Here's what's pushing broadband's and cable's buttons today.
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) closed its $5 billion acquisition of NDS Ltd. on Tuesday and will now look to integrate some key NDS products, including its video security products and Snowflake user interface, with Videoscape, Cisco's all-singing, all-dancing multi-screen video platform for service operators.
The deal will also expand Cisco's footprint in Europe and help it target emerging markets. U.K.-based NDS and its employees will be folded into Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group (SPVTG), which is helmed by SVP and GM Jesper Andersen (here's the blog he posted when the deal was sealed.). Ex-NDS Chairman and CEO Dr. Abe Peled is now SVP and chief strategist for Cisco's Video and Collaboration Group, a component of SPVTG. Cisco announced the deal on March 15. (See Cisco Bets $5B More on Video With NDS and Cisco's Video Game-Changer .)
Hulu LLC 's $8 per month Plus service has joined the Apple TV apps lineup, giving Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) users a subscription-based source for a deeper library of TV series and an option that complements titles that can be purchased directly from the iTunes library.
The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) has adopted its first pair of energy standards for the cable industry: SCTE 184 (recommended practices for energy management, including sweet spots for a variety of headends and hub sizes) and SCTE 186 (energy specs for rack equipment, including requirements on elements such as temperature and air flow). There are no mandated regulations around the standards, but it's anticipated that operators will require vendors to comply with them in upcoming requests for proposals (RFPs). A total of 17 standards (including these first two) are up for consideration, says Derek DiGiacomo, SCTE's senior director of information systems and energy management. Two of them (Adaptive Power System Interface Specification, and Energy and Density Benchmark Measurement) are expected to wrap up during the first half of next year, he adds. They'll all fit into broader, energy-related cable industry initiatives. (See Comcast's Strategy Chief Calls a Power Play and SCTE Drives Green 'SEMI'.)
The Federal Trade Commission has cleared the sale of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s $3 billion, 15.8 percent stake in A&E Television Networks to Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and Hearst Communications. Some networks in the A&E stable include History Channel, Biography and Lifetime. Comcast's to receive $1.95 billion in cash and a note for $1.072 billion, AP says.
Comcast is reportedly spending at least $170 million on a campaign aimed at improving consumer understanding of the company's Xfinity brand, and some initial TV spots started popping up around the opening ceremonies of the summer Olympics. The first ad highlights things like TV Everywhere, multi-screen video, and the company's new Skype TV and home security/automation services. BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield blogged (registration required) that the company should have put more emphasis on "key services most people use, as opposed to the Comcast versions." But beyond that nitpick, he said the ad is a good illustration of how Comcast's DSL and satellite TV competitors should be "concerned as the cable industry has now figured out how to market." Agree with that assessment? Here's the ad: