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Pay-TV Majors Forge CE Links

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.

  • Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc., DirecTV Group Inc., Orange SA and Time Warner Cable Inc. have all deployed products that use the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standards for shipping "premium services" to consumer devices. The aim here is to enable pay-TV operators to deliver content and their user interfaces securely to gaming consoles, Blu-ray players and other devices that use DLNA. Among the operators, Cox expects that more than 500,000 of its subscribers will have DLNA premium content capabilities via its tru2way-based guide within a year, while TW Cable already has "millions" of boxes that support the new premium DLNA standard. Comcast is supporting the premium standard early on in its Pace plc-made XG1 whole-home DVRs, while DirecTV has added it to its new line of Genie HD-DVRs. Orange has added it to its Livebox Play offer.

  • Cisco Systems Inc.-backed Digitalsmiths Corp. has expanded its deal with TW Cable to include a new set of personalized search and recommendation software. The company's Seamless Discovery tech creates individualized recommendations for each member of a household across live TV, on-demand and what's stored on the DVR. Cox has recently added a similar feature to its Trio guide in tandem with ThinkAnalytics Ltd. (See Cox Brings OTT-Like Smarts to the Set-Top.)

  • While some industry analysts question whether there's much demand for Aereo Inc.'s broadband TV/cloud DVR, company CEO and founder Chet Kanojia thinks there's plenty of room for a cheaper pay-TV alternative that provides a smaller lineup of channels. "We can get 5 percent to 6 percent of the market," he told the Los Angeles Times soon after Aereo announced a new funding round and plans to expand to 22 additional markets that would extend its coverage to almost 100 million households. (See Aereo Sets 22-City Expansion.)

  • Apple Inc.'s next video play remains a topic of myth and rumor, but the cable guys are bracing for something big. "Knowing they're coming after us is motivating," Comcast VP of Mobile Solutions Randall Hounsell said at the Consumer Electronics Show, according to Streaming Media Magazine. "We know they are coming. We don't know what it's going to look like," he added. For its part, Comcast is already trying to stave off new video competition, including whatever may come from Apple, with its IP-capable X1 service, already launched in five markets. But Hounsell also downplayed the potential threat posed by new pay-TV entrants. "They're going to have to do something five-fold better than what's out there to get people to change their behavior around TV."

  • Microsoft Corp. confirmed the hiring of Sling Media Inc. founder Blake Krikorian to corporate VP for its Interactive Entertainment Business, where he'll be part of the Xbox team. The move follows Microsoft's acquisition of Krikorian's home id8 Group R2 Studios, a startup focused on home automation apps.

  • More details about that new "headless" multi-service gateway from Arris Group Inc. based on the Comcast Reference Design Kit continue to trickle in. Celeno Communications is supplying the 802.11ac chip for in-home wireless video streaming, and Zenverge Inc. is pitching in its ZN200 video transcoding chip. (See Comcast's All-Service Gateways Go 'Headless'.)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/10/2013 | 10:13:04 PM
    re: Pay-TV Majors Forge CE Links
    One takeaway from this year's CES (at least an observation from afar) is that cable getting a bit closer to a bring-your-own-device model.-á Granted some of this BYOD will have to be done in conjunction with a gateway,-áthough the "headless" approach means it's-ácan be hidden out of the way but still connect via the IP home network to TVs, tablets, gaming consoles, etc.-á JB-á
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