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13 Oct

Magic Leap Campus to Get 5G Network Access by Early 2019

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5G Mobile Network

The telecommunications company AT&T®, which provides cheap internet and DIRECTV NOW®, will launch a 5G trial zone next year at the Magic Leap campus in Plantation, Florida. As per an AT&T® news release, having the 5G connectivity at the campus of Magic Leap in Plantation city “will give developers and creators the ability to test devices and applications where the work is being done.”

AT&T® Communications’ Chief Executive Officer, John Donovan, said, “New and immersive experiences from Magic Leap’s developers eventually riding on the AT&T® mobile 5G network will redefine entertainment and productivity.”

The best internet provider AT&T® announced the news during the first Magic Leap conference held in LA recently. It is the exclusive wireless distributor of Magic Leap One to subscribers in the US. Magic Leap One is a “mixed reality headset”, a product designed for content creators like artists and developers.

The L.E.A.P. Conference featured many speakers, comprising the CEO of Magic Leap, Rony Abovitz, and science fiction author cum the company’s Chief Futurist, Neal Stephenson. Abovitz said that the company selected LA as the location of its conference for accesses to West Coast developers, and commented that, “Holding our first conference on the West Coast helps us to start new conversations and relationships.”

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Magic Leap is now one of the most-watched tech companies in South Florida, having attracted big investments from other businesses comprising Alibaba, Google, and Saudi Arabia’s investment arm named Public Investment Fund.

The Telco giant also made another important announcement during the conference. In addition to the 5G mobile pilot network, it will launch the DIRECTV NOW® application’s beta version to the mixed reality headset Magic Leap One next year. AT&T® says that the beta app “will give you a new level of control in how and where you watch.” With the app, users of Magic leap One will be able to place a maximum of four live streams simultaneously, and they will be a cooking show, a previous film, news and the game of football.

The cheap internet provider plans to offer the content of WarnerMedia, through demonstrations in select shops, comprising scenes or characters from Warner Bros. movies reimagined for the mixed reality headset. Alongside Magic Leap, AT&T® will also host in San Francisco a Spatial Computing Hackathon from November 09 to 11, 2018.

11 Jul

Music-Centered SVODs of Zone•tv™ Debuts on XFINITY® X1

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Video Streaming Services

Zone·tv™ recently announced that their two SVOD services, namely Stephen’s Drum Shed and Pro Guitar Lessons TV, will now be available on Comcast XFINITY® X1. The residential customers with X1 voice remote can access the SVOD services of Zone·tv™ by commanding their names into the remote or can use its manual buttons to navigate to and find them on XFINITY® On Demand section. The subscription video on demand services featuring on Zone·tv™ gives lessons from drum instructors and professional guitar tutors respectively.

As per reports, each service costs $4.99 per month and XFINITY® X1 customers can add them to their existing channel lineup directly from the platform. “The great XFINITY® X1 line-up of SVODs from Zone·tv™ continues to grow with these two music instructional channels,” said the CEO of Zone·tv™, Jeff Weber. “XFINITY® X1 customers who are music lovers can follow music lessons from the pros to learn or sharpen their skills, without ever having to leave the comforts of home or pay for costly in person music lessons.”

Zone·tv™ offers over 30 original and new channels to customers in Europe and North America. In fact, the programming of Zone·tv™ can be viewed on cable TV alternatives such as AT&T® U-verse, DIRECTV®, and so forth. Most customers are looking for alternative ways to watch cable programs such as internet TV streaming services, or streaming sticks that can be connected on the back of the TV sets for that.

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The XFINITY® X1 set top box with DVR capability can also be termed as one of the cable TV alternatives since it links to TV sets and the internet. If you have XFINITY Stream® application installed on your mobile devices, you can access content from the On Demand section.

Pro Guitar Lessons TV featuring on Zone·tv™ as an SVOD offers lessons from the tutors trained in the musical instrument, such as lessons seen on online platforms and magazines. Viewers of all age group can learn the guitar chords, scales, and songs besides how to change strings, gigs, and more. For that, one only needs to subscribe to the right platform that broadcasts the channels and Comcast XFINITY® provides an option for that. Now on X1 platform, the customers of the cable giant can access videos that range from basic guitar and drum lessons to the nuances of playing both instruments.

