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Cisco vs TiVo DVR smackdown: Whose patent is it anyway?

It‘s hard to read a "TiVo is sued by someone" headline these days and get excited about it. Multiple courts, going up to the highest in the US, have backed TiVo‘s claims to its Time Warp and other patents, dating back to 2001, so how can it get its patents re-examined once again? But the US press got all excited this week about …
Faultline, 13 Jun 2012
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TiVo spits out monster 6-way Pace box for US eyes only

The fact that the very first product out of the relationship between TiVo and Pace is a six-tuner device means automatically that it‘s for use in the US – nowhere else has that kind of requirement yet. But in the US six tuners is becoming a requirement, and the TiVo Premiere being delivered at cable TV giant RCN already has four …
Faultline, 27 May 2012
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Dish Networks locks horns with broadcasters over ad skipping

In the latest episode of the US ad-skipping saga, Dish Networks is facing the wrath of broadcasters such as NBC and Fox, but winning praise from customers and no doubt causing a little churn among competitors. That at least is the intention of the Dish PVR ad skipping feature called Auto Hop, with the company gambling that the …
Faultline, 19 May 2012
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Samsung buys US Spotify clone, hopes to bruise Apple's eco-system

You don‘t have to be a genius to know that mSpot, which has just been bought by Samsung Electronics in the US, is going to go through both a transformation and a huge international upsurge in usage, if it has, or can get, international music rights. Samsung has been talking about a rival to iTunes for some years, ever since …
Faultline, 13 May 2012
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Web super-TV turns EXTREME sports fans into sofa-dwellers

Over-the-top content (OTT) – the online delivery of video and audio content that cuts out the ISP – has always seemed perfectly made for a global age where communities are widely distributed, and now we have the first pan European service for extreme or adventure sports enthusiasts. Branded Epic TV and funded by Finnish telecoms …
Faultline, 05 May 2012
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Investors circle Barnes & Noble as it plans Nook spin-off

Barnes & Noble has had a troubled few years. Part of the problem is that it continues to be a tablet business with a chain of bookshops connected to it rather than the other way around – with the tablet and ebook reader business growing at a savage pace, while the bookshop dawdles. But it clearly needs a new owner, and to that …
Faultline, 29 Apr 2012
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AOL slaps on 'online Nielsen ratings' to lure advertising fat cats

AOL hopes to steal a march on its online competitors in the US over the next few weeks, when it shows off its use of metrics – which are the closest Nielsen can get to comparing the results of online video based ad campaigns with TV campaigns. AOL has announced the use of this new model, which uses the Nielsen gross rating point …
Faultline, 22 Apr 2012
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Nordic region, Ireland adopt new 'connected telly' standard

Nordig, the parent broadcasting organisation for the Nordic countries, plus Ireland, has issued a new specification for broadcasting. It has dropped MHP as its interactive primary broadcasting protocol and adopting Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV). The standard is already taking off in Germany, France, the Netherlands and …
Faultline, 17 Apr 2012
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Yahoo! enters! last! chance! saloon!

The lazy reaction to Yahoo!‘s latest attempt at revival is cynicism, but a closer examination suggests it is playing a mixed hand of cards as well as it can. As we all know Yahoo! lost the search wars to Google, as did a bunch of other vendors that appeared well placed at the time. One of them, Alta Vista, ended up being …
Faultline, 15 Apr 2012
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US telly big boys open fire on 'cloud streaming' biz Aereo

The US "free to stream" service Aereo has, as expected, run into a hail of legal fire within one week of its unveiling, as major networks NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox waste no time responding to what they consider a threat to revenues. The broadcasters have requested a court injunction blocking Aereo’s service even before its first …
Faultline, 09 Mar 2012
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Europe is a happy hunting ground for TiVo

After pioneering the DVR and trick-play functions over a decade ago, TiVo eventually ran out of steam, until reinventing itself as a vendor of hybrid software for integrating broadband and broadcast services from 2008. This meant it was no longer confined to its own boxes but could enter partnerships with set-top box vendors as …
Faultline, 04 Mar 2012
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How Google and Apple exposed their Achilles heels this week

In the massive tussle between Apple and Google, it is easy to forget that neither giant (for all their successes) is infallible. They are almost unbeatable in their core markets – Apple in device design and user experience, Google in search, advertising and online software. But once they venture out of their comfort zones, …
Faultline, 19 Feb 2012

PlayStation Vita OS in your phone and telly - Sony's saviour?

