'Spoilt for choice'

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Mark., Jun 27, 2004.

  1. Mark.

    Mark. Guest

    Spoilt for choice

    Ashley Norris wonders whether the revamped TV on
    demand service HomeChoice is a useful alternative
    to cable

    Ashley Norris
    Saturday June 26 2004
    The Guardian


    If you don't fancy swelling Mr Murdoch's coffers
    or forking out for cable you may soon have an
    alternative - TV and video on demand via an ADSL
    broadband line.

    If this sounds familiar you are spot on. The
    service, HomeChoice, was originally launched in
    2000, delivering video on demand and internet
    access to homes in the London area. While it was
    undoubtedly a pioneering service (video on demand
    via ADSL to a TV in 2000 was a world first) and
    worked reasonably well, there were some hiccups
    with the ADSL, and the quality of the video
    (MPEG1 standard) was awful.

    I subscribed to the service for a time, more out
    of curiosity than anything else. I enjoyed being
    able to peruse a vast library of movies and TV
    programmes and then, after one click, being able
    to watch them. In the days before Sky+, Home
    Choice's ability to pause the movie you were
    watching seemed revolutionary.

    Then after a year or so the service went quiet.
    Although it continued to cater for its existing
    subscribers, it didn't seem very interested in
    attracting new ones.

    Then, a couple of months ago HomeChoice announced
    that a completely revamped service was being
    rolled out across London.

    "The new services are all down to local loop
    unbundling (LLU)", explains Roger Lynch, Chair
    and CEO of HomeChoice's parent company Video
    Networks.

    "When HomeChoice first launched we had to buy
    wholesale ADSL packages from BT, which was very
    expensive. Since LLU we have been able to start
    putting our own equipment into local exchanges,
    which not only significantly improves the
    services we can offer, but means our operational
    costs are eighty per cent cheaper than when we
    worked with BT."

    Among those new services are broadcast TV:
    HomeChoice offers a similar set of channels to
    Freeview, plus fast internet access, with users
    receiving a 1Mbps service with its basic package,
    with a 2Mbps upgrade if they prefer.

    HomeChoice has also come up with some innovative
    features. For example subscribers can configure
    the HomeChoice box to lock out all its services
    bar its on-demand children's channel Scamp, which
    makes it ideal for parents hoping to enjoy a
    Saturday morning lie-in. Another neat feature is
    the way subscribers can create a playlist of
    their favourite music videos rather than having
    to view the channel's choice of music.

    A deal with the BBC means that subscribers can
    also view the previous week's editions of
    EastEnders, and many other programmes, whenever
    they want. And central to HomeChoice is its
    library of around 1,000 video-on-demand movies,
    which can be paused, rewound and fast forwarded.

    The biggest improvement of all is that the
    picture quality is now MPEG2, rather than MPEG1,
    and is similar to other digital TV services. The
    company is likely to upgrade to MPEG4 ("a world's
    first", says Lynch), at some point in the year,
    which offers even higher quality pictures at
    lower bandwidth.

    "We are pretty unique in the world in offering
    video on demand over ADSL in this way", adds
    Roger Lynch. "And at present other services can't
    offer a similar system."

    Given how attractive movies and TV on demand are
    to consumers it does seem incredible that Sky and
    the cable companies aren't yet talking about
    adding video on demand via broadband to their
    portfolio of services.

    "I suspect that the cable companies will start
    rolling out video on demand at some point in the
    next 12 months" says Roger Lynch. "However there
    are still parts of their network that will have
    to be upgraded before they can do this."

    "As for Sky, well it would have to work with BT
    to deliver video on demand and I don't think BT
    is ready yet. BT recently announced a four to
    five year plan to upgrade its network and I am
    sure Sky will be looking at what it will be able
    to offer in the future."

    "We are also looking at new ADSL technologies
    such as ADSL2 and ASDSL+ which will enable us to
    increase the bandwidth available to each home. So
    for example we could offer multiple channels
    streamed to different TVs or even high definition
    TV."

    So is HomeChoice the tortoise to Sky and the cable companies' hare?

    At present the service is only available to 1.4
    million homes in London, but Lynch insists the
    whole of the capital will be able to access the
    service soon, and that other cities will follow
    next year.

