Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in a proposed rule Wednesday to unleash another 195MHz of unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz band for Wi-Fi, a decision that would bump capacity in that band by 35 percent, aim to reduce wireless data congestion, and get the technology on a path toward 1Gbit/s speeds. And it could prove to be a big help to the cable industry and other carriers that operate Wi-Fi networks. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA)cheered Wednesday's vote, and that's no big surprise, as some of its biggest members have serious Wi-Fi strategies underway. According to the NCTA, the five major U.S. operators involved in a Wi-Fi roaming pact have already deployed more than 100,000 Wi-Fi hot spots. The FCC has not announced a timetable for the comment period and the final vote on the proposal, which will need to address potential interference issues with nearby bands. (See FCC to Free Spectrum for 'Gigabit Wi-Fi' and Cable Goes Big With Wi-Fi Roaming.)
The Nielsen Co. is cooking up a new ratings system that will measure viewing via broadband and devices such as game consoles and tablets, reports The Hollywood Reporter, noting that this will mark an expansion in how Nielsen defines television. The report said Nielsen hopes to have new hardware and software in place by the fall TV season.
Sony Corp.shed some light on the PlayStation 4 Wednesday, but left many disappointed because it didn't offer a glimpse of the device itself or disclose expected pricing, a decision Sony probably made to keep Microsoft Corp. guessing as it gets ready to unveil the next-gen Xbox. Sony did offers some specs, noting that it will run on the x86 architecture, provide "almost 2 teraflops of performance" thanks to a more muscular GPU, according to Engadget. But the "real story" about PS4 is not graphical upgrades, but its social networking tie-ins and a new cloud-based storefront and one-click access to games, said Jefferies & Co. Inc. analyst Brian Pitz, in a research note. Sony plans to launch it in time for the 2013 holidays.
From the "Where Are They Now" files … Ran Oz, a founder and ex-CTO of BigBand Networks (sold to Arris Group Inc. in 2011) has the same role at Wotchit Inc., a New York-based startup with R&D offices in Tel-Aviv, Israel, that lets users create their "own newsroom" by curating news video content from licensed partners. He's been with Wotchit since February 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Google offered another early look at its wearable Google Glass technology, including the UI and some real-world uses of the new techno-specs. The clip below offers a snippet designed to demonstrate some reality-enhancing apps and a general "how it feels" tour. While Google Glass (a pair will reportedly cost $1,500) uses data to provide a reality-enhancing experience, how soon before we see Netflix Inc. and pay-TV operators develop video streaming apps for Google's new creation?
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable