Monday, February 24, 2014

The Facts About Cord Cutting for Consumers: Debunking the Myths and Misinformation


Cord Cutting has become a prevalent term that may have innocently started out as an expression for the TV industry crowd to describe a declining trend in video subscriber acquisition, but the moniker has now spilled over into consumer vocabulary and is being widely reported by the media as a growing trend in consumer behavior. This in itself would not be a bad thing except for the fact that the term is being defined differently by just about everyone who talks about it (not always being fully informed of the facts), causing confusion for consumers.

Personally, we hate the phrase for many reasons, but that's a topic for a different post. For our purposes here we will define Cord Cutting in its simplest, truest form: the act of cancelling your subscription TV service. So, for the consumer, we have compiled this list of Cord Cutting fallacies and provided what we believe to be helpful and factual enlightenment to assist you in your Cord Cutting pursuits.

Myth vs. Fact

Myth:  Cord Cutting means having to get all of my content via the Internet.
Fact:  A huge chunk of your content is available through free over-the-air broadcast, no Internet required.

Myth:  Cord Cutting means having to watch TV on a laptop or mobile device.
Fact:  You can still watch both live TV and your favorite streaming services on your TV.

Myth:  If you Cut the Cord you have to give up live TV, including local news and sports.
Fact:  Free live broadcast TV has been around since the early 1950s, is still  available free through the use of a simple antenna, underwent a transition to digital format in amazing, crystal-clear HD in 2009, and includes all of the major broadcast networks including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, The CW and many more networks and sub-channels that your pay-TV service may not carry.


This particular myth happens to be one of our biggest pet peeves when it comes to defining Cord Cutting. The more than 20% of Americans who receive their broadcast TV programming solely from a digital antenna today can certainly attest to this, and it doesn't help when members of the media get it wrong.

This little clip is one of our favorites, although we feel a bit sorry for the newscaster. But if you are going to talk about Cord Cutting, especially with the man who is in charge of business development for Comcast, you should do your homework. To preface, The Grammy's aired on CBS, which is free broadcast TV! (Source: Bloomberg)

video


Myth:  If you get your broadcast TV content over-the-air through a digital antenna, you can't record it, pause live TV, or have a DVR experience.
Fact:  Nonsense. Get yourself a DVR for over-the-air broadcast programming. Channel Master happens to make one that is subscription-free, the DVR+.

Myth:  Potential Cord Cutters just want to stream video on mobile devices.
Fact:  Potential Cord Cutters are current pay-TV subscribers who are seeking a home TV solution that gives them an experience very similar to what they have in the home today - without having to be a tech guru and build their own DVR system using a home computer (and we shudder to think of the power consumption required in such a solution). This includes a familiar user interface, program guide, DVR functionality and the simple ability to watch TV on the big screen without having to use a mobile device to open an App and port or transfer content to the TV - again, probably not much of a concern to you tech gurus but definitely not a great solution for the bulk of TV viewers.

Myth:  Internet streaming methods and services are a viable solution for getting live TV programming.
Fact:  There are currently several solutions that provide access to live broadcast TV programming through the use of an Internet connection either for receiving the content or for viewing the content once received. These are all very cool and innovative solutions. However, each of these solutions requires a monthly subscription fee. And your recorded content may be stored in their cloud in some cases, requiring an Internet connection for access, rather than on your own hard drive.

In addition, you must also consider the ramifications of broadband usage on your home network. In today’s market in particular, we feel very strongly that consumers should not have to suck up bandwidth to get local programming that is already conveniently available over-the-air through a basic antenna. With everything going on in the broadband industry today – Net Neutrality battles, massive consolidation of ISPs, implementation of data caps, reinterpretation of copyright laws – why would you want to go that route if you don’t have to? If you can get that big chunk of your entertainment without having to tap your home network, it’s just the smart way to go. Then you can allocate bandwidth for all of those awesome On Demand streaming services.

