Video services

STB Repair Firm Plots a Bolt From Bankruptcy

Welcome to Monday's broadband and cable news roundup.

  • Bain Capital -controlled cable set-top and modem repair company Contec Holdings Ltd. submitted a plan to a Delaware court late last week that seeks to cut its US$360 million debt load and exit Chapter 11, reports The Wall Street Journal. As part of the plan, subordinated noteholders, which are owed $159 million, would receive warrants to purchase new shares, while unsecured trade creditors would get cash, the report said, adding that certain senior lenders have agreed to put up $35 million in bankruptcy financing and to provide a $25 million bankruptcy-exit loan. Contec, an outfit that repairs more than 2 million cable boxes per year, filed Chapter 11 last month, with hopes to emerge from it within 60 days. Most of its 2,300 employees are based in Mexico. (See Set-Top Repair Giant Seeks Chapter 11 Fix and Cable CPE Repair Firm Reorgs.)

  • Voom, a now-defunct HDTV service started up by a programming division of Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), was "betrayed" by EchoStar Communications (now Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH)) when the satellite TV giant backed out of a 15-year contract that left the service with "massive financial losses," a lawyer for AMC Networks Inc. argued Friday as the case got underway in New York. AMC is seeking $2.4 billion in damages from Dish, which contends that it scuttled the deal in 2008 because Cablevision didn't spend the required $100 million a year on Voom programming, Bloomberg reports. Charles Dolan, the 86-year-old chairman of Cablevision and AMC, is scheduled to testify today. (See VOOM Death to Cost Cablevision .)

  • Hughes Network Systems Inc. has activated Gen4, a new high-capacity satellite broadband service that offers speeds of up to 15 Mbit/s. The announcement coincides with the launch of dishNET, Dish's new satellite broadband service for rural areas that starts at $39.99 per month. (See Dish Goes Rural With Satellite Broadband.)

  • This blog post from Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) VP of Technology, Customer Premises Equipment Michael Cook reveals some details about the Comcast Hardware Innovation Platform (CHIP), an app platform based on the Bug Labs system that tests new services for wireless gateways. Among the current work, CHIP is looking at a range of home automation apps, including one that uses facial recognition. It's also got a 2.0 version on tap that relies on a more powerful processor.

  • The Nielsen Co. and the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) have formed a committee that will collaborate on Nielsen's mobile Television Audience Measurement (mTAM) initiative. They plan to further develop and test different approaches to TV audience measurement using apps on phones, tablets and a website, and initially focus on local media markets.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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