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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Movie Viewers prefer laptops over phones or iPads

The iPad and other tablets might be the future for a lot of media, but Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a panel discussion at the Web 2.0 Summit this afternoon that the tablet craze affects his company's strategy "very little."

"People prefer large screens," Hastings said. "So the impact of Xbox, PS3, the Wii phenomenon--huge impact. The impact of the iPad--it's a great system, but the Mac laptops outstrip the iPad for Netflix viewing by a huge factor." Long-form video viewing does not translate that well to mobile platforms, he asserted.
Former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin, who joined Hastings on the panel, said he agrees, with regard to the U.S. market, but that the story will be very different in developing markets, where big-screen TVs are less commonplace and cheap tablet devices will soon be readily available.

Hastings seemed to concur with that notion, but with Netflix currently available only in the United States and Canada, that's not of immediate concern. He did, however, add that "over the next three to five years, we will try to get everywhere" via a strategically planned rollout based primarily on bandwidth constraints.
"This Christmas, maybe a third of TVs sold (in the U.S.) will have Wi-Fi built in. Next Christmas, two thirds. The following Christmas, complete," he said.

As Netflix has been shifting from a DVDs-by-mail service to a streaming-video service (Hastings said streaming makes up "the vast majority of the hours" spent using Netflix), subscriber numbers have jumped. In its last quarterly earning announcements, the company said it had added 2 million subscribers in the prior three months.

Above is from CNET. Read more:

Verizon to raise G4 Phone Rates

Dressing up ways to take your money, and make you happy to give it up freely, are now getting more creative, at least in the cell phone industry. You feel like you are buying a masterpiece when it is really a low priced simulation. An attractive hip woman sells you on how much faster their phones are, despite knowledge that it is at best an exaggeration.

Verizon will have G4 in 38 US cities, covering 34% of the country by the end of 2011. They are far ahead of their competitors in converting to an expensive, yet potentially "last generation" technology. But they will not give up without recovering their investment.

The company is looking at ways to charge more for use of higher speed Internet access, similar to how cable companies do. Of course careful shoppers will find that they intend to charge more for less.

The report in Wall Street Journal comes despite reports from international monitors that G4 in many cases is slower than G3, and that while Verizon's G4 is far faster than Sprint or T-Mobile, it remains slower than AT&T's G3 (due to a differing carrier technology).

G4 or wifi Internet speeds require meeting an international standard. All so called high speed G4's are way below the required speed, and in fact competing technologies may be slower than G3 or conventional cell coverage, depending on geography and the actual technology of transmission and reception.

For example AT&;T with its iPhone or competing phones using G3 service are far faster than alleged G4's because of the type of band broadcast used, coming in at 15 to 17 megabits per second. Verizon is second at a maximum speed of 12, with T-mobile at 8 and Spring/Nextel crawls at 6.

The International Telecommunications Union requires 100 Megabits per second to carry the labels G4 or "high speed".

In the loose world of American marketing and sales, the term "high speed" has been bastardized down to  6 to 15 megabits per second, while the wold standard is ten times as high at 100.

Much of the talk is competitive feather puffing.

Most of the talk is to boost retail sales during what is really still a part of the recession.

While the ad mimicking Apple's famous campaign against Microsoft for computerised, is creative and does create a very positive image of G4 over G3, it remains inaccurate or at the very least promising far more than G4 phones can currently deliver.

The networks that promise speeds of 6 to 15 mbs, have yet to be built except in test markets (portions of the Las Vegas Valley as an example). Using LTE and the existing WiMax network systems in most portions of the country actually perform slower than existing basic cell tower technology.

Signal, number of phone 'services' used at a given time, type of function being used, available band width, total usage in any area at a given time, distance from towers, the technology built into the nearest tower, the speed of landlines used and other factors impact speed, so most speeds remain well below 10 to 20 mbs, or one fifth to one tenth of the minimum industry standard for "high speed" ranking.

As for the next generation. All of the cell companies are developing, cooperatively, a much faster technology, using the international standard that AT&T already has as its operation base. That new system may take ten years to hit the one third of American cities penetration Verizon now has with its G4 phone. 

What the cell phones, in their push against G3, AT&T and iPhone, are not telling you, is that the are really pushing hard to recoup their investment in a technology that under-delivered and is a stop gap technology at best.