Going Over The Top

I have long had an interest in determining when the video offerings available “over the top” will be sufficient so that customers will no longer need to buy video from their cable providers.

I was writing about this issue in the early days of AVC, fifteen years ago, but certainly, that was way too early for the over the top market to develop.

USV had an investment in this market, the hardware device Boxee, that missed the mark and was beaten by Roku and, most significantly, by AppleTV.

I have not written as much about this topic in recent years as my interests have been elsewhere, but I continue to pay attention to this sector.

Over the last few weeks, we have been moving into a new home where we have broadband internet and satellite television.

The broadband has been working well but we have had installation issues with the satellite.

And so we have been using our AppleTVs to watch video while we wait for the satellite to get installed.

We have yet to find something we want to watch that we could not get over AppleTV.

World Cup – yes, on the Fox app

Wimbledon – yes, on the ESPN app

Summer NBA League in Vegas – yes, on ESPN app

It helps that we have a satellite TV account that we can log into these apps with.

So while we can cut the cord, or the dish as it were, we still need to pay the legacy industry some money every month.

I have heard that the new YouTube TV offering is pretty amazing.

And I have also heard that the DirectTV app on AppleTV gives you everything you get on your dish.

I need to check out both of those things.

I also realize that many people have gone over the top in the last ten years and have not missed cable and our family is, if anything, late to making this switch.

But I like to have redundancy. The internet can go down. The dish can go down. But rarely do they go down at the same time.

But at some point, it may be better to have two internet providers and no video provider.

We may have reached that point.


Comments (Archived):

  1. PhilipSugar

    I think it really depends on where you live. I’m not complaining I choose to live where I live. But what the cable company has done (only high speed internet provider) is make it so if you want high speed, TV is nearly free, just like the phone. Jeff has said he got high speed via a mesh network but you need the backhaul. If I could figure out the backhaul I could convince the town to give me right of ways to enough poles and electric to setup a mesh network. There is a very old Verizon CO in town I have tried to contact them to see if they actually have backhaul from there but since they only have copper to houses you get horrible DSL from them. They have no intention of wiring FiOS. Any suggestions welcome.

    1. awaldstein

      My building finally! got Fios. Life is so so much better.And btw, 30% cheaper.

    2. FKA Curmudgeon

      Actually for me, TV is better than free. Every year for the past 3 years, I have tried to drop the TV service. And every year, the cable company (Comcast) has offered me a deal where it is cheaper to retain a limited set of TV channels along with the internet service than it is to have just internet service. I think I have watched 2 television programs and 1 On Demand video in the last 6 months.

    3. bsoist

      We were without any broadband for a several months (relying solely on unlined mobile data without issue (~800Gb/month)). When shopping for new plans, we found the incentives changed every day we called in.We were open to adding TV, assuming it might be a “free” add-on but it didn’t prove to be cheaper than Internet-only along we the other options we already have access to.

    4. Matt Zagaja

      Yep when I looked at the Comcast offerings the cost of basic cable was basically free compared to buying just Internet and buying HBO’s over the top offering.

  2. JonGal

    I love tv.youtube.com with one proviso: the “DVR” capabilities are constrained by the broadcaster so instead of being able to watch something you recorded (and fast-forward through the commercials), you are diverted to the broadcaster’s video-on-demand (VOD) channel, and you have to sit through short ads. Which, because you are captured, can be really repetitive and thus *stupendously* annoying (that damn Volvo commercial with the Hasselblad, secret smiles, and vapid music … GAH!)

  3. omprakash

    I’m a cord cutter , I don’t use any of those old services for the last 8 years. So far I think , YouTube TV with Roku is the best experience on Television. On the rest of the devices (iPhone , Android , iPads.) , I use directly YouTube TV . YouTube TV will win the TV industry (so far my guess …)

  4. William Mougayar

    Yup, kept nodding throughout. We have 2 Internet providers already, for redundancy and because the service is not that great where I am, and we cut cords and satellites a few years ago.Direct TV or Sling online are pretty good. It’s like cable from a content view point. Curious, what issues did you encounter with the satellite installation?

