Welcome to the broadband news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition
Belkin Corp. will take on EchoStar Corp. LLC (Nasdaq: SATS)'s stand-alone Slingbox with a video placeshifting device of its own called @TV that will sell for US$149.99 when it becomes available in mid-July. Belkin's entry will undercut the current pricing on Sling products (Best Buy sells the Slingbox Solo for $179.99, and the Slingbox Pro HD for $299.99). Like Sling, Belkin's box will stream home video to PCs, Android and iOS devices via Wi-Fi or 3G/4G cellular networks. The @TV apps is free for tablets, but runs to $12.99 for smartphones.
Bright House Networks isn't sweating Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s new 300Mbit/s FiOS tier, telling the Tampa Bay Times that "our network can deliver these speeds if we felt there was a residential market for it." Bright House's high-end residential Docsis 3.0 tier maxes out at 40 Mbit/s in the downstream, and doesn't appear poised to raise it to Verizon's new levels just to match the marketing noise. "Research indicates that the vast majority of customers do not have interest in these types of speeds in their homes, not to mention the potential expense." Verizon's top-end tier costs $204.99 per month with a two-year contract. (See Cable's Upstream Gap and FiOS Speeds & Prices Take a Quantum Leap .)
Motorola Mobility LLC 's patent portfolio was a key driver of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s $12.5 billion acquisition, but Mountain View says the deal was about much more than that. "We bought Motorola for the sum of patents, products and people," Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said Thursday at the company's annual shareholders meeting. Google hasn't revealed its long-term strategy for Motorola's Home unit, which makes smartphones, set-tops, cable modems, video encoders and broadband access equipment, though there's some speculation that Google might try to unload all or part of it. (See Will Moto Go Back to the Future?)
Eighteen percent of tablet users pay for video content, up from 11 percent in 2011, while the same could be said for 16 percent of smartphone users, up from 14 percent, finds J.D. Power and Associates in a "pay-to-view" study of more than 4,000 U.S. households that evaluated a range of new video sources, including Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX). The study indicates that consumers are buying more video for viewing on smaller screens, though the same study also showed that viewing of paid content on PCs and Macs declined to 39 percent, from 48 percent.