Incoming Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai doesn't have too long to prove himself before shareholders get restive again. Of course, his big challenge is in the TV business*, but he has also spotted the chance to do, belatedly, what rival Samsung has been putting together for years – creating a true multiscreen apps and content platform by …
Faultline, 18 Feb 2012

Can Sony's new supremo make the sacrifices to save his biz?

When Faultline first began following Sony in 2003, it was worth $36 billion on the stock market. At the time Apple was worth $9.8 billion and it was about to launch the iTunes Music Store. We said that Sony should buy Apple and put Steve Jobs in charge. Of course it was whimsical, Apple and Jobs in particular would never have …
Faultline, 05 Feb 2012
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BT Vision throws Microsoft Mediaroom under a bus for Linux

UK hybrid TV service BT Vision plans to be the first customer to discard Microsoft's Mediaroom software, almost imminently, after at least a year-long effort to put in completely new software building blocks to rejuvenate the service. BT controversially refused to launch a fully-fledged IPTV service when it finally got Vision …
Faultline, 03 Feb 2012
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Undervalued TiVo wins yet another legal battle

There is likely to (eventually) be a flurry of investment activity in TiVo over the coming weeks, as investors shake the tinsel and party poppers from their eyes and the depression on the markets that 2011 brought, and realize what an undervalued stock it has become. The shares spiked on January 3 as it announced that it had …
Faultline, 08 Jan 2012
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Apple to conquer connected TVs? Steady on, lad

A very inward-looking report by Strategy Analytics, published last month, seems to ignore the entire Over the Top video market - and makes Apple an out-and-out winner with its $99 Apple TV device by taking 32 per cent of the Connected Home Device market in 2011. Let's just look at that. So Apple will win 32 per cent of the …
Faultline, 03 Jan 2012
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Yahoo! and! Sony! tuck! into! interactive! multimedia! ads!

This week could go down as the dawn of the interactive multimedia advert era, as both Yahoo and Sony make very different plays in the field. Yahoo launched an advertising platform called "Living Ads" aimed at tablets, which combines print, online and TV type advertising on a single page, kicking off with a campaign for launch …
Faultline, 27 Nov 2011
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TiVo subscriptions go up – for the first time in 4 years

TiVo in the US has definitively turned the corner, increasing the number of Tivo subscribers in the quarter for the first time in four years, turning a 33,000 deficit last quarter into a 117,000 gain this quarter. This long awaited milestone was greeted in the current US investment market with a yawn, and no significant rise in …
Faultline, 26 Nov 2011
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Hey everybody! Microsoft's discovered social networking

Warren Buffett, the world's most famous investor, may have diluted his usual hostility to hi-tech stocks by betting more than $10 billion in IBM, but he remains averse to social networking companies (as well as to Apple) because he thinks it is "extremely difficult" to determine their value and understand their future plan. Few …
Faultline, 20 Nov 2011

Massive Chinese set-top box orders favour locals

The magnitude of China Telecom‘s set top plans – with 3.6 million set tops being ordered in a variety of programs – shows how Chinese companies are likely to dominate the set top industry in the coming years and months. The tender for this round of 2012 devices is just complete and will only take the giant operator through to …
Faultline, 13 Nov 2011
Broken CD with wrench

Google TV 2.0 is all bling and no kerching

It is easy to be rude about Google TV, but at the back of the mind is the feeling that one day, after successful tinkering, Google may get it right. Yet after initial hype and excitement around the launch, Google has struggled to recover from the dead weight of unfulfilled expectations that followed, and it will take something …
Faultline, 05 Nov 2011

Cheaper competition? Right, we're outta here

Last month chip maker Broadcom, with hardly a whimper, began disengaging from the smart TV and Blu-Ray player markets, despite having some high profile CE customers such as LG in this sector. Then around three weeks later in mid-October, Intel, with tail between its legs, also announced its withdrawal from the smart TV market …
Faultline, 30 Oct 2011
cloud

How to pipe live telly into your pocket with 4G

Mobile TV has had as many false starts as an Olympic 100m sprint final, but Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology could change all that. LTE is one of two contenders for 4G mobile networks, the other being Wimax, although some wags call WiFi a third. It is true though that the proliferation of hot spots both public and private …
Faultline, 30 Oct 2011
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RIM's BBX has all the logic PlayBook should have had

RIM is a frustrating company right now. The massive outages that affected BlackBerry email users on three continents last week may have been a miracle of bad timing, just after the iPhone launch, but they were only the most publicised of a string of more avoidable mistakes which are leaving users and developers at the end of …
Faultline, 21 Oct 2011
Broken CD with wrench