  5. Michael B. Aronson

    Pretty much do this already at our beach house. We have comcast internet (only option no fios) and a very very basic tv package which we use for news pretty much and occasional broadcast phillies game (Atbat app has stupid local blackout, can work around with VPN but its convoluted, did get it to work for Yanks series). I could probab kill the basic comcast package but its real cheap . OTA isnt an option here though it is at home.Watch the important stuff (golf, world cup, espn) on apps which stream in very high quality (broadcast is low def). Sign in from our home FIOS account. HOWEVER ESPN has very annoying issue of slowing down/buffering at EXACTLY the worst moments, like match points in the Nadal Djokovic match yesterday which causes me to tun to TV infrustration (doesnt help with ESPN). Maybe we need an app that dynamically monitors video feeds from multiple sources and goes back in time and switches as needed.

  6. Heather Wetzler

    I love the DirectTV Now app – use it on Amazon FireStick -works perfectly

  7. Salt Shaker

    Here’s the thing, with TV there are a slew of OTT alternatives (Netflix, Hulu, You Tube, Amazon, HBO to Go, etc.). In music there’s clearly one dominant brand, Spotify. How many people have yet to migrate to a premium streaming tier? A ton. They’ll be the primary beneficiary. Apple Music banks on its connected devices strategy, while Amazon Music primarily is a roll up w/ Prime. Both pretty good strats for growth. Tidal and Pandora are second tier brands. SoundCloud is an entity to itself (and I mean that in a good way.) I think Spotify has a leg up on the competition and will continue to grow market share, particularly among Android devices. Long on SPOT.

  8. jason wright

    for the internet i have two independent connections, home broadband ‘landline’ and mobile.telly is a bit weird in the UK. to own a telly you have to buy an annual licence from the BBC and regardless of whether or not you actually consume BBC content. people are sent to prison for not having a licence. it’s jaw dropping stuff. the licence is a regressive tax, and the BBC is a swamp of social networking corruption. it’s the ultimately incestuous British institution, along with Oxford University and the network of independent schools that supply it.

  9. Arnold Waldstein

    Starting to think about this as I have a project that will be ready for this out of the city choice in a year.I moved back to NY when Boxee was at their inflection point. Great people and community and just the very best parties. I think Fred that it is possible that you and I met face to face for the first time at one of these.Was sad for a broad group when they couldn’t find their market.

  10. Rob Underwood

    Do folks with two home internet connections configure routing to balance and optimize traffic across the two connections, or just use one as a hot backup?This post reminds me of my first connect with our host – Fred gave me a hand crafting some questions for a panel on OTT I was moderating for Digitial Hollywood in 2011. As always, very generous.

    1. PhilipSugar

      I could only wish for such a thing. But at the office we do have two. We use one for office internet and one for internal use and one for wifi. Such a KISS solution to providing people wifi. We password it but you physically can’t get to our network. If one goes down you move a wire. But the only time we had an outage was when a dump truck hit a pole. Doh! We don’t have a generator but have UPS’s. Wouldn’t have mattered. Send everybody home. Took out everything.

      1. LE

        Note that for the UPS’s [1] you can rig your own solution which will keep you running for way longer than expensive UPS’s. (Plus the replacement batteries for those UPS’s are pretty expensive.). The non sealed batteries give way more power for size, weight and cost than the batteries located in, say, a APC solutions.What you do is buy heavy 150lb Interstate Industrial batteries. Then you rig them up in parallel using battery cable you buy from Pep Boys. Years ago I rigged up 12 of those batteries (I even hand built platforms for them out of 2×4’s and thick plywood). Then to that 12v output you hook up an inverter (TripLite) and a line cleaner (Triplite) and you have clean computer power that will run things for a long long time. I rigged up one other battery to a switch so if I had to service the main array I could easily and temporarily turn the power to another battery (1/12th) but still have backup. This was in the 90’s prior to having probably a ‘how to’ to show you how. Old school figure it out. It was fun actually. Also built a few dollys to cart the batteries around easily. (I am not you and don’t lift heavy weight!)It worked well and in one case ran for well over 24 hours heavy servers during a power outage. The cost was so cheap don’t remember exactly number. (And the batteries had scrap value when I stopped using them..)[1] (Realize you are saying ‘it doesn’t matter ie fiber down’ but figured it was info to share just the same. )Speaking of fiber I had one of the batteries output going to the fiber equipment located 200 feet away in the condo equipment room. I had to snake cable through other users units to pull that off. So if the power went out to the weak battery that Verizon backed up the fiber equipment with I was covered.

