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Elsewhere: CenturyLink turns up heat on Cox, Suddenlink expands TiVo rollout, Rovi seals up Sonic and ESPN 3D goes 24/7

EchoStar Bucks Up for Satellite Broadband

Light Reading
LR Cable News Analysis
Light Reading

Some big wheelin' and dealin' by Charlie Ergen and EchoStar Corp. LLC (Nasdaq: SATS) lead off the week in today's cable news roundup.

  • Ergen opened his piggy bank again, this time having his EchoStar set-top and technology unit (the one that owns Sling Media Inc. ) pour out about $1.32 billion for Hughes Communications. The buy, which follows Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH)'s recent $1 billion play for DBSD and a grab for coveted wireless spectrum and satellite capacity, gives EchoStar satellite broadband technology that complements its video distribution platform. (See Dish's Big Spectrum Buy Meets Static, Charlie Ergen's Spectrum Grab and Rumor: AT&T Batting Eyes at Dish (Again)?)

  • After watching Cox Communications Inc. pick up telephone customers in Las Vegas, local telco CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) is returning the favor with its new "Prism" digital video service. (See Wireless Not in the Cards for CenturyLink, Qwest .)

  • Streaming Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) content on Wii gaming consoles is going disc-less on Wednesday (Feb. 16). In fact, the streaming disc will no longer work starting then, upsetting some gamers who must now find room for the app on Wii storage vaults that are already busting at the seams. (See Netflix Goes Wii.)

  • A new budget proposal from the White House includes a $5 billion investment in the Universal Service Fund. (See Genachowski Tees Up USF Reform.)

  • While pitching Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s new "TV Anywhere" Horizon set-top/multimedia gateway, CEO Mike Fries says he's not losing sleep over Google TV and Apple TV, labeling the Internet video set-tops as "unsatisfactory." (See Celeno Joins Liberty's Video Gateway Lineup , Liberty Global Reveals IP Gateway Partners and Liberty Global Canvassing Europe With Docsis 3.0 .)

  • Rovi Corp. has closed its deal to buy over-the-top video vendor Sonic Solutions (Nasdaq: SNIC). (See Rovi Spends $720M on Sonic Solutions.)

  • Suddenlink Communications expanded the rollout of the newly integrated TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) Premiere, marketing the broadband-connected HD-DVR in Amarillo, Canyon, and Tulia, Texas. (See TiVo: $99 Premiere DVR Revving Retail and Suddenlink Boxes Up TiVo Deal .)

  • Here's the latest breathless feature about how the time for video telephony has finally come.

  • Analysts expect Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) to report Wednesday that it again lost some basic video subs and gained high-speed data customers during the fourth quarter. Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is expected to report that it gained subscribers, largely through its acquisition of Bresnan Communications LLC . (See Cablevision Goes Country With Bresnan Buy.)

  • ESPN expanded ESPN 3D to a 24-hour network, recruiting Larry the Cable Guy to record this shameless Valentines Day plug: "Nothing says, 'Honey, I love you,' like a pair of 3-D glasses from ESPN." (See 3DTV Eye Strain? Take a Break, ESPN Says.)

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

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