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Television Entertainment

DirecTV Plans Netflix Competitor 85

jfruhlinger writes "DirecTV isn't sitting still in the long-simmering war between traditional TV providers and digital streaming services. A survey the satellite network sent to customers this week indicates that it may be planning a streaming service of its own."
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DirecTV Plans Netflix Competitor

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  • by matt. ( 10314 )

    I'm stuck with Wildblue as my ISP and seeing that I can barely stream anything from Hulu or Netflix without having to pause the show every 3 minutes or so to buffer I doubt that having another dish and paying another $70 a month for DirecTV is going make much of a difference.

    Please bring real broadband to us poor rural folk! I like the 20minute drive to my mailbox (not that there is anything in it...) but I do not like the 8-16kB/s connection with random bursts up to 60kB/s.

    • The fact that it takes you 20 minutes to get to your mailbox just might have something to do with why you don't have decent broadband. That's 15 miles at 45 MPH.

    • Get satellite

      I have a co-worker with satellite in the boonies like you and he gets great downstream- slow upstream for about $70 a month.

      • Get satellite

        What do you think Wildblue [wildblue.com] is?

        Satellite internet is crap. There just isn't enough bandwidth available to get decent speeds out of it, not to mention the horrid latency.

        • My bad. "I'm stuck with XXXX" lead me to think it was a land line situation. You are never stuck with a particular satellite company. They can't take the sky away from you. There are other satellite companies.

          Perhaps they mean, I am only willing to spend $50 a month and not $90 a month so I am stuck with this crappy company or "I signed an 85 year contract so I am stuck with this company".

  • Missing the point (Score:4, Insightful)

    by getto man d ( 619850 ) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:55PM (#35959486)
    It's not just streaming; a reliable mail service that allows me to watch many of the movies I enjoy is worth the monthly fee.
    • by awfar ( 211405 )

      Exactly. And streaming is wide open for abuse from adding commercials, pop-ups, and junk on the bottom. While admittedly a bit paranoid*, it creeps me out when DirecTv collects viewing stats from my receiver, which is why I now keep it disconnected from the telecom and net. This surely prevents using Directv streaming. At least Netflix doesn't use viewing statistics to target me commercially. Yet.
      *If their data collection was used to provide us a better viewing experience, I would participate. But if it wa

    • Not really. Streaming is huge and DTV has access to provide on demand service, premium new releases AND streaming old movies if they do it properly. DTV is a pretty tech savvy company. I'm a customer and I've always been very impressed by their web experience, quality, and support. If they did it, I'd be shocked if it wasn't done well.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        ...and not-streaming is even more huge.

        It represents a level of selection that other competitors are unwilling or unable to match.

        It's insulated from most of the pricing and availability issues that plague streaming. Spinny disks allow an operation like RedBox or Netflix to fall back on the retail distribution channel if they find wholesale channels blocked by beligerent content owners. It is still more than sufficiently profitable (unlike say Dell trying the same thing).

    • It's also customer service. Satellite and cable customer support are consistently ranked at the bottom of satisfaction ratings.

      Given this and the ubitiquity of Netflix's service, I don't see DirecTV eclipsing them any time soon.

  • Are like excuses. Everybody has one.

  • DirectTV is going to be offering an On Demand service to its subscribers. That service has been around for years, and Netflix didn't start it. Just that Netflix is the first that I know of that provided the service without being the community cable company.
    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      DirecTV ALREADY IS offering an On Demand service to its subscribers. That service has been around for years, and Netflix didn't start it. Just that Netflix is the first that I know of that provided the service without being the community cable company.
    • I'm a subscriber.. paying $84 bucks a month.
      I don't get it. I'm not offered it. It would be free if I was a NEW customer joining.
      Pisses me off.

      And it's only 6,000 titles.

      AND this is the first step of there being 15 difference services, each of which has a tiny slice of content locked up and each charges $8 bucks.