While some broadcast networks will still allow you to view their content through their websites or On Demand apps, that content is not live and is often restricted in episode choice. In most cases the content is not provided to you on the same day as the live broadcast. ABC has already restricted their streaming app and their Hulu content to an eight-day broadcast delay unless you have a pay-TV subscription, and the remaining networks will likely follow suit.

We love Hulu, it's a great service, but it's not live TV and every broadcaster has a different deal with Hulu regarding what content they post and for how long, which can be very frustrating. And you can't zoom through commercials like you can with your DVR!

Myth:  People don't watch broadcast TV nearly as much as they watch cable network programming.
Fact:  Programming from the major broadcast networks actually represents what we believe to be the majority of what people watch on TV. TiVo’s website states that 85% of the content people store on their DVRs comes from local broadcast networks. DISH claims that a majority of the content on their DVRs is from the “big four” broadcast networks alone (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC).

If you are a current pay-TV subscriber, go look at the screen that shows the timers that are set on your DVR. How many of those are for shows available on broadcast networks as opposed to cable networks? Obviously some people are going to be heavy on the cable network side, but for the majority of North American households we think you will find the ratio to be 50/50 at best if not a bit heavier on the broadcast network side.

Myth:  If I'm a sports fanatic I can Cut the Cord and be happy.
Fact:  If you can't live without ESPN or other popular sports networks, you are going to require pay-TV for what looks like a long haul. ESPN recently stated that they are doing everything they can to continue to support the traditional pay-TV delivery model. Do you need access to every NFL game, not just what's provided on your local broadcast networks? If your answer is yes, you're going to need DirecTV.

Sports programming is by far the most expensive content in the pay-TV package and it seems that things will continue to get worse before they get better. Just ask Dodgers fans, who will no longer have access to games on broadcast networks.

Myth:  Cord Cutting is not a real movement, is only media hype, and people are not ditching their pay-TV services.
Fact:  Service providers, as a net total, continue to lose video subscribers. Is it some kind of landslide phenomenon that has the TV industry running scared? Absolutely not. Cord Cutting is not for everyone. But yes, it is real. Our customers are not supplementing their pay-TV services with our products, they are cancelling their services altogether and relying on an economic mixture of subscription-free broadcast TV and On Demand streaming services.

In Conclusion

If you are considering cancelling your pay-TV service we hope that we have provided you with some useful information to help you with your decision. There are many changes happening in the TV industry today that are a direct result of the inevitable clash between outdated business models and new technologies. For the most part, the consumer remains blissfully unaware of the storms going on behind the scenes in the TV industry - until it shows up in their bill, which is what's happening today.

And let's make one thing perfectly clear: if you are getting your content through file-sharing sites or using someone else's pay-TV login information, that is called Piracy. Piracy is BAD. Not only is Piracy illegal and cheats hard-working Creatives out of their due revenues, it only serves to exacerbate the existing problems in the TV industry and make things worse in the long run for one and all... so by all means Cut the Cord, but please do so responsibly!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Channel Master Announces Replenished Inventory of Popular DVR+ Product

Phoenix, AZ, February 21, 2014 – Channel Master announced today that it has resumed shipping of its DVR+ product, an over-the-air subscription-free DVR, which sold out shortly after announcing availability at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas in early January. In addition to receiving and recording local broadcast programming such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS and The CW, DVR+ integrates video-on-demand streaming apps directly into the electronic program guide. DVR+ was one of the International CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Award honorees.

“We put a lot of thought into the development of this product, focusing on the needs of mainstream TV consumers in North America and their professed desire for an alternative solution to traditional pay-TV services” said Coty Youtsey, President of Channel Master. “We knew we had a great solution but I don’t think any of us were quite prepared for the overwhelming response that we got, selling out of product within a week. We’re happy to say that we now have DVR+ units in stock to meet the growing demand.”

The Channel Master brand is an iconic mainstay in American entertainment culture, having introduced the first consumer TV antenna in 1949 and progressing through the decades to produce antennas, televisions, transistor radios and even turn-tables. Today, Channel Master is focused on products and solutions for broadcast television entertainment.

