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Intel Businesses Media The Media IT

Intel Streaming Media Service Faces An Uphill Battle for Bandwidth 82

Posted by timothy
from the let's-just-let-the-nsa-sort-it-out dept.
Lucas123 writes "Intel this year plans to sell a set-top box and Internet-based streaming media service that will bundle TV channels for subscribers, but cable, satellite and ISPs are likely to use every tool at their disposal to stop another IP-based competitor, according to experts. They may already be pressuring content providers to charge Intel more or not sell to it. Another scenario could be that cable and ISP providers simply favor their own streaming services with pricing models, or limit bandwidth based on where customers get their streamed content. For example, Comcast could charge more for a third-party streaming service than for its own, or it could throttle bandwidth or place caps on it to limit how much content customer receives from streaming media services as it did with BitTorrent. Meanwhile, Verizon is challenging in a D.C. circuit court the FCC's Open Internet rules that are supposed to ensure there's a level playing field."
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Intel Streaming Media Service Faces An Uphill Battle for Bandwidth

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  • Free market my ass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 (1902712) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @03:19PM (#44023239)

    This is why we can't have nice things.

    • Not A Good Summary (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @05:58PM (#44024089)

      "This is why we can't have nice things."

      I think all the actions described by OP as a way ISPs may try to limit the service are already illegal.

      (1) They can't legally discriminate based on source.

      (2) They can't legally charge one outside source significantly more than another because that would violate (1).

      (3) They can't legally charge more for services that are not their own. (There is a Federal law specifically prohibiting that.)

      I suspect OP is much ado about nothing.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I think all the actions described by OP as a way ISPs may try to limit the service are already illegal.

        Some of the things in the list they are already doing. For example, Comcast does not count use of their video streaming service against your monthly cap but does count use of other streaming services.

        • "Some of the things in the list they are already doing. For example, Comcast does not count use of their video streaming service against your monthly cap but does count use of other streaming services."

          But there *IS* a law against it, and they *ARE* in court over it. And I think it is pretty obvious that they will lose.

    • Monopolies and trusts are back in style along with egregious wealth disparity. Why compete when you can collude.
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Uhhh...they ALREADY do that cap bullshit, have been for years. If I use THEIR VoIP? No cap, Vonage? Cap. I use THEIR PPV? No cap, netflix? Cap.

      This is why i have the urge to fucking bitchslap libertarians, how the fuck can you keep babbling on about "the free market" when there is NO free market, has NEVER been a free market, and unless you wipe out ALL money and start everyone out at zero in your new system so the old money can't buy their advantages there will NEVER BE a free market, okay!

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        This is why i have the urge to fucking bitchslap libertarians, how the fuck can you keep babbling on about "the free market" when there is NO free market, has NEVER been a free market

        Why not listen to the fucking libertarians next time.. they were the ones that told you that telecom wasnt a free market. You are blaming the libertarians for what you big government fucks created.

        • Why not listen to the fucking libertarians next time

          Because the smart people who mentored them in Liberalism, their college professors perhaps, told them that Libertarians aren't worth listening to or ought to be ignored and these people, being intellectually lazy themselves, decided to follow that advice instead of thinking for themselves as Libertarians are fond of doing. The Liberals claim to be tolerant and open minded and yet in my experience that's only true if you agree with them.

      • This is why i have the urge to fucking bitchslap libertarians,

        I think that your rage is misplaced. The telecom business, upon which the ISPs depend, is a natural monopoly which requires some regulation to properly align interests due to the physical impracticality of allowing competition to emerge organically in the marketplace. After all, there's only so many rights of way for digging trenches and laying fiber or setting up antennas on towers. However, a single counterexample, which amounts to a special case, does not invalidate the entire thesis of free market capit

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          I'm sorry I'm throwing a flag, bullshit on the field. Show me ONE functional free market system, JUST ONE. Stock market? Nope [youtube.com]. in fact between government money, "too big to fail" and letting them put ultra high speed trading practically on the floor (usable only by the elite who can buy access of course) the stock market is probably one of the most tilted and rigged systems on the entire planet.

