Posted on March 31, 2011
Nearly everyone realizes smartphones and iPads are intensifying cellular congestion, particularly in major cities like New York and San Francisco. Since last June AT&T refuses to offer new subscribers an unlimited-use flat rate. Even though Verizon declines to impose metered usage for new iPhones, their contracts reserve the right to unilaterally limit bandwidth to heavy users.
The chart below projects that smartphones will rise from 14% of domestic subscribers in 2008 to 90% by 2014. Even though LTE fourth generation cellular networks are coming online, they are not enough to handle the problem, particularly given the rise of iPads and other tablet computers. Read more…
Posted on March 28, 2011
The Wireless Internet Service Provider Association (WISPA) held a two day conference in Orlando last week. Three points merit attention.
First, two companies demonstrated a wireless LAN over unoccupied TV channels. This is significant because many industry observers mistakenly assume vacant TV bands are only in rural markets. Although Orlando’s MSA population is over two million, at least four White Space TV channels were available.
One company is Silicon Valley based Adaptrum. They’re developing cognitive radio chips able to promptly identify available spectrum based upon geo-location and signal sensing. Apparently their ambition extends beyond TV bands. For example, the Nation Science Foundation concluded in 2005 that only about five percent of communications spectrum between 30 MHz and 3,000 MHz is used at any given time. Frequency agile cognitive radios could spontaneously identify and use such idle spectrum. The process would be transparent to the wireless LAN user who would merely experience reliable service without realizing where, or how, his smartphone or tablet computer obtained bandwidth. Read more…
Posted on March 24, 2011
During the past dozen years the percentage of American households with DVRs increased from zero to forty percent. Viewers became increasingly accustomed to skipping commercials and viewing shows on their own timetables as opposed to broadcast schedules. The growth intensifies apprehension among sponsors that TV advertising is losing effectiveness. While to date industry efforts to combat the trend have been unproductive, recent developments suggest the tendency can be mitigated, and even reversed. When combined with better ad targeting and commercials permitting viewers to segue into spontaneous online merchandise purchases, the TV industry could advance to a new era of prosperity.
The “trick” is to transform scripted shows into realtime events. As the chief executive of CBS noted last month, “Every major (live) event over the last year – Academy Awards, Grammy’s, etcetera – did exceedingly better than the previous year.” While live performances such as athletic contests and awards ceremonies are classic examples of events, it’s increasingly feasible to convert scripted programs into realtime shared experiences as well. The key is to involve audience members in silent chatter over social networks as they watch the TV shows at scheduled broadcast times. The two most important of such networks are Facebook and Twitter. Although viewers may actually be alone, they get a sense of congregating in the living room, watching the show together. Read more…
Posted on March 23, 2011
Our research report Television Band White Spaces: Analysis and Forecast is now available from The Diffusion Group. A Summary, Table of Contents, and Exhibit List are provided below.
The price is $2,500, but those attending the FISPA/WISPA Conference in Orlando this week are entitled to a 10% discount. To access the discount attendees must place their orders with Wendy Stockard of The Diffusion Group. She may be phoned at 469-287-8061 or emailed at email@example.com.
TV Band White Spaces are the unused TV channels in each geographic area. The FCC set-aside almost fifty TV channels, but not a single city comes even close to using them all. That means there is unused TV spectrum in each locality that could be employed for other purposes including (1) wireless Internet service, (2) wireless local area networks, and (3) hot spots for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. The spectrum could be used without taking anything away from TV stations.
This report includes a five-year quantitative market forecast, as well as future business opportunities for TV Band White Spaces.
Posted on March 13, 2011
Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal recently reviewed an product intended to provide an easy way for Apple devices to control conventional televisions. For example, the device and its associated app, enables our iPhones, Touch-iPods, and iPads to function as universal TV remote controllers.
The app is particularly attractive. Instead of channels it displays pictures and summaries of shows currently playing. Users don’t even need to know the applicable channels, but instead merely touch a “Watch TV” button for the show they want to see. It can also control appliances like DVD players and Apple TVs. It helpfully avoids the common requirement to remember which TV “input” to choose for the selected appliance. Instead, it switches TV inputs automatically and presents the correct virtual remote for each appliance.
Although competitive gadgets are on the market, this one – termed the Peel – does not require any accessory attachment to the chosen Apple device. Instead a pear-shaped transceiver merely sits on a tabletop near the TV and communicates with the chosen Apple controller and TV wirelessly. Read more…
Posted on March 4, 2011
Future television commercials must be more innovative if the industry expects to remain profitable and simultaneously retain traditionally superior employee compensation. As we’ve repeatedly noted, the two keys to better advertising are (1) improved targeting — especially behavioral targeting — and (2) interactive commercials.
The cable TV industry has promised better targeting for over three years via its Project Canoe. But as explained in our analysis nearly two years ago we conclude that Project Canoe will fail because it can never match the innovative pace of the Internet.
Now arrives Old Navy using the popular Shazam mobile Internet application to bring Interactivity to a conventional television commercial — today.
By way of background, Old Navy is a mall store chain selling casual clothing targeted at ladies aged 25 – 35. Their shoppers are also often moms and owners of smartphones. Shazam is a smartphone application normally used to identify songs playing on the radio. Users activate the app, point their microphone-embedded smartphone at the music source, and Shazam normally identifies the track within thirty seconds. There are over 100 million Shazam users. Read more…
Posted on March 2, 2011
Earlier this week The Diffusion Group released market research reporting that one-third of domestic broadband subscribers have connected their TVs to a computer.
Almost precisely two years ago – March 10, 2009 — we posted a video demonstrating how to connect a laptop computer to a television as a means of getting unrestricted Internet videos on the TV. Our instructional video has been viewed almost 200,000 times. Furthermore, we emphasized the process was not “geeky” and would not be limited to Early Adopters as was popularly believed at the time. We concluded that browser, or app-centric, Internet TV would ultimately become a wave of the future.
Thus we note with interest some of the findings from The Diffusion Group report. Read more…
Posted on March 1, 2011
Don’t believe it…for three reasons.
First, owing to their historical duopoly cable operators and telcos sometimes greatly overprice ISP service – particularly for businesses.
Second, clever beam forming methods for high frequency spectrum enable large bandwidth point-to-point connections to offices where conventional Wi-Fi coverage connects end users.
Third, the applicable spectrum does not require operators to get an FCC license thereby enabling adroit competitors to promptly take customers away from CATV and telco networks.
Consider Boston. Read more…