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Comcast's Xbox Answers Don't Satisfy Critics

Welcome to the cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Suffice it to say that some of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s staunchest critics aren't totally satisfied with the operator's response to claims that it's prioritizing video traffic to the Xbox 360 and its more recent decision to do away with its monthly 250-gigabyte cap in favor of new policies that will expand the usage limit to at least 300GB and test out new usage-based fees that factor in when customers exceed their bandwidth ceilings. Comcast to Raise Caps, Test Overage Fees .)

    Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), still smarting from Comcast's earlier policy that exempted Xfinity TV app traffic on the Xbox 360 from the broadband cap, told NewTeeVee that the tests were a step in the right direction, "but unfortunately Comcast continues to treat its own Internet delivered video different under the cap than other Internet delivered video." Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), which has already jousted with Comcast on the topic of network neutrality, blogged the results of tests it conducted amid recent claims that Comcast is prioritizing its Xbox VoD traffic. Using the Wireshark app to analyze traffic patterns, it determined that Comcast's app consistently gets good performance in both congested and uncongested scenarios, while Netflix traffic gets impaired when the home connection is congested. "These results seem to be consistent with the practice of prioritization," Level 3 wrote. Comcast, meanwhile, denies it's prioritizing traffic to the game console. (See Level 3: Comcast Erected Web Video 'Toll Booth' Comcast: Level 3 Balks at Trial Offer and Comcast Denies It's Prioritizing Xbox Video .)

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has extended access to the standalone HBO GO TV Everywhere app to Roku Inc. boxes, the Xbox 360 and Samsung Corp. Smart TVs a few weeks after it added support for HBO GO on iOS devices.

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) has promoted Yvette Kanouff to EVP of corporate engineering and technology just about a month after the former president of SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) joined the cable operator as VP of engineering, software design. In the new role, she'll also have oversight of hardware for video, data and VoIP, active network components and IT. She's basically assuming the duties of James Blackley, who recently left the MSO. (See Engineering EVP Latest Exec to Exit Cablevision.)

  • TW Cable has tapped a system from BlackArrow Inc. to power the operator's system-wide rollout of dynamic VoD ad insertions for local and regional advertising. The operator, which also happens to be one of BlackArrow's financial backers, says it's the first to use the vendor's Ad Router to redirect ad requests to third-party advertising decision services. Comcast, another BlackArrow investor, and Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) have also deployed the vendor's ad technology.

  • The 2.0 release of Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS)'s Moxi software for its whole-home video set-top/gateway platform adds an HTML-based browser and support for apps that can be customized by its cable partners. At The Cable Show next week, Arris will also show off an app for the iPad that takes advantage of the 2.0 software and lets users remotely manage the box's DVR. WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) , Shaw Communications Inc. , BendBroadband and Buckeye CableSystem are among the first operators to deploy Arris's gateway, spawned from Arris's $20 million acquisition of Paul Allen's Digeo Inc.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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