18 Jun

Comcast® to Offer Bilingual FIFA World Cup Coverage on XFINITY® X1

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International TV Packages

With the FIFA World Cup 2018 around the corner, one of the best cable and internet companies is readying to entertain the soccer fans in the US who subscribe to XFINITY® X1. As part of that, Comcast® has decided to integrate the FIFA World Cup coverage on two networks in Spanish and English to XFINITY® X1 platform. While Fox Sports™ will broadcast the global football fiesta for English speakers Comcast-owned Telemundo will offer the same for the Spanish-speaking community in the country.

Spanish is spoken by a majority of the Latinos, the descendants from certain North American countries, who make up a portion of the total population of the US. It is also seen that people of Hispanic descent settled in America speak Spanish, so having coverage in both languages can help the Football World Cup reach households with Comcast XFINITY® subscription. The soccer event is slated to be held in Russia from June 14 until July 15 and will feature 32 teams competing for the coveted trophy.

With video features that integrate the coverage of Fox Sports™ and Telemundo on XFINITY® X1, Comcast® has announced a bilingual viewing experience of FIFA World Cup to soccer fans in the US who also subscribes to the cable, voice, and internet service. Comcast® is one of the top cable and internet companies, whose bundled packages are bettered with advanced features of X1.

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The cable platform from Comcast® offers residential subscribers a voice remote, on-demand movies, and other related video content. If you have an eligible set-top-box and subscribe to at least a cable bundle with the said sports channels, you can watch this year’s FIFA World Cup on XFINITY® X1. The integrated features on Comcast’s cable platform will comprise match replays, on-screen statistics, highlights, real-time analytics, etc. Moreover, XFINITY® is adding sports-related notifications for mobile and TV for the 1st time.

The Executive Director of Technology and Product at Comcast Cable®, Jason Angelides, said that FIFA World Cup draw attention to “changing demographics of TV viewing audiences — particularly underscoring the increasingly important and growing base of bicultural households in the U.S.” The Comcast® spokesperson also added that XFINITY® X1 allows the cable provider to “build viewing experiences customized” for the target population, including speakers of the native and Spanish language.

04 Jun

Comcast® Shares Learning of Moving to a New Software Architecture

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Video Monitoring System

Moving from a monolithic to microservices architecture comes with its own set of challenges, and creating an ideal foundation for that is important. Even the software professionals of Comcast® know that, as reflected in the words of one of the senior executives in their IT team. Xfinity Home® offers features like round the clock video monitoring with notifications to integrated smartphones. Recently, the residential security system from the best internet provider has incorporated connected home and home automation solutions.

Comcast’s Sr. Dir. Software and IoT Platform Engineering, Tom Hughes, has said that, “It became clear to us that our monolithic legacy architecture was not going to provide us the flexibility and agility we needed to serve our customers, [so] building a microservices platform was the obvious choice.”

Previously, the best internet provider has implemented microservices architecture for its Xfinity® X1 platform, so it is not new to that. However, this is Comcast’s first major move from monolithic to microservices architecture, which necessitated a change in perspective and processes from their team of software professionals. Hughes said that the software team of Comcast® considered a decision for building a cloud agnostic architecture for moving between several private and public cloud environments from a new perspective.

“We underestimated the complexity involved with implementing this decision and the impact that it would have on our velocity. Once we pivoted to an approach focused on a single cloud environment [AWS] for this specific project, we realized the rate of development and advantages to leveraging components native to that environment,” he said.

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The company’s software team had to work with monolithic apps previously, but moving it to microservices architecture had made them amend perspective and personal egos. “It’s sort of like retraining yourself to limit what you’re trying to accomplish and what the purpose of a given service is and not making it more complex than it needs to be,” Hughes added.

The experience of Comcast®, while successful, shows that organizations must approach the shift from monolithic to microservices architecture by fully understanding associated challenges that come with it. Giving insights on the topic, Anne Thomas, the Vice President and Analyst for Enterprise Software at Gartner for IT Leaders, said that software professionals must be proficient at software architecture to even attempt implementing that transition at an enterprise level.

