Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and other backers of the AllVid Tech Company Alliance are still urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create and adopt new rules that would succeed the CableCARD and establish a standard interface that would let third-party retail devices access subscription video services not just from cable operators, but from satellite and telco TV operators as well. In a filing to the FCC, The Alliance argued that the idea behind a full AllVid regime is still necessary, claiming that a recent technical proposal from the cable industry that would pave the way for them to encrypt their basic video tiers is just a short-term fix that falls short. Any FCC order involving the basic tier, they argued, should also call for a "nationally-potable common IP-based interface from MVPD [multichannel video programming distributor] services to consumer devices." Without FCC action, "the days for any standard and direct connection to MVPD programming and services, encrypted or otherwise, are numbered," the Alliance added. The FCC unveiled its notice of proposed rulemaking on AllVid in 2010, but has not taken any significant action on it since. (See Cable Tries to Break Video Encryption Stalemate , All About the FCC's AllVid and Google, TiVo & Best Buy Rally for AllVid.)
Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) and the broadcasters are still at war over AutoHop, Dish's primetime ad-zapper for its new Hopper HD-DVR, but the CEO of the satellite TV giant thinks it's already winning the battle for the hearts and minds of the consumer. "We do not know how the courts will rule on AutoHop, but we do know that we have already won in the court of public opinion," Dish chief Joe Clayton said on Wednesday's earnings call. He said the Hopper and its automated ad-skipper helped Dish keep subscriber losses under control, even as the company catches "hell and damnation" from the broadcasters. Dish lost a net 10,000 in the quarter, but analysts were expecting the company to lose more than 100,000. (See Dish, Broadcasters Go to War Over Ad-Zapper .)
If you're in line to get services from Google Fiber, here's a name you'll want to have handy: Alana Karen. She's the director of service delivery at Google Fiber, meaning she's heading up its customer service. Karen (Twitter handle: @GFiberAlana) blogged about her role, noting that she and her team are initially focused on answering questions about the first Google Fiber "rally," which will determine which "fiberhoods" in the Kansas Cities will get services first. (See Who's Rallying for Google Fiber?)
With Liberty Media Corp. (NYSE: LMC) making plans to spin-out Starz LLC late this year, BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield says the move could mean that the premium programmer is getting positioned for a sale, postulating that Starz would be better off as part of a "larger media entity." Greenfield outlined (registration required) nine potential buyers, viewing NBCUniversal LLC as the "ideal" suitor in part because of its connection to Universal Studios.
Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) has introduced a Just For Kids feature on the Xbox 360, following the launch of similar kid-friendly filters for other platforms, including PCs, the Wii, Apple TV and Playstation3. The new UI and content curator pushes forward the notion that some parents, as AllThingsD puts it, use Netflix "as an $8-a month babysitting service." Here's a glimpse of the new kids UI in action: