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All posts tagged "cable"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cable Cutting Snowballs

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home News" @ 10:59 PM

"Bad news for cable TV. According to a new report, some 2.65 million subscribers have abandoned cable or satellite TV since 2008 in favor of Internet and over the air delivery. "

More and more people are giving up cable or satellite TV and substituting with content over the internet. What's worse for cable and satellite companies is that reports are showing the trend snowballing.

This is something I've considered doing myself. If not for my two kids I probably would have cut the wire a few years ago. All the shows I watch are either available via over the air HD or can be found from one source or another on the internet. Perhaps in a few years.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What Will Happen With Cable And Television In 2012?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:30 AM

"But change is going to come, and amid news that Google is interested in entering the cable TV business and continued rumors that Apple will be releasing its own branded television set, we also have to wonder what's going to happen with streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. TalkPoint CEO Nick Balletta says that the real battle to hedge is with cable companies."

Molly McHugh over at the Digital Trends website has written a short piece about what we might see in 2012 with Internet streaming services, cable, and television. While streaming of content over the Internet and to your mobile or desktop device has been growing, cable and television are not sitting idly by. Changes in traditional content provision and consumption models have far-reaching implications and will play out over a multi-year period. So, in this slowly evolving industry, what movement might we see in 2012? One thing the article suggests is that connected TV's may hit their stride during the holiday shopping period next year. The Read link will take you to the Digital Trends site where you can read more.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

That PVR Sure is a Hungry Little Device

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 PM

"It’s no surprise that the use of DVRs is increasing as more and more people become used to time-shifting instead of watching television on the networks’ schedule. DVRs are compared to competitors so that customers can find the best fit for their lives. Now the New York Times is reporting something that may surprise many people: Your set-top boxes consume more energy in a year than your refrigerator."

Unless you want to go through a whole bunch of tweaking and limitations, if you have cable, or even satellite TV, your options for a PVR are usually quite limited. It comes as no surprise then that those boxes that your Cable/Satellite provider hoists on you is hardly the bastion of energy efficiency. Sure, you could turn the PVR off, but powered off, it really is limited in what shows it can record for you. The current implementation of the PVR will probably disappear in several years with the rise of streaming and other efficient ways of delivering video. Until then, I guess the convenience of being able to watch Dancing with the Stars whenever you want will cost you a pretty penny.

Tags: hardware, dvr, cable, pvr

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is There A Difference Between A $5 and $100 HDMI Cable?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 PM

"You've probably experienced this when shopping for a new HDTV: A store clerk sidles up and offers to help. He then points you toward the necessary HDMI cables to go with your new television. And they're expensive. Maybe $60 or $70, sometimes even more than $100 (You could buy a cheap Blu-ray player or a handful of Blu-ray discs for that price!). The clerk then claims that these are special cables. Superior cables. Cables you absolutely need if you want the best possible home theater experience. And the claims are, for the vast majority of home theater users, utter rubbish."

When I saw the source article on PC Magazine's website it immediately had my attention. Simply put, I'm in the market for some HDMI cables, and this could potentially save me some money. The "sales" scenario that the author, Will Greenwald, describes has played out many times as I've bought electronic items (particularly audio-based). What's nice about this article is that they have backed up (with tests) their contention that in most cases the cheaper cable will do just fine. Of course, there are a few cases where a more expensive cable will be better (e.g. for long connections between a video source and the display it is connecting to), but for the vast majority of people with a typical TV setup in their home, the cheaper cables should work every bit as good. The article does explain what the current HDMI specification (1.4a) supports, and how that may or may not be important to your situation. This article is a good reference piece to keep handy, and to comfort you the next time you buy a "cheaper" HDMI cable.

Tags: cable, hdmi

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cutting the Cable in Canada: One Man's Journey

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 04:05 PM

"After arguing that we need fast and cheap internet to ensure that Canada doesn't get left behind as the world moves towards online video, I figured it was time to actually start testing the waters. What is the state of online video in Canada and is it realistic for a Canadian family to cut the cable?"

Image Credit:

Cable cutters. We hear about these mythical people who are freeing themselves from hefty cable bills...but how feasible is it for the average geek to do? Well, it depends on what you're looking for - and where you live. In the USA, there are services and solutions that might make it possible. In Canada? It's a harder problem to solve. Over at The Green Button, Peter Near is trying to do exactly that - and I can probably predict the outcome already...he's not going to find what he wants.

