US TV: erosion, not implosion

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US TV: erosion, not implosion

TMT Predictions 2016

Deloitte Global predicts that the US traditional television market, the world’s largest at about $170 billion in 2016, will see erosion on at least five fronts: the number of pay-TV subscribers; pay-TV penetration as a percent of total population; average pay-TV monthly bill; consumers switching to antennas for watching TV; and live and time-shifted viewing by the overall population, and especially by trailing millennials (18-24 years old).

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These are the TV channels getting crushed by people ditching their expensive cable packages

Cable TV companies could lose nearly $1 billion to people cutting the cord over the next year, but some channels will be hit harder than others.

Earlier this year, analysts at Barclays argued that channels you watch when you’re feeling lazy, “inertia channels,” will have a tough time competing moving forward. Others, like BTIG’s Rich Greenfield, have questioned the value of ESPN.

But looking to the past can give us a flavor of what will happen in the future. On Wednesday, CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla tweeted a chart from Deutsche Bank, which showed the linear TV channels with the biggest subscriber losses over the last four years.

In it you can see both “inertia” channels and “sports” channels have been hit hard. MTV and VH1, which are great for simply flipping to without knowing exactly what’s on, saw big losses, as did ESPN and ESPN2. The Weather Channel saw the biggest dip.

Here is the full chart:

Chart Deutsche Bank

A study last month by management consulting firm cg42 estimated that 800,000 cable customers will ditch their subscriptions in the next 12 months. Cg42 expects each customer to be an average loss of $1,248 annually. Cg42 also found that the average cord-cutter saves $104 per month by canceling.

As people leave cable, there are a bunch of companies stepping into the gap to offer more flexible streaming TV services tailored toward younger people. The pioneer is Sling TV, which offers a “skinny bundle” package of 25 channels for $20 per month. But there are other live TV alternatives from companies like Hulu, AT&T, and Amazon reportedly on the way.

Some of these services will preserve the “big bundle”  of dozens or hundreds of channels, but some won’t, which will put pressure on channels that aren’t deemed necessary.

It’s almost certain that some will die during the transition.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/tv-channels-hurt-by-cord-cutters-2016-10

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Survey says: streaming in, cable out


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Review of the Channel Master DVR+

Free over-the-air TV forms a huge part of what we cover here on Cordcutting.com, and for good reason. Surveys show that cord cutters are increasingly awakening to the potential of OTA TV, which offers many cord cutters the chance to watch local news and major network broadcasts for free.

Surveys show that cord cutters are increasingly awakening to the potential of OTA TV

But OTA TV has its drawbacks. You may not have to pay the cable company, but you also won’t have your familiar cable box – or its ability to record programming and access the TV guide.

That’s where companies like Channel Master come in. A new generation of DVRs is changing the way we look at OTA broadcasts. Now, consumers have the ability to record their favorite network shows, sporting events, and local news and play them on demand, blurring the line between OTA and on-demand cord cutting solutions.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at one of these new types of DVRs. The Channel Master DVR+ is an OTA DVR that also includes some OTT support. Here’s our complete review.

Device

Channel-Master-DVRplus-e1464301298380-768x576

The DVR+ itself is a pretty straightforward-looking thing – a thin black rectangular tablet. In the box, you’ll find the device itself, a power cord, a remote control, and an instruction booklet.

To do its job, the DVR+ needs to be set up like this:

DVRplus-setup

That’s an antenna attached to the DVR via coaxial, and the DVR attached to the TV via an HDMI cable. You can watch live OTA TV through the device (via the HDMI cable) as well as record. The HDMI cable and antenna are not included.

To record content and show TV guide information, the DVR also needs an internet connection, either via ethernet cable or Wi-Fi dongle (not included). To store as many recorded shows as you’re likely to want, the DVR will also need an external hard drive connected via USB (the device itself comes with just 16GB of storage). The hard drive is also not included.

It’s a little frustrating that so many other things are needed for this setup, but not included. You’ll need to buy the antenna, hard drive, and ethernet cable or Wi-Fi dongle (optional) separately.

User Experience

Once you’ve set it up, the DVR+ is a very pleasant device to use. Setup is simple – scanning for channels and choosing your location is all done through a quick step-by-step menu the first time you turn the device on. I used my own antenna, and it detected all the channels that it usually does. After confirming that I wanted to use the USB storage device and a wired network, things were off and running.

You can navigate through channels with the remote, which can also be programmed to control your television, making things nice and simple. The guide is pretty effective – not all channels have guide information, but the vast majority of them do (and all of the major networks are covered).

