Feb 12 2014

News - Netflix vs Blockbuster - An Infographic

I'll admit, I love infographics. Steve gave me the heads up to this infographic that's analyzing the history and demise of Blockbuster in comparison to the rise of Netflix. It's quite interesting if you weren't always aware of the happenings. Of course, if you owned Blockbuster stock, you probably know all too well.

Feb 11 2014

News - Student Provides Evidence that Comcast is Throttling Netflix

There has been a lot of talk on the Interwebs about the possibility that ISPs like Comcast are purposely degrading the bandwidth available to Netflix. While it makes a great story, most reasonable people are understandably skeptical that they would do something like that; sure it helps in the short term, but long term it clearly demonstrates the need for some sort of regulation like net neutrality. So I was surprised to see what appears to be pretty compelling evidence that Comcast is in fact throttling Netflix.

...As a Indiana University student, my school is kind enough to provide every student with VPN access into their network. IU’s network is connected to a regional fiber backbone and provides 100 Mbps access in every dorm on campus. When you connect via VPN, you’re limited in speed by your local Internet connection, as well as the typical issues associated with VPN (increased latency, VPN congestion, etc). I figured I would try watching Netflix over the VPN, though I was skeptical as to if it would really be faster than a direct link from my ISP connection to Netflix’s servers.

...

The IU VPN is SSL encrypted, which means that the details about all traffic sent over it is hidden from Comcast. When I access Netflix over this VPN connection, all Comcast sees is an encrypted stream of data going through their network. They can estimate how much data is moving, but can’t tell that I’m using Netflix, or streaming video for that matter. Therefore, they don’t throttle it.

Matt Vukas

I don’t know enough about WAN topology to say that this is definitive proof, but it certainly is very suspicious.

 

Feb 11 2014

News - On Presence, a Chat with People Power

When I met with People Power at CES I was confused about where their technology fit into the home automation (HA) marketplace, or more specifically what the technology was and how it worked. They didn’t have a resource on hand to answer my questions so when after the show I had a chance to talk with David Moss, the CTO, it was a great chance to understand the how and why of what People Power is, and where it fits.

Feb 04 2014

News - Yamaha Adds Spotify Connect to AVRs

It's always great when an OEM adds value to devices in the field (instead of asking you to upgrade your hardware), so it's welcome news that Yamaha is adding support for Spotify Connect via a firmware update to select audio video receivers (AVR). I've never spent much time with the service so I can't speak to how useful it is in practice, let us know in the comments if this is a critical (or meh) feature add for you.

PR and list of supported AVR after the click.

Jan 30 2014

News - Best Buy to Embrace Home Automation

Best Buy has started to embrace Home Automation and has started to dedicate floor space to Best Buy LogoHome Automation products. Browsing Best Buy the other day for a quick purchase of something else and I was shocked to see that it was already on a dedicated section of the store. They had the standard products from Belkin, Dlink, Kwikset, and Netgear.

 

They also had a bunch of ones I haven’t heard of before, and ones for small businesses as well. Our friend Dave Zatz posted an article on his site just a few days ago talking about the changes. It will be nice to have more options and another place to visit to get some home automation ideas. Check out below for a link to his article.

 

Best Buy devotes significant space to this burgeoning category, but will up the ante very soon with an expanded two-tier approach.

Zatz Not Funny!

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