Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why Rogers' Purchase Of SCN Needs Strings Attached

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For the second time in under two years Saskatchewan Communications Network has been sold.  Just a year after buying SCN from the government of Saskatchewan, and just weeks making a deal with Rogers Media making SCN to turn SCN into Saskatchewan's CityTv affiliate, Bluepoint Investments is selling Saskatchewan's educational cable channel to Rogers making SCN a owned and operated CityTv station.  The new CityTV Saskatchewan will differ in a few ways from CityTV stations in other Canadian cities.  If Rogers maintains SCN's signal distribution system the way it exists, Saskatchewan's CityTV will be the only CityTV that will not be available over the air. Saskatchewan already has little selection of OTA TV as it is now. Nothing short of forcing Rogers Media to build tranmitters as a condition of approving the sale of SCN will improve the choice of TV stations available to over the air TV viewers. The other difference that other CityTV stations all have local newscasts, and Saskatchewan's CityTV most likely will not. Regardless of which signal supplier viewers subscribe to, Saskatchewanians have the fewest number of local newscasts to choose from. When Rogers' purchase of SCN gets approved it will need attach the condition to add a local newscast. Saskatchewan will finally get a fourth broadcast network but that should also bring a fourth choice for local and national news that needs to be available to all viewers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

When Will The Hopper Come To Bell

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Right from the start of the 2012 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the first product announcements right after the giant screen OLED TV's was a new Satellite receiver with personal video recorder from Dish Network, dubbed the hopper. The Hopper is the first Multi-room PVR on Dish Network. Up to three remote access units dubbbed Joey's by Dish Network connect the TV's in other rooms by regular coaxial cable to the main receiver. With 6 tuners the Hopper can record three shows while watching three other shows. With support for IPTV the Hopper isn't just another satellite TV receiver. Hooking up the Hopper to a broadband connection provides access to Dish Network's Blockbuster on demand service, although there an alternative non broadband version that allows up to ten movies to be downloaded from the downstream from satellite and stored on the Hopper.

Just like other hardware built by echostar for Dish Network the Hopper is expected to be available to Bell TV Satellite subscribers.  It's a question of when, not if the hopper will be available to Bell TV dish heads.  For Bell launching the hopper in Canada bring multi-room PVR ahead of Shaw Direct.  As well the IPTV support will allow Bell to offer the interactive features that are available on their Fibe IPTV service offered in parts of Ontario and Quebec.  From the early announcement the hopper satellite receiver PVR is already one of the coolest gadgets to come out this year.  It will come North of the border Bell is certain of it.