Video services

TW Cable Open to an Apple-Flavored Guide

Here's what's moving and shaking in broadband and cable this morning.

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) won't give up its direct relationships with subscribers, but it's open to the idea of giving up some control of the user interface to alternative platforms, including Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s, company President and COO Rob Marcus said Wednesday at a Goldman Sachs & Co. investors conference. His comments come into play as rumors spread that Apple's been in discussions about forming relationships with cable operators, including TW Cable, so an Apple-made set-top could deliver subscription TV programming. Meanwhile, TW Cable has developed a cloud-based UI of its own. (See Would an Apple Set-Top Box Pay Off? and Apple's Pay-TV Path May Run Through Cable .)

  • Not that the cable industry expects a favorable outcome as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mulls whether to lift a rule that bars operators from encrypting their basic TV tier or anything, but the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has provided the Commission with a sample boilerplate letter/email that cable operators could use to communicate the change to customers. The FCC is expected to cast its vote on the matter within weeks. (See Cable Tries to Break Video Encryption Stalemate .)

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s selection of a new super-charged Wi-Fi voice/data gateway from Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH) could dent Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) earnings next year, Jefferies & Company Inc. analyst James Kisner surmised in a research note. He expects Arris to keep its majority share of Wi-Fi-capable voice modem shipments at Comcast and kept his buy rating on the stock, but he's now anticipating Arris to earn $1 per share on revenues of $1.38 billion in 2013, versus an earlier forecast of $1.10 per share and $1.49 billion. (See Comcast's Technicolor Dream Gateway.)

  • Canadian operator Shaw Communications Inc. has launched a TV Everywhere service that initially works on iOS devices. The first phase of the service, called Shaw Go, offers access to HBO content and the MSO's subscription-based Movie Central service. Shaw says it will add live TV streaming, more VoD and a slate of family-focused programming "in the coming months."

  • Roku Inc. said its new over-the-top video Streaming Stick will sell for $99.99 when it goes on sale in October. The device, which resembles a USB flash drive, will initially be compatible with several TV models from Apex Digital, Insignia (Best Buy's CE brand) and Hitachi America Ltd. Other named CE partners include Element Electronics, GlobalVue International, Haier, Mitsubishi Electric, Onkyo and Integra.

  • Comcast has drafted retired Super Bowl-winning coach and current NBC football analyst Tony Dungy as the national spokesman for the MSO's Internet Essentials program for students of low-income families. More than 100,000 qualified families signed up during the first year of the program, which offers broadband for $9.95 per month and a $149.99 voucher good toward the purchase of a PC. (See Comcast: 100K Families Take Internet Essentials Tier and Comcast Goes Big With 'Internet Essentials'.)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:20:42 PM
    re: TW Cable Open to an Apple-Flavored Guide

    Early on it only works with a small number TV sets since they need to support Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) technology. And the price seems a little high, at $99, to expect this doodad to do well as a stand-alone retail product. What might make more sense is for the TV makers to bundle it in and bake in a premium. JB


    AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:20:41 PM
    re: TW Cable Open to an Apple-Flavored Guide

    Come next January, I'd expect these Roku sticks to be part of many CES 2013 display device demos in Las Vegas. Integrating them sounds risky: Who does customer call when the software gets buggy?

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:20:40 PM
    re: TW Cable Open to an Apple-Flavored Guide

    They're already going to be integrated with some of these sets, so the suggestion was that the TV  maker could then try to differentiate a bit by including the Roku Stick in the same box that the TV comes in and subsidize part of the cost of the devcie, but still charge some sort of a premium. That would require some other negotiations... maybe the TV manufacturer gets a small cut of any apps that a buyer purchases via the Roku?  But good question to bring up on who gets the call if something goes wrong in those situations... who's neck is on line contractually? JB

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