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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 23, 2014

Cable Technology Week in Review

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

You know what they say: Little ones grow into big ones. That’s true for puppies, alligators and future consumers of telecom services. No. 1 U.S. cable MSO Comcast (News - Alert) has launched Xfinity On Campus, a service that lets college students watch live TV and on-demand content on their IP-enabled devices, including, laptops, tablets and smartphones while on campus. The hope, of course, is to snag new Xfinity customers before they’re even out of school and paying rent (and signing up for TV service).

The MSO is being fairly savvy about it, by hanging the offering on a multiscreen value proposition. It’s also working with the schools themselves to bill it, so that it’s included with room and board for students living in on-campus housing. Xfinity On Campus offers about 80 live cable channels including every major broadcast network as well as channels like AMC, Bravo, Comedy Central, ESPN (News - Alert) (News - Alert), FX and MTV. Kids can also upgrade to a selection of premium channels, including HBO, Showtime, STARZ, as well as the Sports Entertainment Package, which includes popular channels like ESPN Goal Line. And, Comcast said that it will roll out a cloud-based DVR service soon as an add-on.

Check out all of the implications for “cord-nevers” and cable, in our full analysis.

Netflix is widening its stable of paid peering agreements with ISPs, adding Time Warner Cable to the mix. Now, Netflix streaming over-the-top (OTT) traffic will be delivered to TWC subscribers via a direct interconnection between the two—boosting quality of service. The deal means that Netflix now has direct peering arrangements with the top four U.S. ISPs, having signed deals with Comcast, Verizon and AT&T (News - Alert) over the last few months. Netflix has said that it will, in some cases, reluctantly pay large ISPs to ensure a high quality member experience, but CEO Reed Hastings is less than pleased: “If this kind of leverage is effective against Netflix, which is pretty large, imagine the plight of smaller services today and in the future.”

Find out more about Netflix’ interconnection and Net neutrality (News - Alert) saga, here.

Second-screen activity continues to go mainstream as consumers Tweet, share and vote their way through everything from reality competition shows to sci-fi summer dramas. However, TV-specific apps typically require users to open them up in order to perform actions (like tweeting) that they could do directly via the widgets they already use. The new 2V App is looking to make things easier on the second-screen front, by allowing audiences to automatically receive synchronized and contextually relevant content on their connected smart devices while they watch TV and movies. It also offers a set of social tools, along with polls, places of interest, news articles, shopping, filtered social chat, multi-media, actor/people bios and the ability to pin and share content with friends.

For full details and analysis, click here.

There will be more than 820 channels of UltraHD content via satellite by 2025, according to a new report by NSR. Reportedly, direct-to-home (DTH) technology will lead to higher ARPUs, and greater customer retention. In addition, all regions will see some UltraHD content broadcast, via DTH and via satellite to Cable TV headends and IPTV (News - Alert) providers by 2025.

The study also predicts significant revenue growth for UltraHD, with over $370M from capacity leasing for this new content type. UltraHD is also expected to be an important differentiator among DTH platforms in both developed and developing regions. A few UHD channels in developing regions are said to attract thousands of subscribers and eventually UltraHD is said to be a strong niche market in the medium term.

Read the full market forecast, detailed here.

Chinese companies Hisense and TCL are set to debut new Roku-driven televisions in a variety of different screen sizes, which will hit over the course of the next several weeks, according to reports. The remote controls will include one-touch buttons to immediately access several different streaming services, from Netflix to Vudu and beyond thanks to a set of arrangements with said providers. The remotes also have some serious departure from standard remotes, including a lack of number keypads, which along with other differences brings the total button count down by half. Setup and navigation functions go through menus, and there's even some ability to send content from a mobile device to the television itself. However, the televisions won't stint on other devices, as three HDMI ports will reportedly be on hand for each model.

Read more about pricing and features, by clicking here.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) has announced that it is awarding an Emmy each to Tivo and subsidiary, Digitalsmiths, in the Television Enhancement Devices category and the Personalized Recommendation Engines for Video Diversity for Multichannel video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) category, respectively.

Digitalsmiths’ award comes in special recognition for its new product, Seamless Discovery, which has become the most-adopted personalized video search and recommendation platform in North America. Seven leading U.S. pay-TV providers have partnered with Digitalsmiths as well, ina collaboration that will produce more video discovery features through personalized searches based on recommendations, mood, sport, social discovery and more.

TiVo has also previously received four other Emmy awards from NATAS for its innovation and advancements in the home entertainment field.

To see the full story, click here.

To check out more details on all of this and more, visit our homepage. And have a great weekend!

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