Archive for October, 2010

Are you cord cutting?

I am excited to tell you that I just got my Apple TV, and after a relatively easy hook up, I am in business and streaming decent content to my heart’s content.  (Note, however, that if you want to blast your media on your 5.1 stereo, you need to have digital audio inputs.  I just love the way an innocuous $99 purchase somehow leads to a “need” to buy a new $3K in audio equipment.  C’est la vie.)

After playing with it for a few days, I have to say that there is definitely trouble on the horizon for the likes of Comcast.  Cord-cutting is totally for real.  Let me explain.

Cord cutting, for the uninitiated, refers to the trend that customers are canceling their subscription contracts for the likes of Comcast, Time Warner and other paid services.  Comcast recently announced it lost 275,000 customers during the third quarter while Time Warner also expects to see a decline.  The trend, I bet, will continue.

Why we’re cord cutting

Customers are cutting their cords for a whole bunch of reasons – because cable is too expensive and there are cheaper alternatives, because customers can get free to air TV, because there are so many other forms of entertainment competing for time, and because the kids only watch Diego DVDs and hog the TV anyways, to name a few.  Some say it’s because the economy is weak and people are cutting back on entertainment.  Um, yeah, maybe.  I think AppleTV and Netflix is a pretty compelling reason.

So what?

I contend that cable companies are in for some real hurt as soon as people experience the way I am now consuming video through my Apple TV with my Netflix subscription.  Through a very slick Netflix interface, I can not only access my Instant Queue, but I can also choose to instantly stream whatever content Netflix has.  The quality is decent with very little latency to load the stream and no jitter during viewing.

I now finally have TV on demand – and it’s included with my $8.99 monthly subscription to Netflix.  My kids can watch PBS programs over and over again.  I can geek out with National Geographic.  Sure, the content library isn’t super deep, but with Netflix estimated to be spending $1.2 billion to acquire content, that will not be a problem for long.

What’s next?

Yes, I’ll still need some sort of live signal to get sports and news, but I can easily get that free from the air.  So what’s the point in paying a cable or satellite provider for content that I don’t really watch anyways?

Now, if I could only figure out how to cancel my Dish contract….

What are you guys doing?  Cutting cords or nesting with your cable subscriptions?


A dying web, or a dead one?

App icons flying out of an iPhone

There have been billions of downloads

I saw in a recent article on Gizmodo that 6.3 billion Apps from Apple’s App Store have been downloaded in just over 2 years. It took 5 years for music downloads from iTunes to reach this level.  This works out to be around 17 million apps downloaded each and everyday.

At this rate, the number of downloaded apps is estimated to reach 13 billion by the end of this year, the same as the number of songs downloaded from iTunes by the end of the year.  The fact that apps are reaching this big number at twice the speed of music downloads is pretty remarkable.

As a result, I’m beginning to buy Chris Andersen’s article in Wired Magazine where he argues the Web is Dead. (more…)

Link: Mashable’s take on ‘app’ TV

There is a great post over on Mashable about how people want content, not computers in their livings rooms – there is a little summary below – but you should read the whole piece.

Electronics companies and entrepreneurs must understand the psychology of the couch. It is the one location where people want to be entertained, often passively. They spend all day in front of phones, e-mail, Twitter and Facebook. When they kick back on the couch, the last thing they want to see is a list of unread e-mails and a loading screen.

That’s why a winning way to make and market connected TV in 2011 is delivering content, not apps.


What you’ll get from the Digital Fool

If you have read my ‘About me’ you will know that I am frustrated with my tech not being easy enough, with constantly having to setup new toys for my friends (they should just work) and the industry not listening to all the average Joe the Plumbers out there. Yet there are lots of exciting projects going on that have the potential to simplify a lot of the technology in our homes. (more…)


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