Category Archives: Broadband

Only 37% will buy connected TVs for broadband – YouGov

A survey by UK pollster YouGov suggests that well under half of UK consumers (37%) planning to buy a Connected TV will buy it because it is broadband-enabled. Instead, the most common reason for intending to buy one is simply having a more up-to-date TV – a factor cited by 50% of potential purchasers.

YouGov found that the most important feature of Connected TVs amongst people who already owned one was the picture quality (cited by 96% of owners) followed by the size of the screen (93%) then sound quality (89%).

Furthermore, only half (53%) of Connected TV owners correctly identified a Connected TV as a TV that connects to the Internet without the need for another device; while one in four (25%) Connected TV owners have never used it to connect to the internet.

YouGov commented that the profile for adoption of Connected TV sets in technology terms was “very similar” to that of iPad owners: “These are the kind of people who are willing to make a big ticket purchase without quite realising what they’ve bought.”

Other data shows that amongst owners of Connected TVs, over one third (36%) have a Sony, followed by Samsung (33%) then Panasonic (16%). However, almost two-thirds (62%) of people planning to purchase one in the next 12 months are considering Samsung, followed by Sony (48%) and Panasonic (40%).

Meanwhile, over one quarter (26%) say they plan to buy an Apple TV, even though the manufacturer has not yet launched one.

The research is likely to be a major talking-point at the Connected TV Summit later this week, at which farncombe will be speaking as well as chairing.

Adobe abandons Flash on TVs as well as mobiles

The Gigaom website says that yesterday’s ZDNET exclusive about Adobe abandoning Flash in favour of HTML-5 wasn’t confined to the mobile space.

In a statement released to Gigaom, an Adobe spokeperson reportedly confirmed it would no longer focus on porting the Flash plugin into web browsers on CE devices, either. The Adobe statement said:

“Adobe will continue to support existing licensees who are planning on supporting Flash Player for web browsing on digital home devices and are using the Flash Player Porting Kit to do so. However we believe the right approach to deliver content on televisions is through applications, not a web browsing experience, and we will continue to encourage the device and content publishing community down that path.”

The late Steve Job’s long-standing opposition to the standard was no doubt influential in the move, since as a result, Flash was not supported on iPhones, iPods or iPads. In a famous open letter in April 2010, Jobs outlined his reasons for the Apple ban,arguing that “the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

Jobs went on to predict that “new open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too).”

UPDATE: Farncombe has published an analysis of how Adobe’s decision will impact service providers and connected TV platforms here.

Plum Consulting: ‘Using L-Band for mobile downloads in EU could generate €54bn over 10 years’

A new study by Plum Consulting argues that using the so-called L-Band in Europe (1452-1492 MHz) for a terrestrial supplemental mobile downlink could address burgeoning requirements for download capacity in the mobile sector, and generate net present value of up to €54bn over ten years.
Plum notes there is currently”a significant asymmetry of mobile communications traffic, with up to eight times as much data being downloaded than is being uploaded.” This is due to the very rich content being made available, ranging from videos, to apps and to books.
Plum concludes that the L-Band is “the ideal solution, not just to help address the spectrum crunch but as an important step forward in achieving the EU’s Digital Agenda target of providing 30Mbps access to 100% of European citizens by 2020.”

Heavy Netflix streamers bear out pay-TV ‘cord-cutting’ fears

New research from The Diffusion Group suggests that although the propensity for ‘cord-cutting’ (i.e. downgrading or termination of pay-TV subscriptions) in the USA is mainly associated with economic stringency, this changes amongst heavy users of Netflix video streaming.
TDG found that 61% of moderate to heavy Netflix streamers cited online video usage as the top reason why they would do so. Only 24% of this group cited economic issues as their main rationale.
For the average Netflix user, however, the finding was reversed: only a third would cord-cut because they thought use of online video was substitutive.

BSkyB’s Sky Player: subs forced to opt out of targeted advertising and accept cookies

Only a few weeks after I blogged about the content restrictions Sky Player imposes in an online environment (relative to the satellite one), Sky has now emailed every Sky Player user a new set of terms and conditions.

The most significant change relates to targeted advertising. The Sky email states: “In future, the advertising you see on Sky Player may be better tailored to your interests. The new system, which is called Sky AdSmart, uses customer information to replace some general adverts with ones which we believe to be more relevant to viewers’ potential preferences and interests.”

(Sky AdSmart can be thought of as an Internet-based precursor to targeted ad-substitution on Sky’s satellite PVR platform, due to begin in the first half of 2011.)

Accordingly, the new Ts & Cs s state that Sky will use ‘cookies’ for the purpose of “serving behavioural and tailored advertising on Sky online services and websites and selected third party websites, [...] which means you may receive advertisements which are more relevant to you.”

There is an opt-out, of course: users can go to their personal profile and tick a box to say they do not wish to receive this kind of targeted advertising – but the default position is that unless they do so, they will get it: this is not an opt-in system. Ticking the box effectively disables the ‘session cookie’ as well as what Sky calls the ‘Audience Science cookie’.

However, for those who wish to disable all of their cookies (Sky lists six different types including the two above), this will completely disable the Sky Player service. The new Ts &Cs state that “The Service cannot operate if you set your browser to reject all cookies.”

It is not immediately obvious why this should be so, because Sky Player doesn’t rely on these cookies to identify the subscriber or the device as legitimate: in the Ts & Cs, Sky says that users must consent to information being collected about them through the service, which includes the Microsoft Windows Product Key of the registered device, its IP address, and “information derived from the hardware configuration of [the device].” This is of course in addition to the requirement to login and enter a password to use Sky Player. Other authentication information is also presumably being passed back and forth by the Windows DRM system Sky Player uses.

I have to say I find both the ‘opt-out’ and ‘cookie acceptance’ policies surprisingly heavy-handed. But perhaps that is the intention – to test consumer reaction to such policies in the online environment before they finally determine how to soften them for the satellite domain.

The new Ts & Cs also tighten another screw, incidentally: it was definitely my impression that previously, you were allowed to watch Sky Player content on different registered devices at the same time – as long as it wasn’t the same content. The updated version now says you can’t watch any content on two registered devices at the same time. If you boot up a second registered device, you’ll simply stop receiving the content you were watching on the first one.

I can think of good practical reasons for doing that: quality is likely to be reduced on both streams unless the household has at least 4-5Megs available downstream. But isn’t that a matter for the user?