Cable executive: 1Gbps broadband is only useful for piracy

By on June 20, 2011, 1:24 PM

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts last week showed off his company's latest and greatest tech, which can download all 23 episodes of "30 Rock" Season 5 – close to nine hours of content – in 1 minute and 39 seconds. He then showed the speedtest.net result measuring the throughput, which indicated the connection was running at 1084.71Mbps.

It seems that at least one cable executive did not see the point. This individual is part of a group that still hasn't accepted the fact that the only way to fight piracy is to embrace the Internet. Here's the relevant excerpt from Multichannel:

Some take a cynical view of what high-bandwidth services will be used for. One very senior cable-tech exec, discussing the Comcast 1-Gbps demo, said bluntly, "I just don't see any other application for that other than piracy." (I'm not identifying him because the conversation was not a formal interview, and he wasn't expecting to be quoted.)

While some cable companies understand that their customers will eventually want to consume all their content directly from the Internet, the above statement shows that some still don't get it. If cable companies could provide the same content that pirates can get, in the same amount of time, there would be no reason for piracy.

Paying to get TV through cable and Internet through cable is becoming more and more redundant. The Internet encompasses what cable TV already provides. There are only two reasons why everyone doesn't simply pirate everything off the Internet: legality and accessibility. The cable industry has the power to satisfy both of those requirements. The industry should work together to make it happen, otherwise it will slowly be eroded.

Imagine paying one price for your broadband connection and the ability to use the Internet to legally watch whatever content you choose. If cable companies could pull this off, Netflix wouldn't have a market to work with.




User Comments: 41

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Guest said:

I guess this person is ignorant on the fact that streaming content such as netflix and hulu is on the rise. Once higher speeds become the norm then more HD content the requires allot of bandwidth will be available, I guess it's a good thing that there's still people in that company that thinks otherwise.

If those greedy cable companies would offer customized channels of what you want instead of fixed channel packages with stuff people don't want then most would not have to turn to the internet to download the shows they want to watch without having to pay for extra useless channels. We didn't have a choice back then but now we do thanks to the internet, and this exec is upset that they can't control us anymore.

It'll come a time when comcast will start seeing big losses on TV broadcasting that they'll have to offer a streaming service online to recoup. By then companies such as hulu and netflix will be too big for them to compete.

IAMTHESTIG said:

I guess downloading TV shows, movies, and music after purchasing on Amazon or iTunes isn't going to benefit from high speed download rates. Or downloading games off Steam after purchasing, and most of this content is 5GB or more. So clearly the guy is right...

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

He kinda has a point. For the average user, your broadband should be fast enough to allow you to stream the highest quality movie you want with no interruptions. 1 Gbps is probably overkill for it, but eventually quality will increase, so 1 Gbps will be standard.

Five years ago people thought I was weird for having a 10 Mbps connection.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"If cable companies could provide the same content that pirates can get, in the same amount of time, there would be no reason for piracy."

Heh...was that meant to be a joke? Pirates pirate because they want stuff for free. I can guarantee you that if BitTorrents charged for downloads, pirates would find another way to get their stuff for free.

Emil said:

TomSEA said:

"If cable companies could provide the same content that pirates can get, in the same amount of time, there would be no reason for piracy."

Heh...was that meant to be a joke? Pirates pirate because they want stuff for free. I can guarantee you that if BitTorrents charged for downloads, pirates would find another way to get their stuff for free.

Pirates still have to pay the ISP for Internet.

example1013 said:

Emil said:

TomSEA said:

"If cable companies could provide the same content that pirates can get, in the same amount of time, there would be no reason for piracy."

Heh...was that meant to be a joke? Pirates pirate because they want stuff for free. I can guarantee you that if BitTorrents charged for downloads, pirates would find another way to get their stuff for free.

Pirates still have to pay the ISP for Internet.

True pirates hack their neighbors' lines.

Guest said:

Uh, I pirate simply because it's the most convenient way of obtaining what I want, not necessarily because I want it for free. Since I signed up with Steam for instance, my pirating of games has ceased completely, although I'm slightly more discriminating of what games I purchase, and only buy when there's a substantial discount. if there were similar choices available for movies and television shows I'd use them too.

princeton princeton said:

Emil said:

TomSEA said:

"If cable companies could provide the same content that pirates can get, in the same amount of time, there would be no reason for piracy."

