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26 Jul

How to Pay Less for More Cable TV

Century Link TV

Cable TV Providers

There are plenty of cable TV options available to the average consumer these days, and in many ways, that makes it hard to choose the one that works best for you. It needs to be said that there are hordes of people who want no more than a few channels at an affordable price, as opposed to the hundreds that many subscribers pay dear amounts for. Following are some ways to find the cheapest cable TV options you can get in your area, and a look at how to reduce your monthly bill after sufficient time has passed.

Research your Possible Options

There are many ways a customer can go when choosing a TV package, and you should be versed with what is within your grasp. There are plenty of things you would do well to learn, such as the basics, the bundles, and the advanced uses. Simply knowing these options well is a good way to steer your decision in the right direction. For instance, in the U.S., every cable TV provider has to give a “basic cable option” that covers local-access channels and broadcast channels, as well as the public service and government channels.

The government controls the pricing on these packages, which often come at less than $20 a month, although many cable providers understandably neglect to mention them on their websites. Go up a tier and you would find the “standard” or “expanded basic” package from each provider, which offers more channels, but for a higher price. However, the provider would normally tout this as the cheapest cable TV package they are providing.

The bottom line is that you need to know how little you can get what you pay for. Package pricing and channel lineup can also vary with region, which is why it is vital to not leave out the fine print when you read the from your are about to sign. Be aware of the basic cable provision requirements as laid out by your government-run communications agency, so that you know what any provider is legally mandated to give you.

Determine the Coverage you Need

The cheapest cable TV package would sure cost you the least, although you would definitely not get a large channel lineup in a plan titled “basic”. The good part is that you would be paying the minimum amount every month. However, if you know your family needs more than this, be specific while choosing.

You may be big on sports, or even arts, in which case it is often best to pick what the provider recommends based on your preference. It gets hard when the people in the family have conflicting entertainment needs, and you need to make sure everyone is happy. However, if you monthly budget cannot handle a plan on one of the top tiers, everyone would need to compromise.

There may be channels that cost extra which air less than a handful of shows that you want to watch. If that is the case, give serious thought to waiting for the DVD release instead, or watching these online. Again, read the fine print, and plan ahead so you do not make an ill-advised choice, like subscribing to 24 months’ worth of kid’s channels when your child is entering his or her teens.

Go by Provider

  • First off, start with finding out which providers offer the cheapest cable TV packages in your neighborhood. You may be in an area which some of the major companies do not service, so check who does. A simple search on Google with your zip code at the end should get you what you are looking for. If a provider you are interested in does not offer a deal as sweet as what you found online, roll up your sleeves and get ready to negotiate.
  • Call them up. As said, most providers would not advertise their cheapest cable TV package, for the simple reason that they are not required to. Checking their website would only show you the “standard” package, and stuff priced higher. To know about the cheapest cable TV package they are offering, you will need to call in person and ask for that specific bit of information. If you do decide to sign up and want some changes made, this too will need to be specified over the phone.
  • Make sure you ask for the “basic” package, and do not let them talk you into getting “standard” or “expanded basic”. Keep steering the conversation back to what you called to find out about, and if need be, remind them that this is something they are legally required to sell. The last card you can play is telling them this is simply all you can afford, at which point most salespeople would pick something over nothing, especially if you sound like a potential cord-cutter. Find out about channel lineup and pricing, and if some of your favorites are included or can be added to the cheapest cable TV package they are offering.

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There is always the chance you will be unsatisfied with what the “basic” package brings. If that happens, the next thing to do is Google for the cheapest cable TV deals inside the “standard” tier. Just search for “cheap cable” followed by your zip code, and you will get enough to work with. Some sites allow you to draw up charts to visually compare pricing from different providers.

Give thought to what channels and features you will get for a given amount. On a cautionary note, be suspicious of deals that come at low monthly rates for limited periods; it is a given that the company will raise the price after you have gotten hooked on their programming, which is bound to happen, because TV is addictive.

Getting your Monthly Bill Lowered

After you have been enjoying the entertainment benefits of your TV package for a while, you may start feeling that you are paying overly for what you are getting. This is particularly likely if you did not go for one of the cheapest cable TV deals originally, but instead chose a plan with more bells and whistles. Luckily, there are ways to cut your bill while hanging on to the reality shows and sports programming you really love.

