Cable Companies Still Don’t Believe That Consumers Are Cutting The Cord

Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg told a Goldman’s media conference that cable TV is going to go the way of the landline phone. He further stated that consumers are getting ready to cut the cord and head on over to the Internet for their video entertainment. But this one statement really hit home:

The next generation of consumers won’t have any interest in paying for it.

“Young people are pretty smart. They’re not going to pay for something they don’t need to,” he said. “Over the top is going to be a pretty big issue for cable.”

So when will this happen? It is going to be a while before this happens but the hand writing is on the wall.

“We take the over the top issue with video very seriously,” he said. “I think cable has some life left in its model…but that it is going to get disintermediated over the next several years.”

Seidenberg’s argument is that over the top is a much bigger deal for cable guys like Comcast (CMCSA), who have an entire business built around the bundle, than it will be for his company, which is a relative newcomer to video. Theoretically, he’ll be be able to replace some video subscribers with subs who pay for robust broadband connections. But like it or not, it’s going to happen, he says.

I was recently at our daughters home and they have a new blu-ray player that streams video from various sources. In the morning after she fed her 2 year old, she fired up the blu-ray player and streamed cartoon video’s of her choosing. She was able to control the content and when she wanted to have her child watch it.

I believe that one day we will be getting the majority of our entertainment via the Internet including TV.

Comments welcome.

Source – All Things Digital

Are We Getting Closer To The Day When We Can Dump Cable or Satellite TV?

First let me say that there are so many new products hitting the store shelves, that for the casual TV viewer, it is too much to grasp. I know because I am a casual TV viewer and I get lost looking at all of the new products and trying to figure out which to buy. There is also confusion in the market place as to when we can cut our ties with satellite or cable TV. More importantly is the question is if we ever will be able to cut our ties to what some describe as our bondage to paid cable or satellite services.

So this afternoon when I read a piece from MG Siegler over at TechCrunch, I was glad to read that I was not alone in trying to understand the new products like Apple TV, Google TV and other devices. Here is what he stated:

As everyone is well aware, Apple TV hasn’t been a success up to now. I like mine, but the content model on it is flawed. The move to TV show rentals is definitely a welcome one. But with only content from ABC and some content from Fox, the selection isn’t good enough. My hope is that this model proves to be a success and the other networks/stations get on board quickly. (Though it doesn’t look too promising right now.)

More interesting about the new Apple TV is the AirPay functionality that is going to allow you to push almost any video content from any iOS device right to your Apple TV (and soon other devices that have this built-in). Yes, that includes Netflix and the MLB app.

Sports remain an issue in general, but some are supposedly coming to Xbox Live compliments of ESPN shortly. And there is ESPN 3, the online component of the network that allows you to watch games live online — if your provider has a deal with them to carry it (Comcast does).

Meanwhile, Google TV is set to launch as soon as next month. It’s a little bit different because it seems to be a layer that will exist on top of current television offerings. But it will also be pushing online video as well. That could definitely help change the stigma that is still associated with online video versus television.

All of this stuff is chipping away at the cable television stronghold. There isn’t going to be one “killer”, but all of these combined are slowly doing the job. And they’ll continue to get better at it.

There is this statement which I believe is going to be the future:

Eventually, everything, including all video content, is going to be served over one pipe — the Internet

I’ll admit that I am just as lost as most consumers when it comes to these new devices and which is going to do the best job. Right now I am just waiting to get a Roku HD for my birthday so that I can stream Netflix to my HDTV. I know. I am not supposed to know what my birthday present is but I cheated. LOL.

What about you? What device are you looking at and why?

Comments welcome.

Source – TechCrunch

Straight Talk – No BlackBerry Support And AT&T Now Available

During the past few weeks I have received quite a few comments to the three articles I have written concerning Straight Talk. For some of the questions that were asked, I did not have an answer. So I contacted Straight Talk Customer Service and this is its response to two of the issues I was asked about:

Dear Ron,

Thank you for your interest in Straight Talk Wireless. We are responding to your recent inquiry.

We understand that you would like to inquire if a BlackBerry phone can be used with Straight Talk. We also believe that you want to inquire when AT&T service will begin.

We regret to inform you that you cannot use a BlackBerry phone with Straight Talk since we are only able to activate handsets manufactured specifically for Straight Talk Wireless.

With regards to your concern about the service with AT&T, we are happy to inform you that we have already started the service. You can buy phones which has the SIM card since these are the phones that are utilizing AT&T towers to have its service. However, we cannot assure that every area will have the coverage of the service. In order for us to check the availability of the service in a specific area, we need to have its ZIP code.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact one of our customer care representatives at 1-877-430-2355.  For your convenience, our representatives are available Monday-Sunday from 8:00 AM to 11:45 PM EST.

