Microsoft Ready to Switch on Xbox TV

Welcome to the cable news roundup, hump-day edition.

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is expected to announce details about its new live TV and on-demand video play for the Xbox 360 as early as Wednesday (Oct. 5), according to AllThingsD. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) are said to be among the first service providers to support the console's video streaming platform, which won't be much of a cord-cutting tool because it will require users to be authenticated pay-TV subs. (See Microsoft's Pursuit of 'Input 1' and Microsoft Sees Xmas Debut for Xbox TV .)

  • The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and the American Cable Association (ACA) have pitched proposed changes to a telco-led America's Broadband Connectivity (ABC) plan for Universal Service Fund reform. They claim their proposal is "more competitively neutral" than ABC. (See Why USF Reform Matters .)

  • Comcast's recent purchase of a Chicago-based CLEC and New Global Telecom has helped the MSO form its strategy to go up-market to serve mid-sized businesses, but don't expect the company's businesses services unit to go on any more M&A binges soon. Comcast Business Services President Bill Stemper tells SNL Kagan that the MSO will instead look to increase market share and revenues organically. "There aren't necessarily that many [buying opportunities] out there that look very appealing, but we keep our eyes open," he said. (See Comcast Snares a CLEC and Comcast to Acquire New Global Telecom .)

  • Midcontinent Communications (Midco) has closed a deal to acquire 113 Minnesota and Wisconsin franchises from US Cable that pass 86,000 homes and serve about 33,000 customers.

  • Comcast has extended MyTV Choice, a programming package with à la carte aspirations, in Charleston, S.C., following earlier debuts in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, with Seattle on deck. MyTV Choice features a "Get Started Plus" package with about 50 channels for $24.95. (See A la Carte Coming to Cable's Menu? )

  • Avail-TVN has scored deals to manage video-on-demand (VoD) services in Chile for Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s VTR, which has 1.1 million subs, and Bazuca, an over-the-top video service with 360,000 subs. Avail-TVN will handle VoD encoding, asset and metadata management and content acquisition and licensing for both.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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