Roku and Amazon Fire TV are getting to know you
Researchers at Princeton and University of Chicago analyzed the frequency and methods of Roku and Amazon Fire TV tracking data about user preferences. They found that 89 percent of Fire TV channels and 69 percent of Roku channels include trackers that collect viewing habits, device IDs, Wi-Fi network names and network IDs. Wired
dis-rup-shun: Viewing advertising to “pay” for “free” content is nothing new. Providing detailed information about viewing preferences customizes what we watch, which makes watching ads more relevant and, theoretically, more bearable. So what’s the objection to data collection? It is the lack of trust consumers have about what will happen to their data and how identifiable is their network. Developing universal standards for what data is collected and how it is safeguarded is a big task — likely too big for the fractured U.S. Federal government, though Europe’s GDPR standard is a good start.
Facebook wants to be a part of your TV
Facebook’s Portal TV is a clip on camera that attaches to your TV and enables you to converse with other Portal TV owners, as well as watch Facebook videos together. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: Portal TV is an evolution of Facebook’s line of video chatting portal products, and a way for the company to move social networks to a bigger screen. Portal TV may be a pathway for Facebook to play a larger role as communications backbone, but a number of companies have tried and failed to make the TV a video conferencing device. Two barriers to that evolution will be lack of a keyboard, though smart phones could cast their keyboard to the TV, and lack of privacy, as the TV transforms social networking chat to a semi-public event.
AT&T considers sale of DirecTV
AT&T reported that it would not be influenced by its new 1% shareholder, activist investor Elliot Fund, that is demanding divestiture of some of its lines of business. At the same time, the company is rumored to be contemplating a spin off of DirecTV. That line of business lost 778,000 subscribers last quarter. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: AT&T is stretched quite thin in the TV department, with DirecTV subscriber defections increasing, and fierce competition in the streaming business with new entrants each week. AT&T’s streaming TV service will compete with Netflix, Hulu, Apple, Disney, Vevo, HBO, Amazon Prime, Peacock (NBCU), CBS and others — meaning profits are far off for AT&T’s streaming video business.
Google WiFi 2 is Google Home + router
Google is expected to release, in October, the WiFi 2 which does what Amazon Echo does not, combine a smart speaker with a mesh Wi-Fi router. It is assumed that the device will support the faster, higher coverage Wi-Fi 6 protocol. The device will be branded a Nest device.
dis-rup-shun: Google has found a niche that Amazon has not already taken in the combination device. Housing a mesh Wi-Fi broadcaster in the middle of your home where you will locate a speaker makes good sense, as it will improve coverage in your home in a form factor that is aesthetically acceptable, unlike most Wi-Fi hubs and repeaters. Expect to see more appliances also be Wi-Fi repeaters/hubs, as Wi-Fi is expected to cover every inch of home, garage and yard.