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Surfing to Shop

Thanksgiving is the traditional kickoff for holiday gift shopping, and a growing number of consumers will complete their gift lists (if they haven’t already) without ever stepping foot in a brick and mortar store. As online shopping grows in popularity, cable’s high-speed internet plays the role of Santa by helping fill stockings. Learn more.

More Americans each year are finding that holiday shopping is a lot less stressful when they can avoid the crowds at the stores and still get all their gifts purchased and even sent from the comfort of their computer or mobile device.

Fast internet connections are making life easier for shoppers, as Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping trends in recent years have shown. A recent survey found that 73 percent of respondents plan to shop online this holiday season, and more than 1 in 3 plan to shop on mobile. And 22 percent of shoppers said they don’t plan to set foot in a store at all.

Analysts are predicting a brisk holiday sales season for 2016, with online sales expected to hit $94.71 billion, according to research firm eMarketer. The National Retail Federation predicts that online sales will increase 7-10 percent over last year to as much as $117 billion.

And with some retailers announcing they will no longer open on Thanksgiving Day, could online sales climb even higher with Americans looking for a post-turkey shopping diversion?

As holiday shoppers surf the internet, they should take steps to protect themselves and their purchases from scammers, cybercriminals and thieves. The National Cyber Security Alliance has tips to stay safe while shopping online.

In addition, guard your packages when they arrive so they don’t disappear off your or the gift recipient’s doorstep after delivery. Consider security cameras or other home security devices, available from some cable providers. Or have packages held for pickup at the post office or delivered to a workplace, where someone will be present to accept delivery. Find other tips here.

What is Cable?

What does it mean to be a cable company? For many years, it only meant video services, and the big news was the growth in the number of channels available to consumers. Today, the definition of “cable” is evolving and growing rapidly, with no signs of slowing down.

Most cable customers today rely on their subscriptions for much more than just the video they watch on television. “Cable” has grown to include telephone, broadband, video on demand, whole house DVR, mobile broadband, home security, home automation and more.

For example, public Wi-Fi hotspots provided by cable internet service providers recently topped 500,000, and cable is on pace to add another 3.4 million broadband subscribers this year.

While subscribers already can use their smartphones to take advantage of broadband and mobile broadband, some cable companies are looking at cell service itself as a new area for expansion. Comcast announced recently that it plans to launch a cellular carrier, Comcast Wireless, in mid-2017. A day after that announcement, Charter also said it was considering getting into the wireless business.

In recognition of the evolution of “cable,” the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) recently changed its brand to NCTA – The Internet & Television Association.

Cable truly leads when it comes to innovation. Its research and development teams are constantly exploring new ways to expand technology to offer more to cable subscribers. NCTA President and CEO Michael Powell, in a keynote address at the 2013 Cable Show, noted the importance of continued research and innovation, saying, “We are on an endless journey to deliver an exceptional experience to American consumers and businesses.”

What will cable look like in 10 years? Stay tuned!

Back to School: Reading, Writing and Broadband

One of the biggest affordability initiatives is Comcast’s Internet Essentials. Entering its sixth year, Internet Essentials now connects 750,000 families, or about 3 million Americans. Through the program, Comcast provides high-speed Internet service to those who qualify for $9.95 per month, plus discounted computer equipment and free Internet training.

According to a five-year progress report recently issued, a survey of Internet Essentials customers reports that 95 percent of recipients saw a positive impact on a child’s grades, and 98 percent said they subscribed to Internet Essentials to use the Internet for homework/school projects.

In July, Comcast partnered with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s ConnectHome initiative to expand Internet Essentials to about 2 million HUD-assisted homes within the MSO’s service territory. HUD says those homes account for about 40 percent of all its households. In addition, Comcast will be awarding more than $2 million in grants to community organizations that provide digital literacy training and Internet access.

Since the program’s inception in 2011, Comcast has expanded eligibility for Internet Essentials nine times.

In Texas, Comcast officials and Internet Essentials spokesperson Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a six-time Olympic medalist, recently announced that as part of the program, Comcast will provide a $35,000 grant to the City of Houston for a mobile computer lab and $20,000 in grants to both Neighborhood Centers, Inc., and the YMCA in support of their digital literacy efforts and providing Internet access at their computer labs.


