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Cable Catchup

4:45 PM -- Some news and views from the cable realm before the weekend is upon us...

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is one step closer to buying Bresnan Communications LLC after passing the antitrust smell test at the Federal Trade Commission. Cablevision hopes to close the deal in late 2010 or early 2011. (See Cablevision Goes Country With Bresnan Buy.)

  • A global economic slowdown wasn't enough to stop the set-top box market from growing last year. IMS Research reports that box shipments rose 9 percent in 2009. IMS said 204 million STBs shipped in 2009, about 1 percent off its original forecast. The firm said growth was partly attributed to the broadcast analog TV switch in the US, and demand in emerging markets such as China and India. IMS expects STB shipments to be strong this year thanks to continued growth in China and an infusion of digital boxes that are hitting Europe.

  • Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) dipped another toe into the 3DTV waters with launch of some new video-on-demand (VoD) programming from WealthTV, a net that shows us how the upper crust lives and plays. The initial 3D offering is pretty small, though, starting off with an episode of Wealth on Wheels Classic, a series on classic cars that probably cost a bundle to buy and maintain.

  • Frank Eliason, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s director of digital care and the guy credited for putting the MSO on the Twitter map, is leaving. "Famous Frank" -- a handle earned as he talked up the work he did as @ComcastCares in interviews with several high-profile pubs -- blogged about the decision today, noting that "an opportunity to return to banking in a social media role has presented itself." But, if you can't live without his Tweets, you can still follow him at @FrankEliason.

  • Cable and Docsis 3.0 no longer have the bonding concept cornered. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is using "pair bonding" to help extend the reach of U-verse... but no speed increase.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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