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Set-top boxes

Com Hem Rolls Out Netflix

Com Hem is making cable history with Swedish set-tops.

The Nordic cable operator has announced that Netflix is now available on all of its deployed TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) boxes. (Hat tip to CED Magazine) Subscribers to select service packages can access the Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) app for free for a three-month period. After the first 90 days, the subscription rental service is available for 79 Swedish Krona per month, or about $12 US.

In addition, com hem AB includes an integrated search function in the TiVo experience. Users who query the service for information on show titles, actors, and directors will see details from Netflix included alongside their cable listings in the search results.

The Scandinavian deployment follows a Netflix trial by large UK MSO Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) that began last September. In that test, Virgin began offering a Netflix app to 40,000 of its TiVo customers. (See Euronews: Orange Fears Merger 'Earthquake'.)

Service providers in the US are reportedly also considering similar carriage deals with Netflix. However, Netflix's popular over-the-top video service is potentially at odds with operators' own video-on-demand offerings. (See Netflix-MSO Deal in the Works?)

While business negotiations in the US are likely convoluted, the technical considerations for delivering Netflix to cable set-tops have become less complicated. Operators could offer Netflix as an app on new IP-based boxes or could virtualize the Netflix service for delivery to older customer-premises equipment. ActiveVideo has already shown that it can deliver IP content rendered as a video stream to legacy, non-IP set-top boxes. (See ActiveVideo Unveils Ad Distribution System .)

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

albreznick 1/21/2014 | 5:59:42 PM
When will US MSOs follow? Between Com Hem and Virgin Media, two major European cable operators have started offering Netflix over TiVo/cable STBs. So the big question is when will the major North American MSos follow their lead. I expect some sort of breakthrough deal in the first half of this year. But then again I would have thought it would have happened already.       
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