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To say The Cable Show got off to a bang would be a massive, and sad, understatement

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

May 9, 2007

3 Min Read
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LAS VEGAS – The Cable Show '07 – Here's a batch of news and views from The Cable Show, taking place this week in Las Vegas…

  • The buzz here on Monday morning had little to do with technological hot buttons such as Docsis 3.0, OCAP, VOD, and à la carte or interactive television, and much more to do with the homemade bomb that killed someone at the Luxor in the early morning hours.

  • You have to give Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin some credit for entering the cable lion's den on Monday morning to deliver a brief keynote speech aimed at defending his regulatory record with the industry. Despite a stance on à la carte that the cable industry strongly opposes, Martin insists that he has been fair to the industry, siding with them more often than not when cable has entered a new market such as voice. On the flip side, his policies have favored the telcos as they attack the video market.

    "I actually don't dislike cable," he said, insisting he is an "avid" cable customer with three set-top boxes, including two digital video recorders. Still, a reporter in the press row expressed surprise that Martin made it to cable's big stage "without being pelted by rotten fruit."

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) COO Steve Burke may send theater owners into a tizzy with his comments Monday that consumers may be willing to spend in the range of $30 to $50 to get access to a new movie at home (via cable-delivered VOD, of course) in the theater release window. But, to keep the box office business model intact, he suggested that perhaps theaters only have access to the high-definition version of those films. He said that model would need "some check and balance, so it doesn’t do terrible things to the box office."

    Also, citing research from Comcast's "day-and-date" trials in Denver and Pittsburgh, Burke reiterated that offering VOD titles in the DVD window has not hurt the DVD business but has instead been "additive."

  • Speaking of on-demand, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) president and CEO Glenn Britt shed more light on the MSO's future VOD strategy. Going beyond "Start Over," a service that allows consumers to restart select shows (i.e., those with copyright clearance) already in progress, the operator is also prepping "Look Back," which extends the accessibility window, as well as "Catch Up," which offers the most recent episodes of a TV series via VOD.

  • Count Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) among the MSOs not sure about the upside of offering mobile voice services. That topic is "in flux," said COO Tom Rutledge. "The strategy isn't all that clear to us."

  • Finally, it appears that a cable operator-offered fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) strategy for greenfields may have some true legs to it, now that Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) has entered the market with a product called "Cable PON." (See Moto Intros Cable PON.).

    The argument is that some housing developers might hand out contracts only to companies that can do FTTP, believing they can get a premium on homes that are connected to a strand of glass. Although Motorola is the largest cable vendor to offer FTTP to MSOs, it's far from the first. Wave7 Optics Inc. , CommScope Inc. , and Alloptic Inc. have all launched similar pursuits.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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