    At £35 a month, which includes a 1MB broadband
    pipe plus a basic selection of channels, it is
    certainly competitive too. And there's no denying
    that movies and TV on demand is a compelling
    proposition.

    HomeChoice might have got the product right this
    time. Yet whether it has the marketing nous and
    deep enough pockets to take on its competitors
    remains to be seen.

    Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited
     
    Mark., Jun 27, 2004
    #1
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  2. Mark.

    Peter Guest

    Mark. wrote:
    > Saturday June 26 2004
    > The Guardian
    >
    > "The new services are all down to local loop
    > unbundling (LLU)", explains Roger Lynch, Chair
    > and CEO of HomeChoice's parent company Video
    > Networks.
    > "When HomeChoice first launched we had to buy
    > wholesale ADSL packages from BT, which was very
    > expensive. Since LLU we have been able to start
    > putting our own equipment into local exchanges,
    > which not only significantly improves the
    > services we can offer, but means our operational
    > costs are eighty per cent cheaper than when we
    > worked with BT."


    80% cheaper !
    So, why did our govt decide we shouldn't have LLU here in NZ?


    Peter
     
    Peter, Jun 27, 2004
    #2
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  3. In article <>, says...
    > Mark. wrote:
    > > Saturday June 26 2004
    > > The Guardian
    > >
    > > "The new services are all down to local loop
    > > unbundling (LLU)", explains Roger Lynch, Chair
    > > and CEO of HomeChoice's parent company Video
    > > Networks.
    > > "When HomeChoice first launched we had to buy
    > > wholesale ADSL packages from BT, which was very
    > > expensive. Since LLU we have been able to start
    > > putting our own equipment into local exchanges,
    > > which not only significantly improves the
    > > services we can offer, but means our operational
    > > costs are eighty per cent cheaper than when we
    > > worked with BT."

    >
    > 80% cheaper !
    > So, why did our govt decide we shouldn't have LLU here in NZ?


    Because there are no overall benefits across the whole telecoms sector.

    You can expect with LLU that some users in specific niches will get a
    better deal, but others will be worse off. The same thing happens every
    time the government deregulates something.
     
    Patrick Dunford, Jun 28, 2004
    #3
  4. Mark.

    The Flash Guest

    >> 80% cheaper !
    >> So, why did our govt decide we shouldn't have LLU here in NZ?

    >
    > Because there are no overall benefits across the whole telecoms sector.
    >
    > You can expect with LLU that some users in specific niches will get a
    > better deal, but others will be worse off. The same thing happens every
    > time the government deregulates something.


    So everybody in urban areas ends up paying thru the nose so some farmer down
    the end of a 35Km gravel road in the middle of nowhere can have a phone
    line.

    User pays my ass, his phoneline should be costing him $500 a month and mine
    should cost $5

    If _YOU_ choose to live non urban don't bitch to me that you can't get high
    speed internet.

    I just bought a different house, the first thing that I told the estate
    agents were, if it cann't get xtra high speed AND saturn don't bother
    showing me (I like choice).
     
    The Flash, Jun 29, 2004
    #4
  5. Mark.

    Collector_NZ Guest

    The Flash said the following on 29/06/2004 23:30:

    >>>80% cheaper !
    >>>So, why did our govt decide we shouldn't have LLU here in NZ?

    >>
    >>Because there are no overall benefits across the whole telecoms sector.
    >>
    >>You can expect with LLU that some users in specific niches will get a
    >>better deal, but others will be worse off. The same thing happens every
    >>time the government deregulates something.

    >
    >
    > So everybody in urban areas ends up paying thru the nose so some farmer down
    > the end of a 35Km gravel road in the middle of nowhere can have a phone
    > line.
    >
    > User pays my ass, his phoneline should be costing him $500 a month and mine
    > should cost $5
    >
    > If _YOU_ choose to live non urban don't bitch to me that you can't get high
    > speed internet.
    >
    > I just bought a different house, the first thing that I told the estate
    > agents were, if it cann't get xtra high speed AND saturn don't bother
    > showing me (I like choice).
    >


    I think you have the wrong end of it.
    If his line exists now and so does yours it should cost you both the same each
    month.
    Now if it needs to be established then there is a cost difference and Telecom
    already has a user pays policy for for new connections.
     
