It's On: Anytime, Anywhere to Any Device

[SWF], 250, 205[/SWF]
Tim Hermes, BGR CEO

This week, my son and I watched the entire Season Two of Modern Family on my computer. Last summer, my wife watched the entire Season Two of Weeds online, and TWO seasons of True Blood in a single day while lying in bed .

Me: "Honey, get out of bed. It’s three in the afternoon."

Her: "Ten minutes, OK? Sookie is about to kill a succubus."

So to say we are an over-the-top (OTT) family is an understatement. The ease of finding great programming on the web has become exciting, and frankly, fun for the family as we search the net for suggestions on new series to check out. This year we've dug into Psych, Modern Family, Lie to Me, Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men and our favorites , Burn Notice and Bones. Seriously, we watch TV series with as much intensity as my Oprah-sized dog watches a piece of Kung Pao chicken stuck behind the fridge. Being a family that is close-knit, we like to jump into a series and watch a few episodes a night. So last week when we finished Season Four of Psych, I realized that we hadn't seen a single commercial.

All that content streams over my high-speed broadband connection (which I pay dearly and happily for) through our wireless router, to Netflix on the Wii, which we then watch on the big TV. As a result, my local cable provider is getting a happy chunk of my monthly telecom budget. But Netflix is getting a little now too. However, had I used my VOD channel to capture/watch these shows (if available) on my TV, my monthly bill would have been much higher, I'm sure. And if I'd used TiVo, at least I'd see the commercials the local and national reps sold on those programs unless I was aware enough to fast-forward -- but who really remembers every time? So instead of more revenue for my local operator, they were left with only a fraction of the revenue they could have captured.

And it's all because of bandwidth. Yes, the tortoise has caught the hare.

The first shots HAVE been fired ... somewhat. A few ops have put the hammer down and decided to charge overage fees per gigabyte used. (Much of the recent buzz around this kind of usage policy has been revolving around a couple operators in Canada.) In that kind of overage setup, it potentially wouldn’t be long before a series-junkie like me got a bill approaching four figures, and that would change the game quickly.

Can operators do anything else to manage OTT programming? Sure, they can work deals to add advertising (like Hulu does, but my guess is that the op does not see a penny), only show last years' dated programs (like Netflix does) and compete by offering first-run movies and shows on VOD like they do now. They can also – um -- block specific sites. But that is dangerously close to specific Constitutional issues, shall we say, and not looking like a real option.

The network is now fast enough to stream live content anywhere, any time, any place and to any device. Unheard of 15 years ago. (Side note: Some flack told me a few months ago the word "broadband" was "dated" and "nobody used it anymore." Might want to retract that statement, flack-boy. Tell that to every op who uses "broadband" in their marketing materials.)

So, how will the operators -- the owners of the "big pipe" -- monetize this phenomenon? The easy answer is to jack up the rates on the Internet side of the triple play. But there's gotta be more. I Iove the fact that I can grab Redskins highlights at the local Quiznos on my iPhone during lunch break, watch Mad Men through my son's Wii, and see my idiot friends on YouTube without ever looking at network or tiered programming. However, if the ops put the bandwidth clamp down, like Verizon does with their MiFi card, my viewership would change. Last summer I spent several weeks away and downloaded dozens of TV shows on my MiFi card. Very cool until I got the bill, which, shall we say, invoked spasms. It definitely changed MY behavior.

So, a grand experiment has started. Meanwhile, those of us fortunate enough to have some downtime have the largest choice of entertainment the world has ever seen -- and the largest choice of where to see it. Three-screen video is a reality. So let's take advantage of it now. I have a feeling it ain't gonna last. At least at this price.

P.S.: Thanks to those of you who wrote in last week to say that I got my months too early or too late when it comes to MSO equipment budget planning. Turns out some systems do it in May/June, some in June/July and some even later. After checking with my respected Village Elders, I'm just gonna say "summer."