Heh...was that meant to be a joke? Pirates pirate because they want stuff for free. I can guarantee you that if BitTorrents charged for downloads, pirates would find another way to get their stuff for free.

Pirates still have to pay the ISP for Internet.

You're trying to use logic in a discussion with TomSEA about piracy, it doesn't work.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"Uh, I pirate simply because it's the most convenient way of obtaining what I want, not necessarily because I want it for free."

Redbox movies are a dollar each. Netflix gives you online streaming for 8 bucks a month with a sizeable catalog. iTunes and Amazon sell damn near every song recorded for .69 cents to .99 cents each.

Now one more time - what's your excuse to pirate?

example1013 said:

TomSEA said:

"Uh, I pirate simply because it's the most convenient way of obtaining what I want, not necessarily because I want it for free."

Redbox movies are a dollar each. Netflix gives you online streaming for 8 bucks a month with a sizeable catalog. iTunes and Amazon sell damn near every song recorded for .69 cents to .99 cents each.

Now one more time - what's your excuse to pirate?

I know I pre-screen albums en masse, but many of the good ones I've replaced with hard copies. The bad ones I delete, because why would I waste space on my iPod with crappy music? And yeah, I could use YouTube, but it's a lot easier to grab 400 songs and listen to them at my leisure, from anywhere, than having to sit at a computer just to hear if I want to buy an album or not. I know many people do the same thing for games.

As for movies, RedBox still isn't as convenient as downloading (legally or not), because first off you have to have one nearby, and then you have to drive there twice, once to pick up the DVD, and once to return it. And of course, this assumes they have the movie you want. Netflix is very convenient, but not for someone who doesn't consume movies regularly.

Guest said:

pirated stuff often enough does not complain about which computer it is being played or run on, It also is easier to change its file type so it can be played on a particular/or format specific viewing device.

example1013 said:

You know what would be really convenient? A per-view rental system that was accessible anywhere. So say I'm going on a long car trip. I spend a little money to rent a couple of movies, DL/stream them digitally, and then they're gone when they're done. It's a lot easier than RedBox, it's really cheap, and it's really convenient. Netflix is the only current option that combines both a reasonable price and convenience, but since I don't watch many TV or movies, I'd rather PPV at a really low cost than just pay monthly.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"..but since I don't watch many TV or movies, I'd rather PPV at a really low cost than just pay monthly."

Don't think it will be long before you'll see that example1013.

"pirated stuff often enough does not complain about which computer it is being played or run on, It also is easier to change its file type so it can be played on a particular/or format specific viewing device."

Jeezus guest - do you think you could come up with a more pathetic excuse for stealing stuff? Just admint "it's because I get it for free" and that's something at least we all understand and agree on (the reasoning that is).

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Redbox movies are a dollar each.

Does that come with airfare to the nearest Redbox location?

Netflix gives you online streaming for 8 bucks a month with a sizeable catalog.

Does that come with the valid U.S. address I need to DL ?

Tom, you are aware that there are countries on this planet not named "Continental United States"...right?

Guest said:

Right, because there could never be a need for in the future so let's not look to expand it now.

Kind of sounds like things Bill Gates used to say about hard drives not be used beyond a certain amount...

No one know what kind of technology will be made in the future. That future would be closer than anyone realizes.

example1013 said:

TomSEA said:

"..but since I don't watch many TV or movies, I'd rather PPV at a really low cost than just pay monthly."

Don't think it will be long before you'll see that example1013.

"pirated stuff often enough does not complain about which computer it is being played or run on, It also is easier to change its file type so it can be played on a particular/or format specific viewing device."

Jeezus guest - do you think you could come up with a more pathetic excuse for stealing stuff? Just admint "it's because I get it for free" and that's something at least we all understand and agree on (the reasoning that is).