I admire his efforts though, especially since he admitted early on that Bittorent provides everything he wants but doesn't financially compensate the content creators, and so he rejected it. I'm in the same boat. The only time I grab a show off Bittorent is if it's one that my PVR failed to record, and that unfortunately happens more often than I'd like.

Have you cut the cable? What did you replace it with, if anything?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Google Trying to Upset the Big Cable Model

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 09:30 AM

"Behind the scenes at the Federal Communications Commission, a quiet war is being waged over the future of television. It isn't getting as many headlines as net neutrality or the Comcast/NBCU merger, but the debate is nearly as important. It's about how far Google, Sony, and their allies can take their Google TV system."

Typical, the big monopolies are unwilling to adapt to compete with the new technologies that threaten to make them irrelevant. People are quickly realizing that they are paying $100+ for cable bills due to the imposed packages just to get the few channels they want, just to get the few series they want. A small but noticeable group are already realizing that Hulu + Netflix and a little patience will get you most of the same content for a lot less, just a little slower. Google TV could make this even more palatable. Big cable, you days in your current form are numbered.

Tags: cable, google tv

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Two-Thirds of US Internet Users Lack Broadband

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 12:30 PM

"Two-thirds of U.S. Internet connections are slower than 5 Mbps, putting the United States well behind speed leaders South Korea and Japan. The United States places ninth in the world in access to "high broadband connectivity," at 34% of users, including 27% of connections reaching 5 Mbps to 10 Mbps and 7% reaching above 10 Mbps, Akamai says in its latest State of the Internet Report. That's an improvement since a year ago, when the United States was in 12th place with only 24% of users accessing fast connections. But the United States is still dwarfed by South Korea, where 72% of Internet connections are greater than 5 Mbps, and Japan, which is at 60%. Hong Kong and Romania are the only other countries or regions to hit the 50% mark."

Nothing surprising here - the US is a big country, with a significant number of its 307+ million people spread across the land, and it's hard to give high speed access to everyone. There will always be people living in places where high-speed wired Internet will be hard to get to, but there are certainly wireless technologies that will do the trick - but only if they're willing to pay for it!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cable Customers Opting Out

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 PM

"There’s now even more evidence that subscribers are cutting the cord and opting out of paying for cable: By adding up subscriber losses from four of the top five cable companies, we found that more than half a million users have ditched their cable companies."

The cord would be cut here too, but I can't quite get my spouse on board with the plan. But, I will be dialing back my service the next time the special I'm under with Comcast expires if they don't offer me another. Anyone else cut the cord? Share your story in the comments.

Tags: cable

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Flexicord Mini Synch and Charge Cable Reviewed

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

We are approaching cable nirvana. Micro USB is becoming fairly standard for charging and synching lots of devices, meaning that we can now leave our giant bundle of cables at home when we travel. This also means that charging cables are pretty much just a commodity item and we just go for what's cheap. So I was pretty excited when I found the Flexicord Mini since it looked to bring something else to the table and really didn’t ask much in return.


Friday, March 5, 2010

High-Speed Internet Access in Canada: It's Expensive & Slow

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 08:00 AM

I'm feeling a bit miffed lately after talking with my cable company, Shaw Calgary, so excuse me while I rant about high-speed Internet access in Canada for a bit.

For several years, I've been paying about $50 CAD (about $50 USD) per month for high-speed Internet access that was eventually bumped up to 25mbps downstream speeds, and 1 mbps upstream speeds. The reliability has been excellent - I recall perhaps one period of down-time in the past year - and the 25mbps downstream speeds are sufficiently zippy for my needs. 99% of the time, the bottleneck on my downloads is the server at the other end. When I connect to a fast server, such as downloading NVIDIA graphics drivers for instance, it's not uncommon to see 2MB/s download speeds. The 1mbps upstream speed, however, was always a source of frustration for me. I shoot a lot of photos and videos, and when you're uploading 600 MB of JPEGs or an 800 MB HD video file, uploading at 1mbps is a painfully slow process, requiring hours. My ISP has been constantly ratcheting up download speeds, which is great, but the upload speeds have been between 512kbps and 1mbps (depending on the account) for years.

