Dish Network and Viacom in talks to deliver live Internet television

dish-network-satellite-dish-HD-3Imagine you wanted to buy a new pair of pants, but the only way to get them was to buy them as part of a bundle that included a shirt, shoes, and socks. Now imagine that bundle was priced at close to twice the value of the pants themselves. I’m frustrated already. 

We tend not to think about it, but that’s the way we pay for TV. Most viewers could lop off 75 percent of the channels offered through their cable subscription and never miss them, yet the price of those unused networks is built into their monthly bill.

The situation is even worse if you’re not a sports fan, as sports networks make up the bulk of subscription costs, with networks like ESPN yielding almost 20 times what other networks net per subscriber.

Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Dish Network is in talks with Viacom, Univision Communications Inc., and Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. about the possibility of a lower cost, Internet TV option, which would bundle the companies’ networks into smaller, less expensive packages. If the negotiations are successful, it would represent a paradigm shift in the world of television and could be the start of the behemoth that is cable bring broken up into smaller, more focused factions.

Live Internet TV is the proverbial holy grail of online media, but it has yet to come to fruition. The reason is that networks are wary of breaking up the collective racket of cable and branching out in smaller groups — after all, there’s strength in numbers. Networks worry that separating their product into smaller, more specialized packages of channels will reduce the amount of available ad inventory, and ultimately hurt their business model.  You could liken the networks to those massive balls of bait fish you often see on the discovery channel. They synchronize their movements and stick together till the end. Still, in an ever-changing media environment, it seems that survival strategy has become an anachronism.

If dish can manage to convince the networks it has targeted to separate from the collective consciousness of cable, the only hurdle left would be measuring the new brand of TV. Traditional television utilizes the Nielsen ratings, an established system with a defined formula for determining viewership. But the internet TV idea has a much more “wild west” feel to it; it’s a world looking for pioneers. No one quite knows how to measure online viewership yet, and with a consumer base that’s doing more and more multi-tasking, it’s hard to know whether ads will be white noise, or worse, minimized or muted the second they pop up.

Still, Dish seems determined to forge ahead. And their proposed venture has received plenty of financial support. The company’s stock hopped up 1.8 percent yesterday as the news broke, and is up 8.7 percent for the year.

Dish’s attempt at Internet-based, live TV, is one of the highest-profile tries yet, and represents a departure from the way other Internet media companies, like Netflix and Hulu, have handled the medium.

So stay tuned. The way you watch TV might be changing sooner rather than later.


No cable? No problem: Here’s how you can watch UFC fights online

Cord cutting is a great way to save money, but watching sports online can be tricky due to restrictions. If you want to stream UFC, the world’s biggest MMA promoter has joined with ESPN to bring the action online. Here's how to watch.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Home Theater

Banish the bunny ears (and monthly bills) with these excellent HD antennas

When transitioning away from cable and satellite, finding the best HDTV antenna for your area can be tricky. To aid in your cord-cutting quest, we've compiled our picks of the best indoor HDTV antennas you can buy.
Movies & TV

Can't get enough lightsaber action? Here's how to get your Star Wars fix online

Few of us want to deal with DVDs or Blu-ray discs anymore. Unfortunately, the Star Wars movies are few and far between when it comes to streaming. If you want to watch Star Wars online, check out our guide on where to find the films.
Home Theater

The best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Product Review

Now that every speaker has Alexa, don't you want the best? Get the Sonos One

To compete in the smart speaker space, Sonos could have just made a better-sounding Alexa speaker. But the company has a reputation to uphold, and went much further. Our Sonos One Review reveals how Sonos does Alexa better than Amazon.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Amazon’s free Spotify competitor is here. Just ask Alexa

Just ask Alexa to play your favorite song. Amazon has launched a free, ad-based music streaming service to compete with Spotify's free tier on its popular Echo devices, aiming to bolster subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited.

Walmart deal drops the price of the 55-inch TCL 4K Roku smart TV to just $338

Was last weekend's Game of Thrones streaming experience lacking? Look no further than this 55-inch TCL TV, which features built-in Roku functionality, and can be had at Walmart for just $338.

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. What's changed, and should you subscribe?

Thanks to Google, YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. We explain what exactly a YouTube Premium subscription gets you, how much it costs, and break down if it's a good choice for you.
Product Review

It sounds like a Sonos, but the Beam pulls one trick none of its siblings can

Sonos makes really good surround sound speakers for home theaters, but they’re expensive. A cheaper model with great sound would be a win. The Sonos Beam is that speaker, but were too many corners cut to make a more affordable product?

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for April 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.