          The libertarians might as well be talking about John Galt or a perfect utopia for how much their viewpoint has to

          • Show me ONE functional free market system

            How about the market for crude oil? There you have a commodity that just about everyone wants and for which there are always willing buyers. You will notice that even the Iranians, who are supposed to be under economic sanction, are still able to find buyers for much of their oil, albeit at a somewhat reduced price and increased difficulty transporting it to markets. Does not oil flow almost to whomever will pay the most for it? Isn't that how markets are supposed to work, rationing based upon who will pay

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              The oil market is as rigged as any other thanks to futures trading and how those at the top have the ability to influence the market with HFT which Joe Average will never have access to. As for dope dealing? That is ruled by the gun, same any other illegal market, so it all comes down to who can hire the biggest goon squad, see large parts of mexico controlled by the cartels for an example. Again Paco isn't gonna rise to become a rival to the cartels just by selling his product cheaper and providing a bett

    • How is that the fault of the free market? Even historically it has always been difficult for technology companies to break into the content business without either owning or partnering with studios and content delivery companies. The interests of a business of a company built upon copyright are not the same as those of company whose business is technology and even when the corporate ownership structure exists to compel cooperation between technology and content units, as in the case of Sony, the cooperation
    • by adolf (21054)

      Regulations are nice and all, but in a free and competitive market (please note that these may be mutually-exclusive in some cases) it still sorts itself nicely:

      Person A: "I need to find Internet for my new house. I'm not sure what to pick."

      Person B: "Don't get $ISP. Netflix doesn't work very well with it. I've been using $competitor, and it works great."

      Person A: "Ok, thanks!"

      $ISP's subscriber base drops, $competitor gets more business, and $ISP is forced to change their ways or leave the party.

  • Net neutrality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @03:49PM (#44023387) Journal
    That's what you get with vertically integrated companies. If you buy into one part of their "stack", they will ensure you will not go to their competitors for the remainder of the stack or try and tax you if you do, if they can get away with it. In the case of ISPs who also sell content, that's why we need net neutrality.
    • by jdogalt (961241)

      My conversation with Anna Baughman at the F.C.C. - (see this mod5 comment for the GoogleFiber/NetNeutrality/USNavyInformationWarfareOffice context http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3643919&cid=43438341 [slashdot.org] )

      Incoming from 717 338 2772 to 785 979 7723, 13:26CDT 2013/06/12
      --
      A: Anna Baughman, FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs
      D: Douglas McClendon
      --
      A: Hi, it's Anna from the FCC, how are you?

      D: Hi, I'm OK, uh, I don't suppose I could call you back in 5 minutes

      A: Well, Um, Actually I'm leaving here in 5 minut

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      You should break up these large multi-faceted companies. Keep ISPs and content providers separate. It's a huge conflict of interest and leads to a bad deal for consumers.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        ...it's almost like all of the relevant acquisitions that lead to the creation of these monsters should have been supressed by the FTC to begin with.

        You're asking the same entity that allowed this nonsense to happen to fix this nonsense. A bit like letting the fox guard the hen house.

        I am sure slashdoters objected to many of these mergers when they happened in the first place.

  • Intel's larger problem will be that as soon as it is widely recognized by the public and the press that their set-top boxes have build in cameras and microphones their market will dry up instantly. There is already a bill in congress to put a stop to this sort of thing [slashdot.org].

  • It is time to allow multiple cables into a home. There is simply no excuse for allowing one company to control cable access. I am aware that technology is allowing cable to carry more and more data or content but allowing one company to set rules, speeds, limits or prices is wrong. In my home only one miserable TV channel can be had without cable. Home dish services generally do not have good reputations here. So why not have five separate cables running into a home? Many areas can support such a

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Would the five separate cables be maintained in some sort of coordinated way, or would they each dig up the street whenever they felt like it?