Jump to a Lower Tiered Package

Evaluate your usage monthly, and see if you need all of those premium channels. Packages with more channels would weigh down your bill, so if you see any features, which you can comfortably do without, drop them. This will not go unnoticed, and there is every chance that a company rep would call you up to ask why you are choosing to go this way.

Be blunt and tell them you do not want to pay as much as you used to, but are willing to meet them somewhere in the middle where pricing is concerned. Wait and see if these words work magic, because they almost always do.

Try Bundling Internet with TV

This is one of the best ways to save money, as long as you get both services from the same provider. Not only do you have to pay just a single bill at the end of each month, but also the individual prices usually drop substantially. If you speak to the right sales rep, you may even get further discounts. In a nutshell, any company would want to get you to buy more stuff from them.

A bundle deal essentially requires you to pay for both services even at times when you end up needing just one of them, which is good from the provider’s perspective. However, if you foresee that happening, keep getting your services separately, no matter how hard they try to get you to bundle them. Risking an ETF is definitely not a smart thing to do as an entertainment consumer.

Sign a Long Term Contract

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A contract or a service agreement is seen as a bad thing by most people, but you should know that the ones who agree to this are more likely to get attractive discounts from their providers. A two-year agreement, for instance, gives the company the guarantee that you will stay on for that time period, or pay an early termination fee to get out. This means they probably have distinct on- and off-contract pricing, and the former is what you want to be able to partake in.

If you are sure you will not switch providers before a contract would expire, then there is simply no good reason not to sign one. As the benefits of this rush in, you may even get more value for money than you would have signing up for the cheapest cable TV deal you could find.

Shop Around

Both your current provider and their competition offer services you should check out. They probably provide far better deals than they advertise, a lot similar to their cheapest cable TV deals. Many companies draw in new customers with tempting packages, usually featuring either cheaper prices or higher value for money. If your contract is about to expire, you can go to another provider and get something similar.

If you decide to stay on instead, and see that new customers are being treated to far better plan features for the same price you pay, call up the provider and ask them why a loyal customer like you is not getting the same perks. This should elicit the reaction you want, especially if you tell them your neighbor is getting a far more attractive price despite being a relatively new user.

Call and Demand a Discount

Sometimes this is all it takes to shave a substantial amount off your monthly bill, and you will not know unless you have tried. Every cable TV provider is willing to talk pricing at any time of day, and even more so if you are currently approaching the end of your contract. Call them up and ask what they can do for you. If you get the right service rep on the phone, be patient, and play sufficiently nice, they would probably call you back with the kind of sweetened deal you were looking for. At the end of the day, this soundly beats signing up for the cheapest cable TV deal you can find.

Negotiate

If the provider will not give you TV service for a cheaper price, start negotiating. Many providers are agreeable to haggling, and you can get them to listen if you quote the competition’s pricing, and subtly hint at a chance of you ending your contract. To know about what the competition is offering, Google their plans. If you keep trying, at the very least, they are bound to give you a slight raise in internet speed, or a couple premium channels. Something is better than nothing, and you can always try again.

Tell Them you Will Leave

Stay polite, but if the negotiations do not go your way, then tell them that you believe you can get better service elsewhere. Any representative’s first instinct is to try and keep you from doing that, and if they have to offer up an enticing deal to that end, they probably will. Better yet, when you call, say it is to complain about the pricing, or lower your plan, or even cancel. Chances are you will be treated to a “special” deal that not everyone gets.

Companies allow representatives to offer these to reel in customers who look like they will probably leave. Such a plan may even cut your monthly bill by up to $20, and that is a definite steal. This too beats signing up for the cheapest cable TV deal you can find.

Switch Providers

If you find your current provider is not giving enough for the money you pay them each month, and talking to them has not helped, then switching may be the only imperative. This is where the lack of a contract comes in handy; subscribers bound by one would have to dish out exorbitant early termination fees (ETF) for essentially breaking it.

After the end of your contract, use the tricks above to get the best deals out of the subscriber you next sign up with, and while opting for the cheapest cable TV deal may sound good, there is wisdom in seeing if you can get better value for money on a higher tiered plan. You can even call a competitor before switching, and see what offers mentioning your current provider gets you.

04 Jul

An Overview of Cable TV and the Best Services Offered

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Cable TV Services

The cable system has emerged phenomenally in the United States in the recent years, and now, cable TV providers serve approximately 60 million homes in the nation. In the past, antennas and amplifiers were used to transfer the signals to television sets and a line of sight connection was required. Hence, people living in the remote areas were not able to watch their favorite TV programming. Yet things have changed now, and almost every resident in the country has access to the best cable deals.

