Comcast Announces New Internet TV Service For Xfinity Customers

Comcast announced on Monday, Stream, a new OTT streaming service for its Xfinity customers. Stream will offer laptop and mobile access to HBO and all 4 major broadcasting networks. At just $15 per month, it has a competitive price that could help it challenge the likes of Sling TV. Previously, cable service providers typically saw the rise of OTT services as threats to their TV business. But as TV continues to transition from linear viewing to on-demand, web-based streaming, it only makes sense for a cable provider like Comcast to throw its hat into the ring to keep up with the changing audience behaviors.

Source: The Verge

Cable Companies Also Want A Piece Of That Smart Home Pie

Read original article on: Fortune

When it comes to the smart home market, tech companies like Apple and Google seems to be enjoying an early lead with their smart home hubs like HomeKit and Nest-based platform. But cable companies such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable, already controlling the home wireless network of millions, are also making a play for the market as well.

Earlier this year, Time Warner Cable partnered up with BestBuy to give customers of its security-focused IntellegenceHome service a better deal on smart home devices. And now, Comcast announced their Xfinity home platform, controlled by a branded tablet under monthly lease, is now supporting the connected home gears from its new partners, which include Nest, August (locks), and Rachio (sprinklers), and Lutron (lighting).

Furthermore, the cable behemoth is also planning to expand its smart home offering later this year with a SDK, which would developers to create officially sanctioned services using the Xfinity system. As the smart home market starts to take off, we expect to see some more players joining in the ring before it solidifies.

Netflix Petitioning Against Comcast-TWC Merger

As the debate over net neutrality continues to heat up, Netflix is stepping up by filing a 256-page official petition to the FCC to argue against the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The OTT video industry, spearheaded by Netflix, has been one of the most vocal proponents in this ongoing debate. It is within reason for them to oppose the merger between two of largest Internet service providers in US for fear of constricted bandwidth and regional monopoly. Netflix may be doing well enough to afford paying ISPs access fee for better interconnection at the moment, but the merger, if approved, would restraint the growth of smaller companies and upset the current equilibrium.

Netflix Reports Record-High 50 Million Users Worldwide

In its second quarter report released today, Netflix notes it has crossed the milestone of 50 million members, with 36.24 million domestic subscribers and 13.8 million international ones. In comparison, Time Warner claims 127 million HBO subscribers, while Amazon coyly admits that it has just over 20 million Prime subscribers. The company also reported 1.34 billion in revenue, doubling the profit it had last year.

As Netflix expands around the globe and heaping up the profits, the company also seems to have become the major force advocating for Net Neutrality, which it once again, unsurprisingly, asserts its support for in the report. Its battle with big cable and ISP companies over this issue will most likely intensify as Netflix continues to gain strength from the fast-growing OtT market.

Verizon Strikes Back At Netflix Over Streaming Congestion

In the on-going feud between OTT content providers and Internet service providers over who is responsible for low streaming speed, the ISPs — oft-reviled cable and telephone companies — make convenient villains. But after receiving a public shaming from Netflix, Verizon has decided to point the finger right back at the dominating streaming service. It accuses Netflix for “purposely select congested routes”, which Netflix has denied, so as to manipulate the ISPs to cover the cost of upgrading their infrastructure, while essentially blaming the humongous Internet traffic caused by Netflix on its vast popularity.

But taking a step back, it’s easy to see the bottom-line here: congestion at the interconnection point is in fact controlled by ISPs like Verizon. And if the customers are paying the their ISPs monthly to stream Netflix at a decent speed, then no other excuses would be valid for ISPs to jettison that responsibility. Maybe the ISPs are conveniently villainous for good reasons after all.