It’s easy after the fact to say you knew this was going to happen. But I just knew this was going to happen. According to a report by PaidContent.org, Qualcomm is going to pull the plug on FLO TV.
I’m often reminded of what Dish CEO Charlie Ergen said at a CES a couple of years ago about Sling — maybe it’s not a good standalone product, but it’s a great feature. That’s what I always thought about FLO TV. As an added feature to a good smartphone, that’s some nifty technology. As a pricy standalone, subscription-based TV service, it’s an answer looking for its question.
* Quick moron joke: A guy asks his moron buddy whether he left his car’s blinkers on. The moron looks out the window and says, “Yes. No. Yes. No.”
That’s the way I feel trying to keep track of FilmOn’s rapidly evolving service. It dropped its adult content option. It dropped KTLA. It showed KCET (PBS) among its offerings, but never streamed it when I looked. (In any case, KCET is gone now.) It dropped ABC and KCAL, then put them back. And best of all, FilmOn dropped its price to a more competitive $4.99/month.
Finally, FilmOn got sued by the big four networks. The billionaire behind the service, Alki David, had an interesting interview at TVNewsCheck, where he said he has a “cavalier attitude” towards copyrights. I think I know what’s going to happen, and my only question is when.
* Meanwhile, my favorite personal streamer, ivi.tv, keeps on streaming. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my opinion is that even if ivi wins its court cases, Congress will then change the copyright law to put them out of business. I asked the ivi folks about what they see as an alternative to this bleak (for them) scenario, and all I got back was that they were “very optimistic” about their future. But they did take down the Research Channel slot the day after I told them that it had gone off the air.
The reason I care about internet-based TV is that it’s a likely candidate to be the primary TV delivery system within 20 years. As bandwidth approaches infinite capacity at minimal cost, more TV will be sent through the internet. Satellite and terrestrial broadcasters now enjoy huge economies of scale in reproducing shows, particularly live events, to millions of simultaneous viewers. That advantage will diminish as new technologies and higher speeds come online. Everything changes.
Update: There’s a comment here that looks and sounds like it’s from the founder of ivi.tv, Todd Weaver. (It takes a few days to get a conclusive retina scan.) So go read the comments. Oh, and I forgot to mention earlier, here’s a short news story with a lawyer who says there’s no law against viewers watching streaming TV. I feel better about watching these streams already.