Saturday, January 15, 2011

Buying Tivo Premiere XL

I have placed an order for a Tivo Premiere XL. It duplicates some of the functions of the Vizio Blu-ray player but should provide a more integrated viewing experience. I think that the streaming content will be presented along side the broadcast content rather than requiring the selection of a separate device. The Tivo also supports more streaming content than the Vizio.

I ordered the wireless interface with the Tivo even though I have had inconsistent performance with the Vizio wireless connection. If wireless on the Tivo does not work well, I will send the adapter back and buy some power line Ethernet adapter.

I will make posts about my experience with the Tivo.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

U.S. FCC Broadband Definition and Blog

The U.S. FCC is requesting comments on how to define what broadband is. It breaks the definition down into three categories:
  • Form, Characteristics, and Performance Indicators
  • Thresholds – typically minimums
  • Updates that address the fact that a static definition will fail to address changing needs and habits

This part of the FCC's efforts to create a national broadband plan by February 17, 2010.

The FCC has started a blog called BlogBand discussing its broadband activities.

It appears that the FCC is putting needed attention on broadband in the U.S. It is about time. Broadband in the U.S. is behind leading European and Asian countries by every measure.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ofcom UK Communications Report

Ofcom issued a 334 page Communications Report that discusses TV, Radio, Telecommunications, and convergence. It has a lot of interesting information. Several points that stuck out were:
  • For the first time since Oftel started to collect market data in 1992/93, operator-reported
    revenues from telecoms services did not increase in 2008. Total revenues were
    unchanged at £39.5bn, with increasing retail revenues being offset by falling wholesale
  • Telecoms services accounted for 3.2% of total household expenditure in 2008, down
    from 3.4% in 2007. Telecoms spend fell by 5.2% in real terms over the year, the largest
    annual decline since spend on telecoms services began to fall in 2006.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of UK households had a fixed-line broadband connection in Q1
    2009, up from 58% a year previously.
  • BT’s share of retail fixed voice calls to UK geographic numbers fell to under 50% for the
    first time in 2008. Increasing use of wholesale line rental (WLR) and local loop
    unbundling (LLU) services contributed to the erosion of BT’s retail share

We should all thank Ofcom for continuing to publish these comprehensive reports that shed light on important trends.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

U.S. Telecom Antitrust Investigation

The Wall Street Journal has published an article stating that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has begun reviewing if large U.S. telcos such as ATT and Verizon are abusing their market power. This review is not targeted at a specific company today. The review is expected to cover all areas from land-line voice and broadband service to wireless.

The article points to exclusive contracts with handset vendors such as ATT's iPhone contract with Apple as an example. It also points to traffic management such as ATT's suppression of peer to peer traffic on its mobile data network as another example.

It sounds like this review is much more wide ranging than these two examples. The DOJ forced the breakup of ATT in 1984. This has largely been undone through the mergers and acquisitions that Verizon and the current ATT have made. Maybe it is time to take them apart again. The level of competition in the U.S. is certainly much less than in France, and we Americans pay for it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Survey Shows Preference for FTTH

The U.S. FTTH Council has published a survey of U.S. broadband users that shows that there is a strong preference for FTTH over cable modem broadband services. DSL had the least favorable rating for broadband services. FTTH had an even stronger preference for HD TV over FTTH compared to satellite and cable services.

The survey is well worth reading. The results are no surprised but do underscore the technical superiority of FTTH technologies.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Femto Applications

Light reading published an article describing work that is going on to develop applications that run on femto cells. There is discussion that we will see femto application stores in the future.

Many of the applications are based on presence. One example is an application that will tell your room mate to feed the fish when the femto recognizes that the room mate has returned home from work. Other applications involve home control including remotely controlling the TV or home entertainment system, the home heating and cooling system, or other home appliances.

This is interesting; however, the home controller idea has not taken hold as yet. Maybe the femto is the missing element that will make it work.

Femto Cells Coming in the UK and the U.S.

Vodafone will introduce a 3G femto service in the UK on July 1, 2009 using an Alcatel-Lucent gateway. The femto service will be available under several plans that include no charge to a cost of $250 for the gateway and $8 per month.

ATT is expanding its current 3G femto technical trial with 200 users to a marketing trial where it will be sold at ATT stores in several cities. It plans a full rollout by the end of 2009.

The telcos have significant challenges in pricing and marketing femto cells. They will have to convince a broad market what femtos do and what their benefits are.