In case of remote areas, a community antenna will be used in order to provide cable TV services, and the same method is used all over the country in order to offer a wide variety of programming and TV channels to individual homes. In the process, a coaxial cable is used in order to transport the signals to a consumer’s hub, which they can easily plug it to their television. In case of poor signal reception, cable TV providers may install amplifiers at certain distances in order to boost up the signal and to offer a great TV watching experience to their consumers.

The Evolution of Cable TV

A cable television broadcasts two types of signals: analog and digital. Traditionally, a cable TV service used analog signal to deliver video content, and it often ran into interferences and noises. This in turn affected the video and audio quality of the programming. On the other hand, digital TV is a newer approach to cable television and delivers high-quality content from the providers’ point to the consumers’ end. As the name indicates, digitally encoded signals are fed into a television set in this case so as to give an incomparable viewing experience to a customer.

As the quality was at stake, people started opting for streaming services over traditional cable TV, which lead to a growing trend of “cord cutting” in the US. Interestingly, even though digital cable TV connection fills the gap between quality and content delivery, some telecommunication companies are urging their consumers to cut the cords and adopt the streaming services these days. This is because most of the leading cable providers also offer high-speed internet access to their customers these days, which facilitates seamless video content streaming. However, according to a recent study, nearly 45% of the residents in the United States still prefer a traditional cable TV connection to the streaming services. This is mainly because of the cable TV plans and best cable deals they can get, which gives access to hundreds of channels in a much affordable pricing.

In the streaming services, the number of channels that you can watch is limited when compared to wired cable TV services. Additionally, some of the streaming services will not allow you to watch the contents that are aired on local channels. Another important thing that cord cutters need to notice is that a reliable and strong internet connection is required for watching programs using a streaming service. Hence, it is better to rely on cable TV service if you do not have access to a high-speed internet connection.

Grabbing the Best Cable Deals

It can be seen that many consumers usually complain about the pricing of their cable TV packages being very high. This is mainly because of their lack of knowledge about the best cable deals that different cable TV providers offer. In order to get the best out of it, compare different TV plans that are offered by the cable providers in your area and choose one that works best for you as well as your family. This way, you can avail the cheapest and best cable deals with ease. Note that the increasing number of cord cutters has also motivated many of the cable TV providers to offer exciting offers and promotional deals to both their existing and new subscribers.

In fact, the enormous possibilities in the market have paved way for many cable TV providers to come up and offer hundreds of channels to millions of subscribers in the US for reasonable prices. Below are some of the best cable providers you can choose today. Note that the pricing given below for various packages are not fixed and it may change with time or other specifics.

Comcast XFINITY®

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Telecommunication Services

The XFINITY® cable TV service by the telecommunication giant Comcast® is one of the best in the market that you may count on. The cable company offers some of the best cable deals that anyone can hardly resist. One of the main advantages of choosing XFINITY® cable TV is the affordability; their cable services cost less than most of the other cable TV providers in the United States. For instance, consider the Digital Starter TV plan by XFINITY®, which offers 140+ channels for just $49.99 a month. This package is way too affordable when compared to other top cable providers. Additionally, the Digital Starter TV plan boasts that almost every channel included in the pack is listed in the top 25 cable TV networks. Some of those channels include Discovery, ESPN, TNT, AMC, USA, The CW, etc. So, you do not need to stress about missing any of the most popular channels or your favorite shows if you avail the cable services offered by XFINITY®.

Another advantage of availing the best cable deals offered by Comcast XFINITY® is the no-contract policy of the company. This is a great option for all the cable TV users out there, who are hesitant to make commitments. Anyhow, you will have to pay an additional cost of $10 in order to avail the no-contract service by XFINITY®. Other than that, the cable service provider also offers some of the best equipment to their subscribers. Consider the XFINITY® X1 DVR, for instance – it is one of the best choices that you may consider. The DVR is able to record about six shows in a go, which is really remarkable. Furthermore, it can also save High Definition recordings up to 100 hours. Some of the other cool features that the DVR entails include an X1 voice controlled remote, Netflix integration, etc.

Cox®

The best cable deals offered by Cox Communications® are highly remarkable. More than that, the way that they sell their services is somewhat different from others but extremely brilliant. At first, the cable TV provider used to sell a number of cable plans that include an apparently random set of channels. Now, they have become more attentive, and have trimmed down the number of cable plans offered to two, namely Flex Starter and Contour TV. Each of the TV plans comes with a set of customizable add-ons as well.

