Tag Archives: network

Apple’s high-performance Content Distribution Network reportedly moves forward as deals are made with ISPs

apple tv streaming

Apple is quietly negotiating with some of the largest ISPs in the country in order to roll out their own Content Distribution Network, which would help ensure faster and more reliable downloads for iTunes content, iCloud data, and software (via StreamingMediaBlog). Apple has previously made strides to improve its networking infrastructure, including purchasing hardware to boost performance and creating a team dedicated to improving download speeds. It is also opening new Data Centers at a frenetic pace.

The creation of these deals with Internet Service Providers comes amid a firestorm surrounding net neutrality and peering deals of this type. Apple recently declined to join a group of 100 tech companies backing Net Neutrality in a written statement to the FCC.

Apple typically accounts for 2% of all internet traffic during peak hours in the US, though that number increases dramatically whenever they release a major software update — when iOS 7 was released, Apple’s content accounted for 40% of all traffic.

Apple would be building their own CDN for various reasons. iCloud infamously has had performance issues, but it also helps to put servers closer to users. Even with data centers on both coasts, Apple is still a long way away from most of its customers.

Similarly, a strong network is needed for streaming content like music and movies to devices. The Apple TV is no longer a hobby, and it is built around the concept of streaming content.

Regardless, Apple’s approach would be very different from that of Netflix, which has opted to take their fight against peering deals with Internet Service Providers to the public in the name of net neutrality. Instead of this, it seems that Apple has decided to quietly make peering deals that expand its infrastructure. Perhaps that’s why Apple has not made a strong show of support for net neutrality legislation in the United States.

 


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, CDN, Content, deal, distribution, internet, ISP, negotiation, Network, Provider, service

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Why your iOS device may be a better cable box than the Apple TV

When choosing which cable provider to sign a contract with, you will undoubtably check the channel guide to see which channels are included in the package to which you are about to subscribe. You may even go a bit further and check to see if includes the HD version of your favorite channels. What you likely will not do is check to see how many channels have allowed the cable provider to access their shows from within an app on the App Store.

Despite having a growing number of channels to choose from — 189 channels on average — Nielsen data shows that most homes view just 17 different channels. Using a list of broadcast networks, the 20 most watched cable networks of 2013, and some of the top premium channels, you will find that each and every one of the top 20 networks has an iOS app in the app store. The problem is that many of them may be of no use to you as some of your favorite channels’ content will not be accessible to you at all.

Top Cable Networks

Traditional over-the-air broadcast television

Local television stations, or affiliate stations, usually have apps that are free to use and do not require any sort of subscription to a major cable provider. The easiest way to find these apps is by searching in the App Store using your local stations call letters. With a style that is more like that of a local newspaper, these apps typically offer up local news, sports and weather forecasts. Some have started to simulcast live broadcasts at the times when they air their own produced shows locally.

ABC and FOX Login to Access

If you look at six of the main over-the-air television networks, you will find full episodes of prime time and late night shows you are interested in watching. What you may find surprising is that both ABC and FOX will require you to log on with your cable provider’s credentials in order to unlock premium content. NBC and The CW do not have this requirement and will allow you to catch up on your favorite shows by providing access to full episodes that have recently aired without a cable provider.

CBS, also void of such a restriction to content, has gone more social than the others by syncing with select programs using the microphone as they air. This provides a more communal watching experience as you can log on and share opinions about the CBS show you are watching.

iOS App links for 6 major broadcast networks:

Ad-supported basic cable channels

When it comes to accessing the full content for each of the basic cable channels using apps found in the App Store, you will need to log in with credentials provided by you cable provider. However, not every cable provider will be able to grant you access to the premium content within each network’s app.

Login to Access

Using a list of the top ten networks for 2013 and 20 of the nation’s leading cable providers, each network’s app is accessible by only 12 out of the 20 different cable providers listed. Looking at it the other way around, on average each cable provider can only access content on six of the 10 of the most watched networks’ apps. Either way you have about a 60 percent chance of being able to access the premium content of your favorite network. Comcast was the only provider that could access all 10 networks whereas Time Warner was one of the providers providing access to apps from just six networks.