Thank you for being a Straight Talk Wireless customer.  We appreciate your business.


Straight Talk Wireless

I hope this answers some of the questions that were asked.

Comments welcome.

Dish Network Subscribers Can Access Programs For Online Viewing

If you are a Dish Network subscriber, you will be able to view programs online starting today. The new feature is currently in beta and currently features about 1200+ TV programs for your viewing pleasure. In addition Dish Network states the following about their latest addition to their programming:

“People are shifting where they watch video, and I want to shift with them,” Dave Shull, Dish’s senior vice president for programming, said in an interview. Dish is the second-largest satellite carrier behind DirecTV, with about 14 million customers.

The site will show some free video clips, but cable shows and many movies will be available only with a subscription. Free clips of the film “Iron Man,” for instance, may be available to any customer, but a full streaming version would be available only to pay-TV subscribers or for a one-time rental fee.

Some of the features showcase what can happen when a customer’s set-top box is connected to the Internet. Customers with a top-of-the-line device will be able to view live television or any of the shows that they have recorded on their digital video recorder.

I went to the Dish Network site and after logging into my account, was able to access several TV programs, which were being presented by Hulu. I also learned that if you wish to record these programs to your DVR, you need to have the Dish receiver connected with by a phone line, wireless or hard wire to your router.

The online offering from Dish Network  is currently in beta testing so the program selection is limited. There is about 1200+ programs listed. I would venture a guess that the selection will expand in the near future.

Comments welcome.

Source – NYT

Complete Instruction On How To Make Your Own Frappuccino On A Stick

My first experience enjoying a frappuccino was about four years ago at a local Starbucks. I was with my nephew and he recommended I try what he called a ‘frap,’ which I did. Since that time I have been a frappuccino convert and enjoy the high calorie, high sugar, high artery clogging drink whenever I have the desire. So when I spotted instructions on how to make your own frappuccino on a stick recipe, I had to try it.

Here is what it says on the instructables site:

The frappuccino is a super sweet, creamy, strong coffee drink blended with ice.
I know, I looked it up.  Seems like a perfect vehicle for a frozen treat!

Besides, what better way is there to control your daily intake of frappuccino calories than to make it yourself?   And freeze it.  And put it on a stick.   (brain freeze naturally prevents over-consumption!)

Follow this super simple frappuccino recipe to whip up a batch of your own frappuccinos on sticks.  They’re yummier than you might think!  And if you’re more of a mocha frappuccino person, we can help you with that too.

I followed the directions exactly as described on the web site and make myself the coffee treat. They are delicious and a great way to have a cold refreshing treat during these hot summer days.

Comments welcome.

Helpful hint. I purchased my popsicle mold from Amazon.

Source – instructables

Redbox To Offer Blu-ray Movies For $1.50 A Night

Redbox continues its quest to be your low price movie rental source by adding Blu-ray movies for only $1.50 a night.

With some 13,000 kiosks nationwide, the company is planning to double that number by year’s end.

But before you run out to your local Redbox vending machine, you may wish to check the link below for availability in your area.

Here is a question for you. Do you think that the extra 50 cents charge is worth it to watch your favorite movie in HD?

Comments welcome.

Redbox Blu-ray availability link

PS Interesting. Blu-ray movies are available to me within five miles of where I live. Now all I need is a Blu-ray player. LOL

Internet Enabled TVs VS 3D TVs – Which One Is Best For 2010?

With all of the hullabaloo about 3D television sets, one would think that that consumers would be flocking to the new and latest technology. But thus far in 2010, Internet enabled TVs seem to be king of the block. While this may not be the case several years from now, Internet enabled TVs are selling at a ratio of  approximately 7 to 1  compared to 3D.

Below is a chart that reflects the current trend for 2010 as well a future projected sales:

In addition a recent news article stated that:

Delivering content over broadband lines plugged in to the TVs is surely one of the next big explosion areas.

iSuppli reckons connected TV shipments will grow by 50 percent each year for the next two years, and by double-digit amounts thereafter up to 2014, when they are forecast to hit 148.3 in the year (that’s 54 percent of all flat-panel tellies).

But 3D TVs will continue shipping in far smaller numbers. “This is because 3D is still dealing with a number of barriers, including cost, content availability and interoperability, while IETV provides immediate benefits by allowing TV viewers to access a range of content readily available on the internet,” says iSuppli TV analyst Riddhi Patel.

I believe that it will be the cost savings that drives more folks to Internet enabled TV. What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – paidContent

Is ‘The Price Is Right’ Boring With Host Drew Carey?