Choosing to record a show is as simple as hitting the “record” button. You can also select a show first to bring up a menu that lets you choose to change to that channel, record the show, or record all the shows that include the words in the title (in other words, record the series – though this method seems a little less precise than what is available on legacy DVRs).

I had no problems at all recording what I wanted to record, and the saved shows were easy to access. There didn’t seem to be any way to search through them, though, which could make it tricky if you recorded a ton of stuff.

The DVR function uses the same antenna feed as the live TV, so any disruptions in reception that happen during recording will be preserved in your digital copy.

In addition to the product’s core OTA features, the DVR+ also gives users access to OTT services like Sling TV and YouTube (sadly, most major players – like Netflix and Hulu – are not available). These services appear right in the channel guide, occupying numbers in the 900s.

Those aren’t the only non-traditional channels available. A bunch of channel numbers above 200 and below 900 are occupied by Channel Master’s own streaming channels, part of a service called Channel Master TV – which brings us to the next section.

Content

Channel Master doesn’t just rely on the OTA broadcasts and OTT apps. In addition to offering a TV guide for OTA broadcasts and access to YouTube and other OTT services on the DVR+, Channel Master has an OTT service of its own called Channel Master TV. Channel Master TV creates online channels from available web videos, much in the same way that Pluto TV does.

Channel Master TV is a nice touch, and it hints at the massive potential of this product. Being able to get streaming channels in the same place as you access OTA channels is a huge step towards combing OTA and OTT into one simple cord cutting solution.

For now, though, Channel Master TV is mostly unfulfilled potential. The streaming channel selection is quite weak compared to Pluto TV – a lot are just news clip aggregation channels – and the programming isn’t broken down on the TV guide screen (each channel just gets a description, without any program guide). That’s not a huge deal, since the live streaming channels were never the DVR+’s selling point in the first place.

Price

The Channel Master DVR+ retails for $250. Remember, that price doesn’t include a Wi-Fi dongle, hard drive, or antenna. It’s a little pricier than competitor Tablo’s product, which goes for around $220 (Tablo’s product comes similarly unequipped with antenna or hard drive).

Verdict

Antenna DVRs are pretty awesome, but they don’t come cheap. I was really impressed with everything that the DVR+ could do, and I really thought it upgraded my OTA experience quite a bit. But once you add in the price of an external hard drive (at least $50), you’re looking at about $300 for the ability to record live OTA TV.

That’s not that far off of the price of a traditional DVR, but there’s less to be recorded when you limit yourself to OTA channels, so it’s not a perfect comparison. The DVR+ isn’t that overpriced relative to the competition, but this entire market space seems a little overpriced at the moment.

With that said, if you have the budget for it, the DVR+ performs quite well. It keeps things simple and does its job well. If you’re willing to pay a few hundred bucks for the functionality Channel Master promises, you can rest assured that you’ll get it.

Source: http://cordcutting.com/review-of-the-channel-master-dvr/

 

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Do you really need cable?

How much do you pay for cable? The first year with a new cable or satellite provider is generally affordable with the generous promotions, upgrades, and free channels provided. However, after the promotional period ends, our bills always see to creep up a bit more here and there.

Every year the bloating gets larger — an extra fee for that second box we hardly use, all the movie channels that we don’t watch often, the amount of taxes and additional fees we have to pay, and so on.

All of this leads me to my next question. Have you ever thought about cutting the cord on cable or your satellite provider?

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Of Cable, Congress and Cockroaches

Mohu study puts pay TV near bottom of food chain

Author: Mike Farrell

Digital antenna maker Mohu released a consumer satisfaction study Wednesday that seems to fly in the face of industry efforts to improve customer service, with respondents putting their cable company just a step ahead of Congress and disease-carrying vermin.

According to the survey, 50% of respondents said they held an unfavorable view toward their cable company, compared to 72% that said they had an unfavorable opinion of Congress and 92% that said they did not enjoy the company of cockroaches. No word on where rats, ringworm, or the Senate ranked in the study.

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As the NFL playoffs reach the semifinals, the big winner so far is local broadcast television.

Updated: Ratings analysis shows viewers prefer watching NFL on broadcast over cable
1/19/2016 02:57:00 PM Eastern Last updated at 1/19/2016 03:38:38PM

Scott Clarke / ESPN Images

Scott Clarke / ESPN Images

As the NFL playoffs reach the semifinals, the big winner so far is local broadcast television.

Viewers prefer to watch the games on broadcast TV over cable, according to an analysis of ratings from Nielsen data conducted by the local broadcast nonprofit trade association TVB.