Cox® cable is the best bet for people who love to customize their channels, and thereby, enjoy more flexibility. In case of Contour TV plan, you can access more than 140 channels of almost every top-rated digital cable network. You can also avail some of the High Definition Contour TV plans and On-Demand entertainment services in the package. For instance, some of the additional services offered by the Contour TV plan include free DVR, voice-controlled remote, ability to record up to 1000 hours, etc. You can enjoy all these services at $64.99 per month. For a cheaper option, you may consider the Flex Starter plan. Here, you can watch 75+ channels for just $44.00 a month.

Even though you will have to sign a 2-year contract in order to avail the cable services of Cox®, the best cable deals offered by the company is worth it. Unlike other providers, Cox® will not increase the promotional pricing largely, and hence, its average price remains almost steady.

According to a recent study, the average increase in pricing of the services from the promotional period with Cox® is 27%. Similarly, the price hike that you may expect with the cable service provider over two years is reported to be an average of $101.37. Moreover, the hidden fees are comparatively low with Cox® apart from the Early Termination Fees, which you can see within the terms and condition clauses in your contract. In case you decided to terminate the cable service before the expiration period, the Early Termination Fees will be $240 minus $10 for every month that you used their service.

For people who are careless with their stuff, the Service Protection Plan offered by Cox® will be an ideal pick. The plan covers repairs and replacement charges for damaged wires, normal wear and tear, faulty fittings, and technician visit costs. This plan may cost you $84 annually, but it is sensible because you will have to pay about $60 for a technician visit or single service otherwise.

Charter Spectrum®

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The telecommunication conglomerates Charter® and Time Warner Cable® jointly offer the Spectrum® TV service to millions of subscribers nationwide. The cable provider offers many best cable deals to its patrons and delivers one of the most excellent cable TV experiences in the US. One of the main plus points regarding Spectrum® cable is its no-contract policy. That is, you do not have to lock up yourselves in a contract in order to avail the services offered by Charter Spectrum®.

The best cable deals offered by Spectrum® cable range from $55.99 to $99.99 per month, and entail a number of channels according to the package. For a starter package, the number of channels that you may watch is up to 45 and you can watch about more than 200 channels for a better package. This type of cable service is suitable for the TV junkies who are commitment phobic and prefer to watch only a few premium channels that are included in their package. For instance, consider the popular shows such as Game of Thrones, Iron Chef, etc., that you may watch for two years without signing a contract. Another advantage of choosing Spectrum® cable is that it allows you to negotiate the pricing, and if you succeed, you can grab some of the best cable deals in the bargain.

The three most popular Spectrum® TV packages are Spectrum® TV Select, Spectrum® TV Silver, and Spectrum® TV Gold. It is $64.99 per month in order to avail the Spectrum® TV Select package that offers more than 125 channels. In case of the Spectrum® TV Silver package, there will be more than 175 channels in the pack, and you will have to pay a monthly cost of $84.99. For the Spectrum® TV Gold package, the monthly cost is $104.99 and it covers more than 200 channels.

In addition to this, you can also expect some surprises with the packages. For instance, in the Spectrum® TV Silver package, there could be 232 channels even though the number advertised is 175+. However, this depends upon the service area you are living in. Apart from this, you can also enjoy about 150 HD channels with Spectrum® for free of cost.

Choosing the Best Cable TV Provider

In the earlier days, it was quite easy to subscribe to a cable TV provider and it was a simple process as well. Things become totally different and complicated in the telecommunications market today, but for the betterment. Currently, most of the leading cable TV providers in the nation offer a plethora of different cable TV packages and deals. Yet it can be a little overwhelming for you to choose the right cable provider who offers the best cable deals to meet your requirements. In order to make the process easy, below are certain tips that you may consider.

Do Good Research

This is the first and most important step, which will help you to narrow down your search. For this, make a list of the cable TV providers in your area, and then do a detailed research on each provider. The best way to do this is by asking your neighbors and friends or family members in your locality about their cable TV service and about their viewing experience. Other than this, enquire about their customer service, the frequency of repairs or replacements, pricing and packages, etc.

You can also check the American Customer Satisfaction Report in order to figure out how different cable TV services fare. The survey rates some of the top-rated cable TV providers in the United States based on the customer satisfaction on their services. This is one of the easiest and effective ways to do your research and to choose the best cable deals for you.