    Collector_NZ, Jun 29, 2004
    #5
  6. Mark.

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Collector_NZ wrote:
    > The Flash said the following on 29/06/2004 23:30:
    >
    >>>> 80% cheaper !
    >>>> So, why did our govt decide we shouldn't have LLU here in NZ?
    >>>
    >>> Because there are no overall benefits across the whole telecoms
    >>> sector.
    >>>
    >>> You can expect with LLU that some users in specific niches will get
    >>> a better deal, but others will be worse off. The same thing happens
    >>> every time the government deregulates something.

    >>
    >>
    >> So everybody in urban areas ends up paying thru the nose so some
    >> farmer down the end of a 35Km gravel road in the middle of nowhere
    >> can have a phone line.
    >>
    >> User pays my ass, his phoneline should be costing him $500 a month
    >> and mine should cost $5
    >>
    >> If _YOU_ choose to live non urban don't bitch to me that you can't
    >> get high speed internet.
    >>
    >> I just bought a different house, the first thing that I told the
    >> estate agents were, if it cann't get xtra high speed AND saturn
    >> don't bother showing me (I like choice).
    >>

    >
    > I think you have the wrong end of it.
    > If his line exists now and so does yours it should cost you both the
    > same each month.
    > Now if it needs to be established then there is a cost difference and
    > Telecom already has a user pays policy for for new connections.


    Damn right! I have a friend who just paid several thousand dollars to get a
    phone line put in and she only lives just over a kilometer from the main
    road. Even Telecom aren't stupid enough to try charging her extra 'line
    rental' because she doesn't live in a street, where it may have cost her
    $100 to get connected.
    --
    ~misfit~
     
    ~misfit~, Jun 30, 2004
    #6
  7. In article <>,
    says...
    > The Flash said the following on 29/06/2004 23:30:
    >
    > >>>80% cheaper !
    > >>>So, why did our govt decide we shouldn't have LLU here in NZ?
    > >>
    > >>Because there are no overall benefits across the whole telecoms sector.
    > >>
    > >>You can expect with LLU that some users in specific niches will get a
    > >>better deal, but others will be worse off. The same thing happens every
    > >>time the government deregulates something.

    > >
    > >
    > > So everybody in urban areas ends up paying thru the nose so some farmer down
    > > the end of a 35Km gravel road in the middle of nowhere can have a phone
    > > line.
    > >
    > > User pays my ass, his phoneline should be costing him $500 a month and mine
    > > should cost $5


    Since when did a phone line cost $5 a month? Do you see Telstraclear
    moving to charge their Saturn users $5 a month? Why not, after all they
    are not using the local loop, and they don't have to maintain a cable
    network across the whole country, only in a couple of large cities.

    It already costs more to get a connection in rural areas, and most of
    them are likely to be too far from the exchange for a good connection.
    Your claims don't stack up.
     
    Patrick Dunford, Jun 30, 2004
    #7
  8. In article <>,
    says...
    > The Flash said the following on 29/06/2004 23:30:
    >
    > >>>80% cheaper !
    > >>>So, why did our govt decide we shouldn't have LLU here in NZ?
    > >>
    > >>Because there are no overall benefits across the whole telecoms sector.
    > >>
    > >>You can expect with LLU that some users in specific niches will get a
    > >>better deal, but others will be worse off. The same thing happens every
    > >>time the government deregulates something.

    > >
    > >
    > > So everybody in urban areas ends up paying thru the nose so some farmer down
    > > the end of a 35Km gravel road in the middle of nowhere can have a phone
    > > line.
    > >
    > > User pays my ass, his phoneline should be costing him $500 a month and mine
    > > should cost $5
    > >
    > > If _YOU_ choose to live non urban don't bitch to me that you can't get high
    > > speed internet.


    If you chose to live in Dorkland don't bitch about your phone rentals
    being too high because the productive backbone of the country live in the
    country.
     
    Patrick Dunford, Jun 30, 2004
    #8
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