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Netflix Sets Sights on 4K/UltraHD Streaming

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Welcome to the cable and broadband news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Netflix Inc. expects to offer content in the eye-popping 4K/UltraHD format "within a year or two," Chief Product Officer Ted Sarandos tells The Verge. Obviously, that could affect broadband ISP consumption caps and usage-based billing models, and it could cause a more rapid migration to the more bandwidth-efficient HEVC/H.265 codec. "Clearly we have much work to do with the compression and decode capability, but we expect to be delivering 4K within a year or two with at least some movies and then over time become an important source of 4K. 4K will likely be streamed first before it goes anywhere else," he predicted, noting that the new Netflix original series House of Cards was shot in the 4K format. Netflix is currently trying to help ISPs lessen the strain for its menu of 1080p "Super HD" content via its Open Connect program. (See Netflix ISP Shame Game Goes Global.)
  • Hulu LLC Chief Content Officer Andy Forssell will become acting CEO when the Web TV hub's founding CEO, Jason Kilar, departs at the end of March. Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. are finalizing their plans with Hulu before deciding on a permanent CEO, Kilar wrote in a blog post announcing the decision. Hulu, which mothballed plans for an IPO in 2010, brought in US$700 million in revenues in 2012.
  • Invidi Technologies Corp. exec Michael Kubin told attendees at the 4As confab in New Orleans Wednesday that the company has inked a deal with Comcast Corp., reports MediaPost. Invidi's technology will let the MSO deliver targeted ads based on anonymous household demographic and geographic information. A Comcast spokesman declined to say how quickly this will be phased in, but Multichannel News says the operator plans to apply the technology in all its U.S. markets by the end of 2014. (See Comcast Bulks for Baltimore Ad Trial.)
  • Suddenlink Communications has a bit of a vandalism problem on its hands. Fiber-snipping miscreants struck for a fourth time this week in parts of California, leaving 10,000 customers without service from Wednesday night through Thursday afternoon, The Times Standard reports. The local sheriff's office estimates that the recent wave of vandalism created $30,000 in damage. Suddenlink has put up a $5,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
  • Verizon Communications Inc. has added four linear TV channels to its over-the-top TV lineup for FiOS TV subscribers: Golf Channel, plus three from the NBCU stable (E!, Style and Sprout). The My Verizon site, accessible to authenticated FiOS TV customers, now streams more than 40 live TV channels.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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