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ACE: Selling Old Set-Tops Won't Derail Retail

The latest round in a bout brewing over old set-tops leads off today's cable news snapshot.

  • Adams Cable Equipment Inc. defended its Federal Communications Commission (FCC) waiver request that aims to let MSOs sell refurbished set-tops with integrated security -- something that the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is trying to stop, claiming that such a waiver would hinder efforts to create a true retail market from forming. ACE argued in a reply to the CEA's objections that the waiver would keep the spirit of the FCC's July 2007 mandate intact because it would give consumers a first-ever shot at buying low-cost cable set-tops via a retail channel. ACE also shot down a suggestion that the request would be limited to the 50,000 integrated security set-tops it currently has in inventory. While those boxes "would be sufficient to cover demand for some time, if ACE had the opportunity to acquire and sell more devices, that would represent a policy success for the Commission, not a threat or a failure," the company said. (See A New Battle Brews About Old Set-Tops and ACE Plan Would Let MSOs Sell Old Set-Tops .)

  • In the latest rumor from the Apple iTV mill, Canada's Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) and BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE) are talking with the consumer electronics giant about becoming launch partners for the much-hyped TV set, reports The Globe and Mail. Apple's been mum about the details, but the iTV is expected to include hand-gesture-based navigation features and the integration of Siri, Apple's new voice-recognition software. (See Jobs Bio Confirms Apple Television Plan .)

  • Internet media publishing firm Brightcove Inc. intends to raise as much as $55 million in an initial public offering after setting a price of $10 to $12 per share. The company posted a 2011 net loss of $17.3 million on revenues of $63.6 million, and ended the year with 3,872 customers.

  • CableLabs claims dynamic video-on-demand (VoD) ad insertion took a big step forward following a January interop that demonstrated Canoe Ventures LLC 's national platform for the technology. Participating vendors included Avail-TVN , BlackArrow Inc. , Harris Corp. (NYSE: HRS), Nagravision SA , SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) and This Technology LLC . Among the cross-vendor demos, the interop showed off the ability to insert pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll advertisements into a VoD title, and to handle national and local inventory splits for VoD advertising. (See Comcast Signals New Ad Era for VoD and Canoe Experiments With VoD Ads.)

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), which has been referring to broadband as its new "anchor" service lately, used Sunday's Super Bowl to kick off its "Enjoy Better" campaign, touting how its high-speed Internet service can help subs ... enjoy ESPN anywhere, and make a quasi cable competitor like Netflix "even more powerful." Here's the ad, which featured some A-list talent.

  • Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX)'s first original series, LilyHammer, debuted on Sunday, putting the outfit in closer company with more traditional premium TV services such as HBO. In an attempt to get viewers hooked, Netflix, which is producing original fare to retain and gain subscribers, is offering all eight episodes of the first season. Also on tap for Netflix: House of Cards , another new series set for 2012, and the resurrection of Arrested Development in 2013.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:43:25 PM
    re: ACE: Selling Old Set-Tops Won't Derail Retail

    The Globe and Mail source says Apple is looking for an operator with wireless and b'band capabilities. That would fit Rogers. Since their re-org a few years ago, everyone is under one tech organization. With or w/out Apple, they're pressing ahead with a converged platform. 

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:43:24 PM
    re: ACE: Selling Old Set-Tops Won't Derail Retail

    Yep, that would fit the bill if that's what they're after.  The one thing I find harder to believe in this rumor is that Apple would let Rogers and BCE test this new doodad in their labs. If Apple let them come to one of its facilities to do some testing, then that's another thing. I just don't see Apple risking more leaks by letting this purported product see the light of day yet, even if that involved putting it in the hands of potential partners. JB

    DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 5:43:23 PM
    re: ACE: Selling Old Set-Tops Won't Derail Retail

    Again, why would a consumer buy a set-top at retail when they come with a pay TV service already?

    I'm shocked this is even an issue. Survey the next 1 million shoppers at Best Buy and Amazon and I bet the intent to buy a set-top box is somewhere near zero.


    jdbower 12/5/2012 | 5:43:22 PM
    re: ACE: Selling Old Set-Tops Won't Derail Retail

    It's been a while since I've had pay TV, but when I last had it Comcast had a monthly fee for each STB - just like Ma Bell used to do with telephones.  If I could buy one to get rid of that fee it's an easy calculation to see how long it would take to pay for itself and then to judge whether I'd like the risk of needing to buy another if mine breaks.

    That said, I'd imagine the primary reason people will want one is to bypass the security on a box the cable company can't demand back.

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