Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.
The cable set-top business isn't all that great these days, whether you're selling them new or sprucing up old ones. Contec Holdings Ltd. , one of cable's primary set-top and modem repair and refurbishment outfits, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. The Bain Capital -owned company, which repairs more than 2 million cable boxes per year, says lenders have agreed to provide a $25 million credit facility and $35 million debtor-in possession financing, noting that it expects to emerge from bankruptcy within 60 days. Contec plans to operate as normal during the process and doesn't anticipate any layoffs due to the filing. Most of its 2,300 employees are based in Mexico, according to AP. Its Schenectady, N.Y., facility repairs digital set-tops made by Motorola Mobility LLC , Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Pace plc , Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and Samsung Corp. (See Cable CPE Repair Firm Reorgs.)
Freesat has secured a deal to integrateNetflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) into satellite set-tops that receive free TV services, as the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) /ITV plc (London: ITV) joint venture amps up the competition with over-the-air/broadband video rival YouView TV Ltd. and continues its assault on Sky , reports The Telegraph, noting that Freesat has sold about 2.6 million boxes since its 2008 debut. The Netflix streaming service isn’t free, of course -- it sells for £5.99 (US$9.51) per month.
AllThingsD notes that DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) will again let non-subscribers access the NFL Sunday Ticket service via broadband on Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) PlayStation 3 consoles, but will charge $300 for it -- $40 less than last year's offer. A provision in DirecTV's current Ticket deal with the NFL allows the satellite TV giant to offer the football package via broadband, so long as customers can prove that they can't receive DirecTV's traditional pay-TV service (i.e. they can't receive a satellite signal or their apartment landlord won't let residents use satellite TV). DirecTV has previously declined to say how it verifies this, presumably to prevent people from figuring out how to school the system. (See Cable: DirecTV's 'Ticket' to Broadband Content.)
There may be a market for Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s nonexistent TV set. About 88 percent of current Apple customers and 80 percent of current flat-screen TV owners would be interested in buying a TV from the company, according to a survey from Quixel Research. Wireless connectivity and using an IOS device as a remote control topped the wish list of features those surveyed would want in an Apple television. (See Would an Apple Set-Top Box Pay Off? and Apple's Pay-TV Path May Run Through Cable )
RGB Networks Inc. has added encoding to its TransAct Transcoder, targeting the combo to service providers that are sourcing live and on-demand IP video to smartphones, tablets, PCs, connected TVs and set-top boxes. RGB is showing off the new wares at this week's IBC show in Amsterdam.