29 May

U-verse® Earns Top Spot in American Customer Satisfaction Index

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AT&T’s U-verse® was ranked 1st as per American Customer Satisfaction Index’s rankings of pay-TV services with a score of 70. U-verse® retained the same score as in 2017, but since Verizon’s Fios® slipped 3 points from last year, it was ranked 1st in the measure of customer satisfaction levels. Besides, Dish Network® held on to its year-over-year score and was ranked 3rd in the index.

Although the satisfaction among customers for several pay-TV providers’ has slipped, AT&T’s IPTV service maintained its score and scaled to the top position. American Customer Satisfaction Index has commented that, “many aspects of the customer experience have deteriorated” for subscription-TV providers.

“Customer service representatives are perceived as less helpful and courteous (77), but the speed of transactions at service centers is unchanged (76),” ACSI report said. “Viewers say that TV signals are slightly less reliable (74) and service disruptions are more frequent (72). As the battle for content continues, viewers are increasingly disappointed with the range of channels and premium channels available (both 73). Call centers remain a low point for the industry and continue to decline (down 3% to 63).”

AT&T® offers U-verse® with options to bundle cheapest cable TV packages with internet and telephone plans. The subscribers of the IPTV service offers a lineup of bundled packages to choose from, with options to record multiple shows and access on-demand content. The Telco giant delivers the cable TV alternative to customers using a combination of fiber optic infrastructure and existing cable lines in the subscribers’ place.

Apart from that, American Customer Satisfaction Index also ranked cheapest cable TV alternatives or streaming services that provide over-the-top content to customers. Among video streaming services, Netflix, Sony’s PlayStation™ Vue, and Amazon® Twitch shared the top position with a score of 78 each.

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This was the first time the nationwide subscriber satisfaction measure added the rankings for streaming services. “Video streaming services are doing well by avoiding some of the most hated aspects of other telecom experiences,” noted ACSI in its report. “For most of the top-rated providers, there are no hidden fees and canceling is easy and painless.”

For instance, certain streaming services offer a free subscription for a particular period, and days prior to the completion of the trial offer, they notify the subscribers so that they can continue or cancel the subscription as per their requirement.

14 May

Comcast® Spokesperson Suggests Conditional Speed Boost is a Routine Move

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The customers of Comcast® in select markets have got a free increase in broadband speeds provided residential subscribers with Xfinity® X1 equipment bundle cable and internet services. This is applicable for the customers in Southwest Washington to up to Castle Rock city, Houston, and Portland. Only the customers in the area who choose to bundle Comcast’s cheapest cable packages and internet plans are eligible for the speed bumps.

In addition, how much of a speed increase you may get from the cable provider depends on which internet tier plan you presently subscribe to. For customers with 60 megabits per second internet plans, the new speed is 150 Mbps; for 150 Mbps plans, it is 250 Mbps; and for 250 Mbps internet service, the new speed is 400 Mbps or 1 Gbps.

To get accesses to internet service with applicable speeds, Comcast® subscribers should unplug their respective modems for around 1 minute or reset it using Xfinity® app or X1 voice remote. Further, the subscribers not having the equipment will have to upgrade their present modems to get accesses to new bandwidth from Comcast®. The customers of the cable giant who lease modems are eligible for a free speed boost. Even if you do not bundle the cheapest cable plans with internet, you can get accesses to improved speeds by paying for that.

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Note that Comcast® has set a data cap of 1 TB per month, which is applicable for all customers, irrespective of their present internet plans. The cable provider says that most of the subscribers use internet below the set data cap, and that those who do use more data than that should consider subscribing to their unlimited internet service.

When Comcast® first announced about the conditional speed bumps for customers who choose to bundle, there were widespread talks that the company chose to do that to keep customers from dropping cheap cable service in favor of streaming services over the web. However, Comcast® has denied that keeping customers from cord cutting is the intention behind the move.

“This year alone, we have boosted speeds for internet-only customers and customers in packages in more than two dozen different states across the country which added at least 50 (Megabits per second) more speed for these customers,” said Comcast’s Director of External Communications, Amy Keiter. “In a few of our markets, we are also testing different multi-product packages by changing the Internet tiers for various packages we offer.”