Back in 2007 Drew Carey took over the reins from Bob Barker for the host of  ‘The Price Is Right’ television game show. Bob Barker had previously hosted the program for 35 years before retiring.  But does Bob Barker like the new host? In an on the street interview Bob Barker stated:

“He does the show differently than I did,” Barker told TMZ, “I tried to make the show really exciting, and he doesn’t do that. He just plays the games.”

Though I am not an avid viewer of the game show, the times I have watched the show, I personally thought that Drew Carey was doing a good job. Yes, he has a different style compared to Bob Barker, but I personally do not think that it really matters. The show is basically the same since it is the contestants and their antics that make the show worth watching and not the host.

Just my two cents.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – Us

PS Remember: get your pets spayed or neutered. LOL

Are You A Computer Moron? Geek Squad Gal Has Advice For You

The folks at Best Buy have a group of geeks they call the Geek Squad, who can help those who are computer illiterate fix their machines. But one Geek Squad gal sent 7 things that anyone can do, just to avoid having to bring their computer to Best Buy. These are not earth shattering suggestions for those who are avid Lockergnome readers, in fact for most of us these tips are common sense. But for those out there in computer land who find the computer a mystery, these seven tips could save you some heartache and pain.

Here is what she says:

I work with the Geek Squad and have tips on how consumers can SAVE MONEY when it comes to their computers. This is what all computer owners should know by now:

1) Keep all your data backed up.

Put it on a disc, external HDD, upload it to a data safe website, another computer, somewhere! One place is NO GOOD, two places is OK, but once one fails, you need to create another second spot! This will save you from 99 to 149 dollars when you bring your computer in to Geek Squad right off the bat. NO manufacturer warranty covers your data — you need to do it yourself. Back up your pictures, contacts, documents, taxes, music, and ANY business information you have.

2) Have recovery discs for each computer you have.

This is your licensed copy of your OS. These are specific to your computer’s guts (processor, mother board, sound, and graphics cards). They have the drivers needed for your computer to use itself. Burn them right away when you get your computer on to DVDs and put them somewhere safe. It will take from one to three hours to do. If you lose them you can order them from your manufacturer for between 15 and 50 dollars, depending on the brand. HP is usually cheaper; Sony is wicked expensive. They take about two or three weeks to get in if you end up needing them when you replace a hard drive or need to fix Windows. If you don’t get them that way, you can purchase a full copy of Snow Leopard for about 30 dollars, or Windows 7 for about 200.

3) One anti-virus at a time, please.

Two at a time is like pushing fat pigs through a dog door: neither can get inside correctly and they block each other from functioning properly. They can tear nasty holes in your operating system depending on which ones you’re trying to combine (seen it!) or at least SLOW YOU DOWN TO A CRAWL because two systems are trying to scan your every move as well as each other’s moves. More than one is usually LESS protection than one good one. Remove the old ones — even if they’re expired, they’ll get in the way. YOUR COMPUTER CAME WITH A TRIAL OF SOMETHING, take it off if that’s not the one you’re gonna use! Most anti-viruses are 40 dollars for a year, but if you buy two or three licenses, you usually get a deal.

4) Don’t install tool bars. They’re bloatware that will slow down your Internet speeds.

You don’t need five of them; they take up most of the screen and will end up affecting performance.

5) “Free” stuff can be expensive:

Free games, movies, and music taken from torrent sites, as well as pornography sites and even free social networking sites, are riddled with viruses. Virus removal is 129-199. Be safe and smart on the Internet. If you got a virus, it’s your own fault. A virus is a software issue, and is considered private data not covered by any warranties.

6) Computers don’t like liquids.

This includes water, Coke, beer, soup, bodily fluids, and excessive cleaners. Don’t spray screen cleaner directly on your screen; spray it on your cleaning cloth and then wipe. A stream of any liquid can cause damage. Computers also don’t like gravity or being punched. This will probably cause lots more damage and not fix a speed issue.

7) No computer is immortal.

Technology changes at an extremely fast rate. Average computer life span is two to three years for a laptop or closer to four for a desktop. This makes sense, because laptops undergo more stress: movement, impact, and temperature changes, and they’re prone to overheating on a lap. Your computer takes electricity and circulates through lots of things and gets hot. It’ll burn out sometimes, but if you have your data backed up, you’ll be up and ready on a new one in no time.

You wouldn’t get mad at your mechanic because you don’t know how to change your oil, or your vet because you didn’t know how to take care of your dog. BE POLITE to people in the service industry. They touch your grimy, nasty computers full of skin, nicotine, pet hair, dust bunnies… and fix them if you can’t.