Tim Hermes is CEO at BGR. Email him at

Get the Broadband Technology Report Newsletters Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to email newsletters today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • Video Technology
  • Network Technology
  • Technology Alerts
  • BTR LATAM (Latin America)

SCTE-Cable Tec Expo 2016 Video Show Dailies

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 3

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 3

In our Video Show Daily for Day 3 of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia, BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy covers trends in distrib...

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 2

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 2

In our Video Show Daily for the second day of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia, BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy highlights furt...

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 1

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 1

BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy reviews the hot technologies and announcements from the first day of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016 in P...

Diamond Technology Reviews - 2016 High Scores

2016 Diamond Technology Reviews Slideshow

2016 Diamond Technology Reviews Slideshow

Diamond Technology Reviews 2016

Diamond Technology Reviews 2016

BTR's Diamond Technology Reviews, now in its twelfth year, is a technology recognition program wherein vendors serving the broadband cable ...

Related Articles


ADB Adds 'Casting' to Hotel Video Platform

October 6, 2016

ADB is upgrading its vuTyme managed services hotel video solution to ena...

Parks Associates

OTT: User-Generated Video on the Upswing

October 6, 2016

According to OTT research from Parks Associates, nearly 35% of U.S. broa...

Digital TV Research

MEA SVOD to Grow Fivefold by 2021

October 4, 2016

According to Digital TV Research, although there have been many launches...


2016 SCTE Cable-Tec Expo Wrap Up

Whether you couldn't make it to Cable-Tec this year or want to see if you missed anything while you were there, you'll want to join BTR editors Stephen Hardy and Ron Hendrickson as they reveal their picks for the...

October 12, 2016
Sponsored by

Counting the cost: Efficiently transitioning from HFC to FTTH

HFC networks are uniquely positioned to provide compelling and competitive services, and are also uniquely positioned to transition to symmetrical FTTH as commercial requirements demand.  This webinar will d...

Date:September 22, 2016
Sponsored by

Maintaining High Quality of Experience in an Adaptive Bitrate System

This webinar will look at the many points in an ABR system where the video is touched.  From ingest (satellite, file, and IP), to egress, each point should be qualified for compliance to help maintain a high...

Date:August 25, 2016
Sponsored by

White Papers & Special Reports

Cable VoIP 2.0: Voice Moves to the Cloud

October 2016

Cable providers led the charge on the VoIP evolution and won customers and market share. Now voice networks are evolving again. The cloud voice platform has ...

Understanding Ultra High Definition Television

October 2016

Over the last 10 years, high definition television (HDTV) has been replacing standard definition television as the expected viewing format for television pro...

Are You Ready for DOCSIS 3.1? The Future of Cable Technology and How to Prepare Your Network

October 2016

DOCSIS 3.1 promises 10x capacity throughput and a range of technical benefits for cable providers and users alike. Are you ready? Discover the technical adva...

BTR Blogs

BTR Managing Editor Ron Hendrickson

FCC Rethinks Set-Top Plan

September 10, 2016

By Ron Hendrickson - The FCC has reworked the "unlock the set-top b...


In Memoriam: Richard Covell

August 18, 2016

By Rob Stuehrk, Publisher - We at Broadband Technology Report were sadde...

BTR Managing Editor Ron Hendrickson

Court Overturns FCC Municipal Broadband Order

August 11, 2016

By Ron Hendrickson - You win some, and you lose some, and the FCC just l...

Featured Hangouts

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K/UltraHD video is coming - consumers are buying the TV sets, and more content is becoming available. Watch this inf...

DOCSIS 3.1: A Look Ahead

DOCSIS 3.1: A Look Ahead

Watch a 30-minute video chat of experts from a variety of related disciplines discuss how close deployments really ar...

Featured Hangout

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K/UltraHD video is coming - consumers are buying the TV sets, and more content is becoming available. Watch this informative Hangout on demand by clicking the link above.

Sponsored by Verimatrix.