The Wall Street Journal on Sunday broke the story that Netflix is going to pay Comcast so that Netflix’s streaming subscribers will have access to a smooth viewing experience. Not only does this put a crimp in Netflix’s business model, but it could also mean that the era of net neutrality as we know it is dead. More →
The quality of Netflix streaming has tanked over the past several months at several ISPs because Netflix and the ISPs have been wrangling over who should pick up the tab for all the added traffic being generated by Netflix’s HD video streaming service. ISPs such as Verizon and Comcast have been asking Netflix and bandwidth providers such as Cogent Communications to pay additional fees that will help them deal with added traffic loads. Netflix, meanwhile, has asked ISPs to peer directly with its new video content delivery network as an alternative to charging additional fees. More →
Have your Netflix streams been much more laggy or choppy in recent months? If so then you’re not alone. As The Wall Street Journal shows, Netflix streaming quality has tanked at multiple major ISPs since this past October and much of it stems from behind-the-scenes wrangling over who will pick up the tab for all the added traffic demand Netflix’s services are generating. More →
Comcast has said repeatedly that it has no intention of throttling Netflix’s traffic and there may be a good reason to believe it’s telling the truth. Not because Comcast executives are benevolent cherubs, of course, but more because they’re smart enough to know that throttling Netflix’s traffic would lead to a public relations battle that they would lose very, very badly. More →
So far most of the discussion about the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger’s potential impact on Netflix has centered around how the newly combined Internet giant could throttle Netflix’s traffic. This isn’t too much of a concern in the short-term since Comcast is still bound by the network neutrality restrictions it accepted as part of its merger with NBC. On the other hand, there is a more immediate way that a Comcast-TWC merger could adversely affect Netflix’s business, according to a new report from Bloomberg. More →
There are a number of fears that come to most pay TV and Internet subscribers’ minds when they think about the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger that was announced last week. Will my bill go up? Will real competition in the industry become even more rare? Will the resulting mega-ISP be ruthless and evil? Also high on the list of concerns in light of net neutrality’s death is whether or not a combined Comcast-TWC entity would use its newfound heft to throttle Netflix and other online video providers. More →
The Emmy award-winning House of Cards has returned to Netflix just in time for a Valentine’s Day marathon. House of Cards premiered on Netflix last February to rave reviews and critical acclaim, kicking off a year full of original programming for the subscription streaming service. Starting at 3am ET on February 14th, the second season became available for streaming, 13 new episodes following the trials and tribulations of Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood and his less-than-reputable associates. If you do plan on binge watching the entire season this weekend, keep in mind that House of Cards has just been renewed for a third season — that means 360 some-odd days until a more new episodes see the light of day.
Everyone hates spoilers, but now that Netflix is releasing entire seasons of shows overnight, it’s harder than ever to avoid them. Thankfully, Business Insider has drawn our attention to one mobile solution to the barrage of spoilers you can’t escape online. Spoiler Shield syncs with your Facebook and Twitter feeds and then gives you the option to decide which spoilers you want filtered from view. The app already has a relatively comprehensive list of shows and sports teams, so you won’t have to do any additional legwork. Posts that mention those shows or games will then be covered with a shield, but you can double tap a shielded tweet or Facebook post to reveal the message. The app is free for Android and iOS, so if you’re preparing for a weekend full of House of Cards, it might be safest to give Spoiler Shield a try.
For a brief period of time, the Internet at large served the consuming masses. For those who can recall the day the mainstream public discovered YouTube, you’ll fully grok this concept. Janitors, executives, students, engineers, hippies, and baby boomers all sat down to watch video after video (after video). In a way, this defined the consumption era. The public began yearning for home-based Internet services, not satisfied with having to report to work, a local library, or a coffee shop in order to catch up on the latest news and converse over AIM. The thirst for knowledge shaped the business models surrounding Internet service providers, but those days are long gone. Unfortunately for us, the ISPs haven’t yet realized it.
A decade ago, the average Internet user logged on in order to be quenched. They desired to consume news. To read articles. To watch multimedia. There were exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of those breaking into the Internet scene were doing so in order to swallow up content produced by professionals. Pros produce, the masses consume.
Because of that, asymmetry became an accepted Internet delivery method, but as the technology continues to empower mere mortals to produce richer and more engrossing content, I’m left to wonder: when will the upstream get the respect it deserves? More →
Have U.S. Internet users’ worst fears just been realized? A new report from iScan Online programmer David Raphael claims to confirm that Verizon, which you might recall helped lead the charge against net neutrality regulations, has begun limiting the bandwidth utilized by certain websites for its FiOS Internet subscribers. In a blog post on Wednesday, Raphael shared a troubling account of issues that his company had been experiencing with service slowdowns. After digging into the problem he finally contacted Verizon customer support, which seemingly confirmed that the ISP is throttling bandwidth used by some cloud service providers including Amazon AWS, which supports huge services including Netflix and countless others. As BGR has learned, however, this is in fact not the case. More →
Netflix’s original shows are very good but the company still hasn’t produced anything that’s on par with HBO’s Game of Thrones, The Sopranos or The Wire… not yet, at least. Variety reports that Netflix plans to raise $400 million that it will plug into its original shows, which so far have included hit series House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Netflix will raise the cash by issuing debt, although the company is quick to point out that it still has a very modest debt-to-equity ratio even after it’s issued hundreds of millions of dollars in 10-year senior notes. Variety doesn’t give any information about what kinds of shows Netflix plans to produce with the $400 million earmarked for new content but given that it cost the company $100 million to produce the first season of House of Cards, we imagine that it’s got some pretty spectacular ideas in mind.
Netflix plans to extend its presence in Europe this year, The Wall Street Journal has learned, targeting various markets including Germany and France, the fourth and sixth largest broadband markets in the world, respectively, according to SNL Kagan. The researcher also revealed that Western Europe had 134 million broadband homes at the end of 2013, while the U.S. only had 88 million – thus, growth in the video streaming business in Western Europe is expected to surpass global demand, with revenue expected to reach $1.1 billion in 2017, making the region a very interesting proposition for Netflix. More →
For the past year, Netflix has been experimenting with different pricing schemes. Back in December, Netflix began offering a $6.99 plan that was standard-definition and only allowed streaming to one screen. This was $1 less than the more common $7.99 plan, which streams in high-definition to two screens. In addition, Netflix has had a family plan since last April at $11.99, which allows for streaming up to four screens. More →