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Shaw Challenges Netflix

Here's the cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Canadian MSO Shaw Communications Inc. is launching an online movie service that the Canadian MSO hopes will rival Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX). (See Netflix Canada Cuts Video Streaming Quality.)

  • Tier 2 cable op Midcontinent Communications (Midco) joined the 100-Meg club with a Docsis 3.0 tier that's available to about 250,000 subs in the upper Midwestern U.S. The tier matches its 100Mbit/s downstream with a 15Mbit/s upstream link. (See Midco Picks Ubee for Wideband Modems, MidContinent Buys SMC's D3 Gateways and Harmonic Gets Piece of Midcon's D3 Deployment.)

  • West Virginia is scaling back plans to expand its broadband infrastructure, and won't spend all of the US$126 million in federal stimulus grants it received last year. The state is giving some of the stimulus funds to Frontier Communications Corp. (NYSE: FTR) to extend its fiber optic network to local libraries and other public facilities. (See FCC: 'Broadband' Is Scarce and Policy Watch: Drafting a Broadband Plan .)

  • Music Choice is one of the first cable programmers to use QR codes to enable interactive TV programming. Viewers watching the video for rapper Big Sean's "Almost Wrote You a Love Song" will be able to scan a QR code displayed on their TV screens to get get a free copy of the song.

  • BlackBerry may be building a BlackBerry-based media set-top that some industry observers describe as a rival to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s Apple TV box.

  • Two Ohio doctors weren't able to get Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) to bury a cable in their yards and fix cable TV and Internet connection issues until they got their local ABC affiliate to run a story about their complaints. (See Pay-TV Firms Flood List of Most Hated Companies.)

  • The last Harry Potter flick is going to help out the bottom line at Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), and it has nothing to do with the MSO's video-on-demand service. Fandango, a Comcast-owned site that lets people buy movie tickets, said sales for the midnight showings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 shattered records, outdoing previous big sellers such as The Dark Knight and New Moon.

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable, and Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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