4KTV: Are Operators and Their Networks Ready? Not Just Yet

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

Summary Bullets:

  • Despite the hype surrounding 4K/UHD TV/video, the fact is that most broadband networks are not yet capable of supporting broadcast-quality 4K services, according to Akamai and other industry sources.
  • While new access network technologies, and new architectures, will enable the delivery of 4K TV/video, including linear, multichannel services, we are still several years away from 4K becoming a mass-market reality.

Several months ago on Twitter, prompted by a tweet announcing “Panasonic’s Ultra HD Blu-ray player could make discs matter again,” I replied, “#4K #Bluray memory space on current discs can be solved by #Laserdisc/LP-sized format (!), but it will never happen.” For those of us that spent a good portion of our youth enjoying music via vinyl records played on turntables, a return to a 12-inch (30-cm) laserdisc-sized physical format would certainly be a blast from the past. Some of us might even enjoy the novelty of such a now-massive format. Of course, this proved a far-fetched pipedream, as evolving, multi-layer technology will enable the continuing usage of the existing CD/DVD/Blu-ray-sized format. Continue reading “4KTV: Are Operators and Their Networks Ready? Not Just Yet”

Cable/Pay-TV Customers: Can’t Get No Satisfaction? Is Help on the Way?

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

Summary Bullets:

  • Can’t Get No (Satisfaction): U.S. consumers consistently name their pay-TV/broadband Internet providers as offering their worst customer service experience. Can suppliers drive these operators to improve their customer experience, boosting satisfaction and reducing churn?
  • The Good News: New, disruptive service providers, such as Google Fiber, could spur the incumbents to compete not only on broadband connection speeds and TV channel packages, but also on the customer satisfaction front, which includes quality-of-service/experience (QoS/QoE) and price.

Earlier this week, a now ex-Comcast customer’s audio recording of a telephone call with a Comcast customer service representative went viral, highlighting a well-known issue that many pay-TV/Internet/triple play customers (and consumer survey groups) have known for years: consumer satisfaction – or, more notably, the lack thereof – is an increasingly critical factor in customer retention/churn. The customer was calling simply to have his service disconnected, and a process which should have taken a few minutes (at most) was drawn out by the Comcast rep to 18 minutes, due overwhelmingly to the agent’s badgering of the customer in a poor attempt at customer retention (e.g., “Being that [Comcast is] the number one provider of TV and Internet in the entire country, why is it you don’t want the number one provider?”). Comcast has since apologized and stated that this instance was atypical, but the national media soon picked up on the story, expanding the scope of negative exposure. Continue reading “Cable/Pay-TV Customers: Can’t Get No Satisfaction? Is Help on the Way?”