      If maintained in a coordinated way, what's the advantage of literally running five cables in the same trench, instead of running one cable but having it owned by a neutral entity, like a municipality or regulated utility, which sells access on equal terms?

      • by icebike (68054)

        >If maintained in a coordinated way, what's the advantage of literally running five cables in the same trench, instead of running one cable but having it owned by a neutral entity, like a municipality or regulated utility, which sells access on equal terms?

        This!.

        Allowing cable companies to own/be content providers was a huge mistake. One it will take years to overcome. ]
        It was a stupid mistake.

        Local loop ownership by municipalities might work. but I would expect the religious wackos and budget cutters would ruin that
        in short order. Something along the lines of a new Public Utility District with specific legal protections and firewalled from political entities
        is needed.

        But in the mean time, pulling multiple fiber to the neighborhood (if not actually to each h

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          The mistake was that in a number of cases, the laying of the cabling was paid for or subsidized by the local government, with contracts written by the cable company, who got full ownership after some short service time. The towns should all be laying their own fiber to the cabinet (at least), and letting others buy access from there. But the physical monopoly, often backed by protectionist laws, is bad for the user and bad for the market.
          • by Rockoon (1252108)

            But the physical monopoly, always backed by protectionist laws, is bad for the user and bad for the market.

            FTFY

          • We also shouldn't forget that providers often pay municipalities a franchise fee, conveniently billed to you the account holder, in exchange for being the "exclusive" cable provider in that area. This guarantees that even if the town did lay their own fiber to the curb, there's still not a free market for service.
    • How different is this than Netflix or Hulu, other than the inclusion of a set top box? Many smart TV's now include Netflix and Hulu capibilities.

      The question is will Intel license the tech to TV manufactures to include it along with Netflix and Hulu. If so, what is the future of a dedicated settop box along the lines of Boxee? http://www.amazon.com/Boxee-D-Link-Streaming-Media-Player/dp/B0038JE07O [amazon.com]

      Will it be able to include Hulu and Netflix? If not, I suspect the sales of a single supplier solution for

      • by icebike (68054)

        There is no reason you have to pay for $50 bucks to EACH provider if you mandate cafeteria pricing of each channel.
        Less than a Penny per day per channel would become the norm.

        But more to the point, bundling all on-demand video on top of the TCP/IP internet is probably not sustainable.
        A separate stream for each viewer in the household is simply more bandwidth than the internet can handle well.
        Do the math. You can't even handle that on the local links, let along the national backbones.

        We really would be bett

    • by ewieling (90662)

      It is time to allow multiple cables into a home. There is simply no excuse for allowing one company to control cable access.

      We tried that already. http://www.newswise.com/images/uploads/2009/08/26/Broadway%20and%20John%20St%20Manhattan%201890.jpg [newswise.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 16, 2013 @03:54PM (#44023407)

    After years working in broadcast engineering on the development end I do have to say this would cause a paradigm shift. The provider of the hardware wants to enter the commercial space for television? As much as Intel would want to remain a separate entity many more operations would adapt to their practices inevitably. Rather than challenge Intel I think these telecom companies should allow Intel to offer their services and really put the customer in control. Everyone should be able to choose what they want when they pay for television and internet services it shouldn't be the provider who makes that decision for you.

  • by Cassini2 (956052) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @04:04PM (#44023467)

    In Canada, the HDTV transition has been an usability disaster. The cable boxes are simply to complex. If someone puts an easy-to-use HDTV-over-internet product together - the cable companies are dead. It might take a while, but almost anyone can put together a device with more commercial appeal than a Canadian Cable Company or Telco.

    My Dad has Alzheimers and cannot remember anything. The Cable companies' HDTV remote is impossible to use. It has two different methods of adjusting volume. Powering on/off the TV takes 4 button presses. 6 different buttons can be used to change channels in various ways, and each way is inconsistent. For instance, pressing "up" will either increase or decrease the channel number depending on which up-button is pressed. With the old analog TVs, things were so much simpler: Power On, Volume Up/Down, Channel Up/Down - easy.

