AppleTV and trying to curb data usage (aka Goddamn You, Comcast)

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by mhilferty108, May 15, 2015.

  1. mhilferty108 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hey, so we live in Atlanta and the four of us are trying to stay under 300GB/month with Comcast. Between gaming and streaming, it's no easy task that's for sure.

    Netflix allows you to limit your playback setting, but Hulu and HBO Go do not. My new experiment adjusts the Apple TV's Resolution Settings to 480p and see if that curbs data usage. Anyone have experience with this? My assumption would be that, at 480p, the Apple TV doesn't reach for any higher streams.

    Additionally, does anyone know how to pull up the video stats in either hulu or HBO Go? For instance, on Netflix PS3, if you press Select, it displays Current Time/Total Time, Video Quality, Audio, etc. Any way to tell at least the current video quality in Apple TV?
     
  2. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I don't have any help for you, but I wanted to complement you on one of the most awesome subject lines ever.
     
  3. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #3
    When I lived in a frat house, granted it was nearly a decade ago, we would regularly go over Comcast's monthly limit (sometimes by several multiples). They never did anything other than the occasional warning letter.

    Has that policy changed? Will they actually take action against people who go over their limit?
     
  4. mhilferty108 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Yea, now they give you 300GB a month, then you pay an additional $10 for another (and every additional) 50GB block of data. What's more crap is that if you pass the data cap on, say, the last day of a month, whatever you don't use of that charged 50GB isn't prorated.
     
  5. mellofello macrumors 65816

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    #5
  6. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #6
    This is why all the dreaming about some "new model" (TV service) from Apple makes little sense- it entirely depends on broadband pipes owned by the likes of Comcasts. Who loses if an Apple TV service is embraced by the masses over traditional cable TV services? The very people who have 100% control over the pipe.

    What do they do if an Apple starts biting into their cable TV business in a big way? Make up for the losses with higher broadband pricing and/or tiers "for heavier bandwidth users like video streamers". So net result??? They still get theirs in full and we also pay Apple as their replacement (middle man for our television service).

    The "new model" dream is usually spun as "getting everything I want" for a fraction of what I pay now... sometimes commercial free too. Yet this thread is a great example of one of the biggest obstacles to any new model.

    OP, if you can lock the streaming to 480p instead of 720p or 1080p, you should be streaming smaller files. This may be something to set within iTunes too. However the tradeoff is video quality. Going from HD to SD is big tradeoff in visual quality.

    I suggest pursuing a model in which you get your video fix from a variety of sources. For example, put up an over-the-air antenna and use a solution like those from Elgato for all network programming you like. Is there at least a basic cable package that might also give you access to a Comcasts on-demand library. If so, all programming you watch that way (probably) won't count against the cap. Flip flopping back & forth from DirecTV to Dish (for discounted promotional rates) is another good way to have a basic package that won't eat broadband data. Then, stream just the stuff you can't get from those other sources.

    Comcast and others have ZERO interest in facilitating the destruction of their cable TV services when the replacement entirely depends on Comcast's broadband pipes. I expect broadband tiers to tighten up in the next few years (just like cellular unlimited, becoming unlimited*, becoming tiered/throttled).
     
  7. BJMRamage macrumors 68020

    BJMRamage

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    #7
    I know with FIOS we didn't have a cap but with Comcast we do...we are streaming more shows and movies on AppleTV so wondering how that will turn out for us.
     
  8. mellofello macrumors 65816

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  9. HobeSoundDarryl, May 19, 2015
    Last edited: May 19, 2015

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #9
    Is Google Fiber bringing the big competition to broadband pricing?

    And isn't Google Fiber also in the cable TV business and thus also at risk of losing that revenue if an Apple or anyone else would roll out some cable TV replacement option?

    Both answers can be found by looking at the offers where Google Fiber already exists. For example: https://fiber.google.com/cities/kansascity/plans/

    And BJM, FIOS is Verizon isn't it? Verizon already thinks in terms of tight, tier-based pricing in their other business. Let something start moving the masses to quit FIOS television for <other> that is dependent on FIOS broadband and I'm sure you can guess what will happen. If you were Verizon, what would you do?
     
  10. Beachguy macrumors 6502a

    Beachguy

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    #10
    Was it necessary to use that language in your post title?
     
