This Week in Tech 645: Not a Bright Guy

FCC cancels Net Neutrality and Ajit Pai mocks protesters. Apple’s new iMac Pro costs a minimum of $4999 and goes up from there. Disney buys 21st Century Fox, gaining X-Men, Fantastic Four, and A New Hope, along with a 60% share of Hulu. Google cancels Tango as ARCore picks up steam. As public sentiment against it grows, even Facebook admits that Facebook is bad for you. Uber spies on everybody. Tweet storms made easy. Mirai botnet that took down huge swathes of the internet was built by college kids to cheat at Minecraft. Patreon apologizes. Secret Pentagon UFO program revealed.

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Cable providers eager to enter internet streaming market

It appears some of the nation’s largest TV providers are feeling the heat from Netflix and other streaming services. Not only did DirecTV purchase Hulu to give it some expertise in this area, but the company is now trying to secure over-the-top (OTT) rights from programmers. The purpose of OTT is to allow subscribers to directly access movies and TV shows via the internet, instead of a conventional set-top box. The initiative to acquire these rights is not limited to DirecTV, it also includes Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications.

According to the Los Angeles Times, TV providers don’t plan on making the transition to online content anytime soon. The primary motivation is to get on equal footing with rivals Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. They effectively want to widen their potential distribution channels, in the scenario that internet streaming becomes the most popular viewing method. A DirecTV spokesperson told the LA Times, “Our programming deals are confidential so we can’t specifically comment, but our one objective in these deals is not to restrict access but to ensure we get equal or better treatment with both existing and new competitors.”

On another note, Intel is also trying to enter the broadband TV space. Although they wanted to launch the service later this year, they have failed to land any programmers to sign on. As a result, Intel is making up for its unproven reputation in the TV industry by offering extremely lucrative deals. Early reports suggest that Intel is willing to pay nearly 75 percent more than traditional cable companies for the same content.

Industry analysts have also suggested that Intel will have to land deals with five of the major six US media companies in order to provide a competitive breadth of channels. Not surprisingly, the chip-maker has tried their best to enter the market. A cable network executive explained that “they are very aggressive”, while a secondary source believes that once one programmer signs on, the rest should fall like dominos.

via Cable providers eager to enter internet streaming market – TechSpot.

Nielsen: Cord cutting up 150 percent since 2007

There’s no doubt that cord cutting is on the rise as services like Netflix and Hulu continue to cut into the revenue stream once dominated by cable and satellite television providers. The majority of Americans, a full 95 percent according to Nielsen, still watch television in their living rooms using these traditional sources but it’s what the other five percent are doing that’s of particular interest.

According to Nielsen’s Fourth Quarter 2012 Cross-Platform Report, more than five million households were classified as Zero-TV homes – those that have tuned out of traditional TV but still view video content. That figure is up from just two million people in 2007, we’re told.

Of these five million homes, 75 percent still have at least one television set which is used for a number of different activities like playing DVDs, video games or surfing the web.

Furthermore, 67 percent of these Zero-TV homes use alternate methods to obtain content. Of those, 37 percent used a computer, 16 percent used the Internet, eight percent relied on a smartphone and six percent used a tablet.

In related news, Nielsen found that the average American spends more than 41 hours each week engaging with content across all screens. That’s almost five and a half hours each day. Most of that time (more than 34 hours) is spent watching television although only three hours are spent watching time-shifted content.

When looking at ethnic viewing behaviors, Nielsen found that the average African-American spends almost 55 hours watching television per week, Hispanics clock nearly 35 hours and Asians account for more than 27 hours of viewing each week.

via Nielsen: Cord cutting up 150 percent since 2007 – TechSpot.