Entries Matching: HDTV
In my public talks on net neutrality, I often raise the irony of telco opponents of non-discrimination in Internet access being more than happy to advocate for non-discrimination, or “program access” when it comes to cable operators giving them video programming for their nascent subscription video services (like FiOS and U-verse). Art has blogged about it here. The cable companies are equally guilty of such doublespeak when they seek non-discriminatory interconnection rights for their Internet voice services on teleco-controlled broadband networks.
I'm an analog cable subscriber and was hoping to upgrade to an HDTV this holiday season, and apparently I'm not alone. Before I buy-in, I've been considering the freedom that "going digital" should give me compared to the old analog world. The primary reason I haven't "upgraded" to digital cable up to this point comes down to TiVo, it and the freedom that devices like it that connect to an analog coax cable give me. Digital technology is supposed to deliver more, not less freedom, isn't it? It's not clear that upgrading to digital cable gives me the freedoms I'm used to.
- The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio ruled that emails have the same constitutional privileges as phone conversations. The court found the Stored Communications Act, which allowed the government to secretly monitor email conversations without a warrant, in violation of the fourth amendment:
"Email users expect that their Hotmail and Gmail inboxes are just as private as their postal mail and their telephone calls," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "The government tried to get around this common-sense conclusion, but the Constitution applies online as well as offline, as the court correctly found. That means that the government can't secretly seize your emails without a warrant."
How would you like it if, to get on the internet, you had to run an operating system and browser of your ISP's choice? If that were the case, we'd probably all be running Windows ME and Netscape 4. Would you like it if your ISP could take over your browser, providing you with "important" information and targeted advertising? Of course not. When it comes to the internet, almost everyone realizes that it makes no sense to hand control over the software you use to access a network over to the network operator. Choice, competition, and openness lead to innovation, which leads to superior products and a better experience for everyone. But openness has always been missing from the cable TV network. And if the cable industry gets its way with a new technology called "OCAP," it's going to further increase its control over the network. It wants to mandate what software all consumer devices that receive and decode cable signals must run, and it wants control over the look-and-feel of the devices that attach to the cable network.
If you're an XBOX Live online subscriber, did you receive your download of Battlestar Galactica? NBC Universal thought out-of-the-box (no pun intended) to focus on the gaming community, and worked a deal with Microsoft to distribute a catch-up episode to a target audience before season three of BSG begins (btw: I can't wait!).
To me, stories like this are what net neutrality is all about--opening up new distribution and business models.
Yes, the video may have been transmitted over cable's wires and onto your TV, but not through cable's traditional, walled-garden network. It was distributed to a device that was allowed (but wasn't always in the ISP's eyes) to freely connect to the network to receive data-bits that were likewise allowed to freely flow. That's what real IPTV is supposed to be about, and here's a live (or Live) test of a working model for it. Very exciting.