        1. PhilipSugar

          Yes, totally true, but none of our seven datacenters rely on our office. UPS’s provide a graceful way to shut down for 1/2 hour. It wouldn’t matter if I had all the power in the world. The fiber cable, and cable coax cable and power cable were wiped out. Now we require in our datacenters to have two separate ways those cables are routed.No internet for us, no office. No phone, no code check-in, no nothing. BUTGood way to see our disaster plan. You have internet and power at home….everyone back up. No in person collaboration (I know there are some people that say why do you need that but looks like lately people are coming around to my view)

          1. LE

            UPS’s provide a graceful way to shut down for 1/2 hourDo you mean the case where the UPS communicates with the PC and tells it to shutdown when it is close to shutting off? Or?

          2. PhilipSugar

            Yes, if you are not in the office, it does that. If you are in the office you know from the cacophony of beeping and no lights there is no power. Anything you are working on locally you can save.What I never have understood is looking at software companies where the PC is not awesome, and there are not multiple monitors. You get to pick out keyboard, mouse, headset. If you have some other serious preference you can pick.Now I realize this doesn’t work for places where people use the computer and just say..,.it’s broken. Then I probably agree with Delta’s CIO. Everybody gets the same exact one. Breaks you just have spares. Only issue is if you have a widespread problem everybody has it. Kind of like agriculture mono culture.

          3. LE

            where the PC is not awesomeSome people simply don’t understand the value of having the right tool for the job.Remember the story of the locksmith that came to my office to replace a lock? He moved slow and also used one drill. Once to drill then he removed the bit and put in the screw driver. He could have easily had more than one device and done things much faster with less effort. I was annoyed just watching him.Look at my office I have a scale that I weigh out both lox and coffee. The coffee I do in grams. The lox I do in oz. (Doesn’t matter why it’s what I do). So for another $15 I bought two scales. One I keep on g and one on oz. To me for something I use three times a day it pays to pay $15 and not have to toggle a switch! Plus I then label them clearly. On the fax machine (which only I use) a label which says ‘documents face up’. On the UPS (I do have those) a label which gives me the date that I bought it. Just to save time down the line.I am all into efficiency. Why? Partly because as a kid I got paid for piecework by my dad. So the more I was able to squeeze out in a time period the more pennies per piece I made.So sure I don’t see how someone wouldn’t invest in something that made someone’s job easier to do like big monitors etc.Last thing that bugs me is people who use a laptop at the office and then schlep the same laptop home. Makes no sense. For one thing it could get stolen from your car. Next you have to carry it around. Easy enough to get two computers and not have any risk (of damage, loss and what not). To me that is cheap lame to do that. An office computer not a laptop a desktop full bore ready to go.

          4. PhilipSugar

            Yes, yes.Amazon is starting this. I ordered a high end deadbolt. First thing it said at checkout was get it installed for $100 flat rate. Locksmiths are perfect for this. Google Locksmith and you will see the amount of people that game the rankings.I too have seen this with locksmiths. (but I have seen a great one). Even I have a jig for doors ($20 at HD) why would you not have a jig? 1/4 the time.Why would you not have a drill and router for each bit, why would they not be cordless and you have a bank of batteries in your truck.I’ve seen a guy put in a new deadbolt in five minutes. I’ve seen one dork around for an hour.Interesting now that I think about it not much different than programmers.The one thing I think car companies do really well is say: This is the standard time to fix X. Then if the person is fast and they do the job right (rating system) they make a ton more money. I told you about the guy I know who pulls, dents, putties and sands in the morning takes a very late lunch so he can prime and let dry and then does finish paint at the end of the day. Just lines up the cars, does five at a time.

          5. JLM

            .The price of cordless tools – from the best manufacturers – has dropped off the face of the earth. Every manufacturer has a great line of them. The power of batteries has gone up while the price has gone down.When fully charged cordless tools get the job done, but it is hard to get some craftsmen to use them because of old habits and the early versions of the cordless ones.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          6. PhilipSugar

            I don’t care if you have the yellow, green, or orange ones. I am on the green because of a Christmas gift. I’ve used them all. They are awesome. With two chargers and four batteries you can have two tools and they will wear you out before you even start to wear the batteries down.You have a bag with the roller blade wheels on it, I mean I have seen them just tear it up. They put up 24 doors in the office in less than a morning.