Pricing is also a concern; this article by Michael Geist has some shocking facts that are worth digging in to: Canada ranks 14th in the world in terms of high-speed accessing being affordable. Consumers in the UK pay an average of $30 USD equivalent, while we in Canada pay an average of $45 USD equivalent. That's a 50% hike! To put that into direct context, my ISP (Shaw) charges $33/month for their cheapest package if you don't also have other services from them. The speed of this $33 package? A sluggish 1mbps download speed and glacial 256kbps upload speeds. Oh, and a 10 GB/month bandwidth cap as an extra kick in the head. Read more...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bye Bye Analog Cable

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 AM

"On a final note, the loss of ClearQAM access is likely going to be followed by the loss of some fraction of the HTPC market, where users will not find as much value in a device that can no longer watch or record live TV from their cable company. Because of this potential nosedive in the HTPC market, I would be very surprised if Microsoft stayed entirely mum on the issue. They've put a lot of effort into Windows Media Center as a TV viewing platform and HTPC suite over the years, and this drives a stake right through that given the low adoption of CableCARD systems. Microsoft has been diversifying their TV operations over the years by getting satellite companies on-board and making some investments in IPTV/Internet TV, but cable TV is too big to ignore if Microsoft wants to keep pushing WMC. What this may lead to is anyone's guess, but unless they're going to drop the emphasis on TV viewing with WMC something will need to happen to keep WMC relevant in the cable TV space."

In theory CableCARD is great. The problem is, few sets support it. I hate cable boxes, but have one on our main set simply because it is required to get anything other than basic cable. This unfortunately leaves the rest of our TV's out in the cold and from the looks of the above article, it is only going to get colder. Hopefully this will go away over the coming decade. I don't think it is a huge stretch of the imagination to assume basic PC functionality will be included in TV's in the future. This combined with the future version of some service like Hulu could pave the way for a la carte service directly from the the studio and leave Comcast and friends out in the cold instead.

Tags: cable, htpc

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Is Comcast Feeling the Pressure from Hulu?

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 AM

"Time Warner and Comcast have joined hands in order to regain control on some of the content that is slipping right out from under 'em. In the olden days, the only portal for catching content was the 'tube; today, a vast array of television shows are available gratis on the web, and that's downright frightening for pay-TV operators. Today, both firms are detailing TV Everywhere in the most general way possible, only telling us that paying Comcast subscribers will soon have access to "premium long-form content" via a web portal. TNT and TBS are the only networks specifically named thus far, but considering that both of those already offer their best programming online to everyone, we're not terribly impressed."

I'm thinking cable networks are going to start getting desperate. Hulu, Netflix, and DTV offer a much cheaper alternative than even basic cable. Unfortunately, giving subscribers what they can already get for free elsewhere will probably do little to help solve this problem.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cable TV's Value Challenged

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 09:30 PM

"More and more of my friends and co-workers are getting tired of dealing with this cost, not to mention the associated taxes, and hassles the cable company puts you through. They beginning to ask, “Can I live without cable?” I have been looking into the answer to this question for some time now. If you had asked me 2 years ago, I would have said no. At least for most people. Ask me again today, and I would say Yes! Between over the air (OTA, ATSC), and online, you have some good options now that you didn’t have before."

Casey Gotcher explores the numerous options for watching tv shows online that have cropped up over the past couple of years. The result is a wide variety of ways to get your American Idol fix. However, not all options are free, and managing the different video providers may get confusing for some. The big concern for me is cost. If you're trying to save, transferring the cost from your Cable TV provider to an online site doesn't make any appreciable difference. Depending on what shows you watch, you can possibly save some money though. Another important note that isn't mentioned, is that the options listed assume you live in the US of A. Being Canadian, I find my options much more limited, and you'll find the situation similar across the globe. Still, I've found that with the few shows I do watch, I can survive with what's online and OTA. Anyone else slashed their monthly bills and getting their fix online?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Denon's $499 Ethernet Cable Vs. Walmart's $0.49 Coat Hangar

Posted by Tim Williamson in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:00 AM

"High-end audio company Denon will be offering an Ethernet cable that will break the bank as it costs a whopping $499. What makes this 1.5 meter ultra-premium link cable so special? It was apparently designed for the audio enthusiast, constructed from high purity copper wire and high performance connection parts to form the AK-DL1."

Okay, so they didn't really test Denon's top of the line, 1.5 meter, $499 dollar Ethernet cable against a Walmart $0.49 coat hangar, but it would really be interesting to see how they compare! I guess I'm not clear on the purpose of super high quality Ethernet cable (either the bits get from one place to the other, or they don't, right?), so this seems slightly redunkulous to me, but maybe some of you audiophiles out there could clue me in on the practicality of cabling made to this standard.

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