There are other things one can do to keep their system running smoothly, but the seven tips above are a good start.

I do want to make one comment on item #2. Most companies do not supply the recovery disks any longer and the consumer needs to burn the disks themselves. Look in your documentation and it should explain exactly what you need to do.

Comments welcome.


Dish Network vs. DirecTV – Who’s Really Cheaper? You Decide

We have seen the commercials from both Dish Network and DirecTV, both claiming they are cheaper than each other. The only thing they both can agree upon is that anything is better than cable. No offense cable users, but I have tried cable TV on and off for more years than I care to recall, and I have never been satisfied with the service nor the pricing. Just my two cents.

But is Dish Network or DirecTV really cheaper as they both claim? I personally doubted the claims of either company and here is the reason why. Each of us have different requirements for our homes. The options from both companies make comparisons difficult, because each uses different types of equipment.

Example. I have Dish Network using an HD-DVR set top box that works for two televisions. For DirecTV you would need one HD-DVR box for one TV and another HD receiver for a second TV.  DirecTV states with this setup you can then watch recorded programs from either TV. But, with two boxes, you have to pay an additional $5 for the second box. Does this matter? Nope, not at all.

Once you compare the two services, pricing is fairly close. I used my current system and tried to duplicate the same with setup using DirecTV. As I previously mentioned, I have both DVR and HD service, I have the 250 channel setup [don’t ask – LOL], the HD Premium service, and local HD channels. Last month my bill was $71.60.

I went over to DirecTV and tried to match a similar package and came up with a price of $70.88. Like I said, the pricing is very close. One must also remember that the pricing for DirecTV was for new customers only.

But as of six months ago, I was paying $91.60 a month. So I called Dish and said I wanted to cancel because I could save $20 a month going with DirecTV. The nice folks at Dish decided that since I was such a wonderful human being, that they would knock off $20 a month to keep me as a happy customer.

Bottom line is this. Both Dish and DirecTV have their good and bad features, but I believe that pricing is fairly close.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Netflix – The Future Is Streaming – Should We Dump Our DVD & Blu-ray Players?

In a recent article, we’re told that Netflix is preparing for the day when DVD and Blu-ray rentals will be replaced by video streaming; this could be a look at the future and how we entertain ourselves in our home. In fact, Netflix believes that the DVD and Blu-ray rental business will begin its decline in 2013. It is placing its eggs in the video streaming of movies basket, which it believes will be the future of movie rentals.

The article goes on to state that:

According to the Netflix Business Opportunity slideshow, the company sees streaming as a “huge potential market,” pointing to the 100 million households that have pay-TV subscriptions in the U.S. Netflix had 14 million subscribers by the end of the first quarter, a number it expects will rise to 17 million by the end of the year. And it believes that as both it and the Internet improve, it can get boost that figure even more.

“To have profitable growth in such a huge market, you find a segment in which you can gain and maintain leadership,” the slideshow says. “Netflix [sic] segment is consumer-paid streaming of movies and TV shows.”

With greater adoption of streaming video, Netflix says it can put more money toward building the catalog of content available through its Watch Instantly service. Its cost of goods sold in 2009 was $1.4 billion, of which more than half was spent on postage and handling. But as the company’s DVD-by-mail business peaks — which it expects to happen around 2013 — Netflix will be able to spend more money on licensing content. By 2020, if it can continue to aggressively grow its subscriber base, it expects to be one of the world’s largest licensors of movies and TV shows.

I can see how this could happen. I have been with Netflix for about five years and enjoy the service it provides. However, there have been times that I have received damaged DVDs that have not played correctly. Though Netflix has been quick to replace the broken disc, the fact remains that I had to wait for a replacement to arrive. With streaming you do not have this problem. I stream from my laptop to my plasma TV without any problems. The only issue is that the streamed films are not 1080P as of yet.

What do you think? Will streaming replace DVD and Blu-ray disks?

Comments welcome.


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Lady Gaga Gets It – Downloading Her Music Is OK With Her, Even If Unauthorized

Lady Gaga gets it and says that downloading her music is good for her career. She even thinks that unauthorized downloads work, as well. Here is a musician who gets it. She understands that the money is in touring and sponsorship, not how much money is lost by downloads of her music. Which makes one wonder: when is the RIAA going to adjust its thinking?

