Monday, February 28, 2011

Comcast, NBC deal opens door for online video

Image representing NBC Universal as depicted i...Image via CrunchBaseTo some this may not sound like a big deal. But, for those that don't know about Net Neutrality you may want to take the time to search it out and learn more about it. It's bad enough to have Government trying to regulate the internet. It's worse when major companies and Government both have their greedy hands involved in controlling the main source of Freedom we have left.
Though the outside of this article may sound nice. Check out the entire article below at the link.
The last thing we need is package deals for what sites we can visit and what we cannot.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110228/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_comcast_nbc_online_video
WASHINGTON – New Internet video services from companies such as Netflix and Apple are offering a glimpse of a home entertainment future that doesn't include a pricey monthly cable bill.
To challenge the cable TV industry's dominance in the living room, though, online video services need popular movies and TV shows to lure viewers, and access to high-speed Internet networks to reach them.
Yet they have had no rights to either — until now.
To win government approval to take over NBC Universal last month, cable giant Comcast Corp. agreed to let online rivals license NBC programming, including hit shows such as "30 Rock" and "The Office." Comcast also agreed not to block its 17 million broadband subscribers from watching video online through Netflix, Apple's iTunes and other rivals yet to come.
Those requirements aim to ensure that the nation's largest cable TV company, with nearly 23 million video subscribers in 39 states, cannot stifle the growth of the nascent Internet video business. Although they apply only to Comcast and NBC, these conditions could serve as a model for other big entertainment companies in dealing with new online competitors. They also send a powerful message that the government believes these promising young rivals deserve an opportunity to take on established media companies.
"These conditions are not just window dressing," said Paul Gallant, an analyst for MF Global, a financial brokerage. "They come across as a pretty comprehensive effort to give Internet TV a real shot at taking off."
The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department spent more than a year reviewing Comcast's plan to buy a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal from General Electric. The deal gives Comcast control over the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, cable channels such as CNBC and Bravo, the Universal Pictures movie studio and a stake in Hulu.com, which distributes NBC and other broadcast programming online.
Government officials wanted to ensure that Comcast could not crush competition through its control over both a major media empire and the pipes that deliver cable and Internet services to millions of American homes.
But figuring out how to protect online video was tricky because the market is still taking shape.
Netflix offers subscription plans with unlimited online viewing for $8 a month. Apple and Amazon.com let customers rent or buy individual movies and TV shows for as little as a few dollars apiece — providing an alternative for people who don't want big bundles of cable channels they may never watch. Apple and Google make set-top boxes and software that transfer online video to television sets, freeing it from computer screens. TV makers are also building in Internet capabilities.
All these options could make it easier to cut the cable cord — and the cable bill. In 2010, Comcast's cable customers paid an average of $70 per month for video services.
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