  11. mellofello, May 19, 2015
    Last edited: May 19, 2015

    mellofello macrumors 65816

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    #11
    AppleTV and trying to curb data usage (aka Goddamn You, Comcast)


    I work in the industry. The truth is that isps have come to terms with the fact that the traditional cable model is outmoded. The only thing they actually care about anymore is your internet connection because that is 100% profit. Besides the initial infrastructure , and having the technician install the equipment it costs a ISp close to nothing to provide you Internet.

    For our company we actually make more profit from a person who orders our most basic TV package, then someone who orders our highest tier with every channel. TV content costs are out of control. We only sell TV as a loss leader to get you to sign up for Internet.

    Everyone loves to hate the cable company but the truth is the rise in cable bills is no where near in line with how much our costs have gone up to offer the content. We almost had to block out a local affiliate during football season, because they demanded a 35% increase in compensation per customer.

    Short answer is yes Google sells TV, but I'm sure they would prefer you don't sign up for it.
     
  12. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #12
    Appreciate the post. But I just don't see Google spending the money to install Google Fiber and then not maximizing their returns, whether they care about it or not. That's how business works. Public companies like Google and Apple have an obligation to maximize returns on investments for their shareholders.

    If what you say is true- that the cable TV industry doesn't care about cable TV business anymore- OK... but I fully expect them to make up for their revenue losses in letting an Apple (or someone else) take that business from them by making up the difference in the broadband bill. That it's "100% profit" doesn't matter either. Many of the same players make a killing off of wireless bandwidth. That may not be "100% profit" but they aren't starving. Besides, again, as public companies they have a shareholder obligation. So even if they don't care, they can't just give away that revenue to an Apple. They must maximize profits. If Apple is going to take their cable TV profits and Apple's solution is dependent on cable's broadband pipe, they are basically obligated to up the cable broadband bill.

    If Google was the savior in all of this, their broadband offerings would already be significantly cheaper than the competitors in the markets where they already function. Are they? No. Looking at their rates in Kansas City for their bundle vs. my own rates for a Comcast bundle, Comcast actually wins on price. Comcast!!! I didn't expect that when I looked it up but anyone can look up Google Fiber pricing and see for themselves. I put a direct link to their offerings in a prior post. Compare their pricing to your local "greedy" cable company.
     
  13. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #13
    How cheap is your local Comcast?

    Google offers 5Mbps for free, after a one-time $300 setup fee. That comes out to $25/month if amortized over one year, meaning WAY cheaper than my local Comcast charges for their 6Mbps plan.

    Comcast does't offer Gigabit internet where I am, so it's tough to say whether or not $70/month is more or less expensive. However, Comcast charges more than $70/month for 100Mbps, so I assume they would charge way more for Gigabit if they had it.
     
  14. mellofello macrumors 65816

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    #14

    Google is a perfect example. Their iptv offering is just a afterthought. I can tell you first hand unless they have some sweetheart deals they don't make, a penny and probably lose money on every fiber customer who opts for TV. The reality in 2015 is that if you want to compete you have to offer a double/triple/quadruple play bundle. Consumers are lazy and don't want to pay more then 1 bill. Also if we get you for everything it is more "sticky" and you will be less likely to cancel.

    The answer to your question is in the op. The cable industry is scrambling to find even more ways to monetize the Internet, ie data caps, and higher speed tiers. There is nothing that increases share holder value like getting someone to sign up for a top tier Internet package. Data is a infinite free resource for us. The difference in price it costs us to provide you 5 mbps, to 100 mbps is next to nothing, but we have convinced people to shell out $60 extra per month.

    Trust me in public people say one thing, but in meetings people are more pragmatic. My company is actually very excited about stand alone over the top TV services. If you shift all the content costs, and TV equipment maintenance to a third party it is pure profit for us since you require a Internet connection, and we are the fastest.

    Where Google fiber is amazing is that you get those gigabit speeds for only $70. In this day and age a lot of other ISPs are bumping up their speeds at a rapid pace, but just a few short years ago even getting 25-50mbps was considered damn fast.

    For the op this will also solve his data cap issue.
     
  15. colodane macrumors 6502a

    colodane

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    Colorado
    #15
    After 20 years of living in Colorado, this post will actually have good news about internet speed and cost!

