Posts tagged internet tv

T-Mobile jumps into digital TV with Layer3 acquisition

T-Mobile, which has risen to become the nation’s third-largest wireless provider, is buying digital cable startup Layer3 TV to launch a nationwide digital internet-TV service in 2018, the company announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: T-Mobile joins AT&T and Verizon in launching its own video service, creating another challenger to traditional cable and satelite TV providers, which have been losing pay-TV subscribers as they migrate towards cheaper, digital options.

  • T-Mobile has been pushing to stay compeitive in the race for wireless consumers for years through partnerships with Netflix and unlimited data offerings. The company discussed a merger with Sprint earlier this year, but talks fell through after neither company could decide which entity would take majority stake in the merger.
  • The announcement falls in line with T-Mobile’s pitch that it is a more consumer-friendlyoption than big cable proviers like AT&T and Verizon. Layer3’s bundle does not look the same as some of the other “skinny bundles” out there, like AT&T’s DirectTV or Dish’ Sling. It’s pricer, but offers more digital HD channels (275), as well as high-end DVR capabitilies and access to other digital apps.
  • T-Mobile executives also stressed how much it values relationships with content providers, saying there are “no holes” in its relationships with content providers on a call with reporters and investors Wednesday. (Pay-TV providers and TV networks have been increasingly getting in fights over the cost of programming, which affects consumers’ access to programming.)

Written by : Sara Fischer

Taken from :

The Future of Television

Netflix just announced a whole new browsing experience for users who access the service on more than half the devices that run it, from game consoles to smart TVs. On the surface it just looks like a sleek new interface upgrade – better images, more integrated program information – but underneath there’s a hint of things to come: the idea that soon, viewers will look at the video-streaming service no differently than they do the guide channel piped in through their living room’s cable box.

“We wanted to think about ‘What is the future of television? Where is the future of television in an on-demand world?’” Chris Jaffe, Netflix’s vice president of product innovation, told WIRED while giving a demonstration of the new TV interface’s capabilities. “We also look at this as the first step of a lot of our television innovation to come.”

What Jaffe was demonstrating – a new “TV experience” that starts rolling out Wednesday to PlayStation 3 (and eventually PS4), Roku 3, Xbox 360, certain web-enabled smart TVs and Blu-ray players – is the result of a year and a half of development by Netflix. It’s the biggest change to the company’s TV experience to date and, although Jaffe doesn’t say it, offers a glimpse of what Netflix would look like if it were its own network. Earlier this year, chief content officer Ted Sarandos told GQ that the company’s goal is “to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” Want to know what that might look like? See this latest update.

And it looks pretty slick. While idling on any particular movie or TV show, a series of three static images from the media cycle in the background. It also spits out information about what Emmys/Oscars/etc. a show or movie has won and, if the user has connected their Netflix account to Facebook, it will show which of their friends also are fans. ”Reed Hastings has watched House of Cards,” Jaffe joked, pointing out that the Netflix CEO’s icon popped up after he selected the program.

He better have. Because that show – as well as Orange and its run of Arrested Development and other original programs – demonstrate what Netflix will look like in the future. The streaming service had a lot of success with its original programming – it got 14 Primetime Emmy nominations this year – and it has more in the works, including a whole slate of superhero programs from Marvel Studios. It’s easy to see how those would integrate on the new platform, which looks a lot more like a choose your own adventure cable channel than ever before. (Note that Netflix even calls itself “the world’s leading internet TV network” in the promotional video below.)

Netflix currently has some 40 million users watching a billion hours of movies and TV shows per month and has surpassed HBO with its U.S. subscriber base. To the average boob-tube junkie, it’s as much a station option as anything else they consume. Now there’s talk that Netflix wants to be piped into televisions straight through cable set-top boxes. If its goal is to be HBO, it’s on its way.

Now it comes in a prettier package. For all of the company’s talk about what a major overhaul the new interface it is, it’s not mind-blowing – simply on-par with how sleek the web looks these days. But, like the previous incarnations of Netflix on TV, it still looks a lot better than surfing through the channel guide coming out of a standard set-top box. So while Netflix still has a ways to go before it’s consistently producing the volume and quality of content that most cable channels do, it already comes in a much sleeker container. And one day – if cable ever steps up its interface game – it might be hard to tell the difference between the two.