Once that happens, I think you'll see a nice decrease in the amount of piracy. Say you charge 20 cents for one streaming of a movie. Much more reasonable than paying a dollar for a day. Why would I want to pay a dollar and have something for 24 hours when I only need it for 3? That made sense back before streaming, but now? No way.

Guest said:

Meant to say, "Kind of sounds like things Bill Gates used to say about hard drives not being used beyond a certain amount...

No one know what kind of technology will be made in the future. That future could be closer than anyone realizes."

Guest said:

My guess is that very senior cable-tech exec works for Cablevision. They don't seem to be embracing new technology like Comcast does. One can only assume that Comcast has projected that in the future its customers will use and perhaps need a 1Gbps internet connection. Kudos to Comcast for being pro-active!!

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

The Bill Gates quote is fake so stop using it.

When I do pirate is because I don't have a legal way to buy them, in Ecuador there's no way to buy/rent music, movies or tv shows online. On the other hand 99% of the software I use on my Mac or iOS devices is paid for and I'm happy to do so.

Emin3nce said:

Also useful for porn.

Jus' saying.

aj_the_kidd said:

"I just don't see any other application for that other than piracy."

He has a point, though clearly doesn't see where technology is headed, or just wants to keep people under his thumb. There's allot of content online and chances are, in the not so distant future all NEW content will be online. If was the senior exec i would embrace this new technology, and by embrace i mean find ways to exploit it, before someone with greater foresight does and replaces me

Guest said:

Piracy is an illusion

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

"I just don't see any other application for that other than piracy."

He has a point, though clearly doesn't see where technology is headed, or just wants to keep people under his thumb. There's allot of content online and chances are, in the not so distant future all NEW content will be online. If was the senior exec i would embrace this new technology, and by embrace i mean find ways to exploit it, before someone with greater foresight does and replaces me

At some point I have to ask, "what exactly is the difference between illegally downloading a Blu-Ray, and legally streaming a Blu-Ray, at least with respect to necessary bandwidth"?

I mean really, who made this statement? Um let's see, it was an executive from a cable company. There couldn't be any ulterior motive there, or could there?

jonelsorel said:

TomSEA said:

"If cable companies could provide the same content that pirates can get, in the same amount of time, there would be no reason for piracy."

Heh...was that meant to be a joke? Pirates pirate because they want stuff for free. I can guarantee you that if BitTorrents charged for downloads, pirates would find another way to get their stuff for free.

And MPAA and RIAA are supposed to be that obese why? Ah, they protect artists' interests! Then why does Apple frown at a store employee trying to start an union? Back on topic, do I NEED 12 crappy movies a week sharing from a finite number of scripts over and over, and one GOOD one a month? Or 95% of music artists being the conveyor belt type "singing" the same garbage melodies so that I really lower my standards to become norm? Nope! Give me quality, and I'll personally paypal the artist actually singing about anything but clubs, rides, trying to get laid, or wanting to be a billionaire! Films ans music are supposed to be art in the first place, not business. History isn't too friendly to things getting too big for their own good.

HappyGilmore said:

TomSEA said:

"Uh, I pirate simply because it's the most convenient way of obtaining what I want, not necessarily because I want it for free."

Redbox movies are a dollar each. Netflix gives you online streaming for 8 bucks a month with a sizeable catalog. iTunes and Amazon sell damn near every song recorded for .69 cents to .99 cents each.

Now one more time - what's your excuse to pirate?

He probably doesn't live in the USA!

Where i live in New Zealand, iTunes doesn't do TV Rentals, iTunes movies are months behind the US and the quantity isn't there. We cant get Netflix, Hulu or any other streaming type package. I'd quite happily pay to stream from US sites but you cant because of geographical restrictions, so at the end of the day the easiest way to get content is to torrent it.

Sad but true. I really really really want to pay for everything I watch, but when you cant physically get the stuff and the studios don't want to sell it to you, then pirating/torrenting becomes the quickest alternative.

aj_the_kidd said:

HappyGilmore said:

He probably doesn't live in the USA!

Where i live in New Zealand, iTunes doesn't do TV Rentals, iTunes movies are months behind the US and the quantity isn't there. We cant get Netflix, Hulu or any other streaming type package. I'd quite happily pay to stream from US sites but you cant because of geographical restrictions, so at the end of the day the easiest way to get content is to torrent it.