As you start using multiple channels’ apps more and more, you will begin to see a pattern in the way that some of the channels apps are designed. And no, this is not entirely due to the fact that episode lists, channel guides and special features can only be organized in so many ways. This is because companies like bottle rocket and dreamsocket are responsible for the development of many of the network’s apps. It would be great if more networks worked with such developers and focused more on a consistent experience. I am not going to start watching a bad show just because it has a great app, and I certainly will not stop watching a great show due to the fact that the network it is on built a terrible app.

Cable Providers Access to Network Apps

iOS App links for the top 20 cable networks of 2013:

Premium cable channels

While all premium cable channels require you to have a subscription with a cable provider in order to access content, you will likely be asked to create a personal account with the service as well. Why the extra step is required is a mystery to me, especially since you cannot keep or log on to this account when switching cable providers. After switching from AT&T U-verse to Time Warner, I was forced to create a new accounts for several of the premium channels I subscribe to. All of my old accounts still existed, I just could not access them.

Premium Channels Prior Seasons

What is great about premium cable apps is that you seem to get full access to complete episodes for all of the back seasons of the show. You can even find older series like all six seasons of the Sopranos on HBO as well as all eight seasons of Weeds on Showtime.

iOS App links for 5 leading premium cable channels:

Cable provider apps

Providing a more complete experience, cable providers’ apps share a consolidated program guide that includes a 24/7 listing of all of the network’s programs. Individual networks’ apps only provide you with the time that their prime shows air. Many cable providers now allow you to watch live TV and access an expanding list of on-demand content from each of the network channels included in your subscription. Even content from providers whose apps you could not log on to individually.

The number of episodes and seasons available will vary from network to network. The main advantage of using a network’s app over the cable provider’s app depends on whether or not the network has also added additional content and special features that the cable provider would not necessarily have access to. For the most part, the cable provider’s apps do not include access to webisodes, behind the scenes clips, and other special features included with some networks’ apps.

The most useful feature of the cable providers’ apps is the built in Wi-Fi remote control of your cable box. Access to your DVR list allows you to remotely and add programs to your recording schedule when you are not at home. Unfortunately for both AT&T as well as Time Warner, the two cable providers that I have subscribed to in recent months, I have not been able to access and play back recorded shows stored on my DVR.

Top Cable Providers

iOS App links for 8 leading cable providers:

Sure, there are definitely more direct ways of watching your favorite television program on an iOS device. Locating and activating just 20 different network apps can take some time.  But if you are already paying for cable television, you should look to see if you already have access to the shows you want to watch before buying multiple seasons on either iTunes or Amazon or filling up your DVD queue on Netflix.

If and when Apple decides to update the Apple TV to include a wider selection of the most popular channels, one could look towards what the App Store already has to offer as a sign of things to come.  If that is the case, be prepared to spend some time logging on to each and every channel, and being disappointed because your cable provider does not yet have a deal with your favorite network about 40 percent of the time.

Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
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Amazon says it has now passed Apple and Hulu in streaming video usage

amazon_rank_slide

Amazon has officially passed Hulu and Apple in streaming video usage in the US, according to a press release it sent out today citing recent research from Qwilt. Amazon also announced that video streams from its Prime Instant Video service have tripled since this time last year.

Qwlit’s report shows Amazon experience a 94% traffic volume increase of users consuming video since last year and that includes streams from the service to just US broadband subscribers. The report doesn’t specify, however, what video content exactly is being tracked from Apple. Amazon also experienced growth of almost 300% in certain markets. In March of this year, only Netflix and YouTube were able to capture more online video traffic in the US:

Today, only Netflix and YouTube produce more total online video traffic in the US. Amazon”s traffic volumes, as measured by Qwilt in March of 2014, increased by 94% over the previous 12 months. In some US operator networks, between March 2013 and March 2014, Amazon”s streaming video traffic increase was nearly 300%.