      Plus commercials in the middle of streamed shows I bet.

      Netflix is awesome as it is. Part of that is because there was no competition for content in it's market slice.

      • Same as when Dish came out with free HD, DirecTV was only willing to extend that to new customers, pissing off those that have been subscribing. I can't blame them as nobody in their right mind will go back to Comcrap after having satellite service, the worst outcome for DirecTV would be folks switching to Dish or dumping their pay TV completely.

        • If you are willing to go to automatic payments they will waive the HD Access Fee for two years, which should match the requirements for free HD on DISH. You just have to call them and ask for it.
  • by submain ( 856941 ) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @10:02PM (#35959524)
    The main difference of netflix and DirecTV is that DirecTV might as well use your ISPs internet for upload only. They already have an entire satellite system, and I wouldn't be surprised if they used that to stream their movies to a receiver, instead of using crowded ISP pipes, bypassing ISPs stupid caps. If that indeed happens, it will be definitely a game changer.
    • I suspect that DirecTV is already using all the bandwidth they have, and if they don't launch new satellites they're going to have to drop a whole lot of stuff. On demand streaming for millions of users, all asking for different content, requires an astounding amount of bandwidth.
      • Except the ol' Clarke belt is getting damn crowded these days. You can't just launch a shit load of satellites up there and then expect an 18" DBS dish to be able to tell them apart.

      • Tell me about it. I was watching an 18" by 40" "Cleopatra' in the middle of my 55" screen on Direct TV and it was STILL visibly pixelated from 15' away on the couch.

        They have way over-compressed the signal. It's just not worth it. I've been considering canceling it for about 3 months now.

      • Spaceway 1 has a lot of free flex spot beam room.

    • Sounds good in theory, but it won't be a game changer because DirectTV's satellite internet access is simply pathetic. My in-laws live in a rural area and it's their only alternative to dial-up. After the first 3 to 5 minutes of use, the speed plummets and is only marginally better than 56k.
    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      DirecTV already does OnDemand through the internet.
  • by Hohlraum ( 135212 ) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @10:06PM (#35959538) Homepage

    How about charging $1 for PPV movies instead of $4-6. There you go. Now ya don't have to waste a bunch of money on a service that is going to fail.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      That's actually a very good idea. When a video-on-demand rental is 24 hours generally with cablecos, pricing them at a dollar would make them competitive with RedBox, and they would be more convenient since you wouldn't have to actually drive to a kiosk to get a DVD.

    • by jd2112 ( 1535857 )
      Actually they are going the other way and charging $30 for movies that are near the end of their theatrical run but not quite ready for home video release. It might be worth it if they were available at the same time as the theatrical release (for those of us with families anyway.) but I can't see spending that much when waiting a few weeks brings it down to a $3-$4 video rental and a few more a $1 redbox rental.
  • In fairness (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <{voyager529} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @10:07PM (#35959552)

    DirecTV has something in their favor over Netflix: a set of pipes. Satellite internet is AFAIK still expensive and inherently very high latency (Counterstrike players, day traders, and VoIP users need not apply; you'll never see a two-digit ping), but it's an option that would be especially lucrative in rural areas where dial-up or wireless tethering are the only options. They've already got the backhaul circling the globe, so it's really a matter of whether they can match Comcast/Time Warner/Cablevision + Netflix subscription at the price point. On top of that, they've already got enough pull in Hollywood for their garden variety broadcast licensing. It'd be separate of course, but they've got the precedent. If they can ensure that the service can scale while keeping the prices competitive with the other guys without having to deal with the bandwidth caps, then they could actually be a serious threat to the present system for large groups of people.

