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Cisco, Motorola May Be Next to Settle With TiVo

Jeff Baumgartner
9/25/2012
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Here's what's pushing the buttons of broadband and cable today.

  • With AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and, most recently, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) opting to settle with TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) rather than battling it out in the courts, such an outcome is "the most likely" scenario for the upcoming TiVo patent cases involving Motorola Mobility (now part of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), predicts Jefferies & Company Inc. analyst Brian Fitzgerald, in a research note. Barring any settlements beforehand, he expects a claim construction hearing for the Motorola case to occur in late November, followed by a trial in the spring of 2013. Claim construction for the Cisco case could happen in mid-2013. (See RGB Shows Video Packager to ANGA, Verizon to Pay TiVo $250M to Settle DVR Fight and TiVo Sues Motorola & Time Warner Cable.)

  • As gaming consoles continue to become video streaming hubs, it follows that pay-TV operators are looking to turn the tables a bit and deliver high-end video games via the proverbial cloud. AT&T, Cox Communications Inc. , Verizon and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) are among the major service providers that are developing strategies to stream gaming titles directly to customers and amp up the competition among game console makers, Bloomberg reports, noting that trials are expected to start later this year, with initial deployments to follow in 2013.

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is supporting the broadcasters in their legal fight against Aereo Inc. , claiming that the upstart service, which delivers over-the-air TV broadcasts to consumers via the Internet alongside a network-based DVR, violates copyright laws, notes The Los Angeles Times, citing a Cablevision amicus brief filed late last week. Aereo is basing its defense partly on the legal basis of Cablevision's implementation of a network DVR, but Cablevision argued that a "critical legal difference is that Cablevision pays statutory licensing and retransmission content fees for the content it retransmits, while Aereo does not." Barry Diller-backed Aereo says it charges customers for an infrastructure, but isn't subject to retrans fees because it's relying on TV content that's available for free over-the-air. Aereo's service currently is only offered in New York City. (See Diller's Aereo Under Legal Attack, Does Aereo Have a DVR Precedent? and Diller Says Aereo Doesn't Sell Content.)

  • Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX)'s video vault has thinned a bit after dropping about 800 hours of relatively new content from A&E Networks, including episodes from popular series such as Pawn Stars and Ice Road Truckers, reports Variety, noting that the streaming video hub still carries about 300 hours of older fare from the A&E library.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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    Jeff Baumgartner
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    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    12/5/2012 | 5:20:33 PM
    re: Cisco, Motorola May Be Next to Settle With TiVo


    Good point on the vendor angle with TiVo.  Makes me wonder if we might see the type of settlement we saw between TiVo and Microsoft occur between TiVo with Cisco and/or Motorola.  TiVo and Microsoft dropped their pending litigation but no cash traded hands, and that came about only after AT&T and TiVo reached their settlement.  JB


     

    paolo.franzoi
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    paolo.franzoi,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    12/5/2012 | 5:20:33 PM
    re: Cisco, Motorola May Be Next to Settle With TiVo


     


    Indemnity - If Cisco and Google trade patents with TiVo why would that not indemnify AT&T and Verizon from claims against those patents?  Normally, you don't get two bites at the apple that way.


    Gaming Consoles - So, let me get this right...forward,progressive, nimble, agile service providers are going where OnLive cratered.  I can see that ending well.


     


    seven!


     

    paolo.franzoi
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    paolo.franzoi,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    12/5/2012 | 5:20:32 PM
    re: Cisco, Motorola May Be Next to Settle With TiVo


    The basic issue is that the game designers and owners see no reason to support this system.  If you make Madden, are you going to license someone to "lease out" infinite copies or are you going to want every single licensee pay full boat.  So, unless the gaming companies get something for this their is no business.  People forget two things:  The Online Gaming Business is bigger than the Movie Business and Just like the Movie Business things move quickly and unevenly.  People want franchises like Bond and Madden.  But how is Diablo 3 doing?  And remember games are really global - much more so than video content.  WoW (World of Warcraft) has its largest customer base in China. 


    Finally, gaming is headed in some ways that I think that service providers are not going to deal with effectively.  Apps, Zynga, Wii...the kind of people that are hardcore gaming console folks are FPS gamers.  Those things come and go on gameplay like the weather changes.  SPs trying to keep up is going to go badly.


    The biggest issue of all is age.  Service providers are run by old men.  How many have a Halo night like the guys on "The Big Bang Theory"?  How are they supposed to create a service that will be driven by the 12 - 25 year olds?  Think the low end of that age range is already dropping Facebook. 


    seven


     

    AESerm
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    AESerm,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:20:32 PM
    re: Cisco, Motorola May Be Next to Settle With TiVo


    As for gaming consoles, seven, were the challenges that OnLive faced (may have to some extent created for itself?) not at all separable from the opporutunity? 

    Jeff Baumgartner
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    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    12/5/2012 | 5:20:30 PM
    re: Cisco, Motorola May Be Next to Settle With TiVo


    And there is a little bit of what's old is new again to all this. Years back when Docsis was just getting rolled out there were some startups that pitched the idea of high-end PC games purchased and delivered over broadband, including Into Networks and Media Station. And i think some of the issues Seven points to made it a tough sell with the game publishers. Plus broadband deployment was still in its relative infancy.


    I think it was about that time that Pace trotted out a prototype that combined a set-top with a Sega Dreamcast... interesting idea that didn't go anywhere. But it was probably one of the funnest on-site media briefings for anyone covering the cable tech sector. now we've got gaming consoles trying to be set-tops, so they were defintiely on to something.   JB


     



    paolo.franzoi
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    paolo.franzoi,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    12/5/2012 | 5:20:30 PM
    re: Cisco, Motorola May Be Next to Settle With TiVo


    Just as an aside, I am more of a PC gamer myself.  One of the best known and widely played PC First Person Shooters is Counterstrike.  This started as a mod (modification) to Half Life.  Over time it became its own thing and in some ways eclipsed Half Life.  The reason I bring this up is a LOT of big games seem to come out of nowhere...Counterstrike, Portal, Dragon Age, Civilization, Everquest.


    Maybe that is the best way to express it.  If you are the cable companies, really you care about the big game franchises and making sure you have access to them like you have access to ESPN.  But in gaming, these are few and far between.  Most games are one hit wonders or hit + expansion and then failed follow up.  Will cable really want to deal with all the variety of games that are out there?


    seven


     

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