Rich Greenfield: ‘Virtual’ cable coming to the Web in 2012

“If you’re the kind of person who hates paying your cable company so you can watch TV, Rich Greenfield has good news for you: Next year, you should be able to pay someone else so you can watch TV,” Peter Kafka reports for AllThingsD.

“Greenfield, a very sharp media analyst at BTIG, says that 2012 will be the first time we’ll see a true ‘virtual’ cable-company offering in the U.S., where consumers can subscribe to TV delivered over the Web,” Kafka reports. “This is different than the on-demand services that currently exist, like Netflix and Hulu, which offer up programming that’s already been on TV. This will give you access to “real” TV, in real time.”

“So who might do this? Greenfield runs through a laundry list of every potential player, including Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft, even Wal-Mart. I assume that the most logical step would be for someone who’s already in the video business, but with a limited footprint — like Verizon or Dish Network — to try this out,” Kafka reports. “But over the phone this morning, Greenfield said he thinks the first player will be someone who’s not in there already, but wants to build another platform that gives them direct access to millions of consumers.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ellis D.” for the heads up.]


  1. Steve Jobs made it clear the roadblock to making a tv set is getting rid of the set top box.

    If apple comes out with their own HDTV, the only way it will be a success and be a game changer is if they are the provider also. otherwise, if you buy an appletv, your just be connecting your providers STB to the tv and be right back to where you started.

    I hope apple not only becomes a content provider for tv, but also a wifi provider for all their devices, so we can say goodbye to AT&T , comcast and others

    1. A virtual cable company would still have to use someone else’s pipes.

      And a company like Comcast that supplies both pipes and programming wouldn’t want to relinquish the profit from its “real” cable business in order for a virtual network to compete with it using its own infrastructure.

      It’s a tricky dance since the virtual cable company would rely on the evolving COCO legal framework rather than physical infrastructure to hitch a ride into people’s homes.

      To rely on COCO laws for net neutrality is precarious. AAPL would obviously need assurances that bandwidth throttling wouldn’t hobble its network and frustrate customers. Otherwise, it’s the NFLX RYE effect, and AAPL wouldn’t make that mistake.

        1. Hikarious for you to call it anti competitive when you’re talking about government granted monopolies!

          If governments didn’t give cable companies monopolies on local cable service and the phone company a monopoly on local phone service many of these issues would be eliminated.

          But confronted with the destruction caused by these government monopolies you say ” there ought to be a law!”

  2. I this turns out to be another expensive company and market to watch a lot of crap on TV and not a cheaper way to ditch the real cable companies and be able to watch what I want, then I’ll stick to the NetFlix/Hulu setup I have, now.
    In my area (western, MA), like many, we are stuck with our ISP being the cable company, in my case Comcast, and they really stick it to customers that just have Internet access. If I had an option in my area to change to a much cheaper ISP,I would gladly do so. The cable companies really have screwed over the consumer. Our area/district is locked into Comcast and that we cannot get a cheaper ISP into our area.

    1. Yup, good old cable monopoly.
      And they will bribe… er, contribute to the campaigns of, plenty of politicians to make sure that they keep their monopoly. Which is the main reason I don’t expect this particular prediction to come true.

  3. Lol why the hell would Dish want to send a video stream over a hodge podge of fiber and copper when they can just send it from a sat up in space?

    A mix of IP network and the existing sat and coax systems in place plus real competition in cable providers would be best.

    Delivering video over the internet works, but its not always the best route and in some cases sucks.

  4. If Apple becomes the provider of original content and NFL I would be interested. As far as I’m concerned there is very little on TV that is worth watching. Apple has the cash to produce and stream original content. That way, with the exception possibly of the NFL they don’t need to bother with any of the current networks. Just as their are creative app producers they could invite TV developers to develop shows of all kinds. Obviously it could include new, drama documentaries, comedy, music etc there is no limit of the type of show and it would be the app store all over again for TV. They could compile shows into various channels with real time and on demand shows. Forget all the other TV providers. This is what would work for me. I would finally be able to watch live TV regularly on the iPad.

  5. The roadblock is the existence of data caps by ISPs. Unless Comcast, Verizon, Time-Warner, etc. loosen the rules you are still at their mercy.
    I have no problem with paying my cable operator for a package- as long as it is customized. Why should I have to subsidize shit like Faux Newz, MTV, BET, Lifetime, The Non-Weather Channel, The Non-History Channel. CMT, We, Oxygen, SyFi, etc that I do not watch- nor do I wish to support? Why do they require you buy the whole menu just to get HBO & Showtime?

    If my cable company will let me SELECT the channels I want and not try to force me to subsidize shit I cannot stand- I have no desire for IPTV.

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