant amounts of content that is available on traditional television.  It's a further confirmation that consumers are seeing more and more options in how they watch television than ever before.

Mobile video now accounts for half of all wireless data usage

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mobile Video Now More Than Half Of Wireless Traffic: Cisco [Multichannel News]

TowerCisco is out with its latest Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2011-16, and it contains some astounding data about consumers usage of mobile video.

By the end of last year, video viewing accounted for 52 percent of all wireless bandwidth usage. In the next four years, Cisco expects that to grow to 70 percent of all mobile data. Growth in video viewing was one of the main drivers that led to all mobile data usage more than doubling in 2011.

Cisco predicts that mobile data usage will increase by a multiple of 18 by 2016, totalling 10.8 exabytes used each month. 


Time Warner Cable brings live TV to the computer screen

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Now Launching TWC TV for PC – in Beta [TWC Untangled]

Portal-Live-TV-with-Mini-GuideTime Warner Cable has added yet another way to watch live television on something other than a TV screen. This week the nation's second largest cable provider announced the release of TWC TV for PC, allowing TWC customers to watch television on their computer (PC or Mac) via a Microsoft Silverlight powered web site. 

The site supports all recent version of major web browsers and is similar in functionality to the company's already released TV viewing apps for iOS and Android.

Customers can watch TV, control their DVR, view up to 7 days of guide information and search for specific shows. 

TWC is releasing the site as a public beta, which means there may be some issues in the early release that will be smoothed out over time. 

Boxee considering DVR functionality

Monday, February 13, 2012

Boxee may launch a DVR subscription service [GigaOM]

BoxeeboxBoxee recently released an addition to its Boxee Box peripherial called the Live TV tuner, which provided users the ability to watch over-the-air broadcast TV via the set-top.

Since offering the Live TV tuner, Boxee has reportedly looked into adding DVR functionality to its set-top.

Boxee sent out a survey to its users during the past weekend that specifically asked about users' interest in and willingness to pay for DVR functions through the device, hinting at the possibility that the DVR functionality is under active consideration.



Google applies for satellite downlink license near Kansas City

Monday, February 13, 2012

Is Google planning to offer IP video to Kansas City? [Ars Technica] 

SatellitesA recent FCC filing suggests that Google's Kansas City fiber project could include an IP-based video service.

The FCC recently reviewed an application from the company's Google Fiber subsidiary that proposed the installation of a fixed, C-band, receive-only satellite station to be placed about 200 miles northwest of Kansas City in the town of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The application states that the station would be used to provide analog and digital audio, data, and video services. The bands that the application proposed to operate within are used for satellite TV downlinks, which would be a necessary component of a IP-based video service.

The FCC has partially approved Google's application for the satellite station.

It's been ten months since Google announced Kansas City as the location of its fiber buildout project.

So far Google has not announced an interest in providing a video in Kansas City, but has admitted that they are continuing to explore the product offerings that will be made available via their fiber network there.

Is the TV economic model finally changing? Nielsen study reveals growing number of broadband video and broadcast TV watching households

Friday, February 10, 2012

Nielsen: Cord Cutting And Internet TV Viewing On The Rise [TechCrunch] 

Cross-platform-viewing-chartA new study from Nielsen suggests that cable and satellite consumers are starting to say no to hefty rate increases.

According to this study the number of homes that rely solely on free, broadcast TV and broadband Internet has increased 22.8% over the past year, though the category still only represents 4.5% of all households. It's still a meaningful increase.

Frankly, this comes as no surprise to me.  Whether you get your television from a cable, satellite or phone provider, the video product is getting more and more expensive.  Ironically, it is getting more expensive primarily because of the soaring cost of programming while that same programming finds its way onto Internet delivery platforms such as Hulu Plus and Netflix.  No wonder some consumers are seeking alternatives.

In particular, local broadcasters that are affiliated with the four major broadcast networks and sports content are the primary drivers in making TV so much more expensive.  It has been reported that some of these stations have demanded up to 300% increases in their price to cable and satellite distributors upon renews of their contracts.  Something has to give.  

To be clear, Nielsen stops short of declaring all the households in the "Broadcast Only/Broadband" category "cord-cutters." Some growth could simply be former "Broadcast Only/No Broadband" households which have since upgraded to broadband Internet. Still, the growth of this group and its higher than average streaming video minutes is very real and should not go unnoticed by content owners.

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