Sad but true. I really really really want to pay for everything I watch, but when you cant physically get the stuff and the studios don't want to sell it to you, then pirating/torrenting becomes the quickest alternative.

I feel your pain, particularly with TV shows, i would pay for streaming movies and TV shows if i could, but i really don't have any options. I will point out that Movies aren't too bad in terms of release dates and I do mostly watch movies at the cinemas

Lurker101 said:

TomSEA said:

Now one more time - what's your excuse to pirate?

Always online DRM.

Guest said:

Ok, so if everyone has a super speed connection then, great, you can watch programs online and in real time without having to pirate. Cable companies get to make their money still because everyone is watching their content in real time with ads, whether on the net or on their tv.

What happens is we see a dramatic shift towards live content, where you can't pirate because it's new and brand new. Everything else gets immediately churned into the internet melting pot where you can download everything that's historical (i.e. not live) for free. However, that means that stations are producing more and more live content to keep viewers and advertisers equally interested, and we see the loss of good dramas, films and content; replaced by live action gameshows, sitcoms, and most horrible tons of SOAP OPERAS! Oh yeah, and LOTS of product placement since you can't cut that out!

Peter F Hamilton predicted this quite a while back. Read his book 'Misspent Youth' and it's all there already (although it isn't the subject or theme of the book).

I'd also like to add that, in addition to the above, piracy is also going to be an issue where tv shows or films go worldwide. Not only do time differences impact the idea of live streaming to other countries, but cable companies are not global and therefore for them advertising fees are not targetted towards an international audience. So pirates still get into action to capture the shows and cut out the ad breaks for international audiences. The other reason why this is going to continue is because networks can't do the translations as quick as the guys on the internet. There's a massive lag time to produce official subtitles if you want to broadcast a show in multiple countries/languages at the same time, and each translator that has access to a show is another potential pirate. PLUS, even crappy translations are out on the net as soon as the show airs live in one country.

Beat that...

Guest said:

I pirate. Why?? Because I like to watch movies, pref in full HD on my nice plasma tv. If I were to go out and rent each movie I watch then this is going to cost me around ?10 per week from a video rental place, which is a ludicrous amount of money just to watch 2 films that I will never watch again. I live in Ireland, where the internet in some areas is what you'd expect in the 3rd world. I get around 7Mbps at quiet times, at busy times around 5-6pm it will take around a minute to load a web page and becomes completely useless. Streaming (if its available) is out of the question with such a connection. So what I do is set my computer to download a movie overnight for me. I pay a monthly subscription of $11 a month to a 'provider' as I don't like bittorrent as its full of crap and viruses and often wont max my connection speed. A full HD film is typically around 8-13GB in size, this will download nicely overnight ready for me to watch the next evening.

I will occassionally download a game, but very rare, and only then it will be a game that I have no intention of buying whether piracy existed or not. I prefer multiplayer games, which if pirated will not work online so I ALWAYS buy these genuinely.

I prey everyday that maybe someday in the future we will have 1Gbps speed here. If I could get movies streamed at this kind of in full HD with blu-ray quality at a nice price it'd be great. I have steam but never buy anything from it, as its generally ?10 more expensive than buying a disc from game, and its not very fast. What legitamate company will let you download at 1Gbps anyway? My 'provider' would allow me to.

Guest said:

I'm an American living in the Philippines. I pirate mainly because it is the only way I can get the content I want to watch. Filipino tv is garbage. Like wise American tv that I could receive via dish. Oh, sure the streets are full of the latest crap from Hollywood on dvd. But that stuff is pirated also and not the content I want. How else do I watch old shows from the 60's? An internet connection here is 1meg so streaming is pretty much out. Hulu is out because I live overseas. Never mind using a proxy. But I can frequently get good movies like Blade Runner, 2001, The Good The Bad And The Ugly via the torrents. And usually in HD. Ditto for the old shows I remember from my youth. So what the hell should I do? Sit on my hands and download nothing because piracy is bad, bad, bad. Or tell Hollywood to kiss my *** and download what I want? I will leave those last two questions as an exercise for the student.