    I live in Longmont, a city of about 85,000. The only real "fast" offering is from Comcast whom I've not dealt with for many years due to their poor service and spotty performance. Have been using a local "fixed wireless" wi-fi service the past several years, and it peaks out at about 4 Mb/sec down and much slower up. Costs $47 a month and service has been pretty reliable so I've stuck with it until now.

    The city has had several miles of fiber buried around town and has wanted to start up a municipal broadband service for several years now. Needed to go to a vote for approval and at the first election Comcast spent over $500,000 in advertising and managed to defeat the proposal. A couple years later it came to another vote and lots more $$$ against it by Comcast. This time, however, the electorate was smart enough to ignore the Comcast noise and pass a bond issue to construct the system. There was also a fight with the state to get the authority to do this.

    Now the system is under construction, with the first users connected last fall and the entire city to be wired within another year or two. My house is scheduled for this summer. 1 Gb/sec symmetrical service! No installation or equipment fees. People signing up during the buildout period get this for $50 a month rather than the expected $100 a month at maturity. And the $50 rate will be grandfathered for me if I move anywhere in the city later. The $50 rate will also stay with the house if I sell it.

    Needless to say, I'm a happy camper. They also are offering digital phone service which I'm not interested in. No TV.

    The system is being managed by the city Power department which has provided our own inexpensive and reliable electrical service for many decades now.

    I would love to see other cities do something like this. If you are persistent, it can happen!!
     
  16. southerndoc macrumors 65816

    southerndoc

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    #16
    Where in Atlanta are you? As others have mentioned, Google Fiber will be in some areas of Atlanta soon. However, AT&T's GigaPower is already available in most areas and comes with 1 TB of data per month for around $100/month I believe.
     
  17. 2010mini macrumors 68040

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    #17
    You would be amazed how many other municipal broadband proposals have been lobbied against by cable companies. In some locations after years of crappy service from the incumbent cable company. Their service "suddenly" improves when competition arrives! Shocking!!
     
  18. HobeSoundDarryl, May 20, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #18
    Com'on guys... can't we keep posts in context? If we were all given "up to 5Mbps" service for free from all providers, would that be sufficient pipe to deliver smooth streaming HD from some cable TV replacement "new model"? And I don't mean hypothetically (such as pretending that 5Mbps actually delivers 5Mbps consistently). I've had anywhere from 25-50Mbps and even the 25 option can have trouble delivering a consistent stream of HD from iCloud. Might as well mix in an implication that the free Tmobile 500Mb via wireless is a great option too (ignoring that you can't steam an hour of HD in 500Mb).

    So looking at the Google Fiber (as savior) choices per the link shared perviously, it's $70/month for "up to 1Gbps" or $130/month for their bundle of the same plus television.

    Where I am, I have 2 choices for broadband... 2 choices often cast as among the greediest: Comcast vs. AT&T. I see them as devils myself. However, I get Comcast broadband + voice for $54/month. Yes, that's a promotional rate but they'll renew promotional rates if one threatens to switch to the competitor when the promotion is running down. AT&T offers about the same for a little less than that. If Comcast ever clamps down, I can actually switch to keep the cost about the same.

    Within the context of this discussion, one doesn't need faster broadband... just consistently fast to stream whatever show or movie we're trying to watch to some little box without interruption. So Gigabit or 10XGigabit (if someone would promise that) doesn't deliver the show any more consistently than 50Mbps or 25Mbps. If the goal is to replace cable TV service with some kind of streaming service offering, the price of "fast enough" broadband seems like it is more important than some kind of consideration of "up to 1Gbps" vs. "up to 50Mbps" when both will deliver the movie at exactly the same quality.

    So, if Google was where I am now, would I switch? Another option would be great. But at $70, I'd keep my $54 option which covers voice too. The net experience on my :apple:TV would be exactly the same but it would cost me about $192 less each year to stay with the "greedy" Comcast (or AT&T) than switch to the more expensive broadband "savior".

    Google would only be the better deal for me if the 5Mbps was "good enough" to deliver uninterrupted HD streams plus general Internet access for "$0/month*" (after the $300 "construction fee"). It's not, so then Google pricing must be compared to Comcast & AT&T pricing within this context. And there, Google loses unless someone needs >25 or 50Mbps for purposes beyond the context of a pipe for streaming "new model" replacement solutions... or Google gets more price competitive with established "greedy" cable companies.
     
