Comcast Web TV Unit Prefers HTML5 Over FlashComcast Web TV Unit Prefers HTML5 Over Flash
Also: Netflix to set cash aside for 'potential acquisitions'; LodgeNet seeks quick Chapter 11 exit; ThinkAnalytics does Comcast's RDK; Funai buys Philips's video biz
January 29, 2013
Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.
Comcast Corp.-owned media publisher thePlatform Inc. is giving HTML5 the vote. The company has launched a new "universal" video player service for iOS, Android and Windows-based devices that uses HTML5 as the default setting rather than Adobe Systems Inc. Flash. The new player can still be switched to Flash "if needed," the company adds, noting that the new setting will help thePlatform and its partners get a better grip on an increasingly fragmented online video market that largely lacks cross-platform standards. HTML5 "has matured over the past 18 months and it's now ready for primetime," said thePlatform SVP of Sales and Marketing Marty Roberts. Among other benefits, HTML5 now enables faster video playback than traditional Flash-based players and doesn't require as many development resources, claims thePlatform, which also works with MSOs such as Cablevision Systems Corp., Cox Communications Inc., Liberty Global Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. (See The iPad: A Threat to Flash's Video Dominance?)
Netflix Inc. intends to offer US$400 million of senior notes due 2021, of which $225 million will be used to redeem its outstanding 8.50 percent senior notes due in 2017, with the remaining set aside for general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures, investments, working capital and "potential acquisitions."
LodgeNet Interactive Corp., a company that delivers video and broadband services to about 1.5 million hotel rooms, has filed a pre-packaged Chapter 11 plan, and expects to emerge from bankruptcy within 60 days. The restructuring plan includes a $60 million recapitalization from Colony Capital LLC and a new partnership with DirecTV Group Inc. that calls for the satellite TV giant to bear some of the installation costs.
ThinkAnalytics Ltd. confirmed it's the first video recommendations engine vendor to secure a license for the Comcast Reference Design Kit (RDK), an integrated software bundle for IP-only and hybrid IP/QAM set-tops and gateways (but you probably knew that already). The license will let ThinkAnalytics provide software development, integration and testing services to set-top and chip makers, as well as operators that intend to adopt the RDK. ThinkAnalytics counts Liberty Global, Cox, BSkyB Ltd., Virgin Media Inc. and Telenet among its service provider customers. (See Brits Rev Up Recommendation Engine.)
Royal Philips Electronics NV has sold what's left of its video business, plus an initial five-and-a-half-year brand license, to Japan's Funai Electric Co. Ltd. for €150 million ($202 million). Philips, which will instead apply all its focus on more profitable product categories such as lighting and healthcare, spun off its TV operations in 2011, when it created a joint venture with Hong Kong's TPV Technology Ltd. The deal with Funai is expected to close in the second half of 2013. — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable
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