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Google Takes VoD Over the Top in Canada

A new Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) service that might tax the consumption caps of Canadian ISPs kicks off Thursday's glance around the cable realm.

  • Google has launched YouTube Movies in Canada, offering a streaming video rental service that includes about 3,000 titles for $4 to $5 each. Although some tout this as a rival to Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX)'s Canadian entry, the business models are much different (pay-per-view rentals versus monthly subscriptions), making YouTube Movies a closer competitor to VoD offerings from MSOs such as Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) and Shaw Communications Inc. Google already offers a U.S. version of YouTube Movies. (See 1M Join Netflix Canada Despite Cap Flap and O, Canada! Netflix Streaming Gets a Reprieve.)

  • Speaking of Netflix, its U.S. rate hikes go into effect today. (See Netflix Rate Hikes Will Hammer Growth.)

  • Hulu LLC debuted its subscription-only video streaming service in Japan, charging ¥1,480 (US$19.20) per month, and naming NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) as its exclusive mobile marketing partner. Hulu's landing its first international gig as it heads toward an expected sale. (See Who Will Nab Hulu? and Hulu Heads to Japan .)

  • Cable operators fared well in PC Mag's latest rankings of the nation's fastest ISPs. Cox Communications Inc. was tops with average download speeds of 18.51 Mbit/s and upstream speeds of 4.80 Mbit/s, edging out Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Charter Communications Inc. . Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) ranked best among telcos with a downstream average of 16.20Mbit/s down and an industry-best 9.21Mbit/s upstream (the rankings combined Verizon's fiber and DSL services). EarthLink Inc. (Nasdaq: ELNK) clocked in with the lowest ranking -- 7.76Mbit/s down and 0.89Mbit/s up.

  • Rovi Corp. is putting Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) on notice with the unleashing of DivX Plus Streaming, an upgrade that brings adaptive streaming capabilities to a video platform it obtained via its $720 million acquisition of Sonic Solutions earlier this year. (See Rovi Spends $720M on Sonic Solutions.)

  • The ugly side of retrans negotiations reared its head again as LIN Media stations went dark in several Mediacom Communications Corp. cable systems as the two sides try to nail down a new deal. Lin has given a one-week reprieve for two stations in Norfolk, Va., so Mediacom viewers there can keep tabs on local coverage of Hurricane Irene's aftermath. (See ACA Hails FCC Review of Retrans Rules.)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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