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Mobile Video

Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s plans to stream live TV to tablets kicks off Monday's look around the cable realm.

  • Comcast is closing in on the launch of AnyPlay, a service that will let customers stream live TV networks to iPads and other mobile devices over their home Wi-Fi network, says MacRumors. Comcast was not immediately available for comment Monday, but the speculation is that the MSO will kick off AnyPlay using Televation, an in-home streaming transcoding device developed for Comcast by Motorola Mobility LLC that converts live cable TV signals into formats that can be displayed on mobile devices. (See Moto, Comcast Team on In-Home TV Streamer and Comcast Keeps Eye on the iPad Prize.)

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) CEO Joseph Clayton tossed more grist into the rumor mill by telling Bloomberg that the satellite TV giant "could" purchase or partner with a wireless company such as Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) or Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR). In a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing, Dish showed interest in developing a Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced network under a subsidiary called Gamma Acquisition. (See Dish Sizing Up Mobile Broadband Service and Charlie Ergen's Spectrum Grab .)

  • Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) has outbid HBO to notch an exclusive streaming deal with DreamWorks Animation, agreeing to pay US$30 million per film, reports The New York Times. The deal gives Netflix access to DreamWorks franchises such as Shrek in the pay-TV window starting in 2013, and comes as a bit of positive news as Netflix licks its wounds following recent price hikes, the failure to renew its contract with Starz Entertainment LLC and the splitting off of its DVD business. (See Netflix Does the Splits .)

  • Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) also started off the week with a streaming deal -- this one with 20th Century Fox -- that gives Prime Instant subs access to older movies and TV shows such as Office Space and Arrested Development. Amazon says Prime Instant's library is set to expand to 11,000 movie and TV titles this fall.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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    msilbey 12/5/2012 | 4:52:44 PM
    re: Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets

    The big question with the Comcast live TV service, is will it come with a fee? If so, I don't imagine that adoption will be very high. Which of course may be exactly what Comcast wants in the near term. Given the network demand associated with live video streaming, it strikes me that Comcast may want to market this for competitive reasons, but not actively drive a lot of usage. Adding a fee would certainly accomplish that

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:52:44 PM
    re: Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets

    Right, while we're at it, I could buy Clearwire... if I had access to endless sums of money and 568 other things fell into place. This is all part of the way Dish likes to play things... keep 'em guessing about what cards they truly have without ruling out anything.  I think a partnership (perhaps with some ownership) stake with one of the wireless players makes more sense since there's probably no chance that Dish would strike out on its own to build a wireless network on its own... all they have to do it look at how that turned out for Cox to toss that one out of the playbook of possibilities. JB




     
    kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:52:44 PM
    re: Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets

    It's all well and good for Dish to say it's "thinking" about buying Clearwire -- but how exactly would Dish get the money? Or convince major Clearwire investor Comcast that it's a good idea?


    Anyone figure out a target price for Clearwire yet? My guess is somewhere in between $10B and $20B -- mainly based on spectrum alone. I mean, if T-Mobile is worth $39B for its spectrum... 

    kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:52:44 PM
    re: Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets

    It's all well and good for Dish to say it's "thinking" about buying Clearwire -- but how exactly would Dish get the money? Or convince major Clearwire investor Comcast that it's a good idea?


    Anyone figure out a target price for Clearwire yet? My guess is somewhere in between $10B and $20B -- mainly based on spectrum alone. I mean, if T-Mobile is worth $39B for its spectrum... 

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:52:43 PM
    re: Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets

    True, how they price it will factor in pretty heavily. I doubt they'll blow everyone away and do this as a freebie.  If I had to guess, maybe they'll shoot for a lease rate of $5 or less per month, but even that doesn't look so hot when TWC and Cablevision are delivering live TV streams to iOS devices for no additional fee.


    But if they end up charging a fee, what would you be willing to pay?  Is $2/month a fair price?


    And you're all set if you've got a Slingbox, and get the bonus of accessing your TV outside the home -- something Televation won't do, at least not yet.


    But it appears that some of this is being modeled on the Sling approach, so perhaps there's a chance Comcast will allow out-of-home access later on. According to the docs posted at MacRumors, AnyPlay will let customers register up to 10 tablets for AnyPlay, but allow just one tablet to play TV at a time.  JB


     

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:52:43 PM
    re: Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets

    Interesting way to go about it from Comcast's perspective, if it uses a device like this instead of an IP simulcast (like Cablevision and TW Cable are doing) to deliver live TV streams to iPads and other devices on the home network.  Of course, Comcast will probably do this as well, eventually, but this is one way to get up and running by using the QAM video that's already coming into the house and encapsulating it into IP streams. 


    I suppose this Televation approach (or that sidecar thing that Entropic and Zenverge are working on) might also be a way Comcast can initially support those Samsung connected TVs via that partnership they announced at the 2011 CES. But that would still require a separate box, which sorta defeats the purpose of a set-top-free TV.


    And as Televation goes, tick-tock, tick-tock. In June, Moto said it expected deployments to start in the third quarter.


    JB


     


     


     

    msilbey 12/5/2012 | 4:52:42 PM
    re: Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets

    Good point about avoiding IP simulcasting. I wonder what the economic delta is between using an in-home networking and transcoding solution versus IP simulcasting. And what does Comcast's migration path look like?

    Cooper10 12/5/2012 | 4:52:42 PM
    re: Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets

    There will not be a "one size fits all" solution for streaming content to IP devices - TWC offers live in-home streaming of ~100 channels (but no broadcast, ESPN, or regional sports),  they offer live ESPN with authentication on the WatchESPN site, and they are offering rebates on Sling Boxes as a promotion for their high speed internet tier.  There are multiple ways to skin the cat here, and technology and rights restrictions will drive some creative solutions to meet consumer demand.

    Cooper10 12/5/2012 | 4:52:42 PM
    re: Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets

    I'm beginning to think that Charlie brought Joe Clayton in to create diversions for the press so that they would leave Charlie alone...Clayton seems to be good at making statements that make headlines, but mean nothing...

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:52:40 PM
    re: Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets

    In agreement with you there.  I'm getting the sense that transcoding on the gateway and IP simulcast will both play a part.


    For the life of me I can't recall who mentioned this to me, but I was told that transcoding QAM into IP on a gateway or some sort of separate device will do fine for a while but starts to grind when it's trying to do multiple streams simultaneously (which is one of the reasons Entropic likes Zenverge , apparently) , but that MSOs can use IP simulcast to relieve some of that load.  And it works the other way around, since bandwidth could get eaten up pretty quickly if a bunch of subs are requesting unicast streams over-the-top all at the same time. JB


     

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