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The Friday Five

Here's our quasi-weekly glance at a handful of other cable-related stuff that happened in the world of cable this week that bears repeating or sharing:

  • Considering the sad state of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s stock, it's probably no surprise that Brian Roberts, the company's president and CEO, took a 20 percent paycut in 2007. But don't worry about him too much. We're sure that he still had no trouble putting food on the table and paying the rent on $20.8 million.

  • Still, it may not be all gloom and doom for cable stocks. In fact, they may offer investors a nice buying opportunity at their present depressed levels. The Wall Street Journal notes that analysts and investors may have overreacted about the true threat faced by cable operators by telephone companies, referencing Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC)'s success in fending Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and its FiOS platform. (See Cablevision Faces FiOS.)

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has provided the cable industry with a new high-definition television high water mark — at least from a linear network perspective. In New York and New Jersey, the MSO plans to carry 100 HD channels (plus more than 250 HD-VOD titles) by year-end. (See TWC Adds HD.) On the linear side, that's a few more than what Cox Communications Inc. has in store for its Arizona systems this year. (See Cox Aims for 80.)

  • We're still waiting to find out what Comcast's "protocol agnostic" system will be all about, but if it involves byte caps, don't expect a welcome reception based on the reaction so far to Rogers Communications Inc. (NYSE: RG; Toronto: RCI)'s new policy up north. (See Comcast Caves In to P2P Pressure.)

  • Both MSOs, by the way, are under serious criticism for using (or for plans to use) three-to-one compression of some HD signals. Rogers reportedly is expected to start cramming three HD signals into one channel slot next week. Comcast has been getting taken to the woodshed lately based in large part on a study conducted by a Virginia-based customer that compared the HD signal quality of Comcast with that of FiOS TV. Three-to-one compression. Sure sounds familiar. But I doubt this is the kind of feedback operators and vendors were seeking or expecting. (See Comcast Ready to Reclaim Bandwidth and Imagine Raises the Bandwidth Bar .)

Until next week…

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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