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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 04, 2014

Week in Review: Netflix in Germany, Amazon/Opera, Comcast Customer Service

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

This week we turn first to the German market, where the entrance of Netflix in Western Europe is prompting new questions about how much VOD could reshape user behavior. New habits have a huge role to play whenever a new technology creates the possibility of new behaviors and spending patterns. According to TNS (News - Alert), more than 60 percent of survey respondents reported they have been watching more prime video content overall, and at least half of respondents reported buying fewer DVDs as a result. Also, 33 percent of men and 23 percent of women said they went to a cinema less often as a result of their use of video on demand services.

To read more about Netflix’ impact in Germany, click here.

Turning to over-the-air (OTA) broadcast, 4SeTV is getting ready to debut a set-top box tuner next month that allows users to simultaneously watch four OTA live broadcast streams on any screen. Founder Hyung Lim told TMC (News - Alert) that 4SeTV is “funded by a Korean STB company,” as an effort to revitalize the relevance of live television, and to unify the multiscreen experience. For example, users on an iPad can combine channels as they like, and then use the functionality from a navigation perspective, pushing individual feeds from the device to a TV.

Read more from our exclusive interview, by clicking here.

Meanwhile, small independent telcos in the United States of course have different economic models than Tier 1 service providers—there are just some lines of business a small provider cannot reasonably expect to undertake, because scale is required. As such, there actually is not a sustainable business model for many small telcos in rural areas. That is why universal service funds exist.

But the key issue is that universal service funding now goes only to service providers who offer high speed access and voice. And if universal service funding is the difference between sustainability and failure, then it sort of makes sense that some executives would decide to get out of the costly and typically money-losing subscription video business altogether.

To read more from this column on USF, click here.

Tier 1s may not worry about scale, but brand image is a big deal. And Comcast (News - Alert) consistently ranks low in independent customer satisfaction surveys and have been plagued by highly publicized failings in the past year. To fix it, Comcast has appointed a fast-rising executive, Charlie Herrin, as senior vice president of customer experience. Herrin will oversee a sector of Comcast business with over 50 call centers and thousands of customer service employees and technicians.

Check out the analysis, by clicking here.

Comcast is also in the news this week for extending the value of its DVR services, with the rollout of the X1 DVR with cloud technology in the San Francisco Bay Area and Houston. Customers will be able to stream and download their recorded DVR programs to any Internet-connected device; and while in the home, turn any mobile device into a television with the ability to stream virtually the entire channel line-up and Xfinity On Demand catalog. Or, if a person knows they’re going to be on a plane without an Internet connection, they can download a movie or show to a device and watch it later.

For full details, click here.

On the over-the-top (OTT) front, Tesco shoppers will no longer be able to add video to their shopping lists: Tesco has put its Blinkbox online video division up on the block, just three years after buying it, and will discontinue its Clubcard video service. The grocery retailer is a household name in the U.K., and had acquired Blinkbox in 2011 to dive into the video business, taking an 80 percent stake for an undisclosed sum. But according to reports, the undertaking was far more expensive than originally thought. Tesco’s new CEO, has undertaken a strategic review and has decided to pursue a sale. If a buyer can’t be found, Blinkbox will be closed.

Read more about why Tesco failed in its OTT dreams, by clicking here.

Others are doing just fine with OTT. Case in point: Amazon Fire TV, which just added a series of long-tail video channels to its lineup, created via the Opera TV Snap technology. Amazon’s streaming media box now has a series of Opera TV Snap apps that have all been especially selected to offer more niche content. The diversity bouquet includes topics like motoring, music, travel, celebrity gossip, extreme sports and the great outdoors.

Check out all of the details in our full analysis.

And finally, Deviser Instruments’ DS2800 Cable TV Analyzer has received a four-diamond rating by Broadband Technology Report in its 2014 Diamond Technology Reviews program. This field cable TV analyzer's persistent analysis facilitates in-service detection of transient noise and impairments hiding beneath the upstream signal.

To see the full news story, click here.

To check out more details on all of this and more, visit our homepage. And have a great weekend!

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