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Also: Dish Sling-loads the Hopper DVR; Entropic, Humax team on Comcast IP-only box; AT&T's home security play; Cox targets second screens

Netflix Connects With Cablevision

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
1/8/2013
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Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. has joined Netflix Inc.'s Open Connect, a private content delivery network (CDN) that will help Cablevision deliver Netflix streams, including higher bit-rate "Super HD" and 3DTV content, to its cable modem subscribers more efficiently. Other ISP members include Virgin Media Inc., BT and Telus Corp.. Cablevision says the arrangement gives it a higher-quality, direct local connection with Netflix, which it hopes to play as an advantage against competitors such as Verizon Communications Inc. Netflix, by the way, ranks Cablevision as the fifth-best U.S. ISP for video streaming performance. Netflix is offering Super HD, encoded in 1080p, to its Open Connect partners, and is offering a few titles in 3-D format. The new Super HD and 3-D formats are "more challenging to deliver than our other video streams," which is why Netflix is offering them only to Open Connect members, company VP of Content Delivery Ken Florance said in a statement. ISPs can get on board with Open Connect for free, Netflix said. Netflix and Cablevision are getting friendly amid earlier network neutrality complaints by Netflix that Comcast Corp. gives special treatment to video streams that are delivered to the Xbox 360 via the MSO's own Xfinity TV app.
  • Dish Network Corp. has baked a Slingbox into a new generation of the Hopper, a whole-home DVR that lets users automatically skip the ads in recorded prime time programming from the nation's big broadcasters. The Hopper with Sling comes with 2 terabytes of storage and includes a new "Transfers" feature that lets users load recorded shows onto iPads for on-the-go viewing.
  • Entropic Communications Inc. is supplying the chipset powering IP-only HD client devices from both Humax Co. Ltd. and Technicolor SA that are based on Comcast's Reference Design Kit (RDK). Entropic's ARM-based chip, the TSC188, runs inside Humax's and Technicolor's versions of the Xi3, an HD client device that will speak to multi-tuner gateways that are also based on the RDK. Pace plc has developed a version of the Xi3 based on Broadcom Corp. chips. (See Comcast's IP-Only Set-Top Unveiled.)
  • AT&T Inc. is the latest major service provider to get serious about home security and automation. The carrier plans to launch the service, called AT&T Digital Life and run by a Cisco Systems Inc.-made control panel, in eight markets in March, with up to 50 additional rollouts slated for 2013. Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc., Verizon and Suddenlink Communications are among some other U.S. operators that are going after a fragmented market that's currently led by ADT Corp. (See Will Service Providers Steal ADT's Customers? and ADT Gets a Cable Guy.)
  • Cox Communications Inc. used this week's Consumer Electronic Show to provide a glimpse of a new second-screen app developed with Cisco (via NDS) that streams a subset of the MSO's live TV lineup and can control the company's Trio guide for tru2way set-top boxes. The first version of the Personal Video Experience app will initially launch on the iPad in May, according to Multichannel News. — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    joanengebretson
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    joanengebretson,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/10/2013 | 2:48:05 PM
    re: Netflix Connects With Cablevision
    When I saw the news about Netflix and Comcast it reminded me about the disputes Comcast and other cablecos have had with Level3 (Netflix's backbone provider) about peering, traffic exchange levels, etc. I wonder how new offerings like the ones you describe could play into settling those disputes. Seems like it would be fodder for some horse trading. (Sorry if that's a mixed metaphor - not sure if horses eat fodder.)
    Jeff Baumgartner
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    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/8/2013 | 9:13:07 PM
    re: Netflix Connects With Cablevision
    So, would you push your ISP to go more direct with Netflix so you could begin to stream this new slate of content? It would be nice, but maybe not a big enough reason to say it's a reason I'd stay or switch an ISP.-á But I have been streaming some HD content from Vudu via the Xbox and it does look great when all is working right... not not everything works perfectly all the time.-á Buffering here and there, and sometimes Vudu makes me switch to an SD feed. And even when the video looks glorious I have-ánoticed some audio synch issues.-áHD-OTT has some-áinteresting-ápotential, but i don't know if the average US broadband link is up to it. -áJB
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