          7. LE

            My Dad used to keep a garage full of tools that he had collected over the years. This is from back when you had hardware stores and no Home Depot that you could drop in and buy what you didn’t have. Anyway it would always annoy my Mom because ‘the garage is a mess’. But when he had to do something he just went in the garage and got the tool that he needed. And neighbors would come over and borrow tools (and I think he liked that actually). And he had a full assortment of screws, bolts, nuts, do dads anything that he might need to fix something.Anyway after he died my Mom goes and gives away all his tools to various workmen that would come to the house to fix things. ‘Oh I gave that to Ronnie the Plumber’. Never asked me if I wanted them. And they were good tools also. Like some things from the 50’s I am sure. I got some tools that she didn’t give away.

          8. LE

            There is an equivalent phenomena with old school tech people that were trained when computer disk space was costly and computers were expensive. They stick to trying to eeke out the last ounce of efficiency because it was the way they were raised. Even when it does not matter at all.I find this super bothersome. I have a guy who does work on the side for me. He is good enough that he got hired in his 50’s at Google. (He had worked at EY prior to that and honestly not easy to get hired at Google at that age). My point is he is good and knows his shit.Anyway even though I am paying the bills we would have constant ‘arguments’ over the fact that I wanted everything and anything logged in a file. (Audit trail) He looked at it as wasting disk space. I looked at it as belts and suspenders at no cost or impact (it’s one line of code and disk space is free). He wants to spend time to parse logs to cut down on space ‘because that is what you do’ I want to save everything so I have it if ever needed. Hoard it, Why not? I will write a routine (with my nominal skills) that gets a job done send it to him and he sends back to the ritually correct programmer way of doing things. I don’t have to send it to him but I do sometimes to see what he thinks.And most importantly this is not something that people will see. It’s not wire cabling (I am a stickler for that that it’s done right) or anything that has any impact. If the code gets the job done and no security issues then to me that’s fine. I don’t need the ‘one line’ way of doing it. Just the way that gets it done. And most importantly the way I can get it done w/o asking someone else to do it and waiting.An example (which may not make sense to you if you don’t do this type of thing but will make sense to others (ie falicon)) is in Unix where you pipe one command to another. I will write a routine and output something to a file. Then when that’s done I will take that file and do something with it. Then I will delete the file. He freaks out. “No that should be on one line you are wasting steps!!’. To me it’s what I know and can do quickly (I have 50 jobs, right?) To him even though it works it bothers him because he was trained in a time (I have never been ‘trained’) when that type of thing makes sense.Anyway funny this is real stuff you run into in business.Look if I had to learn things the right way I would never get anything done. You know if you do everything perfect in business you will never make money. Perfect only matters when it matters.

          9. Matt Zagaja

            If it makes you feel any better even my team of “new” developers (fresh out of college) love spending time optimizing the efficiency of software programs.

          10. PhilipSugar

            You are right for storing logs on disks. On the core code if you are processing transactions? Better be optimized.I’ll give an analogy. I used to go to this great Audi/Porsche mechanic. Everybody loves him. It used to be called the Audi shop, I see Audi sued him: https://www.pinterautohaz.com/He'd say yeah, I had to get rid of that guy he’d torque wrench everything, I have a torque wrench and say 60ft/lbs is about right here (angle of hand) with my electric impact gun.I said John when you are building race engines (yes he races them) do you do that? Hell NO!I’d rather have somebody I have to teach when to not optimize than somebody that doesn’t know how.

          11. Matt Zagaja

            I use two machines because I don’t like lugging it home on the train, but a part of me would prefer if I had a single machine to update/maintain.

    2. bogorad

      I thought about it and even got myself a router for it (Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite). But then decided against it – too much hassle, and 200+ mbps is more than enough.

  11. goldwerger

    We have a gone 100% over the top (Roku) when we moved to our new place over 2 years ago. Never had a single regret or any need for anything further. Make the move…

  12. ErikSchwartz

    Of those you listed I assume both the ESPN and Fox apps required a TVE authentication. So you are really still paying for them via your cable/satellite bill.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes. I wrote that in my post

      1. JamesHRH

        When leagues go OTT, satellite & cable TV providers are toast.The only reason we have a cable account at our place is so I can watch live sports. No one else needs it.