07 May

Survey on Wireless Carriers Reveal Findings Favorable to Xfinity Mobile®

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Xfinity Mobile® Service

As per the findings of a recent survey by Market Strategies International, Xfinity Mobile® has helped Comcast® become a key player in what they term as “quad play” market. This finding comes following the launch of the cable operator’s wireless service, which was almost a year ago.

The industry-wide term “quadruple play” refers to the marketing of bundled broadband internet, cable TV, and wired phone with wireless services. In other words, if a cable provider or other players in the industry use “quad play” in marketing communications, it refers to cheap cable and internet packages with telephone plans bundled.

As part of the survey in March, the research and consulting firm has interviewed 1044 online customers from the US who are aged between 18 and 64. The analysts of Market Strategies International used the survey findings to match it with the market share of wireless carriers, and it showed that the price structure of Xfinity Mobile® has lured subscribers from all main carriers.

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Comcast® offered cheap cable and internet packages previously, and its Xfinity Mobile® line launched in 2017 has helped to keep the cable subscribers from cord cutting. It refers to choosing pay-TV alternatives for streaming programming over the web, through services that provide the same. Since Comcast’s wireless service was launched in the era of streaming, it was able to retain customers.

As per reports, Comcast® has signed up 577,000 wireless customers in the first quarter of this year. The customer base of Xfinity Mobile® is set to increase, as the survey suggests that plenty of customers who previously subscribed to other wireless carriers have switched to the wireless service because Comcast® offers a much affordable deal in comparison. The respondents of the survey, which makes up 60 percent of the sample, now use Xfinity Mobile® as their main wireless service since it’s affordable.

Other than the price structure of Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile®, some survey respondents also switched to that because they were dissatisfied by their previous wireless service. “Consumers that sign up for multiple services are more valuable for the company,” said Jeffrey Johnson, the Director of Research and Consulting at Market Strategies International. “Our research shows that Comcast® is now firmly rooted in quad play — a space that only AT&T® and Verizon® have successfully dominated in the past.”

04 May

Comcast® to Incorporate Tile App to Xfinity® X1 Voice Remote

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Xfinity® X1 Voice Remote

One of the best cable providers in the US, Comcast Corporation® is all set to include Tile app in their Xfinity® X1 voice remote. Tile is an American electronics company that mainly focuses on the production of key finder devices employing Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Here, a companion app for Tile will be usually installed in the devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc., and you can easily spot the location of those items using the Tile app, by means of the Bluetooth signal.

This merger of the best selling Bluetooth tracker and one of the top cable providers will make it easier for their customers to find almost anything that is lost including human beings. For instance, if you want to find your lost keys, all you have to do is to say “Xfinity Home®, where are my keys?” into the Xfinity® X1 voice remote. The location of your key will be displayed on your television.

Ideally, customers use this kind of applications for finding their misplaced wallets, keys, and other personal items, mostly within their home or workspace. However, you can also use video and voice control partnership for some serious purposes as well like spotting the favorite toy of your child, tracking movements of the rebellious teenager kids, securing a medical advice, and many more.

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In a statement, the Senior Vice President of Comcast®, Sridhar Solur said, “This is a home automation partnership that helps solve real-life problems.” He further added, “Now, when a child arrives home from school, a parent can simply say, ‘Xfinity Home® where’s Sam’s backpack?’ into their voice remote and see that it was left at school. This is just one of the many peace-of-mind features we are making available to our customers on our evolving home automation platform.”

As for now, only the existing customers of Comcast® who have an X1 voice remote can make use of this option; these customers can simply add their Tile devices making use of the Xfinity Home® app. However, Tile and Comcast® have plans to expand this platform to all the internet customers of Xfinity® as well in the near future. Furthermore, the tracker works well with both Google Home® and Amazon Alexa®.

The CEO as well as the Co-Founder of the Tile, Mike Farley, said, “Tile is creating a world where everyone can find everything that matters. With the smart home being central to so many consumers’ lives, we are thrilled to be partnering with Comcast®. Together, we are bringing greater peace of mind to Xfinity customers in their home, providing a streamlined experience for them to quickly locate their things no matter where they are.”