Decide your Favorite Channels

According to a recent study, American citizens watch only about 20 channels out of the approx. 205 channels that are available to them. That is, they are paying for a number of channels that they are not even watching. In order to avoid this, make a list of the channels that you want to include in your cable TV package; you can also make a list of few other channels as a second list. After this, figure out which cable provider will offer the best deals on those channels. If you are lucky, there will be the channels in your second list as well in a suitable package. Still, think over the deals well before jumping into a conclusion, especially if it is contract-bound.

Consider Bundled Services

Bundling is one of the greatest options that you may consider in order to get the best cable deals. With this, you can access more services such as internet and telephone along with cable TV, and that too, at a price that is almost same as that of an individual service. In fact, experts say that you can save up to $1000 for two years if you bundle your TV service with internet. However, the place you live in and the type of package that you choose will affect this estimated price. Besides, not all bundles are equally effective for all. It depends on the internet speed that you need, the number of channels in your package, etc. Hence, it is recommended to compare the price of bundled packages properly with individual services and choose the best cable deals that work for you.

28 Jun

AT&T® is Reportedly Planning to Acquire Otter Media This Summer

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As per reports, AT&T® is looking to acquire Otter Media. Earlier this month, after the telecommunications company acquired Time Warner®, it announced more acquisition plans. This new news on acquisition is circulating on the web only days following the announcement of AT&T® regarding plans for acquisitions in future.

Otter Media is a joint venture between AT&T® and Time Warner®, and The Chernin Group, now known as WarnerMedia. However, being one of the alternative TV providers and internet companies, AT&T® is planning to fully acquire the media company to improve its streaming portfolio. The reports also indicate that this AT&T®-Otter Media deal has been on the radar for years and that it was on hold as AT&T®-Time Warner® was yet to clear regulatory hurdles. Now that the Telco giant has acquired the media company and renamed it to WarnerMedia, other acquisitions are on the cards.

The media company named Otter Media has holdings with Crunchyroll, which is a website that centers on video streaming, and FullScreen. So, acquiring the media company will give AT&T® control of both its subsidiaries. So far, a word is yet to come from AT&T® regarding what they are going to do after the acquisition, which will reportedly cost the Telco over 1 billion dollars.

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Since Otter Media’s launch in 2014, its user base has grown as millions have gone into the project. The Crunchyroll website premieres content to those who stream videos, including Japanese anime, and its tie-up with the media company named Funimation has brought plenty of titles to its catalog. However, it is not clear as to how AT&T’s acquisition of Otter Media will affect the services of Crunchyroll but big things are expected out of the deal.

In 2017, Funimation announced that Sony Pictures Television has bought a major stock in the media company so as to make it an acquisition. The deal between Sony TV and Funimation had started in July 2017, and after Sony’s assessment that the media company’s worth is around $150 million, it agreed with the terms of the acquisition which was finalized in October last year.

On the other hand, the competing streaming TV providers will keep a close watch on how things unfold between AT&T® and Otter Media. If the deal is to go through, much like Sony TV’s acquisition of Funimation, it will have an influence on the streaming industry.

25 Jun

AT&T® Promises Tailored Programming and Fewer Ads after Merging with Time Warner®

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Tailored Programming Contents

The US telecom giant AT&T® recently merged with entertainment giant Time Warner® at $85 billion. After this happened, AT&T® is promising fewer ads, personalized programming, and smaller channel bundles. After overcoming the objection by the US Justice Department, AT&T® has stated that it will be using its technology for reinventing how the customers receive entertainment.

AT&T’s main aim now is to reduce the number of ads that consumers are used to ad-free services like Netflix, said the Chief Executive of AT&T® WarnerMedia, John Stankey. He told in an interview, “One of the big benefits we can bring to the market is lighter ad loads.”

AT&T® plans for using video data and mobile phone, supplied by consumers who have already given permission for selling targeted advertisements. The main thought behind this idea is that the brands may pay more, provided they come to know that their messages are reaching some people who are likely interested in them. Stankey said as an example, “If I’m a beer drinker, I’m more interested in seeing things about beer than soft drinks.”

Some of the Turner networks of Time Warner® have already reduced the number of ads. Comedy network TruTV has cut its number of ads to 50%. Stankey stated that AT&T® would be able to reduce ad inventory in Turner networks. He also said that AT&T® will now start to sell targeted ads in Tuner networks like CNN and TNT “in short order.”