        1. PhilipSugar

          I’d say the leagues and their salaries will be toast. Maybe you will get one event per year like boxing that makes money, but that’s it.You are thinking about you. But you know who also pays for it?? Not to stereotype but my two single female neighbors on either side. When I watch sports my wife literally leaves and they razz me she is a single woman on Sunday afternoons in the fall.Let’s just take the NBA. ESPN pays about $3B a year for the broadcast rights. That is about half the total revenue and 100% which goes to players. I.e. players make about $3B. https://www.si.com/extra-mu…There are about 60mm cable subscribers. Let’s start doing the math: ESPN charges about $9 per month per subscriber http://www.businessinsider….Start working those numbers. I pay ESPN $50/year for the NBA. Hey I understand people love the NBA. My number? Zero. MLB Zero. NHL close to zero. Now I might pay for the NFL but not if they go to flag football. So now work those numbers.The last thing you want to do as a league is screw cable companies. The owners will go bankrupt. Then the players will be playing for leagues like Erik’s, which might exactly be the future.$75k per year for players, $500k for coach.

          1. JamesHRH

            I disagree.Leagues will still generate the $3b, they will just cut out the middle man.

          2. PhilipSugar

            Nope. I give you Newspapers. I give you Boxing. And the ultimate example Horse Racing. See what happened there. I know I service 80% of North American tracks. People will just not watch except for the finals. And then they will go to a bar to see. Once you start losing interest you are dead.ESPN is not a middle man. They are a god-send. They are a sugar daddy. Sure there are people that will pay $100 for basketball, but not for long. But 30 million…..half of households? Nope. And don’t forget that is now not a slow drip on your cable bill…..you start losing interest and the spiral goes down very quick.

          3. JamesHRH

            You are talking about people who watch what goes by. I am talking fans.They will go direct, maybe lose 20% net.

          4. JamesHRH

            Horse racing is gambling. It’s death is based on the death of small towns and horses being a part of the culture.Baseball is growing in Little League. MLS is growing. NHL is actually growing. NBA is on fire. NFL is an ailing giant.People have personal, Star and geographic connections to those sports. Not going away.

          5. PhilipSugar

            That is a totally shallow analysis.The most popular tracks are in NYC and LA. How about when they started doing simulcasting, and then taking bets anywhere, then lack of attention span.The cost of the product was very expensive to the alternatives like slot machines kind of like video games/pro sports.That was weak. The NBA is not on fire. ESPN and therefore Disney’s P&L are what’s on fire. Sure they want to promote.How many people watched the finals versus the NFL playoffs??? Oh, 1-5.

          6. JamesHRH

            Ok, Phil, you are on.Horse racing – when we lived in SW Ontario, which is farm / horse country, the local trotting track closed. In Toronto, 5th largest metro area in NA and home to tons of people who grew up in small town NA, they had to sell off the track and move it north of town, into the sticks. Is the Derby an event? Yes, but no one watches the Belmont unless a Triple Crown is in play (and the $ folks in racing are screwing that up, by pooling their resources and producing too many super horse in succession).And, https://www.theatlantic.com…As for hoops, note the final paragraph of this article on the long standing roots of the game overseas – https://www.washingtonpost….The NFL has more $, but has made far less impact overseas. There are <500 jobs in the NBA and over 20% of them go to players from outside the USA – http://www.nba.com/article/….More importantly, many of the most significant young players are international – Embiid, Simmons, Antentokoumpo, Porzingis, Doncic, .The NFL has 32 foreign players, many of whom are US armed service personnel babies born in Germany – https://www.growthofagame.c… .NBA TV has a global footprint – http://www.espn.com/nba/sto… .NFL has nothing.And, yes the Super Bowl did 103.4M but the trend is down and has been for a decade. But, NFL has advantage, as it has fewer games which lead to its event style viewerships results.Interestingly, the NFC championship did 36M while the NBA telecast did 14.7M for Game 7 of Rockets / Ws – http://www.nba.com/article/….And, remember, that’s only traditional cable.Who has the best online presence? The NBA. Whose players kill it on social media? The NBA – https://csga.ca/nba-social-…Why, that looks like the NBA has more social media viewership than all the other major leagues combined, doesn’t it Phil?I haven’t even gotten into the head trauma issue that the NFL has to deal with, which the NBA does not have to deal with at all.How relevant is the head trauma issue? Hmmmmm – of the other major sports, only baseball does not have the head trauma issue…… https://www.foxsports.com/m…I stick by my guns – horse racing is degenerate & agrarian, NBA is mainstream, global and rural/suburban/urban. NFL is a dinosaur.I like the NHL’s potential for growth over the NFL’s potential growth long term, as they have made the game more egalitarian (tons of little skill guys got drafted in the first round this year), they got waaaaaay ahead on the head trauma issue, the KHL has failed as a Euro league competitor (NHL will get there one day) & the game continues to make inroads in hot spots.