Microsoft whips Apple with global Xbox TV deals

If the Xbox Live network was a cable operator it would be the largest such operator in the world, with 35 million customers, which is why Microsoft is turning the Xbox into an over-the-top TV delivery device – something it has dreamed of ever since it first made the Xbox one of its IPTV Mediaroom set-tops. Redmond announced the …
Faultline, 13 Oct 2011
Cat 5 cable

Steelie Neelie stares down telcos over fibre sharing

Telco operators have a wonderful habit of neither listening nor being rational when local loop unbundling is ever mentioned. The reactions, spread across the European press, to the two consultations announced by Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda, mostly accuse her of being mad and her ideas …
Faultline, 06 Oct 2011
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Fibre up, broadband up, IPTV up in Europe

Numbers announced at the Broadband World Forum point to a continued rise in fibre deployments, with the dual conclusions that Lithuania and Norway are the most fibred up countries and that both Hungary and the Ukraine are joining the world's leading 'fibre to the home' (FTTH) economies, with a sudden burst of pace. The report …
Faultline, 03 Oct 2011
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Google Wallet and PayPal in electro-purse war

Google went live with its hotly anticipated Wallet application on Tuesday, though it will hardly hit the mass market yet – it runs only in the US, on the Sprint network, and on its own handset, the Nexus S. And eBay‘s PayPal – the firm which sued Google when it first unveiled Wallet in June – may be the more important player to …
Faultline, 24 Sep 2011
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Samsung-Apple patent lawsuit tally hits 21, and counting

The legal activity around Android continues to mount, with the chief antagonists - Samsung and Apple - increasing their lawsuit tally to 21. And another may follow soon, as Samsung threatens to sue to block sales of the iPhone 5 as soon as it launches, at least in its home country of Korea. Let's face it, this is relevant to all …
Faultline, 23 Sep 2011
server room

Intel gets into Comcast product catalog

While Motorola’s announcements at the Cable Show in Chicago last week shows that it has come alive and is hellbent on keeping its major cable customers, in Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the emergence of an Intel chip in an announced set top box at Comcast must set Broadcom firmly back on its heels and send the shivers up …
Faultline, 20 Jun 2011
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BT to embrace IPTV as it upgrades broadband network to multicast

British Telecom will change the bulk of its broadband network to use multicast routers as from next year – this will mean that full IPTV services, using quality of service protocols, could then be launched for the first time on the BT network. BT has always said that it didn't see the point of building out its network with …
Faultline, 30 May 2011
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Amazon confirms the terms of its declaration of war on Netflix

Amazon has finally confirmed what was Hollywood‘s worst kept secret: that its Amazon Prime customers will be able to get some online video for free, just like the DVD rental customers of Netflix can get online video for free. To us this looks like an early experiment, and Amazon is thought to have about two million Prime members …
Faultline, 27 Feb 2011
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UK set top maker set to gain from Latin America pay TV surge

Last year in Latin America pay TV growth overtook virtual the entire world, with the revenues from Pay TV in Latin America growing at about $1 billion a month, while the region added some 6.7 million new homes. And funnily enough it is a UK set top vendor, Pace, the number one in the world, which is best positioned to make hay …
Faultline, 20 Feb 2011

Should Apple enter the flat TV market?

In February 2009, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said what we were all thinking: that if Apple is a part of the consumer electronics market, why doesn’t it produce a TV with Apple TV (and a DVR) incorporated? The first time Faultline predicted this was a full two years earlier, but we’re not followed quite as assiduously as …
Faultline, 11 Feb 2011
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Apple's app store policies: What will they provoke?

There hasn’t actually been a new policy statement, but Apple has clearly made a change in the eReader side of its business - one that immediately affects Sony, which has brought the issue to light. It is likely that the change will also affect Amazon (it can’t really affect one and not the other) and Barnes and Noble with its …
Faultline, 04 Feb 2011
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Microsoft 'Xbox TV' rumours: Over the Cable Guy's dead body

Xbox TV? We've heard it all before, and this time the rumour has replaced the word Apple with the name Microsoft, but it's essentially the same: saying that it will come to market as a virtual cable operator, delivering TV channels over the internet in return for a monthly fee. Let's just examine that for a moment. Apple, with …
Faultline, 06 Dec 2010
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Putting the internet into neutral, or neutering the net?

