Google will spend more than $1 billion on deploying its first Internet-beaming satellite fleet, The Wall Street Journal has learned, with the company expected to start its Internet program with 180 small satellites that will be orbiting the earth at lower altitudes than traditional satellites, and which would help Google bring the Internet to remote locations where other means of connecting the population to the Internet aren’t practical. More →
Have you ever dropped a profane four-letter word when dealing with your cable or satellite TV provider? If so then you aren’t alone… in fact, you’re one of many thousands. Call analytics firm Marchex has done an exhaustive study detailing which companies’ customers are most likely to curse them out over the telephone and has found that satellite TV and cable TV providers rank first and third among all industries, respectively. In fact, Marchex found that satellite TV companies get cursed out in one out of every 81 calls while cable companies get cursed out in one out of every 123 calls. More →
It seems that a good number of people who have unsubscribed from cable or satellite television services never want to go back. According to a new survey released Tuesday by deal-aggregation website TechBargains.com, 33% of cable and satellite subscribers who have cut the cord say they will never go back even if service providers “drastically” reduce their prices. The survey also found that 83% of people who have ditched cable or satellite have done so due to high cost, while 17% of people who ditched their service did so because they were unhappy with the service or content provided. In all, 52% of the people surveyed were current cable subscribers, 19% were current digital satellite subscribers and 29% were former subscribers of cable or satellite. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
More than 1 million cable television subscribers in the United States canceled their service in 2011, opting instead for online films and TV shows available through services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. Nearly 2.65 million cable or satellite TV subscribers have canceled their service since 2008 to rely solely on Web-based services according to estimates from the Convergence Consulting Group. “It’s pretty obvious that there’s actual cord-cutting going on in the U.S.,” Brahm Eiley, president of Convergence Consulting, said in an interview with Bloomberg. The firm warns that the pace of defections may slow this year, however, as content providers tighten online access to shows and increase prices. It is estimated that roughly 930,000 customers will cut the cord in 2012, for a total of 3.58 million subscribers since 2008. The group also estimates that traditional television providers will add 185,000 accounts this year, up from 112,000 in 2011. More →
Philip Falcone’s startup LightSquared planned to deploy a nationwide 4G LTE network in the United States. The firm’s service was found to cause interference with spectrum used by various GPS navigation and tracking solutions, however, forcing the Federal Communications Commission to block the network’s launch. Dish Network is looking to build a similar network and is currently awaiting government approval. Executives and analysts have said that Dish will probably avoid the interference concerns that killed LightSquared’s network, Bloomberg reported on Monday. The satellite company’s frequencies, which are above 2GHz, are far away from those used by GPS devices and Lightsquared’s 1600Mhz band, and are less likely to interfere. “It’s not as close to GPS, so it’s unlikely to interfere,” said Matthew Desch, chief executive officer of Iridium Communications, which operates more than 60 satellites. “But the approval is going to take some time. The FCC is going to make sure they don’t have another LightSquared problem on their hands.” Bryan Kraft, an analyst at Evercore Partners, believes that Dish will gain FCC approval in 6 to 12 months. More →
When we last heard from social media listening firm Mashwork, we learned that future smartphone buyers were much more interested in purchasing the Samsung Galaxy S II than the 4G-friendly Motorola DROID BIONIC. Mashwork is back on Monday with some more interesting findings: according to the firm’s latest research, 45% more people prefer Netflix over Hulu Plus than vice versa. Pulling data from 10,283 relevant tweets between June 28th and July 6th, 2011, 29% of all users prefer Netflix over Hulu Plus for streaming movies and TV shows, while 20% prefer Hulu Plus over Netflix. Also of note, 51% of those accounted for in Mashwork’s study use both services and are hoping to cut the cord with their cable or satellite TV providers. Hulu certainly would like to have been positioned better in the study; Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed at a recent Allen & Co conference that Hulu owners NBCUniversal, News Corp and Disney/ABC Television Group are currently trying to sell the company. Mashwork’s full infographic follows below. More →
On Tuesday Toshiba took the wraps off of its new Satellite P700 series laptops. The models include the P745, P755/P755 3D, and P775, which sport 14-inch, 15.6-inch, and 17.3-inch displays, respectively. Buyers will have the option to configure their P700-series notebook with an Intel Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7 processor, and models sport either an NVIDIA GeForce GT540M GPU or an AMD A6-3400M chip with discrete Radeon graphics. Other features include HDMI-out, USB 3.0, up to 750GB of storage space, Harman Kardon speakers, support for Intel Wireless Display, and optional 4G WiMAX and Blu-ray players. The P750 3D offers a 15.6-inch stereoscopic 3D display, support for 2D-to-3D DVD conversion, and more. The P745 starts at $699.99, the P7555 begins at $629.99, and the P775 starts at $629.99. The high-end P775 3D will set you back at least $1,199.99. The entire P700 series will be available in major retail outlets beginning June 21st. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