  19. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

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    #19
    Huh?

    Was it necessary for you to comment on it or would you moving on have served a similar purpose?
     
  20. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #20
    Congratulations, you live in the ~15% of America where you have genuine broadband competition, and have two broadband providers competing for your business. It's great for you, and you get those low prices you mentioned.

    The remaining 85% of the country has either no broadband options at all (~20%) or one broadband provider that has a monopoly on the region. In those places, the prices are much much higher than what you experience.

    Moreover, the average home in the US pays $3.50/month/megabit - one of the highest rates on the planet.

    This is all to illustrate that whining about 5Mbps for free, $70 for gigabit, or the "up to" legalese that everyone has, is either arrogant or disingenuous.

    I'll agree that Google's offering isn't cheap, and there are certainly other costs that aren't taken into account. That said, you're in a unique and lucky situation that isn't a genuine or useful comparison for vast majority of people.
     
  21. HobeSoundDarryl, May 20, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #21
    I didn't say that it was. I was simply illustrating that Google Fiber is not some savior for those worried about a greedy cable company raising their broadband rates. Instead, as I illustrated, when there is competition, the "greedy" cable companies can be moved to win on price. So if Google Fiber comes into areas where there is no competition, I wouldn't automatically expect it to be some bargain OR that one will find that they get a better deal by switching from some cable provider to it. Instead, broadband pricing will still be "high" AND, since Google is also in the cableTV business, I would expect them to make up for cableTV business revenue losses by upping their broadband rates too.

    In short, if an Apple or anyone else shows up with a cable TV (service) killer that moves the masses to shift from whoever they use to Apple and if an Apple solution is entirely dependent on a broadband pipe from those who currently provide cableTV service, I fully expect those who would feel the pain in losing cableTV revenues to make it up in broadband pricing. Whether that's a Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner or a Google, they're all bound to shareholder obligations and it only makes (business) sense for them to make up for such losses.

    Bottom line: all we get at the end is Apple getting to pile in on top. That will probably bring some better kind of UI but at more out of pocket (so Apple can get theirs). Cable/Broadband will still get theirs. Content creators will still get theirs. The illusion is that Apple replacing someone like Comcast as television service middleman can somehow get us huge discounts for everything we want. Apple has already tried to do that... for years now. They just can't get what THEY want and deliver the huge discounts. I can easily imagine an Apple replacing a Comcast as the new distributor middleman. I don't see any way that that scenario delivers huge discounts. In fact, I expect us to pay more (so that Apple gets paid what they want). I know some of us think they see some huge savings potential in going from 200 channels to our favorite 10 channels yielding up to 95% off what we pay now, but nobody else in the chain from content creators to us (Apple included) wants to cut 95% of the revenues out of the existing model. They all want to make MORE money, not dramatically less. And Apple wants to pile on top and get paid too.

    Trying to pretend like Google Fiber coming to town means that broadband cost will be constrained doesn't fit with the reality of what Google charges for broadband where it already is, nor the simple business realities vs. some streaming service replacement being entirely dependent on the broadband pipes being supplied by a Google or a Comcast or a AT&T, etc. Having another competitor for broadband is great. But 2 or 3 competitors for wired broadband is much like 2 or 3 competitors for wireless broadband. Did the availability of AT&T vs. Verizon vs. Sprint constrain how much we consumers pay for cellular? There we went from unlimited to unlimited* to tiered. The trend in wired broadband owned by many of the very same players will be the same.
     
  22. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Another issue with Google Fiber is that is subject to the exact same privacy policies as any other Google service, meaning you have none. The language of the terms of service allow them to essentially track every single thing you do on the internet.
     
  23. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

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  24. Beachguy macrumors 6502a

    Beachguy

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    #24
    Yes, it was.
     
  25. BJMRamage macrumors 68020

    BJMRamage

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    #25
    This is interesting. and makes me want to mention I have Comcast 105Mbps...previously had Fios 45Mbps.

    With Fios I had HD iCloud streams start almost instantaneously and the HD buffer stream would move fairly quickly. With Comcast (and more than double the throughput) HD streams from iCloud sometimes take 5-10 minutes to start and barely have any buffer.

    Comcast basically blocking my iCloud streaming. boo
    Thankfully I have broadband competition in my area. and switch it up every 2 years because they really don't want to keep customers.
     

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