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Verizon and DirecTV's internet TV hopes perk up thanks to Dish, Disney

Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
March 6, 2014
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Rumors that existing satellite and cable TV providers would launch full internet streaming services have circled for years, but the new agreement between Dish Network and Disney has suddenly stirred the pot. Between a deal that could actually put ESPN on an internet-only TV service, Verizon buying Intel's abandoned OnCue effort plus live TV streaming to Xbox One (pictured above) and Sony's plan for an IPTV package it seems like we'll actually see something arrive in 2014. Reuters reports Verizon and DirecTV are negotiating with content providers for similar access, as Verizon CEO Lowell C. McAdam told investors he would "love to partner with (content providers) to see how we can take FiOS contact mobilely across the country." Meanwhile, Bloomberg's unnamed sources suggest a Dish Network internet TV service could launch for around $20 - $30 per month once enough content deals are in place.

If there is a race among pay-TV providers to launch a cable-style package that streams over the internet, those companies are hardly alone in it. The LA Times reported similar rumors about DirecTV last year, as well as Charter and Time Warner Cable, although Cox's Flarewatch beta seems to have ended without any wider rollout on the horizon. Comcast's shift to cloud-based services for its X1 platform has raised the possibility it could expand service outside its footprint, and it's already offering IPTV services at several colleges with Xfinity on Campus. Whatever offers arise, it seems like they'll still resemble current cable TV-style bundles of channels for now. Bloomberg sources indicate what many expected, that Disney's streaming deal still means if Dish offers one of its channels, it has to include others as well. That news won't necessarily satisfy a la carte seeking cord cutters, but lower entry prices without tying service to outdated set-top boxes would be a start.

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