Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.
Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc., DirecTV Group Inc., Orange SA and Time Warner Cable Inc. have all deployed products that use the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standards for shipping "premium services" to consumer devices. The aim here is to enable pay-TV operators to deliver content and their user interfaces securely to gaming consoles, Blu-ray players and other devices that use DLNA. Among the operators, Cox expects that more than 500,000 of its subscribers will have DLNA premium content capabilities via its tru2way-based guide within a year, while TW Cable already has "millions" of boxes that support the new premium DLNA standard. Comcast is supporting the premium standard early on in its Pace plc-made XG1 whole-home DVRs, while DirecTV has added it to its new line of Genie HD-DVRs. Orange has added it to its Livebox Play offer.
While some industry analysts question whether there's much demand for Aereo Inc.'s broadband TV/cloud DVR, company CEO and founder Chet Kanojia thinks there's plenty of room for a cheaper pay-TV alternative that provides a smaller lineup of channels. "We can get 5 percent to 6 percent of the market," he told the Los Angeles Times soon after Aereo announced a new funding round and plans to expand to 22 additional markets that would extend its coverage to almost 100 million households. (See Aereo Sets 22-City Expansion.)
Apple Inc.'s next video play remains a topic of myth and rumor, but the cable guys are bracing for something big. "Knowing they're coming after us is motivating," Comcast VP of Mobile Solutions Randall Hounsell said at the Consumer Electronics Show, according to Streaming Media Magazine. "We know they are coming. We don't know what it's going to look like," he added. For its part, Comcast is already trying to stave off new video competition, including whatever may come from Apple, with its IP-capable X1 service, already launched in five markets. But Hounsell also downplayed the potential threat posed by new pay-TV entrants. "They're going to have to do something five-fold better than what's out there to get people to change their behavior around TV."
Microsoft Corp.confirmed the hiring of Sling Media Inc. founder Blake Krikorian to corporate VP for its Interactive Entertainment Business, where he'll be part of the Xbox team. The move follows Microsoft's acquisition of Krikorian's home id8 Group R2 Studios, a startup focused on home automation apps.