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Cable channel blacked out? Antenna TV still free for the taking

Ron Hurtibise, Contact Reporter
Sun Sentinel

So you’re an AT&T U-verse customer and you flipped on your TV to watch this month’s NFL playoffs — only to discover a static screen and a message that “This channel is temporarily unavailable and we are working to return it to you soon.”

You might have checked the news and learned the channel was blacked out due to a transmission fee dispute between WSVN, Miami’s Fox affiliate, and AT&T.

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When Cable Outages Hit, HDTV Antennas Provide Back-Up

By Anne Badalamenti
GoMohu.Com

Time Warner Cable Outage Strikes Carolinas

Over the weekend, thousands of Time Warner Cable subscribers experienced cable outages, internet outages, and even phone outages. The outages lasted for hours. People were frustrated they were missing Week 16 NFL action, unable to stream Netflix, etc. And understandably given the ever-increasing cost of cable and internet. This type of outage is nothing new, unfortunately. They seem to occur with such frequency that folks acknowledge it’s part of the package when they sign up with a provider like TWC.

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Mohu Channels review: An ugly marriage of over-the-air and streaming TV

Over-the-air broadcasts are enjoying something of a renaissance in the cord-cutting age. If you live within range of broadcast towers, a simple antenna will deliver basic channels—including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS—in beautiful high definition for free. It’s the perfect supplement to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

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5 TV antenna tricks for the modern-day cord cutter

Jared Newman | @onejarednewman | TechHive

When I was growing up, it seemed like almost everyone had cable, and owning a TV antenna meant you were stuck in the past.

But with the rise of cord cutting, the lowly over-the-air antenna has experienced a rebirth. More than just an old-school way to get basic channels like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, an HD antenna can pair with all kinds of high-tech hardware, unlocking capabilities that were never possible before.

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The case for the free cord cutter DVR

Tivo’s new over the air (OTA) only DVR, the Tivo Roamio OTA, is a test of both the market – and pricing.  Tivo’s aggressively priced it at $49 – over $100 less than any other Tivo product, and $150-200 less than competing cord-cutter products like Tablo or SimpleTV.

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TECHNOBABBLE: Cutting the cord to help the environment

I’ve talked before about the benefits of “cutting the cord,” that is, canceling your cable TV subscription but keeping your Internet connection. I cut the cord a few years ago and I find that I can see almost everything I want right away.

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Look Before You Leap: Checking the Antenna Option for Watching the NFL on Free TV

In this week’s column, Bob explains the role antennas for over-the-air broadcasts play in delivering live NFL games (and more) to fans that don’t pay for typical pay-TV programming packages and as an option to those that are contemplating cutting the cable cord.

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Spending Smart: Antenna helps kick cable TV habit

As more people rethink ways to get television programming outside the traditional cable and satellite companies, the unsung TV antenna is becoming a fundamental component of their cord-cutting strategy. That makes sense. Not only are broadcast TV signals free, but even a simple antenna can produce the best picture you’ve ever seen on your TV because the high-definition signals are less compressed than through cable or satellite.

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Simple antenna can help kick costly cable TV habit

As more people rethink ways to get television programming outside the traditional cable and satellite companies, the unsung TV antenna is becoming a fundamental component of their cord cutting strategy. That makes sense. Not only are broadcast TV signals free, but even a simple antenna can produce the best picture you’ve ever seen on your TV because the high-definition signals are less compressed than through cable or satellite.

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The Over The Air (OTA) TV Antenna Guide

Remember back in ancient times when you needed to improve your television’s over the air or OTA TV reception and Mom or Dad would adjust those long metal sticks on top of the television?  Maybe your house was at the forefront of technology and they turned a dial to position the massive erector set on your roof until the reception cleared.  It seems so quaint now, but we could all watch TV for free. Did you know you can still OTA TV for free?  Did you also know that OTA TV signals are in crystal clear HD? Furthermore, it’s free!  All you need is an OTA TV antenna and digital tuner.

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Can cutting the cable cord really save you money?

Given the recent news that HBO, CBS, and Lionsgate are launching stand-alone streaming services, you may be thinking that the time is ripe to cancel your pay-TV contract and save lots of money. For years, consumers have been asking for à la carte television that lets them buy individual channels or networks without paying for broad packages of content they don’t want. It seems that à la carte TV may be finally arriving.

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Streaming Media Apps Comparison

Confused and unsure which streaming media will work for you?  Check out this handy caparison chart to help you decide!

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