          7. ErikSchwartz

            “$75k per year for players, $500k for coach.”Some of those numbers are more accurate than others…

          8. PhilipSugar

            Well I am just quoting what I found on internet. Don’t get me wrong, see my other comments. Especially note my comment and study the history of Horseracing. History rhymes.

          9. ErikSchwartz

            The only announced number is players have non guaranteed contracts that pay $250K over three years.I do not believe there are any accurate coach salary numbers on the internet.

        2. ErikSchwartz

          You are not going to see an existing league walk away from the kind of up front payments that the networks make.Yes the networks are a middleman, but they are a middleman that adds enormous value. They take on technical risk. They take on payment collection. They take on billing. They take on a vast majority of the marketing burden.They are not going to take on all that risk, lose the up front payment, for maybe making more on the come.

          1. JamesHRH

            NHL.Had relationships with advertisers.Does sales. Collects $ directly. Has struggle to find a network partner.Next commissioner will go direct, prove it can be done and then the dominoes fall.

          2. ErikSchwartz

            Each of the teams in the US has lucrative RSN deal. You are right, the league deal in the US does not matter much. The league deal in Canada is worth a lot. Most of their audience is in Canada. The Rogers deal includes streaming rights.The Rogers deal does not expire until 2025.The Rogers deal was $5B (Canadian)

          3. JamesHRH

            The RSN’s are really interesting wrench. They are local, basically, but why wouldn’t you take it in house like YES?

          4. ErikSchwartz

            I would take it in house for hockey in YES’ DMA (but only for the Rangers, not for the Islanders or the Devils). I would take it in house in the Boston DMA. Probably Chicago.I would not take it in house in Buffalo, or St Louis, or Dallas, or Anaheim, or LAK, or Columbus. Very few US DMAs would it make sense to go OTT exclusively hockey.

          5. JamesHRH

            The question is: In 10 years, who is watching FOX Sports West or Prime Ticket?

          6. PhilipSugar

            YES is a great example. See what happened when Time Warner said it wasn’t going to be on basic: https://nypost.com/2003/08/…And that is the New York Yankees. They knew it would kill their revenue.My point is very simply this: If people are able to pay or not pay, you now have a penny gap.Now another killer with that is that unless you have revenue sharing what does that do to small market teams?

          7. PhilipSugar

            The biggest risk they take is telling cable companies that they take all or nothing.I’m not saying that’s much of a risk, but many say you take all my channels and you put them all on the basic tier or you get none.Even the NFL network struggled with that. That is huge

          8. Chimpwithcans

            Hypothetically, couldn’t Netflix make those payments and take on that risk? Yes….yes they could.

          9. ErikSchwartz

            Sure they could. But how is that any different than the NFL going from ABC to NBC? Netflix is a TV network.Also, it won’t happen while Reed Hastings is in charge of NFLX

      2. Adam Parish

        I thought ESPN+ solved this problem.

  13. Doug Calahan

    The death of cable television has been prematurely called over and over and over and over.

  14. Grace Schroeder

    YouTube TV is great. I cut the cord and never looked back. The other interesting project is CBS “The Good Fight” series, only available via CBS Online. They just finished their second season, they put out incentivized questionnaires, and it truly is worth the $5.99/month for what is (for now) only one show.

  15. bogorad

    If one works from home – redundant internet is a must. I always have a backup. Plus a cell modem for a worst case scenario (used it once when the power went down and both fiber lines with it).As for cable alternative – way too expensive. I’d probably pay $15/month (that’s what pirates offer – but there are risks) but not $35 for something I don’t really need.