Connect2Compete (C2C) is EveryoneOn’s flagship program for K-12 students and provides affordable Internet and devices to students and families that qualify for the National School Lunch Program. C2C is offered in partnership with leading cable companies, including Suddenlink, Comcast’s Internet Essentials and others.

Eligible customers receive fast, affordable Internet for as low as $9.95 per month (plus tax). For most customers, there is no deposit required, contracts to sign, or installation or modem rental fees.


Cable One was recognized by Cablefax Magazine’s 2016 Top Ops Awards for the cable company’s Chromebooks for Kids initiative that gives students in its service area access to the technology necessary to learn. For three years, Cable One has donated Chromebooks to Title I schools, many of which lack the funding to purchase such devices. Odessa is among the 10 Cable One markets nationwide where schools have been served by Chromebooks for Kids.


On a federal level, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association has backed the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to modernize the Lifeline program – created to help low-income households to obtain telephone service – to support broadband.

June Sports Action

NBA Finals 

The NBA Finals tips off June 1 – where the defending champion Golden State Warriors will take on Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers – a repeat of last year’s final.  While ABC is the official carrier of the NBA Finals, ESPN3 will be simulcasting it and you can view it on the WatchESPN app as well.

Of note is that cable channel TNT’s exclusive presentation of 2016 NBA Western Conference Finals Game 7 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors averaged 15.9 million total viewers and an 8.8 U.S. HH rating to deliver cable television’s most-viewed NBA telecast of all time and TNT’s most-watched program in the 28-year history of the network, based on Fast Nationals. The Warriors series clinching victory peaked with 19.8 million total viewers and a 10.9 U.S.

Additional highlights for the 2016 NBA Western Conference Finals and NBA Playoffs on TNT:

  • TNT’s Warriors/Thunder Game 7 garnered the most-viewed sports program on cable television since April, when Turner presented the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship across TBS, TNT and truTV.
  • Turner’s TV Everywhere platforms netted all-time records for the Warriors/Thunder Game 7 including 1 million uniques, 1.7 million video starts and 23 million minutes of video consumption.
  • Content published via NBA on TNT’s Facebook and Twitter accounts generated more than 2 billion social media impressions for this year’s NBA Playoffs, up 46% over last year. Turner’s accounts have netted more than 161 million video views, up 151% vs. 2015.
  • Overall, TNT’s coverage of the 2016 NBA Playoffs averaged 4.7 million total viewers and a 2.9 U.S. HH rating for its 42-game schedule, up 16% and 12% — along with increases across all key male and adult demos — vs. 2015’s comparable coverage.

French Open

The first week of the French Open had its surprises, as always, but the best and brightest have mostly stayed on course. Will Novak Djokovic finally win the clay-court major? Will Serena Williams finally tie Steffi Graf’s Open-era major-title record? The final week will tell.

Until the final weekend, The Tennis Channel gets the TV eyeballs of American tennis fans. The channel also offers internet streaming for subscribers. NBC Sports, which will air the men’s and women’s finals, also offers some live streaming. Note that the Tennis Channel offers replays every day. Link to schedule here.


NCAA College Baseball Wold Series

The field of 64 teams competing for the 2016 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship was announced on May 31 by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee. The national top eight seeds are Florida (47-13), Louisville (47-12), Miami [FL] (45-11), Texas A&M (45-14), Texas Tech (41-16), Mississippi State (41-16-1), Clemson (42-18) and LSU (42-18). View entire field here.

As background, the tournament begins with 16 four-team regionals hosted by the highest seeded teams. One winner advances from each double-elimination regional to the super regionals. The super regionals are hosted by the eight national seeds if those teams advance. The super regionals are a best-of-three format. The eight winners of the super regionals advance to the College World Series, which will be held June 18-June 28 in Omaha, Neb.

Games will be broadcast on a variety of cable channels – learn more here.


