Here's a snapshot of what's making waves in the cable world.
Verizon Wireless , the SpectrumCo LLC MSOs and Cox Communications Inc. are fighting a request by consumer pressure groups and several service providers, including Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) and T-Mobile US Inc. , to provide non-redacted details of their mobile/cable service bundling agreements. The group says they need data as they prepare to comment on Verizon Wireless's proposed purchase of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum from the MSOs. In a
letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) late last week, the Verizon Wireless/cable group argued that the commercial deal and the spectrum agreement are separate and that the Sprint/DirecTV contingent is merely trying "to gain access to proprietary pricing and marketing information" that they would never have access to in the normal course of business. They also point out that the commercial bundling agreements will remain intact even if license purchase deals are not approved. Verizon Wireless and the MSOs have submitted the full text of the agreements to the U.S. Department of Justice and have agreed to do the same for the FCC. Petitions to deny the AWS spectrum sale are due Feb. 21. (See Sparks Start to Fly in VZ Wireless-MSO Deal.)
Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) disclosed in an 8-K document that it agreed to pony up US$9 million to settle claims that it retained customer rental history and personal data illegally. The settlement, which still requires the court's blessing, stems from a 2011 lawsuit alleging that Netflix violated the Video Privacy Protection Act and California consumer laws. (See Netflix Privacy Concerns May Spark Lawsuit.)
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is looking to bring an Apple Store-like experience to its retail locations. The MSO is testing out a new Xfinity Store concept in Katy, Texas, where visitors are met by iPad-toting greeters who feed customer data into a queue system so customers can browse the store and use service kiosks while they wait. The MSO plans to bring the concept to new or refurbished stores, reports Houston CultureMap.
Boxee may ask users to pay up to $15 per month for a DVR subscription service, NewTeeVee reports, citing a survey issued to Boxee users over the weekend. Boxee's been non-committal about such an addition, but company CEO Avner Ronen said Friday on a "fireside chat" streamed on the Web that Boxee will see how its new live TV dongle performs before making any decisions about adding a DVR option. "We'll probably do it hopefully this year to support some form of recording or another," he said. (See Boxee Tees Up Live TV Cord-Cutting Tool .)
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s AdWorks LLC unit has agreed to let TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) mine anonymous data from U-verse TV subs to help the DVR pioneer generate a better sampling of U.S. television habits. AdWorks is looking to link advertisers with viewership data across mobile, online and traditional TV platforms.
YouTube Inc. channel pages and smoother navigation are among the features Google TV is promising in its latest YouTube app update via the Android Market.