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The US Justice Department earlier argued that the merger would harm the customers by limiting the competition and hike the prices. However, the deal was fixed after a US District Court Judge disagreed with the argument. Now, AT&T® owns popular properties like “Game of Thrones”, “Harry Potter”, and “Wonder Woman” franchises. Reports say that in addition to fewer ads, AT&T® is also planning for tailored programming according to consumers’ interest, like sending news clips of CNN to the mobile phone users who are interested in it or alerts about the programs they may like.

Stankey also said that HBO’s online service customers should not expect a sudden change in the company’s password sharing stance. Though HBO has a limit in the number of concurrent streams it accepted that password sharing may occur. “If somebody becomes really passionate about doing something through password sharing, and at some point, they get hooked on it, they move into being a paying subscriber,” Stankey said

22 Jun

AT&T® Hints New Business Plans after the Acquisition of Time Warner®

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Now that their acquisition of Time Warner’s media assets is completed, AT&T® is planning to launch a new streaming service, and acquire more companies to bolster its advertising platform. The CEO of AT&T®, Randall Stephenson, revealed their future plans to a news channel, a day after the Telco acquired Time Warner® and got control of Turner Broadcasting, Warner Bros., and HBO.

The best internet provider will make a formal announcement about the acquisitions it will make in future to improve their advertising platform. “We’re standing up a significant advertising platform; you should expect some smaller [mergers and acquisitions] in the coming weeks to demonstrate our commitment to that,” Stephenson said.

Reports say that the Telco will launch AT&T® Watch TV in the upcoming months, which is a streaming service that comprises the programming from Turner’s cable networks. The AT&T® CEO said that Watch TV is an extremely “skinny bundle” that will not comprise programming centered on sports. “It will be entertainment-centered. If you’re an AT&T® unlimited customer it will be free, or you can buy it for $15 a month on any platform.”

The unlimited wireless plans of AT&T® already have HBO prior to the purchase of the media company, which came into effect after a federal judge announced a ruling in their favor recently. “Those are the kinds of things we’ll be bringing to market [because of the Time Warner® buy],” Stephenson further said. “These will be ad-supported models.”

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He also said that, “Every single one of our mobile customers will get” the streaming service, even though it is unclear as to what it means because only subscribers with unlimited data packages will get AT&T® Watch TV for free. More details about the streaming service will be revealed once the best internet provider makes a formal announcement soon. Meanwhile, the spotlight remains on the advertising platform’s launch, which was revealed to a channel after the acquisition of Time Warner®, now renamed it to WarnerMedia, by AT&T®.

The fastest internet provider has been making ads a larger part of their business over the recent past, and is expected to deliver content inclusive of advertisements on different platforms now that the streaming service is on the cards. Although, the media speculates that AT&T® could let their non-unlimited mobile subscribers stream AT&T® Watch TV without having to use up the data limits.

08 Jun

AT&T® Conducts 5G Demonstration at Warner Bros. Studios

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5G Demonstration Conducted

AT&T®, who is the fastest internet provider in several parts of the United States, will have to patiently wait until June 12 to know whether their proposed $85 billion dollar deal will Time Warner will come into fruition or not. Reports from several reliable sources indicate that Judge Richard Leon will be finally making a decision on the mega-merger between the telecom companies. However, the officials from both Time Warner Inc. and AT&T® are highly hopeful that the judge will pass their request to complete the deal.

AT&T® recently staged a major conference at the Warner Bros. Studios of Time Warner in Burbank, California. The conference hosted by AT&T® featured presentations on artificial intelligence, immersive entertainment, and edge technologies. In addition to that, AT&T® also conducted a 5G demonstration and film award ceremony at the same venue.

The 5G-enabled virtual reality demonstration of AT&T® allowed three participants who were in different locations to enjoy a concert together at the very same time. The president of technology and operations at AT&T®, Melissa Arnoldi, claimed that the participants were able to enjoy an immersive experience through the 5G demonstration and they were fascinated by the quality of the service.

The telecom giant, AT&T® organized the 5G demonstration by seeking the help of their partners. Ericsson® and Intel® who are the partners of AT&T® had helped the telecom company during their first 5G tests, which took place in a carwash in Austin, Texas a few months ago. Reports claim that the partners of AT&T® are also happy with the results of the their recent 5G demonstration.