Guest said:

I don't get statements like that^^..

If in ecudor u can't buy them, then why? And if so, why is the people in ur nation not doing anything about it? Or for any nation..?

If ur government, or infrastructure is that bad, fix it.. right? Make ur country the best it can be, from the inside. You steal things that isn't urs, because You cannot legally buy them in ur country..?

To me, that means you shouldn't even bother with such things until ur country (ur people) ur laws allow/facilitate such things.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

So what the hell should I do? Sit on my hands and download nothing because piracy is bad, bad, bad. Or tell Hollywood to kiss my *** and download what I want? I will leave those last two questions as an exercise for the student.
Personally speaking, you can do whatever the f*** you want. Save for expecting me to waste my time solving your riddles.

Also useful for porn.

Jus' saying.

Yes indeedy!

MilwaukeeMike said:

Here's a newsflash.... no one care why or how you justify stealing. Any story about piracy always turns into a confessional with 'I HAVE to steal, I live to far away,' or 'My internet too slow,' or 'It's not MY fault they don't make games worth paying for'.

back on topic... this guy is right... as of june, 2011, 1Gbps is really only needed to download or share multiple movies at once. In a few years when HD is 3 times the resolution or if we're streaming 3D, then maybe it'll make sense.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

back on topic... this guy is right... as of june, 2011, 1Gbps is really only needed to download or share multiple movies at once. In a few years when HD is 3 times the resolution or if we're streaming 3D, then maybe it'll make sense.
Since many households have networks, and ostensibly, many household members might be accessing the web at the same time, why isn't multiple movie streaming within the realm of >>> LEGAL<<< possibilities? It doesn't fit your internet model?

MilwaukeeMike said:

Ah... the 'hypothetical exception' card... Excluding the fact that the use of the word 'only' is almost always an exaggeration, I doubt this cable exec arrived at his conclusion because his customer surverys were coming back with people complaing that their 4 kids couldn't all watch separate movies at the same time via their tablets.

More probable is the motel owner who provides free wireless and would have 20 guests using it at once. You're right Cranky it would have been more accurate to say 99% of the use for 1Gpbs in 2011 is piracy.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Ah... the 'hypothetical exception' card... Excluding the fact that the use of the word 'only' is almost always an exaggeration, I doubt this cable exec arrived at his conclusion because his customer surverys were coming back with people complaing that their 4 kids couldn't all watch separate movies at the same time via their tablets.

More probable is the motel owner who provides free wireless and would have 20 guests using it at once. You're right Cranky it would have been more accurate to say 99% of the use for 1Gpbs in 2011 is piracy.

No, he probably arrived at his conclusion because he wanted to. Well, that and the fact that his infrastructure would need too much investment to make it a reality. So, "we don't have it because you don't need it", and "if you want it, you're a thief", become his reality.

Anyway, back in the day, we used to compete by saying, "my car's faster than your car", or, "my stereo's faster than your stereo", and not by getting on the internet and saying, "my PC's faster than your PC", "or perhaps, my smart phone is shinier than your smart phone"! See, the human spirit of competition lives on, albeit in a petty, shallow, trivial way, in a game played with imaginary money. Or should I say, "mommy and daddy's imaginary money".

I have 1Mbs DSL service, and I'm quite happy with it! So, you can save all the preaching, lecturing, jumping on the bandwagon, and pulling numbers out of your a**, for somebody that cares.

Personally speaking, I'm not too lazy to go to Redbox, and could care less whether or not the 3rd world has access to the same entertainment that I do.

That said, I hope you all get your wish, don't have to get out of your chairs for any reason, you really can spend your way to prosperity by online shopping, and your smart phone becomes your whole reality.

And for the other side's benefit, I hope you all get so dependent on the internet, that they stop selling physical media, and the DRM becomes so ponderous that it slows your systems to a crawl, they slap on ridiculous data caps, and the RIAA and MPAA finally triumph.

That way, I won't have to listen to the crying, whining, lying, bragging, or preaching. And yeah, I'm in it for me, so what?

