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Cable Catchup

12:15 PM -- Time to catch up on some other cable-related news…

  • More movie window dressing: Several movie studios are urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to hurry up and grant a "selectable output" waiver that would allow MSOs to deliver hi-def movies to digital set-tops ahead of their DVD release windows.

    If granted, the waiver would "selectively" deny the copying of those movies through the outputs on digital boxes.

    The Motion Picture Association of America and the cable industry, led by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) , are also in favor of a waiver that would lift the ban on so-called Selectable Output Control (SOC) in certain circumstances, arguing that such copyright protection is necessary if studios want to offer content in earlier windows without worrying about pirates making illegal copies and zapping them around the globe. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is among the detractors, claiming that lifting the ban even under narrow circumstances would be "used to the disadvantage of consumers, technology, and competition." However, CE firms such as Sony Corp. of America and TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO), which are eager to deliver more and more content "over the top" via broadband, are in favor of the waiver. (See More Than VOD Window Dressing .)

    Some other MSOs already offer some movies via VoD the same day they come out on DVD, but they would obviously want to see adoption (and revenues) grow by offering titles in even more attractive windows and perhaps complement that offer with the ability for the customer to purchase the physical DVD. Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC)'s already pursuing a hybrid VoD/DVD business model in tandem with Popcorn Home Entertainment.

  • WiFi on rails: In line with its larger wireless strategy, Cablevision is proposing that its Optimum WiFi service be considered by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for its Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad trains and stations. Cablevision, which launched its consumer WiFi service (offered for free to cable modem subs) last September, claims its offer comes with "no capital cost" to the MTA. (See Cablevision Proposes Train WiFi and Cablevision Plays WiFi Card .)

  • AT&T tuning up 'TV Everywhere'? NewTeeVee points to some visual evidence that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) appears to be following in the footsteps of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), teeing up its own TV Everywhere-like service, embedding videos from Hulu LLC and other Web TV sources. But the whole experience is still pretty raw.

  • RCN settles phone suit: Law360 says patent holding firm Rates Technology Inc. and RCN Corp. have settled a $915 million patent suit accusing the cable overbuilder of infringing on RTI's telephone routing patents. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) are among others that RTI has targeted over similar claims on how they switch VoIP calls to the PSTN.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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