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“We had a lot of questions when we started. And we’re confident we have all the answers we need to deploy a mobile 5G network that works for people all over the country,” Arnoldi said. She also added that they were able to demonstrate 5G after two years of effort and testing. The officials from AT&T® also confirmed that they have already tested 5G in Michigan, South Bend, Indiana, Waco, Texas, and Kalamazoo over the last few years.

In a recent statement, AT&T® also confirmed that they will be launching a new mobile 5G network in about 12 cities in the country by the end of the year.

01 Jun

AT&T® Plans to Launch New Streaming Services by 2018

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Addressing the audience present at a recent conference held in New York, the Senior VP and Chief Financial Officer of AT&T®, John Stephens, indicated that the Telco giant plans to launch new streaming services in the upcoming months. One of them is a streaming-based device titled AT&T® Watch that will offer a skinny bundle, which will be in $15 a month price range.

Speaking through a webcast, AT&T’s CFO further said that DIRECTV NOW® is positioned for success in the longer term since it has reached over 1.5 million customers. Moreover, Stephens also told investors at the Cowen and Company’s Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference, that U-verse® and DIRECTV® “still have a place in the marketplace”.

In general, an affordable skinny bundle suggests less number of channels compared to what is offered by a Telco in their cheapest TV internet phone bundles. AT&T® provides an option for subscribers to bundle DIRECTV NOW® with an Unlimited Enhanced plan, but for triple play, AT&T® customers would have to combine a DIRECTV® package with digital phone and internet plans.

AT&T® is planning to launch two streaming services by 2018 to add to its cheapest TV internet phone bundles and double play packages. The first service will be an in-home device for streaming that will provide “the full scope of services” akin to their DIRECTV NOW®, but at an affordable cost. The AT&T® CFO also hinted that it would provide integrated access to some of the other streaming services, and that it would be connectable to any broadband internet service.

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The second streaming service, which AT&T® expects to launch this year, is a skinny television bundle. However, Stephens said that its launch would depend on AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner®. He further added that AT&T® Watch is a “very low-end, very thin collection of content”, whereas the skinny bundle would take select cable networks of Turner® from Time Warner® and “bundle that with a small number of other channels”.

A while back, the US Justice Department litigated the AT&T®-Time Warner® deal arguing that it would affect competition. It was first reported that the merger is awaiting regulatory approval, but recent reports indicate that a judge will give a ruling on that by June 12. “We continue to believe that this vertical merger will be very good for consumers,” Stephens said to the investors. “[We] look forward to the judge’s ruling and moving forward and getting the transaction completed and commencing with the integration.”

21 May

Self-Installing Comcast® Set-Top Box Can Save you Tech Visit Bill

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Comcast®, one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the United States and arguably the cheapest cable provider in many parts of the country, recently upgraded to a digitalized version. This means customers will now have to use a digital set-top box in order to watch their favorite channels on TV. Besides, Comcast® customers will have to pay an additional bill amount of $90 for a professional installation of the set-top box or the internet modem, if purchased individually, and not as part of a bundled package.

Both the new customers as well as the existing customers, who are using Comcast® services, must pay this tech visit bill. In fact, Comcast® even became a victim of highly suspicious tech press for this reason very recently. However, the Telco had already announced that the customers who require internet-only service could use their self-installation kit to install the set-top box or the internet modem, and avoid paying the tech visit bill of $90.

Responding to all suspicious news, Comcast® said, “For internet-only customers, we offer two options that do not require an in-home tech visit. A customer can use an Xfinity® self-install kit with a modem leased from Comcast®, or purchase his/her own modem.” They also said that customers could order the new modem online either by visiting an Xfinity® Store or just by making a call.

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The cable company, who often comes up with best cable deals in the US, further added, “We’ve worked hard to make the self-install experience simple and easy and it’s a growing and popular way for new customers to connect. When the installation is more complex, we schedule a technician visit. There are reasons that an in-home technician visit may be necessary. For example, if our engineers need to test signal strength and connections in a home that hasn’t been serviced in a number of years, or if the installation is more complicated for products like Gigabit internet or there are multiple services (like home security) being installed. For these situations, we offer competitively-priced options, which vary by market. It’s important to note that we can’t offer self-install kits for residences that we already serve with an existing customer.”

Note that the installation fee of $90 may vary depending on the market as well as whether or not the cable company has any active promotion schemes running. Furthermore, Comcast® also announced that the installation fee of $90 would be refunded if it turns out that there was no need for special installation.