30 Apr

Top 3 Benefits of Bundling Wireless Phone Internet and TV Packages

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Bundle Package Benefits

Other than being able to stream videos on an internet television, check e-mails on a PC, and chat with friends on social media, all on a wireless-enabled smartphone, cheapest TV internet phone bundles offer several other advantages to customers. Below is a quick look at some of the benefits you get from bundling wireless phone internet and TV packages.

Convenience

Combining cable TV with wireless phone internet plans into one package provides convenience to users, instead of having to choose different plans from a cable or Telco. If you select a single service provider for the bundled package, you will have to keep track of only one invoice each month going forward. This will clear the stresses of having to keep track of invoices when payment becomes due.

Further, you only have to get in touch with only that ISP in case of service related queries. Besides, the two-in-one plan is easy to set up all at once. In most cases, a router and a solid wireless connection would suffice to get you started with the bundled service.

Affordability

From promotional offers to other cost savings, an internet service provider will give discounts to the subscribers of bundled plans. Depending on the policy of the ISP, such discounts on cheapest TV internet phone bundles may come in the form of a credit amount, which reduces the cost of a standalone package.

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If the ISP offers monthly credit to cable package upon a condition like, say, if customers link their unlimited wireless plan with the pay-TV service, it will reduce the invoice bill. For instance, if a cable plan is priced at $50 a month and if customers choose to bundle it with wireless internet, the ISP may give one-third or two-thirds of that amount as a credit. Still, this credit may come in the form reward cards reducing your monthly invoice.

Integration

Bundling cable package with wireless phone internet will enable you to pick and choose only the channels you prefer to stream. In addition to that, you may also get benefits of Over-the-Top services such as Video On Demand, and other value added services like web hosting, cloud storage, etc. Yet prior to upgrading your existing package to such kind of bundled plan with advanced services, do ensure that you have the necessary system requirements.

To make the most of a service, it is also wise to compare bundled packages of a cable giant to that of another best internet provider. Not all ISPs may follow the same discount policy or have other details mentioned in the contract that adds to cost savings, such as free routers or equipment for streaming.

27 Apr

Spectrum® to Launch Gigabit Internet in Southern California This Year

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Launching Gigabit Internet

One of the best cable providers, Charter Spectrum® recently announced that the company is launching gigabit internet offering in select areas of Southern California as of now. To be precise, gigabit internet will be launched by Spectrum® across highways stretching from Ventura to San Diego and Palm Springs to the east.

All of the cities in Southern California should have accesses to the gigabit network of Spectrum® by 2018, said a representative of the cable provider. Charter’s speedy network offers ten times quicker speed than most of the broadband internet connections offering 100 megabits per second. A 1 Gbps internet connection is useful for residential customers, who have several wireless devices connected to the home network for simultaneously streaming videos, and accessing other online content.

For gigabit internet service, new Spectrum® subscribers will have to pay $104.99 a month, and existing subs will have to pay $114.99 a month as per reports. In a recent statement, Spectrum® said it would keep providing network services without data caps or even modem fees for that matter. Note that for Spectrum® cable, customers pay a separate fee which will be exclusive to that of gigabit internet going forward.

Nationwide internet providers in general have been upgrading their network to deploy gigabit internet service for residential customers that demand more bandwidth. Considering Southern California alone, AT&T® & Google Fiber® deploys gigabit internet in select cities in the region. The launching of Spectrum® would offer more options for customers to choose from, and will enhance the competition in the internet segment.

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An audited report drafted by Deloitte Global in 2016 had predicted that the number of 1 Gbps connections would jump to 10mn by 2016, out of which around 70 percentage would be residential gigabit internet connections. The company also commented on the future of gigabit internet in their 2016 report, and said, “Although a Gbit/s connection for a single device may be overkill, consumers are likely to continue accumulating connected devices in the long term.”

The US now has millions of internet customers with accesses to gigabit speeds, but only a portion of the country’s population rely on the high-speed connection for their broadband needs. There are several rural areas in the country, for which cable providers offer other wired alternatives. Spectrum® said that its gigabit internet connection will require a professional installation, so that it can avoid a confusion customers tend to face with self-installation.

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