The usually perspicacious Neelie Kroes, the European Digital Agenda Commissioner, has finally hit a wall in Net Neutrality legislation, perhaps seeing the conflicting sides to the net neutrality argument. These are the same arguments that the US Government and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have been unable to sort …
Faultline, 21 Nov 2010
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US smartphones – Once you’ve had Android there’s no going back

Most people that we meet who are not in technology, wonder at how we keep up with the speed at which technology changes. But technology – and technology markets in particular – are sometimes glacial in the speed of change. Back in around 2002, when we first talked about 3G licences, and ooh-ed and ahh-ed at how much money they …
Faultline, 05 Nov 2010
channel

Apple to buy Sony? Good one!

We had a chuckle this morning at the idea of Sony being taken over by Apple Computer, an idea that has been flying around the US stock markets, supposedly as a reason for Sony’s share price to rise a miniscule few percent. If the idea had any legs, Sony would have shot up. Apple sits on $46bn in cash and short term securities, …
Faultline, 31 Oct 2010
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Microsoft steers OEMs away from putting Phone 7 on Tablets

Microsoft is usually decisive. There is a saying in contact sports such as American football and rugby – it doesn‘t matter if you make a wrong decision, if you commit to it and do it hard enough, you can make it into the right decision. It works for business too. Decisiveness – even when based on poorly thought-out decisions – …
Faultline, 18 Oct 2010
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RIM opens its PlayBook – tablets clearly set for dominance

Tablets are going to be a lot bigger than everyone realizes. We have been thinking this for the past few months, just after the first murmurs of sales volumes for the iPad, as we began to realize that it was perfectly capable of replacing some desktop PCs, many Notebooks and at least half of all netbooks, along with offering a …
Faultline, 03 Oct 2010
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Avaya chases Cisco with videoconferencing tablet

Where Cisco goes, Avaya often follows, and the smaller firm has introduced a video collaboration tablet, the Flare, similar to Cisco's recently announced Cius. While market buzz has focused on general-purpose consumer tablets like the iPad, many vendors believe their opportunity will lie in optimizing the form factor for …
Faultline, 17 Sep 2010
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Apple TV: Third time unlucky, Mr Jobs

This is the day that Apple lost the war for Over The Top content, not only in America, but globally. The winner can’t yet be announced, but this was the shot that Apple had to get it right, and to us it’s bungled it. We got the same story from Apple, Amazon and Sony all at the same time and a similar one from Google. And while …
Faultline, 03 Sep 2010
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Broadband pricing in US and Europe falls

Broadband pricing in Europe and the US fell €5 a month, on average, as broadband speeds went up by an average of 20 per cent during the last year, says researcher Analysys Mason. This is after a relatively flat period during the past recession, when prices held up. Now the average price paid for a fixed broadband service bundle …
Faultline, 30 Aug 2010
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Disney throws $763m at social gaming

Disney has thrown over three quarters of a billion dollars to bring it up to Goliath status in the online gaming world, acquiring two and a half year old Playdom, which offers games for social networks – the new buzzword in gaming that has all the VCs on the planet hopping onto investments. Playdom offers Social City, Sorority …
Faultline, 31 Jul 2010
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Apple not yet dominant enough for anti-trust action

Apple is rapidly becoming an anti-trust target and right now it is behaving like a badly spoiled child with respect to what it will allow and not allow on any of its platforms. This is reflected in decisions to keep Adobe and any other development environment off its devices, and more recently in its proposed new developer terms …
Faultline, 17 Jun 2010
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Weather balloons no longer a crazy idea for rural coverage

As the US gets serious about opening up mobile broadband to its entire population, it is hunting for new spectrum options to support that. The UHF digital TV switchover spectrum sell-off brought in around $20bn, and one of the key uses of this 700MHz band will be to support long range radio signals to cover rural America more …
Faultline, 23 Nov 2009
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Wireless carriers gear up to fight FCC’s net neutrality plans

The US FCC, headed by new chairman Julius Genachowski, wants to apply the same net neutrality rules to mobile networks as wireline systems, to the fury of the cellcos. In the most radical neutrality program ever outlined in the US, the new-look FCC is insisting that wireless carriers should account for their open policies in the …
Faultline, 24 Sep 2009
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How to turn a world leader into a fourth-rate broadband economy

There is an interesting report out this week from an organization in the US calling itself Speed Matters. It is backed by the Communications Workers of America, and it makes a seriously cogent point about US broadband capability. It is in its third year and it points out that US broadband connection speeds have not improved …
Faultline, 27 Aug 2009