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Comcast Battles With BT

A patents squabble linking big U.S. and British interests kicks off Wednesday's cable news roundup.

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has lobbed a lawsuit at a unit of U.K.-based BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) that seeks a ruling that the MSO doesn't infringe on eight BT network-related patents covering functions such as network-traffic management and fault monitoring. The suit, aimed at BT Telecommunications, is urging a Delaware court to invalidate the patents, and comes after BT tried to add Comcast as a defendant to a separate lawsuit filed last year against Cox Communications Inc. and Cable One Inc. in the same court, reports Business Week.

  • Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) isn't confirming a rumor that it's in line to support Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s coming Xbox TV offering, but it's going out of its way not to deny it. Verizon addressed that speculation in this blog post, noting that the cloud-based approach of FiOS TV makes it "a natural match for devices like game consoles," adding that it demonstrated such integrations at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. (See Microsoft Sees Xmas Debut for Xbox TV and Microsoft's Pursuit of 'Input 1' .)

  • Sixteen percent of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) subs are poised to churn and another 14 percent are seriously considering cancelling the service, according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates just before Netflix's price hikes took effect. The firm notes that 60 percent of Netflix subs currently rent DVDs from Redbox, and 30 percent of those surveyed intend to use it more often following Netflix's price changes. (See Netflix Does the Splits .)

  • Netflix also got some much-needed positive news today, announcing it has inked an expanded two-year, non-exclusive streaming deal with Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK).

  • Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE)'s The Smurfs and Friends With Benefits and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. 's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2 are among the first flicks that will work with the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem LLC (DECE) 's UltraViolet system, a digital rights locker and consortium (Comcast is among its backers) that lets consumers buy the title once and view it on a range of IP-connected devices, including smartphones and tablets. Warner Bros. is set to release the Potter finale for home use on Nov. 11, with Sony issuing its initial UltraViolet-compatible titles on Dec. 2. (See Consortium Labels Its TV Everywhere Locker.)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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