Guest said:

Some people here forget the fact that in a typical household, there are more than 1 person living there that use the internet. If you have a family of 5 -7 people and everyone is streaming video, even the fastest current speed available will slowed significantly. Piracy will happen regardless of the situation. There are so many other ways to control piracy instead of limiting speeds. Comcast's CEO is an *****.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

...and could care less whether or not the 3rd world has access to the same entertainment that I do.

Speaking as someone who resides in that Third World, I'd say that if the NFL season is canned then virtually everyone here would quite happily forego the balance of what passes for U.S. "entertainment"....oops, wrong link (or is it?)...[fixed].

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Speaking as someone who resides in that Third World,
I never really considered you ANZAC types, "third world". Methinks you're being way too modest.
I'd say that if the NFL season is canned then virtually everyone here would quite happily forego the balance of what passes for U.S entertainment.
Well, point taken. Save for the fact that personally I'm hoping the NFL season gets canned. That way I wouldn't have to contend with a bunch of total a**h***s on the news, grunting like they're about to take a dump, and trying to spell, "E-E-G-H-O-L-E-S" at the same time.

My TV has mostly been shut off since the season finales of a few action/drama series I enjoy. The rest is absolute garbage. Let me add to that I don't think Charlie Sheen is funny, or worth more than a day's pay, equivalent to a garbage collector's wages per epidode. His replacement,Ashton Kutcher, is an even bigger crap hole, so "2 1/2 Men", won't be on my viewing agenda in whatever future I can imagine.

Our Sci-Fi series never hang in there long enough to gain a following.

Pity we don't have any shows as sophisticated as "Dr. Who", to further idle away our time with. ....

And BTW, if you want an intelligent conversation, (and I assume you do since you posted a pic of the sheep watching Wubbya), I'd pick up the sheep's tail, talk to its a**h***, and shut off the TV altogether.

Some people here forget the fact that in a typical household, there are more than 1 person living there that use the internet. If you have a family of 5 -7 people and everyone is streaming video, even the fastest current speed available will slowed significantly. Piracy will happen regardless of the situation. There are so many other ways to control piracy instead of limiting speeds. Comcast's CEO is an *****.
For once I come down on the side of the guest. The fact of the matter is, Comcast can't supply 1Gbs internet, so they sent some douche bag to tell you you're a thief for wanting it

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I never really considered you ANZAC types, "third world". Methinks you're being way too modest.Well, point taken. Save for the fact that personally I'm hoping the NFL season gets canned.

Hey! Aren't your guys tied for first place at the moment?

That way I wouldn't have to contend with a bunch of total a**h***s on the news, grunting like they're about to take a dump, and trying to spell, "E-E-G-H-O-L-E-S" at the same time.

Sometimes being Third World has it's advantages...

I don't think Charlie Sheen is funny...

At least not intentionally

...or worth more than a day's pay, equivalent to a garbage collector's wages per epidode

I'd put that down to nepotism. Tou think if Martin Sheen wasn't pulling strings Charlie would have got the part in Hot Shots ahead of this guy?

His replacement,Ashton Kutcher...

Hahahaha, and America considers itself a developed country

...is an even bigger crap hole, so "2 1/2 Men", won't be on my viewing agenda in whatever future I can imagine.

I heard the studio were going to change the name to "One Man: Two Boys", but didn't want the Catholic priesthood getting any false hopes up.

Pity we don't have any shows as sophisticated as "Dr. Who", to further idle away our time with. ....

Dr.Who is only worth watching when Spike Milligan is involved

I'd pick up the sheep's tail, talk to its a**h***, and shut off the TV altogether.

I was wondering what Oprah's next project was

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

So You're Third World After All...

I though I'd share .this comment under the Dalek video with you:

British humour? The really funny thing is that Spike fought in the British army but was refused citizenship because he was born in India of Irish parents.

So he became an Australian.

OY...!

I was wondering what Oprah's next project was
Thanks for reminding me, I have to call Comcast and pay them about $100.00+ dollars a month for cable, because I'm going to miss her soooo badly, now that she's off broadcast TV.

(Damn, I should have saved that one for April Fool's Day)

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