Clearwire Stock Surge Could Help Comcast

Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Maybe Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) should have waited a bit longer before unloading its stake in Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), whose stock rocketed 70 percent Thursday after Clearwire's biggest shareholder, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), confirmed it is in talks with Japan's SoftBank Corp. regarding a "potential substantial investment" in the carrier and a possible change of control. TW Cable recently sold its 46.4 million shares for $63.6 million but could've gotten $103 million if it was a tad more patient, noted The Wall Street Journal.

    One company likely to be keeping a close eye on this is Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), which still owns 88.5 million shares of Clearwire but has not said if or when it might sell its stake in its erstwhile wireless broadband partner. Clearwire shares closed at $2.22 each Thursday, placing a $196.4 million value on Comcast's current holdings. Comcast paid $1.05 billion for its original 6 percent stake in Clearwire. (See Comcast Gets Closer to a Clearwire Sell-Off , TW Cable to Dump Clearwire Stake and Softbank: Sprint's Asian Savior?)

  • DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) has let loose the Genie, a five-tuner, whole-home HD-DVR with one terabyte of storage that includes an opt-in Genie Recommends feature that automatically records shows based on the customer's preferences. The Genie, not to be confused with this one, is a competitive play against cable whole-home setups and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH)'s new ad-skipping Hopper HD-DVR. DirecTV's new entry can feed video over the network to client boxes, called Genie Minis, or directly to as many as eight RVU-capable TVs, gaming consoles and Blu-ray players. DirecTV is currently offering Genie only to new customers, and will market it to all customers starting later this year. And, no, DirecTV did not opt for a bottle design:

  • TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. (Nasdaq: TQNT) will tee up three new products at next week's Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Cable-Tec Expo, including what it says is the first amplifier (the TAT3814) to support a super-wide return path of 5Mhz to 300Mhz for Docsis 3.0 upstream channel bonding. North American cable operators still use an upstream spectrum range of 5MHz to 42MHz, but the idea of a future-proofing "high-split" that would raise that ceiling to 200MHz or more has been under discussion. (See Cable's Upstream Gap .)

  • Massillon Cable TV Inc. has teamed with Motorola Mobility to secure live and on-demand video that's delivered to smartphones and tablets using a software-based encryption system that came out of Moto's 2010 acquisition of SecureMedia. Massillon expects to offer Moto-secured streams on iOS and Android phones and tablets by the end of the year. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) are also using the security system to protect multi-screen video. (See Moto Nabs SecureMedia.)

  • Adaptive bit rate management firm SeaWell Networks Inc. has tapped cable vet and former Motorola exec and R.L. Drake LLC CEO cable vet Jeff Huppertz as SVP, business and corporate development, and Duncan Potter, who is late of Edgeware AB , as chief marketing officer. Both report to SeaWell CEO Brian Collie.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:19:14 PM
    re: Clearwire Stock Surge Could Help Comcast

    Amid all the news items about big players like Comcast, Sprint and DirecTV, it's nice to see an item about Massillon Cable TV, a small cable operator in Massillon, Ohio that has done its utmost to stay on the cutting edge. The company president, Bob Gessner, is always trying innovative things, now apparently streaming video to tablets and smartphones, even though he lacks the size and market clout of a large MSO.

    We all should be so lucky as to live in a town like Massillon, Ohio (even though I grew up rooting for their big football rival, the Upper Arlington Golden Bears!).     

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