  16. JLM

    .Not sure what problem is being fixed here. I have cable Internet (1G fiber), television, phone.I pay less today – $65.99/mo, I think I get a $20/mo discount for “loyalty” in addition – for the package than I did for much less 15 years ago. There are 7 different sources of 1G fiber in ATX – yes, I get it, it’s Austin.I am not aware of a single offering anywhere in the US I cannot access through either the cable TV or some Internet streaming service. Amazon Prime (for which I pay Amazon and would have regardless of any other considerations) opens a lot of doors.I buy my own router for quality and performance, but no boxes of any kind.Am I missing something?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Amar

      Salt in the wound man. I live in the same Austin and I have no choice – it is Spectrum or bust. Freaking “Google” – serve 3 or 4 zip codes and forget the rest of Austin 🙁

      1. JLM

        .Google was the first to announce and the last to provision. I use Grande.You live in the hills with the great views.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. fredwilson

      I like a vetical stack architecture in a market vs a sole provider of the entire stack. It leads to more innovation at each layer of the stack

      1. JLM

        .Intellectually, I agree with you more than you do with yourself, but pragmatically I am getting all there is to get at a good price.I have reached peak happiness. Single POC to deal with. One payment.Is there something I am not getting, cause I can’t figure out what it is?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. LE

      Not sure what problem is being fixed hereWith all due respect to Fred (sorry Fred) I always get a kick out of people who have enough money to not care about paying an extra bill here or there but then caring about it. I just never get that. I do understand that Fred’s interest is more in terms of business (and where the market is heading) and that is why he talks about it. But still I find it funny. I mean we are talking what $100 to $150 per month? Even if you multiply that by multiple houses so what?I told the story here before about the young tech guy on reality tv ‘Selling Jets’ that is from Austin Tx. So he is on the reality tv show to buy a jet (for roughly $2m let’s say) in his 30’s with his beautiful Texas wife (right?) so he can fly to Silicon Valley to visit with the company that acquired his company. For enough money that he can buy a private jet just to keep up with the Jones (he actually said that).And he is asking about wifi on the jet. The sales guy says he can have it installed ($100k to $150k). And he says ‘oh can it be gogo wifi?’. And the jet salesman says ‘sure they have a program’. And he looks at his wife and says (quite seriously) ‘good because I am paying that gogo already’. Like you are buying a $2m jet with massive carry costs and cost per hour and your head is thinking great I can use the gogo account I am already paying for. And yes it was real and not tv bullshit. (You’d have to watch the episode and see how goofy the guy was to know that is the case).

    4. Pete Griffiths


    5. Matt Zagaja

      Hi JLM,Thanks for the update. I hate you in the best way possible. Currently sending $75/month to the folks at Comcast and I’m still limping along at 150Mbps with a paltry 5Mbps up. Still waiting for fiber optic Internet while living in one of the most prosperous cities in America.Reminds me of when I visited Faro, Portugal. My friend Marco walked into the Meo (local cell provider) store and for 20 euro we got a SIM card with 12GB of data on it. I speed tested it and it delivered 150Mbps Internet on my 4G iPhone 7. I just used my phone as a “hot spot” and we streamed movies, etc. without problem. Heading back inland where we only got typical 4G speeds was a bit of a disappointing transition. Once you taste the future you spend the rest of your life trying to get it back.

  17. WA

    Point reached on two providers two years ago. Survey says – most excellent. ATT & Comcast

  18. Woody Lewis

    YouTube TV is very good. Major stations, unlimited DVR. I also have Sling on Roku, basic package with NBC, CNN and other special feeds. Cut the cable cord last year, happy with the savings.

  19. bsoist

    We have the basic DirecTV plan and HBO for $10 a month as part of our wireless plan. In addition to MLB.tv, that gives us everything we need.We also share a YoutubeTV plan with a family member and we are enjoying the unlimited DVR.We pay $7.99 for Netflix but that’s mostly for the kids- we barely use it.We stopped paying for cable or satellite tv a long time ago. I’d much rather use the money on MLB.tv and Flyers tickets. 🙂

  20. bsoist

    YoutubeTV did fail during the England match on Wednesday but we could login to the Fox app with our YoutubeTV account and watch that way.

  21. sigmaalgebra

    Yes, definitely this thread is in the context of current information technology because it follows the norm of using undefined jargon — “over the top”.What the heck is meant by “over the top”? I did a Google search and found a movie, etc. but no definition.

  22. JaredMermey

    Sling TV works well, especially on a Roku, Smart TV or (probably) Apple TV. Not great when mirroring to your TV through a Chromecast as changing channels takes too long that way.

