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3net Puts 4K TV in the Picture

Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.

  • 3net, a joint venture of Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) and IMAX, says its new production arm has teed up its initial slate of original programming, including its first titles to be produced in the eye-popping 4K/UltraHD format. The 3net Studios unit said a series called Space will be the first to be created in "TotalD," meaning it will be packaged in a multitude of formats, including native 3-D 4K, 2-D 4K, 3-D 2K and both 3-D/2-D HD formats.

    3net is trying to get ahead of the 4K wave, which resembles a mere ripple at this point. IHS iSuppli predicts that worldwide shipments of pricey 4K LCD-TVs will reach just 4,000 units this year, and rise to 2.1 million in 2017. Service operators and vendors, meanwhile, are already starting to consider the bandwidth implications of 4K video. Motorola Mobility, for example, has demonstrated at recent cable trade shows how the emerging HEVC/H.265 format can produce a 4K video stream at just 3.5 Mbit/s. Among other recent UltraHD activity, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and NBCUniversal LLC showed a prototype of 8K produced during the Summer Olympic Games in London. (See CEA Labels 4K as 'Ultra HD', Study Sees Small Demand for 4K TVs, A Glimpse of Ultra-HD and Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo .)

  • Things are looking up at Contec Holdings Ltd. , the set-top repair outfit that emerged from bankruptcy earlier this month. The company has secured a deal to be the "preferred" provider of set-top testing and repair for Charter Communications Inc. The new, expanded deal also includes QuickTest, an automated testing station that can process more than 100 devices per hour. (See Contec Bolts From Bankruptcy .)

  • China's UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI) has acquired a 44 percent stake in aioTV Inc. , a Centennial, Colo.-based company that has developed a cloud-based video aggregation and distribution platform for connected devices. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but the deal makes UTStarcom aioTV's largest single shareholder. aioTV CEO Michale Earle and COO Jim Anderson will continue to run the company.

  • Grande Communications has become the second pay-TV operator to offer the TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) Stream, a video transcoding device that ships live and DVR-recorded video to tablets, smartphones and other mobile video devices linked to a customer's home network. Suddenlink Communications , the first, has Stream on offer for US$10 per month. TiVo retails Stream for $129.99. (See Suddenlink Activates TiVo Stream and Suddenlink Promotes the TiVo Stream .)

  • Verizon Wireless and Comcast have extended their mobile/cable services bundle into several more markets, including San Jose, Calif.; southern New Hampshire; and Houston. They've got the co-marketing deal up and running in more than 30 Comcast markets. (See Comcast Uses TV Streamer to Pump Mobile Bundles.)



    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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