17 May

Fox Sports™ to Broadcast US Open Golf to Select DIRECTV® Customers

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The golfers who will participate in this year’s US Open Championship will tee off at Long Island’s Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. The 117th edition of the annual golf championship is set to commence by mid-June, as it has been the case over the years. What makes the event a highly anticipated one is United States Golf Association’s announcement that Fox Sports™ will broadcast it. For that, Fox Sports™ team will place 2 cameras at the golf club’s 7th pole and will air the 4K footage through DIRECTV® platform.

As part of this initiative, Fox Broadcasting Company’s division also has arrived on a 5G partnership with Ericsson®, AT&T®, and Intel®. While Intel® will provide its 5G Mobile Trial Platform, which can transmit data at up to 1.6 gigabits per second speeds and deploy 5G to Internet Protocol (IP) translation, Ericsson® will provide baseband, 4K video encoder and decoder, and simulated network core. On the other hand, AT&T® will make use of its mmWave spectrum for delivering the 5G connection through their network.

The low latency and high-speed network of the best internet provider will allow the DIRECTV® customers with 4K compatible set-top-boxes and packages that include Fox Sports™ to watch the annual US Open Golf live, which gets bettered by the ultra-high-definition quality. This is not the first time that 5G gets used for broadcasting purposes. For instance, Intel® has distributed dozens of live 5G links in multiple sites and has supported network capacity of up to 3800 TB for 2018 Winter Olympics. Yet again, the Fox Sports™ broadcasts for DIRECTV® customers is going to be the 1st time 5G will be used for a top-tier golf event.

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AT&T® owns the DIRECTV® service and offers channels as per tiered pricing system, bundled packages. The subscription cable TV service is separated into DIRECTV® Family package, Sports package, and so forth. DIRECTV® Family package provides a mixed bag of channels focused on entertainment for the entire family, including cartoon channels for kids, and news channels for mature audiences. AT&T’s DIRECTV® Sports package provides programming from Fox Sports™ network and several other sports channels. Further, more details about which DIRECTV® packages will air the golf event is yet to be confirmed. It is best to contact an AT&T® store or cable dealers for more information.

11 May

Comcast® CFO Sounds Positive on the Prospects of a Deal with Sky Plc

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It has been close to three years since Michael Cavanagh took charge at Comcast® as their Chief Financial Officer. Addressing a gathering at a recent investor conference held in Florida’s Palm Beach, he talked about the prospects of a deal with Sky plc. While other participants of the conference were in the attendees at Deutsche Bank Media and Telecom Conference, Cavanagh appeared live in a webcast and talked about how buying stakes in the pay-TV broadcaster could boost Comcast’s portfolio, which includes offering cheap cable and internet packages.

“We don’t see [Sky] as a satellite platform. We look at [Sky] being very distinct from what we see from some of the legacy satellite players in markets that we know,” he said in approval of Sky’s prospects to rival other companies that provide cable bundles much like Comcast®. If Comcast’s deal with Sky plc goes through, it will make the cable giant a rival of not just satellite providers, even the online streaming services will pose a challenge to Comcast®-Sky plc offerings.

Comcast® provides cheap cable and internet packages for residential customers under their Xfinity® brand. The pay TV broadcaster has a presence in markets United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Australia, Italy, and even offers an over-the-top (OTT) service in Spain. Comcast® unveiled its plans to acquire stakes in Sky plc last week. In a digital era where streaming services pose a challenge to cable providers that offer bundle packages, there are several avenues for customers to stream programming. No wonder, Cavanagh chose to appear live in a webcast during the investor conference.

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There was also a discussion between Wall Street analysts, who questioned Comcast’s bid for a satellite platform, which will limit two-interactive TV for customers. In response to such skepticism, Cavanagh said that the cable giant, NBCU, and Sky plc could synergize programming, in particular for film and sports content, and cooperate in matters of innovative technology. As an example of prospective synergies, the Comcast® CFO pointed out to a Sky Q box and Xfinity® X1 set-top-box integration, and Sky plc as a content aggregator.

“We don’t see it [Sky] as a satellite business, but much more as an enabling technology that, as they invest in new technology, there will be other ways for people to experience that video content,” Cavanagh told the investors. However, he has not commented about the prospects of a two-way bidding war between Comcast® and 21st Century Fox for stakes in Sky plc. Whether the best internet provider could bag the European broadcaster remains to be seen.

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