“There is just so much going on in TV today that has a direct impact on consumers, more so than any other time in the history of TV” said Joe Bingochea, Executive Vice President of product development. “We’re doing what we’ve always done, which is to deliver superior broadcast entertainment products to consumers. With DVR+ we have an amazing product that not only delivers what consumers need today, it will also serve as a platform to deliver what they want tomorrow. DVR+ has many capabilities. We’re just getting started.” 

DVR+, priced at $249.99, is available now from Channel Master at www.channelmaster.com.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

DVR+™ Garners CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Award

Las Vegas, NV--(January 5, 2014) - - Channel Master today announced that its DVR+ over-the-air, subscription-free DVR is one of the International CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Award honorees. Products entered in this prestigious program are judged by a panel of designers, engineers and trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in consumer electronics.

"We are thrilled to be recognized by the Innovations team for this honor," said Joe Bingochea, Channel Master's executive vice president. "The competition is fierce in the Video Components category and we worked hard throughout 2013 to deliver a timely, mainstream solution for consumers that is both practical and visually appealing."

DVR+ is a thin (1/2 inch high) device that allows consumers to receive and record local broadcast programming without a subscription or contract, utilizing a simple digital antenna. In addition, consumers have access to streaming video services and enhanced guide data with a broadband connection. For the TV Everywhere enthusiast, DVR+ is compatible with the Slingbox® 500, providing access to all live and recorded content on any connected mobile device, either around the home or around the world.

"We're different from other cord-cutting solutions," said Shelley O'Connell, Channel Master's Marketing Communications Director. "Other solutions focus on mobile devices, require a broadband connection and port content to a TV with an app. In contrast, we believe that focusing on the living room TV first, the heart of the consumer TV experience, without a subscription is the best way to provide what we call TV Freedom."

DVR+ provides all of the most popular network programming including shows, news and sports in the highest HD quality, from free public broadcast that constitutes the majority of what Americans watch on TV – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS and The CW.

DVR+, priced at $249.99, is available now from Channel Master at ChannelMaster.com.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Channel Master Introduces DVR+, Promises TV Freedom for Consumers

Phoenix, AZ--(December 16, 2013) - - Channel Master, today unveiled a new subscription-free consumer DVR that promises to revolutionize how people record and view free over-the-air TV programming. DVR+™ is an easy-to-use broadcast TV DVR, combining multiple features to ensure anyone can watch and record free HD-quality broadcast TV, as well as stream video services.

DVR+ combines a high definition dual-tuner DVR, the economical flexibility of an external hard drive, streaming video services and a unique integrated TV programming guide all in one ultra-slim device, standing just over one-half inch in height.

Today, most local markets offer many broadcast channels, in addition to the major networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, Univision, Telemundo and the CW -- all for free.

"Consumers today are demanding freedom and flexibility for their TV experience," said Coty Youtsey, President of Channel Master. "Channel Master is providing a premium option with DVR+ as consumers rediscover free over-the-air broadcast programming in the midst of a fragmented TV-delivery industry."

DVR+ lets users pause or rewind live TV up to two hour, and dual tuners allow them to record one program while watching another, or simultaneously record two programs. The DVR+ comes with 16GB of internal flash memory to get users up-and-running out of the box with the ability to pause live TV and store a limited number of recordings. Full extended DVR functionality is enabled with the connection of a USB external hard drive, providing the ultimate choice in personal storage capacity.

DVR+ is the perfect broadcast TV DVR solution when combined with a digital antenna. When also combined with a broadband connection, consumers will enjoy an enhanced program guide and access to online streaming services. Future feature upgrades are available either through a direct broadband connection or USB transfer.

The DVR+, priced at $249.99, is available now for pre-order at www.channelmaster.com and will begin shipping in early January. Channel Master will announce product availability and additional retail partners at the 2014 International CES.

Consumers interested in having access to the latest on-demand movies and TV shows will enjoy VUDU, a subscription-free video streaming service that offers thousands of blockbusters, Hollywood classics and indie films, already included in the DVR+ programming guide, with additional streaming services coming soon.