Tag Archives | Time Warner

Time Warner Drops Channels from iPad App, But Adds More

Last week, I wrote about Time Warner Cable’s increasingly bitter battle with cable operators over its new iPad app. Today comes news that while the company acquiesced to some demands, it still seems intent on providing live streaming of cable content to its subscribers.

Time Warner’s most vocal critics were Fox, Viacom, and Discovery Communications. On Thursday, the company removed their channels from the service, about a dozen in all — except for Fox News. Even though it took those steps, it added 17 new channels on Friday, thus increasing the overall number of networks available through the service to about three dozen.

Consumers are responding positively to the app: the company reports some 300,000 downloads in just the first two weeks of availability.

According to Broadcasting & Cable, the networks are NBC World, CSPAN, CSPAN2, CSPAN3, Chiller, Disney XD, ESPNnews, G4, HSN, IFC, Jewelry, QVC, Sleuth, SOAPnet, Style, Golf Channel and WeTV. It also included its local news and information channels NY1 News and YNN Austin in those markets.

It’s clearly a sign that Time Warner has no intention of backing down, meaning that we’re probably heading for a showdown between the cable provider and the networks. What remains to be seen is whether Time Warner’s move emboldens other providers to do the same. There’s always power in numbers.

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Time Warner, Networks Face Off Over Tablet App

Time Warner Cable is standing its ground in an increasingly bitter fight over its rights to transmit TV networks carried over its television service as it sees fit. The issue here is the company’s iPad app, which would all but turn the tablet into another TV capable of showing live programming.

This has the television networks in a tizzy, claiming that their contracts with the cable provider do not give it the right to essentially stream its content. About 32 cable channels are provided through the service, including MTV, HGTV, Discovery, and others.

Central to Time Warner’s argument is that the networks’ signals aren’t being just blindly transmitted over the open internet where anyone could attempt to snoop — the 21st Century equivalent of stealing your neighbor’s cable. Instead, it says the signals would be transmitted over its own “secure network.”

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Time Warner Tests Not-Quite-Basic Cable

Whether you blame cord-cutting or the economy, we can all agree that cable’s having a rough year. Now, Time Warner’s considering a smaller, cheaper bundle of cable channels.

The so-called “Time Warner Essentials” package will be tested in New York City and parts of Ohio, the Los Angeles Times reports. Priced at $50 per month, it’ll include roughly 50 channels, including all the broadcast networks and 12 of the top 20 Nielsen-rated cable networks. Subscribers will also be able to tack on premium channels like HBO and Showtime, and they can get but cannot get DVR service for an extra charge.

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FCC Begins Benchmarking ISPs’ Broadband Claims

The Federal Communications Commission has begun to benchmark Internet service speeds across the United States to allow consumer to compare the real world performance of their ISP with its advertised speeds. I’d like to see some action.

The program is under the aegis of the National Broadband Plan, which was created with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to accelerate broadband deployment in the United States. The FCC is gathering data down to the level of home address.

“The FCC’s new digital tools will arm users with real-time information about their broadband connection and the agency with useful data about service across the country,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement to Reuters. The benchmarks will be combined with other data and presented to Congress as part of the agency’s broadband proposal.

Consumers may visit the agency’s Broadband.gov Web page to run the rest from their PCs or download the FCC Broadband Test app for Android and the iPhone. (When I ran the test, a script froze Firefox 3.6 on my Mac to the point where I had to manually kill the process, but Safari worked without a hitch.)

The Broadband.gov test, which is powered by Ookla Net Metrics, mirrored the results given from other testing engines in my area. I have Time Warner’s Road Runner service in Manhattan. My results were: 9165kbps download speed/490 kbps upload speed.

Time Warner is cagey about putting its advertised speeds out on the Web. Its “Speeds Levels” page for Road Runner lists capabilities – not speeds. I had to look at the fine print for a comparison made with DSL services at the bottom of the page to see that it promises a standard download speed of up to 10 Mbps.

Typically, my speeds vary throughout the day. A Speakeasy speed test returned downstream results of 3.5Mbps yesterday afternoon. I informed Time Warner about the issue through its e-mail support, and received a boilerplate answer about resetting my modem and router as a response.

Hey FCC –how about some accountability with those benchmarks? Most Americans get broadband from regional monopolies or oligopolies, and I bet that their actual performance doesn’t always match what those providers advertise.

In October, the FCC concluded that open access to broadband infrastructure is a catalyst for competition and deals for consumers. That competition couldn’t come soon enough.

Now the FCC has the ammo to at least prompt better service levels. I am stuck with Time Warner. My only other option is Verizon, but my building isn’t wired for it–yet. More. Choice. Please.


AOL Back On Its Own Again

AOL FloppyWhen the original merger between Time Warner and AOL was announced in January 2000, it was heralded as a landmark merger between old and new media. Those rosy predictions never materialized, and as dialup faded away the company never recovered.

Google’s five percent stake in the company will be bought back. From there, the company would be spun off to Time Warner shareholders and run by current AOL chief Tim Armstrong. All of this should be completed by the end of the year.

According to Kara Swisher, Armstrong is set to make some significant changes to the business structure of the company. It would keep the access business that it has rather than sell it, and put all its acquisitions into a separate ventures division and look for outside funding.

Certainly none of this is coming out of left field. Most of us have known for a a long time (rumors of a spin-off/sale of AOL have been circulating for at least four years now) that something had to happen.

It will be interesting to watch and see where the company goes from here. Reports indicate that Armstrong is set to focus more on the traditional brands of AOL, AIM, and ICQ in an attempt to reconnect with consumers. Will it work? I’m not sure, but it’s worth a shot.

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