PGA Events 

Memorial Tournament

The Memorial will be played June 2 – 5 in Dublin, Ohio. This year’s event has a stacked field with 21 of the top 30 in the world rankings teeing it up.

TV SCHEDULE

  • Thursday: 2:30-5:30 p.m. CT (Golf Channel)
  • Friday: 2:30-5:30 p.m. CT (Golf Channel)
  • Saturday: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. CT (Golf Channel), 2-5 p.m. (CBS)
  • Sunday: noon-2 p.m. CT (Golf Channel), 1:30-5 p.m. (CBS)

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U.S. Open

This year’s U.S. Open will be held June 16-19 at Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh for a record 9th time!

TV SCHEDULE

The first and second rounds (June 16-17) can be seen on FS1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Fox from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The third round will air June 18 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fox, and the final round will be shown June 19 from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Fox. If needed, an 18-hole playoff will air June 20 from noon to 4 p.m. on Fox. The tournament also can be streamed online at http://usga.usopen.com.

Other June Programming Highlights

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School is out and baseball is in full swing. The front half of the month is jam packed with Astros games with their first off day not coming until the 13th. All but one of the 26 June games will be broadcast on ROOT SPORTS and with match ups against in-state rivals the Texas Rangers and a three game visit from the defending World Series Champs, June is sure to be an exciting month for the team.

ROOT SPORTS is also broadcasting two of the three Dynamo matches this month. Tune in Thursday June 2 to watch them take on Dallas FC and June 18th for a home match vs. DC United.

Channel listings are as follows: AT&T U-Verse 758 SD/1758 HD,  Btel/Coastal Link 31 SD/ 131 HD, Consolidated Communications 42 SD/ 723 HD, DIRECTV 674, enTouch 73 SD/473 HD, Kinetic 635 SD/1635 HD, Phonoscope 35 SD/293 HD, Xfinity 39 SD/639 HD. Learn more about ROOT SPORTS here.


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Poker Central presents Live at the Bike!
Wednesdays at 10 PM ET

Poker Central Presents Live at the Bike!” will give viewers an exclusive, weekly window into some of the most exciting cash games played at The Bicycle Hotel & Casino, better known as “The Bike.” Cash game regulars join guest players to test their mettle against some serious competition.  Grab a seat at the table and hold on to your cards as Nichoel Jurgens and Abe Limon deliver viewers bet-by-bet coverage direct from the feature table in one of the largest, most iconic poker rooms west of the Mississippi.

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Savannah Sunrise
Sunday, June 26 at 8 PM ET

Exclusive world television premiere of INSP Films’ latest production, Savannah Sunrise. Despite their many differences, over the course of a painfully long weekend, Joy has to reluctantly drive her mother-in-law, Loraine, from Louisville, Kentucky, to her new retirement home in Savannah, Georgia.

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Handcrafted America
Friday nights at 9 PM ET

Handcrafted America goes into the workshop and into the wild! From the remote Alaskan bush to relatively tame New Jersey, host Jill Wagner visits artisans who create stunning and functional items for dads! Meet master bladesmiths, a bamboo fishing rod maker and rifle maker, among many others, including a very special guest—Jill’s dad! (Friday, June 17th at 9pm)

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A Salute to Fathers

Hard to believe it’s been 30 years since “Top Gun” first appeared on the big screen and launched the quote “I feel the need, the need for speed” into our collective vocabulary. Father’s Day is a perfect time to revisit this movie classic, and cable – the ultimate broadband speed provider – is the perfect partner.

Whether Dad wants to relax with the family on Father’s Day by watching “Top Gun” or another movie, cable can turn your living room into a movie theater. Cable’s extensive on-demand movie offerings – often at no extra charge – let you pick from the best new movies (many available in HD) and old favorites at any time of the day or night.

Do you access movies from an over-the-top operator instead? Then cable broadband speeds – think supersonic fast like Maverick’s fighter jet – are essential to deliver that content to your TV or mobile device. Today, the “need for speed” is never more necessary than when you’re trying to stream video without interruption.

Broadband and the Internet didn’t exist 30 years ago when “Top Gun” opened. Technology has certainly come a long way, and cable continues to lead the way.