Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Home Entertainment

FCC adopts video franchise rules and overrules states that allow rural phone companies to block VoIP

March 5, 2007

Some interesting news from the FCC with regards to net neutrality, as well as VoIP. The FCC today adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that establishes rules and provides guidance to implement Section 621(a)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, which prohibits franchising authorities from unreasonably refusing to award competitive franchises for the provision of cable services.

In the Order, the Commission concludes that the current operation of the franchising process constitutes an unreasonable barrier to entry that impedes the achievement of the interrelated federal goals of enhanced cable competition and accelerated broadband deployment. 

The Order addresses several ways by which local franchising authorities are unreasonably refusing to award competitive franchises. 

Verizon VoiceWing VoIP FiOS service

March 2, 2007

Verizon has partnered with OpenPeak to create a new all-in-one voice, data, and video center for the home riding on top of Verizon's FiOS (fiber) service along with Ethernet and WiFi capabilities. Dubbed the Verizon One, this all-in-one communications device will allow users to make VoIP phone calls, access email, search the web, view a calendar, stream music from the web, and even preview images from a digital camera. Here's a photo of the Verizon One:

Unfortunately, the Web browsing experience is tad limited, since you can only get specific Web content that Verizon has enabled. Some of the approved web content includes categories such as news, weather, and movie listings.

AT&T Lightspeed ahead! (NOT!)

March 1, 2007

AT&T won't be reaching 18 million homes this year with its "Lightspeed" U-Verse IPTV & VDSL broadband network, giving more credence to my AT&T U-Verse Doomed? article. The ironic thing is that AT&T just a few days go stated it was ready for an aggressive rollout of U-verse. They told the San Antonio Express News that it had ironed out technical glitches with the service and is readying a breakneck expansion that will take it to all major cities in its 22-state service area and 8 million households by year-end.

BitTorrent Download Movie Site launches

February 26, 2007

Today, BitTorrent has launched their licensed entertainment networl and an enhanced BitTorrent protocol that will allow it to offer copyrighted movies, TV shows, games, and other media. The BitTorrent Entertainment Network will launch starting with over 5,000 titles, including films from Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros, as well as episodes of TV shows such as 24 and Prison Break.

According to the company, the service is aimed at young males who regularly use BitTorrent to download pirated versions of the same films and who prefer to watch these video programs on their PCs instead of a TV. BitTorrent is used by millions of users and in fact 1/3rd of all Internet traffic is consumed by BitTorrent traffic. The problem from naysayers is "converting" these pirates into legit-paying customers.

Kwikset SmartScan Fingerprint Reader Lock

February 16, 2007

Ever lose your keys and can't unlock your front door? Ever resort to crawling through an unlocked window to get into your locked house and hope the neighbors don't call the police? Well, I have and it's not fun breaking into your own house.

Kwikset comes to the rescue with a fingerprint reader lock for doors.  Kwikset, one of America‚Äôs leading door lock companies, has developered this new keyless lock that scans your fingerprint and unlocks the door.

AT&T U-verse Doomed?

February 13, 2007

Many have heard of the difficulties in implementing AT&T's U-verse IPTV service. AT&T's U-verse network is actually a fiber/copper hybrid, which pulls fibers to 3,000 to 5,000 feet from the homes they serve, where it then connects to mini-DSLAMs called "52B" boxes and then it runs copper the last mile to the home. This hybrid approach is a bargain when compared to the $20 billion Verizon is spending to build-out fiber all the way to the home. This hybrid fiber/copper approach gives AT&T a 20Mbps+ link to customers, enough to offer high-speed Internet, VoIP, and the company's IPTV service.

Netflix Gets into Movie Downloads (Finally!)

January 16, 2007

Don't know why it took so long, but Netflix is finally offering movies and TV shows via download, rather than by its DVD-by-mail service. 

Guess they finally took their collective eyes off of Blockbuster and now are contending with such other online movie delivery services as CinemaNow, MovieFlix, Movielink and Vongo. Oh, and how about's recently launched Unbox. 

I'll Take My Super Bowl at Home, Thank You

January 16, 2007

I have to admit that I was a bit surprised read this morning that more of us who rather see the Super Bowl at home on a High Def TV than see the game live.

(Can you believe it?)

Course the survey was commissioned by gadgets retailer Circuit City, which has quite a vested interest in selling you those HD TVs to watch the game.

HD DVDs & Vista: Problems Coming?

January 9, 2007

It's always amazing to me to hear about new products that are expected to do certain wonderful things and then simply fail to deliver.

Now I don't what to knock Microsoft's new Vista operating system (which isn't even here yet), but just checked a report that notes that certain next generation DVDs (you know, those HD ones) might not play on Vista!

(So much for the Microsoft Media Center experience -- the heart of the home!

BitTyrant: Selfishness Comes To BitTorrent

January 8, 2007

Interesting Bittorrent news I came across on O'Reilly. Here's an excerpt:

One of the key tenants of BitTorrent is that you have to contribute (upload) to receive (download). BitTyrant is a new client that finds a way to be selfish within the BT protocols by selectively uploading to peers based on their upload capacity. It was created by researchers to test the robustness of BT's incentives.

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