  • Even if the service is crap it will spur a flurry of streaming services from other media giants. Choice is good. This is the end of TV as we know it.
  • by hinesbrad ( 1923872 ) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @10:39PM (#35959678)
    1) It will be wildly overpriced relative to its rivals 2) It will be slower and attached as an add-on to already crappy HDD based DVR's that are slow, buggy, and break constantly yet I have to pay to fix/replace them 3) There will be a bandwidth and viewer cap per show, 4) It will have commercials added in while I browse to subsidize revenue 5) The content will be ancient and I won't actually want to see it 6) They will adapt an iTunes/Pay-Per-View model on content that is free on other providers instead of an all-you-can-stream model, PLUS they will play the cutsie auto-delete game on content I paid for after a certain time, a-la Pay-Per-View. 7) It will be a raving pain in the ass to find anything as the remote will most certainly lack a qwerty input because YOU ARE CHEAP 8) Half of the content will be Programming in A Foreign language, Dogmatic religion channels, and there will be a curious absence of indy, YouTube and non-commercial studio content. 9) I will be restricted on the number of episodes I can 'save' or view at one time. 10) I'm more likely to get a high Def video faster from a torrent source than I am a directTV service 11) You will force me to purchase crap channels/content/HD services I don't want to access this service 12) The content that is available won't be the complete catalog of a series. I will be the last 5 episodes plus ancient episodes a la Hulu. 13) You will disable fast-forward through commercials in downloaded content to boost your revenue streams. DirectTV: I'd rather have a pineapple forcibly shoved up my ass and spun around at 4000 RPM's than have your filth clogging the one last refuge of free speech and innovation in the world. Your installation franchisees are awful. Your internet service sucks. You hold content providers hostage. Your DVR's are crap. I really hope Netflix comes and knocks you on your ass...
    • by qubezz ( 520511 )

      Better prediction: DirecTV provides internet-connected wifi set-top boxes that get your DirecTV subscription over the internet, not over an expensive network of geostationary satellites that require a line-of-site dish on the roof and cabling. See: Sirius Satellite Radio, where the "satellite" in the name is becoming less relevant [siriusxm.com]. They can then add unlimited on-demand movies as a service, instead of just a few PPV channels where you have to wait for the time the movie starts.

  • by pcjunky ( 517872 ) <walterp@cyberstreet.com> on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @10:59PM (#35959748) Homepage

    They will do like any other business, use the service to try and protect their core business. You think they will settle for selling a service that earns around $10 per month and destroy their own business that earns around $70 per month? Me thinks not.

  • Netflix has done everything near perfectly for streaming service to our TVs. Expanding the fight for content drives up the price citizens pay for access to it so only the movie and television gain more for the same content they are largely already selling on their home channels. I haven't an issue with subsidizing entertainment if I am paying for it but I am instead paying for access to them after the fact. This new service suggests that Netflix will got into a price war with DirectTV and Amazon and thus
    • by jmauro ( 32523 )

      You know how competition works, right? If there are multiple competitors with roughly similar products the cost drops as the compete against each other for customers. It usually pushes the prices to somewhere near the marginal cost for each unit (depending on the barriers to entry and such). Competition in any market is usually seen as a good thing because of that fact.

      • by urdak ( 457938 )

        No, the GP was actually right - in this kind of competition, prices go *up*, not down.
        Because the situation today is that the law requires companies like Netflix to beg and bargain for content from the different movie studios and distribution companies. As Netflix and DirecTV and others compete, each will try to get "better" movies, "exclusive" movies, and so on, allowing the movie producers to *increase* the prices they charge these companies. Consumer will get higher prices and fewer choices - because

        • But *FOR THE MOST PART* (yes, there is the recent counter-example of Netflix getting a new show first), Netflix has been getting "older" content, which a lot of people complain about... but it (IMHO) is what has let them able to keep their prices low (compared to renting each movie individually).

  • ... they already provide first?

    It's ridiculous that I cannot watch the stuff that my DVR recorded on another device (unless I buy another DirecTV receiver). More ridiculous that everything shows up as a UPnP service on the home network, I just can't actually view any of it.

    There have been many times I was going away for a weekend, or on flights, where it would have been nice to catch up with everything the DVR had recorded.

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