    In comparison, an Apple TV box has a much simpler user interface. However, the main problem with Apple TV is that it won't receive cable channels. If I could purchase a set top box that simply displayed a few key channels - then it would be game over.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Dont forget in Canada once you move to "digital" the local cable company (Rogers in my case) is very fast to cut the analogy signal.

      Now you have to pay to rent super-secret decoder boxes for every TV, and an "extra outlet" fee for good measure.

      All my TV's are "digital ready" but that is basically a sales scam since they wont decode anything.

      • in canada you can buy the box and most systems have no outlet fees for at each the first 3-4 boxes

    • by icebike (68054)

      If someone puts an easy-to-use HDTV-over-internet product together - the cable companies are dead.

      If someone puts an easy-to-use HDTV-over-internet product together - the internet itself is dead.

      Fixed it for you.

      There isn't enough bandwidth on the internet to even remotely handle on demand streams for every viewer.

      • by symbolset (646467) *
        Content distribution networks provide local cache for high bandwidth content to reduce transport costs and improve quality of service.
    • You could record on a Win7 DVR, compress to Mp4, and then feed those to the AppleTV through itunes. For my aged in-laws i gave them a Micca PMP (personal media player) and a NAS device with a USB port. I send movies to the NAS USB port with a thumbdrive in it. They pull out the drive, stick it in the PMP and their movie autoplays. Simpler then a DVD player. The last hurdle is getting CEC control so that the PMP automatically switches inputs on play.
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > You could record on a Win7 DVR, compress to Mp4, and then feed those to the AppleTV through itunes.

        Or you could just skip the strange and unecessary step of trying to marry an AppleTV to WMC. Your proposal would probably fail for the target demographic even harder than a conventional WMC setup.

        For a pedestrian user that has no interest in multi-room viewing, a solution that requires no PC and neither of the big PC vendors would likely be the most logical option (namely, get them a Tivo).

        Alternately, ju

    • by trawg (308495)

      In comparison, an Apple TV box has a much simpler user interface. However, the main problem with Apple TV is that it won't receive cable channels. If I could purchase a set top box that simply displayed a few key channels - then it would be game over.

      Fortunately for them (if Canada is anything like Australia and the US), the utter stranglehold control the cable companies seem to have on all the content will ensure that they can continue to peddle their crappy wares and not have to deal with competition.

      Our main cable provider here in Australia recently was able to stop iTunes [delimiter.com.au] from carrying Season 4 of Game of Thrones. They have some exclusive license to HBO content and are leveraging their weight (I assume by throwing giant bags of money at HBO) to sto

    • In Canada, the HDTV transition has been an usability disaster. The cable boxes are simply to complex. If someone puts an easy-to-use HDTV-over-internet product together - the cable companies are dead.

      Unfortunately, unless things are quite different a few hundred miles to the north, this just won't be the case because for many of us, the cable company is also the ISP . Unless and until cellular data plans become faster and much cheaper.

  • So in one type of place the internet content is controlled based on political affiliation, the other by company fiefdom.

    It's hard to see a major difference. Hopefully the courts will realize this and through these suits out on their arse.

  • Look at the cute little Intel try to do things. Awwwww.

    It's like somebody in their boardroom thought that just making boneheaded decisions about their processors wouldn't make AMD competitive enough, so he invented a massive boondoggle that nobody has any need for.
  • by aegl (1041528) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @11:20PM (#44025755)

    Lots of talk about how ISPs could do this to protect their own video offerings. But are they really doing it? My current ISP is Comcast, previous was AT&T U-verse. In both cases I did not subscribe to their TV option - just to internet and voice.

    I have had no problems streaming video from Netflix, Amazon or Hulu+ through my Roku box. Base bandwidth to maintain a video stream is only 5 Mbits or so, so it would seem to be increasingly difficult for ISPs competing for customers in the Mb/s battles to throttle things so much as to prevent streaming video.

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