CES: Cisco to Unveil Internet Video Set-Top

Welcome to a brief summary of today's cable news headlines with a special International CES twist as tens of thousands of gadget freaks descend on Sin City:

  • That hybrid cable/Internet video set-top Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is expected to unveil today at the CES sure sounds a lot like the Pace Micro Technology -made "Parker" box Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has been test driving in its small Xcalibur trial. (See Comcast's Internet + TV Set-Top Surfaces, What's Inside Comcast's Parker Box?, Rumor: Is This Comcast's 'Parker' Box?, and Comcast Tests Broadband-Fed Xcalibur Service.)

  • Wal-Mart's VUDU Inc. streaming media service will soon start selling 3-D movies to owners of Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE)'s PlayStation 3 and the few homes with 3-D-capable TVs. (See Wal-Mart Shells Out for VUDU.)

  • Emulating the the video-on-demand (VoD) button on digital cable remote controls and tying itself even closer to the CE industry, Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) cut deals with several manufacturers to install a Netflix button on remote controls for a range of Blu-ray players, broadband-connected TVs, and over-the-top (OTT) video devices. (See Netflix Gets Hamstrung on Leased TiVos.)

  • Sony is banking on a 3-D video version of the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue to jolt sales of 3DTVs. Look for a crowd at its CES booth this week. (See 2010 Top Ten: 3DTV Hype Builders .)

  • Elsewhere in the 3DTV world, ESPN's fledgling, part-time 3-D network will graduate to a full-time, 24-hour channel on Valentine's Day. But expect reruns galore. Starting Feb. 14, the network will show replays of previously televised ESPN 3-D events when the network is now showing a live event. (See ESPN Jumps Into the 3DTV Game .)

  • While Roku Inc. still hasn't disclosed how many set-tops it has sold, the OTT firm boasts that it has delivered more than 1 billion streams.

  • Don't expect the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s merger with NBC Universal this week, since all five members of the commission are away in Vegas trolling CES. (See Comcast Proposes Conditions for NBCU Merger.)

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

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