A recent article also states:

Lady Gaga admits she’s fine with people downloading her music in unauthorized forms because she makes it up in touring revenue:

She explains she doesn’t mind about people downloading her music for free, “because you know how much you can earn off touring, right? Big artists can make anywhere from $40 million [£28 million] for one cycle of two years’ touring. Giant artists make upwards of $100 million. Make music — then tour. It’s just the way it is today.” Similarly, she knocks bands that don’t really try to work hard to please the fans, and who just expect them to automatically buy each album:

“I hate big acts that just throw an album out against the wall, like ‘BUY IT! F*** YOU!’ It’s mean to fans. You should go out and tour it to your fans in India, Japan, the UK. I don’t believe in how the music industry is today. I believe in how it was in 1982.”

Like Mariah Carey, it looks like Lady Gaga has realized that this concept of connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy works at the superstar level just as much as it does down at the indie artist level. The specifics of implementing a business model around the concept are very, very different — but the core concept remains the same. Treat your fans right, learn to leverage what’s infinite to make something scarce more valuable, and then sell the scarcity.

I believe that what Lady Gaga is doing is eventually going to be the norm of the future. The Internet has changed the way we look at the world and the people who adjust to this will be the winners. Once the old fogies die off and people get their heads out of their butts trying to use any old business model from the horse and buggy days, the sooner we can all move on.

Comments welcome.


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Who Wants To Be A Lockergnome Blogging Super Star?

Yesterday in an email messages from Chris, he provided a link to a web site called ‘copyblogger’. Having read books on blogging, as well as visiting web sites that claim to have secret information on being an effective blogger, I wasn’t expecting any earth shattering information. Wrong!

What I liked about the information was that it was concise, easy to understand and used proven techniques to make us all better bloggers. Some of the articles I enjoyed reading were:

  1. Don’t Read This or the Kitty Gets It!
  2. To Be or Not To Be?
  3. How to Write Headlines That Work
  4. Why Writing Headlines Deserves a Second Installment
  5. The Structure of Persuasive Copy
  6. Now Featuring Benefits!
  7. “Kids Eat Free” and Other Irresistible Offers
  8. This Article Rocks. . . I Guarantee It!
  9. The Long and Short of Copywriting
  10. The #1 Secret to Great Copy Is. . .

So what are you waiting for? Get on over to ‘copyblogger’ and improve your blogging skills.

Comments welcome.

Source – Copyblogger link

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Boy Genius Identified – Sells Blog For Millions

For those of you who have been around since the days of black and white TV, you may recall the program the Lone Ranger. The program revolved around a Texas Ranger who almost lost his life at the hands of outlaws and was subsequently nursed back to health by an Indian friend named Tonto. The Lone Ranger then wore a mask to protect his identity while he and Tonto did works of good.  One of the most notable memories of the TV program was that after the Lone Ranger and Tonto did a deed of good, the person[s] who received the good works would ask the question, ‘who was that masked man?’ and something to indicate that  they didn’t get his [the Lone Ranger’s] name.

So was it with the Boy Genius. The boy/man behind the name remained hidden as the Boy Genius did his blogging and was most notable for taking on the industry mobile executives and how they would purposely release products and call them ‘leaks.’ Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Think Apple!

But the man has now been identified as Jonathan Geller, who last Monday sold his blog, Boy Genius Reports, to in a multimillion dollar deal. The blog gets about 1.5 million readers a month and will be renamed once the deal clears.

Jonathan has reached the dream that some bloggers strive for and that is to make it to the top of the heap. Good job, Jonathan, and congrats on your million dollar plus deal.

Comments welcome.


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Will 2010 Be The Year Cable & Satellite TV Customers Cut Their Service?

A recent, convincing article at CNN Money details why cable and satellite TV customers may be cutting their services during 2010. With the average cable & satellite TV user paying an average of $71 a month, a recent survey suggests that consumers may be either cutting back to basic services or terminating their service all together. This brings up the question as to why this may happen during 2010 and beyond.

CNN Money states:

A cutting-the-cord trend has been the subject of speculation for some time, as networks have increasingly made television programming available for free on the Internet. But a combination of other factors, including a growing number of battles between cable companies and networks, soaring Internet video viewings and an increase in connected TVs and devices, suggest the trend is finally upon us.

“Admittedly, this is a small phenomenon now, but a number or recent transactions and new items point to a shift in consumer thinking,” said Vince Vittore, analyst at Yankee Group and author of the study.

What caught my eye was this statement ‘a shift in consumer thinking’.  I find myself as one of those consumers who is shifting gears and trying to decide which way to flop. The new Blu-ray players now come with Netflix built in to stream video to your TV. I do not currently stream to my TV, just to my computer, and I subscribe to Netflix on their $9 a month plan.. My thinking is once I buy a Blu-ray with Netflix streaming I may wish to trim down on my Dishnetwork subscription, which I currently have.

But I am not sure if going totally to the Internet is the way to go. What do you think and what do you use?

Comments welcome.


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