Facebook's 'Game-Changing' Movie Rental Play

A look at how that deal Facebook cut earlier this week with Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. could shake up the movie distribution business leads today's cable news roundup.

  • Even though it's only a test, Facebook's movie rental deal with Warner Bros. is "game changing," partly because it will give Hollywood studios distribution leverage with Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iTunes and "everyone else," Ad Age notes today. (See Facebook Enters Movie Rental Business.)

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is putting Linux inside the Explorer 8700, the company's newest line of tru2way-based HD-DVR, with beta units expected to be ready by this summer, according to Multichannel News. The new box is coming into play as the vendor looks to amp up flagging set-top shipment numbers and get MSOs to adopt Videoscape, an architecture that blends traditional MSO video with content from the Web. CableLabs recently "verified" the box for interoperability during cert wave 79, something Cisco needed to obtain for the integrated Docsis Set-Top Gateway (DSG) that's used for signaling and guide data transfers. (See Can Videoscape Save Cisco's Set-Top Business?)

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) CEO Glenn Britt expects that the MSO will always offer unlimited data packages as an option for cable modem customers, but that usage-based billing could be "introduced over time." (See TWC Mothballs New Metering Trials .)

  • While The Boston Globe says the Xfinity TV app Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) created for Apple's iPad makes a "fine viewing guide," its inability to control the volume on your TV makes it a "lousy remote." (See iPad 2: Cable Friend or Foe?)

  • After calling its programming arm Rainbow Media for more than 30 years, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is renaming the division AMC Networks Inc.

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) continues to spend heavily on YouTube Inc. , with plans to add another 200 staffers in 2011 -- setting it up as its biggest hiring year.

  • Comcast began marketing a 100Mbit/s Docsis 3.0 Internet service to businesses in California. (See Comcast Gets Bizzy With 100-Megs in CA.)

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

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