What Cablevision Needs to do Next

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
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What Cablevision Needs to do Next

While others complain about their cable providers, I am pretty happy with mine - Cablevision and Optimum/Optimum Online. The company provides blazing fast Internet at reasonable prices and recently has added services such as WiFi almost everywhere I go, Caller-ID on the TV, and Internet control of the DVR including a mobile site. More recently the company rolled out an iPhone app which is even better than the mobile site in terms of its design.

Do I feel like I am getting a great value on my TV package? Probably not but they keep adding services so it's really tough to complain. And I do get a number of outages but when this happens the company has great service and does a truck roll quickly if they need to fix something.

Got FiOS Integration?

Cablevision needs to keep innovating and some of the things they should be working on is integration between TV and social networking sites like Twitter. Verizon FiOS users are pretty happy with such services and Cablevision has fallen behind in this area.

Widgets

This is a no-brainer but it is unclear if there needs to be a universal widget standard which is open and available to all cable and TV companies. I wonder if Cablevision has a large enough footprint to create a widget standard.

iPhone Apps are Supposed to Be Slick

The next thing they should do is improve the way their iPhone app and site display programs to be recorded. There are hundreds of channels and if you scroll down all the way to the bottom to see what is playing, the program takes unacceptably long pauses. And when you get there and click the forward button to see the next program  time slot you start at the top once again and have to repeat the maddening procedure. It's almost as if the carpal tunnel association wrote the app.

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Everything Uses IP, Why not the Remote?

Finally, it will soon be 2011 and we should be at a point where smartphone apps seamlessly control the cable set-top box. If the company can let me record channels via the web and an iPhone app it should allow me to change channels as well. I could not find the DVR remote last night and was in panic mode until I discovered it and with the precision of a Navy Seal (it's even funnier than you are picturing) crawled under the bed to fish it out. It would have been great to be able to use the iPhone as a remote like I do with Sonos.

How's That Multiscreen Strategy Coming?

It's becoming obvious that cable companies have lots to fear from Google and Apple and for them to have not figured out how to stream TV to my devices and moreover found a way to let me flick a video stream from by device to my TV and back is pathetic.

Conclusion

The Internet is a complacent management wrecking ball and even when you know where you need to go it can wipe you out if you don't act quickly. Just ask the newspapers who are still scrambling to hire someone who actually understands how to effectively monetize their Internet products. Or a Blockbuster shareholder who watched the company decline into near-bankruptcy while Netflix is worth more than $7 billion! The one thing we learn over and over is it is better to be quick than right as you'll never get it completely right the first time and a crucial skill we all need is to adjust instantly in response to customer demands.

Update: I just came across this article referencing an interview with Cablevision CEO James Dolan and its worth a read.



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