  23. Mike Geer (MG)

    YouTubeTV is very good indeed. It plays everything and on all devices. So many services like Hulu never allowed showing certain live TV on…wait for it…TVs. So sick of the “clever” deal cutting of content providers along time, device, and Geo lines. Everyone tells them it will make them less money, but they somehow know better and make the consumers life harder. And, as you (Fred) have mentioned once or twice it simply pushes a consumer looking to pay for content to circumvent the system and sometimes not even pay.As I myself sell millions of subscriptions online to a global userbase and ran (for a short painful period) a subscription music service, I would be more than happy to sit down with the business managers that are still advocating for restricted distribution deals. I honestly would love to understand what the heck they are thinking and see these magical Excel sheets that are still telling them it is the best way to maximize revenue.

  24. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Am I in the land of “Lotus Eaters” when it comes to charges for TV and Internet??I pay just 3$/month (actually 2.2$ if u exactly convert to the current exchange rate in Indian Rs) for my Cable and I get 100+ channels (15-20 international) and 5$ for internet (50+GB)+call charges (except international calls….we all do WApp calls and skype now).The irony is when I found that my friends in U.S. watched 2-minutes delayed FIFA World CUP from U.S. I updated them on the match recent happenings over the live chat!!!well…. I get all my TV + Internet + calls for less than 10$ a month…Am I in the land of ….:-).thanx to the userBase.

  25. Pete Griffiths

    5g will change the picture again

  26. TanyaMonteiro

    In Salt Rock, South Africa we have superseded that point. No more cable (DSTV). Only Apple TV, Netflix, Open View for International sport R300.00 one off cost. I’m looking into YouTube TV now. Great post, a fascinating market especially across Africa.

    1. Chimpwithcans

      Who do you use for your internet? Telkom is slowly rolling out fibre in our hood.

      1. TanyaMonteiro

        We live on an estate that has their own internet provider/host. (we pay R550 for 10MB speed, unlimited data, no buffering so far) Cheaper than the cheapest, which to me right now is cellc. (for data). I will never use Telkom again! I’ve been back in SA for 6 years and the change has been remarkable, still day light robbery though.

    2. Chimpwithcans

      How do you find Kwese? What sport do you watch? Supersport is pretty hard to beat

      1. TanyaMonteiro

        Not tried Kwese or heard of them, will look into it. Your right Supersport can’t be beat but I began to detest DSTV so we make a plan. Watched all the world cup games via Open View.

  27. OurielOhayon

    Fred, when in France, check out Molotov.tv this is hands down the best product ever made for TV OTT. It is order of magnitude better than anything built anywhere to date

  28. Toby Bryce

    I cut cord last fall for Fubo. Have not looked back. They had some capacity issues initially but works fine now. Has everything but ESPN. (Which is marginal for me as the only sport I care about watching is soccer; and which you can obvs sign up for separately.)

  29. Gary Roquemore

    Just moved from a location of 40 years and in the process dropped a phone landline and charter cable TV service in trying to go cordless if you will. The amount of junk phone calls we were getting ridiculous. My number had been passed around for decades and the do not call lists don’t work anymore. With Charter/Spectrum had to subscribe to a gazillion channels to get the ones I wanted. So signed up for Direct TV Now basic channel package with HBO and Showtime added. The new subdivision only has crappy 10 meg DSL service and the streaming is sometimes spotty especially with multiple devices going. But soon Charter will be out here and will get decent speeds but doubt will use the TV service. So far decent functionality out of DTVN service. Do miss some of the ease of pausing and rewinding live TV and picking back the program. Its doable with DTVN but a bit of a complex maneuver. I will end up spending about 40 to 50% less. Most of that savings is probably in the unused channels I had previously.

  30. JLM

    .The S Korea comp falls on deaf ears. I acknowledge that there is better pricing out there, but I am happy with it.I get almost perfectly symmetrical service. I get right at 950M up/down. In the mornings early, I get 1.05G up/down.The truth is I don’t really need nor could I appreciate anything more than 300M. It is purely vanity.And, yes, I get it – Austin By God Texas. Do not hold it against me that I picked Austin. I had a choice and I took it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  31. awaldstein

    dunno.been years since i had cable or phoe so with Fios at somewhere like $80 a month with two people working out of the house it feels ok to me.

  32. awaldstein

    Of course I getting your point completely. Connectivity in the states especially in NYC is bad.I’m a believer that things will get better in pieces and for me, in my situation downtown, it is a bit. Though of course I am bound to one carrier.

  33. Chimpwithcans

    We sit with 20MB fibre in Cape Town – and a different provider for phone, internet and satellite TV. All very expensive.Different market demographics make this stuff a luxury so it commands high prices. We have a long way to go.