Roku has swung and seemingly connected a hard technological line drive that’s headed out of the ballpark, having forged a deal with Major League Ball that allows those with an MLB.tv subscription to stream games through the set-top box — previously a Netflix-streaming machine — to Tvs.
How are cable providers reacting to the threat posed by online streaming of shows? Forget bandwidth caps for now—how about online access to cable programs, limited to cable subscribers?
The new “premium” (their word) iPhone app from Sirius XM will cost $2.99 a month for customers who aren’t already subscribers. It also doesn’t include Howard Stern, MLB Play-by-Play, NFL Play-by-Play and Sirius Nascar Radio. Sirius blames licensing issues for most of the missing content, but not for the absence of Howard Stern, about which it won’t comment.
Update: It turns out the problem is with OpenDNS, not Qwest. The original post is below.
Sirus-XM charges for access to its Sirius Music Player, but for the past few days, some customers can’t get it to work. One of them in this forum says it only connects after Howard Stern is over, and speculates that some cost-cutting measures have reduced available bandwidth, leading to locked-out customers. In another thread customers are complaining that popular third-party streaming radio services have been sent cease-and-desist letters from Sirius, further limiting access to streaming Sirius programming online. Naturally, Sirius-XM hasn’t responded to customer queries about the issue.
Time Warner Cable is running a pilot program in Texas where they’re metering your bandwidth usage and charging extra if you exceed your monthly allotment. This also gives them the opportunity to create a tiered system where you pay more for more bandwidth. Richard is a TWC Texas customer, and his story is a good example of how things work in a tiered, metered system like this. The bottom line: if metered broadband comes to your area, get used to paying extra to take advantage of things like Hulu (which is free) or Netflix video streaming (which you already pay for).
When SoundExchange, the organization that represents many labels and artists, proposed steep new royalty rates for radio webcasters last year, they shortsightedly killed off their own revenue stream. Instead of their proposed rates being cut back as part of a standard negotiation, they were surprised to see the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board reject opposing arguments and adopt SoundExchange’s rates fully. Now Pandora, the popular streaming music site, says it’s paying over 70% of its revenue in royalties, and unless Washington changes the rates soon—which looks unlikely— they will have to shut down.
Netflix has been asking its members about their Xbox 360 usage habits as it considers whether to stream movie rentals over the device. Are you a Netflix subscriber who owns a 360? Were you surveyed?
The popular music site Last.fm announced today that beginning immediately, you can listen to entire music tracks and full-length albums for free. Previously, you could only hear excerpts of most tracks, which made Last.fm a great place for discovering new artists but a rotten one for actually listening to them. The site is taking a Flickr-style approach to its new service, offering a free version—you can listen to a track up to three times—and a forthcoming subscription service which will allow for unlimited streaming. This sounds good, but we’re curious about the three-listen limit, and how frequently that count is reset, if ever.