Amazon’s press release today follows the announcement of its new Fire TV set top box that will be a direct competitor to Apple TV, Chromecast, and similar streaming hardware. The $99 hardware– another sign its really getting serious about video streaming services– provides access to Amazon’s Instant Video streaming services in addition to popular services like Hulu and Netflix, as well as Android games and an optional game controller.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Amazon, Apple, broadband, Hulu, Netflix, Network, streaming, US, usage, video

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WWE Network comes to Apple TV with in-app subscriptions as service debuts

WWE-Apple-TV-app WWE-Apple-TV-02

Update: The WWE Apple TV app is now live for users in at least the US and Canada.

Following rumors back and forth regarding the new WWE network launching today, the company has just announced that the service will be available to Apple TV users. WWE confirmed to us in a statement that the Apple TV app will arrive today.

WWE-Network-Apple-TV-03The Apple TV app will provide access to all 12 live WWE Pay-PerView events including WrestleMania, original programming from the network like reality shows and documentaries, as well as 24/7 programming from WWE and a ton of on-demand content.

The update appears to have hit Apple TVs (at least in the US or Canada) with the ability to access the network and purchase subscriptions. The subscription-based WWE network allows users to sign up for service directly within the Apple TV app using an iTunes account. The company notes that subscriptions purchased through Apple TV are “billed as a single charge of $59.99 (plus applicable tax) for the six month subscription period.”

The launch of the new channel on Apple TV follows rumors of an Apple partnership that started after the company handed out WWE branded Apple TVs at its launch event last month. There were other reports that claimed the Apple TV launch was being held up by Apple’s request to take a 50% cut of subscriptions, but it appears that report was either inaccurate or the WWE and Apple have been able to work out an agreement since.

The WWE app for iPhone and iPad was also updated today with support for the new network features and more.

Apple has added a ton of new content to the Apple TV in past months with the most recent additions including Redbull TVBloomberg TVWatch ABC, Crackle, and KorTV. We reported previously that Apple is working on a new version of the Apple TV set-top-box that will bring new functionality and likely arrive sometime this year.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Apple TV, in-app, iPad, iTunes, Network, Pay-per-view, subscription, update, Wrestlemania, wrestling, WWE

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T-Mobile finally takes advantage of MetroPCS merger, will use new spectrum to enhance LTE network

Image (1) TMobileLogo_5.jpg for post 11672All Things D reports that T-Mobile is finally taking advantage of this year’s MetroPCS merger. The fourth-largest mobile carrier in the U.S. plans to use the new spectrum to offer even faster speeds on its LTE network nationwide. Some markets are already seeing an increase in speed, and more will see faster service next year. The company says it hopes to cover up to 90% of its current subscriber base with improved service.

In direct contrast to this data network improvement, T-Mobile is also planning to launch new pre-paid plans with no data allowance included, according to TMo News. The carrier confirmed that the new plans will come with unlimited talk and text, but will not include any data. These new pre-paid plans will be available on December 8th, the the same day AT&T is launching its new selection of plans.


Filed under: Tech Industry Tagged: Data, LTE, merger, MetroPCS, Network, spectrum, tmobile

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T-Mobile Now Offering Free International Data In Over 100 Countries

If you’ve ever traveled internationally and been unlucky or unknowing enough to keep on using your smartphone’s data as if you were still in the fatherland, you’ll know that watching a single YouTube video on a foreign network can result in a few hunded dollars being added to your bill. International roaming charges are so […]

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The New iPhones Will Support All Four Of The U.K.’s 4G Carriers, Despite What Apple Says

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 13.35.49When Apple updated its website on Tuesday and added the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c to its online store, we were surprised to see that it was only advertising support for two of the U.K.’s four 4G carriers — EE and Vodafone. But don’t worry, both Three and O2 have confirmed that the devices […]

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