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Today's Must Read: Hints From DirecTV and Time Warner Cable That the Future of TV is Streaming Everywhere Multichannel News

By Chuck Ross

Is the future of TV streaming everywhere? So hints both DirecTV and Time Warner Cable, in two separate articles in Multichannel News.

In one piece Todd Spengler writes, "On Tuesday, DirecTV sent some customers a survey asking them whether they’re interested in a 'Netflix-like service for a flat fee per month,' according to blogger Dave Zatz.

“ '[W]e would like you to evaluate a new service that DIRECTV is thinking about offering to their customers. DIRECTV plans to offer a streaming-only Netflix-like service for a flat fee per month, which would appear as a line item on your monthly bill,' the survey reads. The service 'would allow you to stream thousands of movies and television shows over a broadband Internet connection to your television, computer or tablet,' and include past seasons of current shows as well as older TV series and movies released 'more than 5 years ago.'

"Note that the satellite operator has run comparative national ads, pointing out that it offers many pay-per-view new releases 28 days ahead of Netflix."

In an odd, unconvincing response to Spengler inquiring about the survey, a DirecTV spokesperson told him, " “I would not read into this too deeply. We are constantly reaching out to customers with various surveys and taking the temperature in the marketplace. It does not mean we are necessarily moving forward with anything contained within the survey, but merely checking in on the consumer mindset to keep our business strong.”

Spengler also notes in his piece, "Besides competition from the likes of Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime, “We also think Dish Network is likely to launch a substantial subscription streaming effort under the Blockbuster brand,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells wrote in a letter to investors Monday [April 25, 2011]."

Also in Multichannel News, in a piece by Mike Farrell, were revealing comments by Glenn Britt, Time Warner Cable's longtime chairman and CEO: "Britt told analysts Thursday that its controversial decision to stream live television over iPad devices [via an app] inside the customer home is just the tip of the iceberg, adding the technology will allow the cable operator to address the emergence of Smart TVs.

Quoting Britt, Farrell adds, "about 70 channels are available on the app and by the end of the year nearly all of the linear channels carried on the cable system will be available, including broadcast stations in select markets. Next month the product will be updated to include a remote control function and the ability for the customer to remotely program their DVRs."

Farrell continues, " 'I want to emphasize that our iPad app is not a one-off product,' Britt said. 'Rather we are investing in a development process and a development team that will introduce capabilities to customers in rapid succession. The consumer electronics industry is embracing the idea of devices such as Smart TVs with built-in intelligence and 2-way communication capability all built on IP standards. The technology we're using to simulcast video to iPads will eventually feed all these devices. Over time this may lead to a world without set-tops, which could enable a much better customer experience.' "

Much food for thought here in these two items about DirecTV and TW Cable...