Cable Catchup

5:30 PM -- Here's a glance at some tech news making the cable rounds:

  • Mediacom powers up 50-Meg tiers: Mediacom Communications Corp. is staying aggressive with Docsis 3.0, introducing a 50-Mbit/s (downstream) tier in Columbia and Springfield, Mo. The service, dubbed Ultra 50, carries a one-year "introductory" price of $99.99 per month.

    The mid-sized MSO, which had 25 percent of its homes-passed ready for Docsis 3.0 by the end of 2009, got its wideband train going last year with the launch of a 105-Mbit/s package in Waterloo, Iowa; and Dagsboro, Del. -- still the fastest Docsis tier offered by a U.S. MSO. That one goes for $150 per month. (See Mediacom Debuts 50-Meg Wideband, Mediacom to Wear Speed King Crown , and Mediacom's Other 105-Meg Market .)

    Other Mediacom cities, including Waterloo and Dagsboro, are also getting the 50-Meg tier, including Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa; Charleston and Moline, Ill.; Gulf Breeze and Milton, Fla.; and Mound, Minn.

  • Comcast's Cavalry rolls on: Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has completed its "Project Cavalry" deployment in the Bay Area, marking an analog spectrum reclamation move that frees up headroom to offer north of 100 high-def channels and niche programming. (See Comcast Completes 'Cavalry' by the Bay.)

    Comcast, which is using Digital Terminal Adapter (DTA) devices to help fuel the effort, got the project underway in the Bay Area almost a year ago. It's also completed the process in Portland, Ore.; Augusta, Ga.; and in its Michigan and Washington state properties.

    Comcast expects to spend about $1 billion to execute the strategy nationwide. (See Comcast 'Cavalry' Rides Into NoCal , Comcast Seeds Digital Shift With Free Boxes, and Comcast's $1B Bandwidth Plan .)

  • Bresnan inserts VoD ads: Bresnan Communications LLC is the latest MSO to test out technology that allows the MSO to insert commercials into video-on-demand (VoD) assets in real-time. (See Bresnan Tests Dynamic VoD Ads.)

    Bresnan, which is working on the project with Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), BlackArrow Inc. , and Avail-TVN , has the test up and running in its Montana markets: Billings, Bozeman, Helena, and Missoula.

    The idea of this is to give the MSO and its programmers the ability to swap the ads in on-demand shows fairly quickly. The old way of doing this (and still the current way for many) bakes the ad into the VoD file itself, meaning it could take several weeks to change spots.

    Among recent examples, Comcast has a small-scale deployment running in Jacksonville, Fla. (See Comcast Gets Dynamic With VoD Ads .)

  • More bit counters Comcast has reportedly expanded its bandwidth usage meter (still under the "beta" label) in Bellingham and Spokane, Wash. Portland, Ore., was the first Comcast market to roll it out commercially. (See Comcast Lights Up Broadband Bit-Counter .)

    Comcast doesn't charge for bandwidth consumption overages, but the meter is being put in place to help consumers track how much bandwidth they're consuming and how close they are to hitting its monthly 250-gigabyte "excessive use" ceiling (or how extremely far away). (See Comcast Draws the Line at 250GB.)

  • Liberty ready to don 3DTV specs? Paul Maxwell's The Evening Bridge reports that Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) will be the first MSO in Europe to do 3DTV… when it makes sense. Liberty Global chief Mike Fries also told CNBC during the Consumer Electronics Show that the company's working on a set-top and next-gen interface that will "blow people away." If that's the case, here's an olde tyme commercial that Liberty could borrow from and tweak (a lot) to tout the new superbox:

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

  • cdanielson 12/5/2012 | 4:44:21 PM
    re: Cable Catchup

    The new commercial could have Star Wars fighters coming at him, girls walking past him and running their fingers through his hair, and an ocean of water with schools of fish and sharks swimming past his head, just barely touching him...when it's all done, he's drenched and spits out some water as he catches his breath!  Looking forward to it coming to the U.S....WHEN it gets here!

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