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Cable on Cusp of Winning Video Security Battle

Jeff Baumgartner
8/30/2012

Here a look at what's pushing broadband's and cable's buttons today.

  • The U.S. cable industry is close to obtaining Federal Communications Commission (FCC) permission to encrypt basic video signals, reports Bloomberg, citing two regulatory officials. Cable wants the current rule lifted in part to help reduce truck rolls and crack down on TV service theft by broadband-only customers. (See FCC Lets Cablevision Lock Up Its Basic TV Tier .)

    But the idea's received some resistance from the consumer electronics industry, including Boxee , which enables its broadband-fed device to pass through unencrypted basic TV channels. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and the six largest incumbent cable operators have proposed a couple of options to remedy that, including Digital Terminal Adapters (DTAs) with home networking capabilities that can decrypt basic TV signals and shuttle them along to retail video devices, and a hardware-free approach that would rely on a software-based security system. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Boxee have separately proposed the use of DTAs as a near-term solution, and a long-term idea that would see DTA functionality integrated into the retail device itself. Bloomberg said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is floating a proposal that appears to incorporate some of the ideas that cable's put forth. (See Cable Tries to Break Video Encryption Stalemate and Comcast & Boxee Connect on Video Security .)

  • AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) U-verse got more social with the addition of a Facebook app, joining it with a handful of other social media widgets already available on the telco's IPTV platform, including BuddyTV (personalized recommendations), Miso (share what you watch) and Wayin (post and receive photos and questions about shows being watched).

  • Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) said U.S. pay-TV customers tapped Adobe Pass, its TV Everywhere authentication system, to launch 88 million video streams during the summer Olympics in London. About 70 percent of those streams were accessed on PCs and laptops, with the balance going to smartphones and tablets. Adobe says Pass is now integrated with more than 150 cable and satellite operators and has seen a tenfold increase in authenticated streams in the first half of 2012.

  • Adobe also introduced the 2.0 version of Adobe Pass, which adds in features such as auto-authentication (Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) and Comcast used this during the London games) and Free Preview (temporary access to premium TV content while a user's credentials are verified).

  • Comcast has filed a patent application explaining a flexible storage architecture for a network DVR, reports FierceCable. The "Content Archive Model" outlines two classes of storage space: active and archive. Comcast then explains a scenario in which 16GB of space would be assigned as active, with another 256GB for archive storage. In an apparent move to boost storage and streaming efficiencies, copies of shows would move between the two storage classes based on the popularity of the program and the viewing history of a subscriber, according to the report. Comcast is currently conducting a small network DVR trial in the Boston area. (See Comcast Tests Network DVR in Boston .)

  • Tier 2 cable operator Midcontinent Communications (Midco) has booted up WatchESPN, the TV Everywhere app that provides live streams of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPNU to tablets, smartphones and PCs. Midcontinent has more than 275,000 subs in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    tmc8080
    tmc8080
    12/5/2012 | 5:22:17 PM
    re: Cable on Cusp of Winning Video Security Battle


    Either way, the MSOs still want a rental fee for any hardware they let out of their greedy little hands.. whether it's rolled up into the subscription fee or not..


     

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