On Monday, AT&T took the wraps off of its new Remote Mobility Zone products that it hopes will help business, government, and public safety agencies stay connected during natural or man-made disasters. There are three different Remote Mobility Zone solutions, including a mounted fixed site deployment option, a “Park and Use,” cell site that can be integrated into vehicles with roof-mounted satellite antennas, and a super portable “fly-away” suitcase cell site that’s capable of providing communications up to one half of a mile away in all directions. AT&T said customers can use their current phones with each of the solutions, and cell sites support up to 28 concurrent users. “In the pivotal first minutes of a natural or man-made disaster, AT&T Remote Mobility Zone provides a solution to help maintain critical mobile communications,” said Chris Hill, vice president, Advanced Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions. “With AT&T Remote Mobility Zone, users can set up a cell site in less than 30 minutes.” Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Folks on the fence about a Roku box may be swayed by the news that Roku is teaming up with Clearleap to bring on-demand cable TV programing to the video streaming platform. Clearleap is a growing company that serves as the middle man between cable, satellite and telephone companies that have on-demand content and video streaming services like Roku that want to dish up this content. This arrangement would allow Roku users to purchase on-demand movies from their television provider via their Roku box and have all charges tacked onto their monthly TV bill. That’s definitely great for those with more than one TV in their house, and could also potentially allow television providers the option to offer the Roku box as a cable box alternative. Roku’s move towards providing traditional video-on-demand content is still in its infancy as no content providers have currently jumped on board. But if and when this on-demand service materializes, Roku owners will only have to download an update with the on-demand application to activate the service. More →
Hollywood was granted a major victory by the FCC this past week in a decision that gives the studios permission to shut down the analog ports on home entertainment equipment such as televisions, cable boxes, and satellite receivers. The decision stems from a 2008 request by the Hollywood studios which asked for the power to block analog outputs which lack copyright protection and can be recorded from freely. Blocking these analog ports is an anti-piracy measure that would force television programming to play back via digital outputs which have copyright protection to prevent the recording of the video signal. This power to shut down the analog hole would only be used for first run content which, according to the studios, has the highest rate of piracy. Blocking this potential avenue for piracy would allow the studios to bring new content to the viewing audience sooner as well. New releases in exchange for Hollywood control of home entertainment equipment, sounds like a deal with the devil great decision, no? More →
Any smartphone worth a darn has GPS capabilities, but some are more adept at finding their way than others. After getting a reputation for a company that takes it sweet-ass time launching a handset, Garmin-ASUS today announced two new handsets in the nüvifone A50 and nüvifone M10. First up is the A50. An Android device with a 3.5″ HVGA touchscreen display, 3 megapixel camera, HSDPA connectivity, 4GB of internal memory and accelerometer, the A50 is said to be one heck of a pathfinder thanks in part to its e-compass and GPS chipset that draws location signals from satellites as well as network and terrestrial sources. Add in not apps like Google Maps and cityXplorer but Garmin’s very own pre-loaded turn-by-turn navigation software and one no longer has any excuses for getting lost while driving to the in-laws new country cottage. Moving on we have the M10. Running Windows Mobile 6.5.3, it isn’t as spec’d out as the A50 GPS wise, but it still can take on any other smartphone and even many dedicated GPS units with one hand tied behind its back. Physical characteristics include a 3.5″ WVGA display (resistive), Wi-Fi and HSDPA radios, 512MB of RAM and ROM and 4GB of in-built memory. Consumers and procrastinators should note each handset features support for just about every location-based and social media service under the sun, while corporate types will be pleased to note that Microsoft Exchange is fully by both phones. And yes, the A50 does have a multi-touch WebKit browser. Barring any unexpected delays, both devices will go on sale by the end of Q2. More →
You know what was so 2009? Television in HD. You know what is so 2010? Television in HD and 3D. HD Guru is reporting that DirecTV is planning to launch an all HD and 3D channel in 2010; with an announcement forthcoming at this years CES show in Las Vegas. The new service will be made possible by a new DirecTV satellite being shot into orbit sometime in the very near future, a satellite slated to be fully operational by March of 2010. The channel will play a variety of movies and sports all conforming to the latest 3D standard. Now before we all get too excited, the new service will work with your current DirecTV HD box, thanks to a firmware update, but you will have to purchase yourself a new 3D compatible HD TV — many of which are to be announced at CES this year. Will 3D be the new buzz word of the 2010 television market? We will see. More →
Changeover day came and went this past Friday and while the vast majority of the country likely didn’t even notice, a handful of people were in for a rude awakening as analog broadcasts ended. Over the past week, the FCC’s official help line received about 700,000 calls — 347,450 on Friday alone — regarding issues leading up to and following the changeover. About a third of Friday’s calls were from people still looking for coupons to help pay for digital converter boxes and another third were from people having trouble operating their converters. About 20 percent of the calls were regarding reception issues. Michael Copps, acting FCC Chairman, had this to say regarding the tidal wave of calls:
Our job is far from over. This transition is not a one-day affair. We have known about re-scanning and reception issues for some time and have been doing our best to get the word out.
Re-scanning, as Copps mentioned, is said to resolve reception issues a great deal of the time. So, if Grandma decides to call you for tech support rather than dialing up 1-888-CALL-FCC, that should likely be the first stop on the troubleshooting train. As for BGR readers, we imagine most if not all of you have already been enjoying some kind of digital broadcast for years now. There are always a few stragglers though — anyone caught with their pants down this past Friday? Figuratively, that is.