Today's cable news roundup leads off with word that two major U.S. MSOs are eager to extend live and on-demand video streaming to a greater number of consumer electronics devices.
Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) will stretch the legs of its new content delivery network (CDN) and pipe live TV to a greater number of IP-connected devices in 2012. Following initial launches on the iPad and iPhone, the MSO is "planning to bring our live IP video to a wide variety of new platforms in the home this year, including PCs and Macs, game consoles, and certain models of Internet-ready televisions," MSO Chairman and CEO Glenn Britt said on Thursday's fourth-quarter earnings call. TWC has already announced plans to deliver subscription video services over IP to TVs made by Samsung Corp. and Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE). (See CES 2011: Samsung Puts MSOs in the Picture and CES 2011: TW Cable, Sony Make IPTV Connection.)
Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) confirmed a report that it's testing a live TV app for PCs and laptops that would follow up the popular app the MSO has already developed for the iPad. The MSO has "always said that we expect to deliver our full cable television service to every screen in the home capable of functioning as a television," the company said, in a statement. Cablevision has extended the trial to a small group of customers and expects to launch it commercially later this year. (See Cablevision Launches iPad App With 280+ Channels .)
But cable's consumer electronics integration efforts will be dwarfed by Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) for the foreseeable future. Netflix has baked its streaming app into more than 800 devices, NewTeeVee says, citing a recent Netflix job posting. MSOs, however, are wary of app management nightmares and have expressed that they will likely target a more limited set of devices and focus primarily on the most popular ones.
Wave Broadband is looking to fetch about US$1 billion to sell cable systems serving more than 325,000 subs in parts of Washington, Oregon and California, Bloomberg reports, noting that smaller MSOs are looking to sell as they find themselves saddled with programming costs that are rising 10 percent a year and hitting margins hard.
Revenues at Motorola Mobility LLC 's Home unit, which sells cable set-tops, modems and other broadband gear, dipped 11 percent in the fourth quarter to $896 million, but still pulled in earnings of $57 million. Set-top shipments dropped 3 percent for the quarter, but were up 6 percent for the full year, notes Multichannel News.
The lawfirm of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP has started a class action law suit against Cablevision in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleging that the MSO issued materially false and misleading statements in areas such as costs tied to customer retention and advertising and expected video subscriber losses. (See Cablevision Feels the FiOS Heat and Cablevision Profits, Video Subs Shrink in Q3 .)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable
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