HBO, Showtime, and Sony want an Internet fast lane for TV streaming

Lindsey Caldwell - Mar 19, 2015, 10:50 pm CDT
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HBO, Showtime, and Sony want an Internet fast lane for TV streaming

In the wake of the FCC‘s Net Neutrality vote, all web content is created equal. However, nothing is every black and white, and there is a new gray area when it comes to managed services. HBO, Showtime, and Sony Corp. are pushing for their streaming content to be treated separately and have talked to Comcast Corp. about being included in their separate data lane for “managed services.”

Right now, the FCC allows the internet to be divided into two categories: Managed services from cable and phone companies are separate from the public Internet. Telephone calls and video-on-demand services are classified as managed services which gives them special privileges like being above traffic jams on the public Internet.

Now, some ISPs have a data limit and surcharge that kicks after using too much data, like from binge-watching your favorite shows. Broadband cable companies may see a new method that lets consumers avoid surcharges and creates a profit. They are considering the possibility of creating renewable subscription packages to Web-TV services like HBO, as long as it doesn’t run the risk of garnering the wrath of the FCC. No one wants to be fined by the regulatory agency, so speculation is that talks are moving slowly.

A pay-for-play system makes some sense as media streaming services using the Internet are becoming ubiquitous. It’s funny, people have complained about low quality video and buffering interruptions since the dawn of streaming services. A pay-for-play system would, in theory, eradicate those nuisances for the time being. Until the new pipeline gets overcrowded by data once again, and the process is forced to start all over.

Source: Wall Street Journal


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