Third party devices need adapter, Comcast set-top boxes unaffected
Comcast will start encrypting its basic cable service in the coming months. Though users with a Comcast-provided set-top box will be able to decrypt the new signals without any problem, customers with either a third-party cable box or devices that directly connect to a cable outlet will need to request some equipment.
New user monitoring system powered by error-prone MarkMonitor
As expected, the Center for Copyright Information's BitTorrent monitoring system has launched, but with all five previously-announced ISPs starting up in one day. Participating ISPs in the measure, also known as "six strikes," include Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Cablevision, and Time Warner, plus all subsidiaries of the parent companies.
Sources familiar with the matter claim all five ISPs commence this week
According to reports, the much-delayed "six strikes" copyright enforcement monitoring system will go live over the next week, with Internet provider Comcast launching on Monday. The Copyright Alert System (CAS), run by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) has no official launch date, and has been held up by implementation issues, and the damaging effects of Superstorm Sandy. ISPs AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon are all signed up for the system.
Deal expected to complete with little interference by end of 1Q
Comcast has announced today that it is acquiring GE's 49 percent common equity share of the NBCUniversal joint venture. The deal, worth $16.7 billion -- plus $1.4 billion for 30 Rockefeller Plaza and the CNBC headquarters -- will be funded with $11.4 billion in cash, $4 billion of unsecured notes, $2 billion in new debt, and $725 million of stock issued to GE as terms of the agreement.
Xfinity TV app works for Android and iOS
Comcast announced today that it would be extending the opportunity for its Xfinity TV customers to download content from the Internet to their mobile devices. The Xfinity TV Player App now lets customers watch their favorite content while on the go, without having to be connected to the Internet for streaming. Starting today, customers can download thousands of premium TV and movie content from Showtime, Starz, Encore, and Movieplex.
Verizon, Time Warner, AT&T plan gaming service
The major cable companies are looking to take a big step into the gaming sector, according to reports. Sources familiar with the cable companies' plans tell Bloomberg that they will soon be rolling out trials of a cloud-based gaming offering service, taking on game console makers such as Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. The trials are scheduled to begin later this year, with AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and Cox all working on offerings.
Memo hints at management buyout, content changes
Content streaming site Hulu may be about to undergo significant changes over the next few months as an internal realignment looms that could see current CEO Jason Kilar departing. Variety has obtained an internal memo from the site detailing the possible reorganization within the streaming site. The coming changes could see not only the departure of Kilar, but also a significant weakening of the popular television portal.
New speed tier announced via internal live event stream
Comcast is reportedly planning to offer a 305Mbps Internet connection before the end of the year. Someone that Broadband Reports considers a reliable source claimed all Comcast employees were treated to a streaming live event about future Xfinity plans, where Chief Executive Officer Neil Smit mentioned the faster tier would be in Verizon FiOS territories "soon."
Comcast pays $800,000 'voluntary' fee to FCC
Comcast has reached a deal with federal regulators to settle an investigation into the company's compliance with terms of the NBCUniversal merger. A payment of $800,000 must be made by Comcast, as well as starting an advertising campaign pushing inexpensive and "reasonably fast" Internet connectivity to customers who don't subscribe to Comcast cable's television services. Comcast claims to have done nothing wrong, and is making the payment "voluntarily."
Overbroad subpoenas quashed, civil case closed
As previously reported, Internet service provider Comcast attempted to quash "John Doe" subpoenas in an adult video pirating case. The company had argued that the case was about "shaking down" its customers and pushing for settlements out of the 264 potential infringers rather than any interest in actually stopping the piracy. The company has now been handed a victory in court, as Judge Gary Feinerman ruled that Comcast was not in contempt of court for ignoring subpoenas from four adult video companies. The civil case was also dismissed.
Motion to suppress subpoenas filed, information not revealed
Internet provider Comcast historically complies with content owner's requests to name BitTorrent infringers when provided with sufficient data, but a legal skirmish in the Illinois district court is playing out differently. Comcast has asked the court to dismiss the subpoenas for subscriber's information issued in a battle with four adult video purveyors, saying the case is about coercing settlements out of the 264 potential infringers rather than pursuing legal action.
FCC may require Verizon to divest some AWS spectrum, marketing conditions may see deal fall
Verizon's $3.6 billion buy of AWS spectrum may be approved by the FCC after all, analysts believe, though it will require a number of conditions. For one, it may have to give up some of its spectrum, and has already offered to give some up in the past. What may stand in the way is the conditions of the sale, with all involved trying to get the most of it, CNET reported.
Boston's 'The Cable Show' host for Comcast's announcements
In a trio of recent announcements from cable giant Comcast, the company announced Voice 2Go, adding a new assortment of features for the Xfinity Voice suite pulled from the smartphone feature set. Also at Boston's The Cable Show Comcast's new next-generation customizable user interface codenamed "Project Dayview" was demonstrated. Rounding out the trio of announcements, the X1 cloud-based IPTV service was also shown. All three services will be rolled out to select markets by the end of this year.
Viewdini platform will aggregate video content from free, paid services
At The Cable Show in Boston, Verizon Wireless on Tuesday announced it will soon release a new platform called Viewdini that will allow streaming of video content to subscribers of Comcast Xfinity, Hulu Plus, mSpot, Netflix, and TV sites to their mobile devices. Also, 4G mobile plans are required, and the service will only be available to Android-powered devices first, though support for other platforms is promised, as is content from Verizon FiOS.
New max 300GB, additional charge if exceeded
The official Comcast blog revealed its new data-usage monitoring and management plan. An internet data usage policy enacted in 2008 allowing residential users 250GB of traffic a month has been revoked. The old policy is being replaced by a system that kicks in after 300GB, and additional data above that will be offered in paid blocks or increments. No date for the launch or firm fees for additional data have been announced.
Nationwide rollout of Skype on Xfinity commences
Comcast has made its Skype on Xfinity system available in Boston and Seattle in the first stage of a nationwide rollout. The previously leaked Skype camera allows users to perform video calls through the service, with instant messaging available while watching TV at the same time.
Company said to be watching Comcast/Netflix debacle
Sony is reportedly stalling its plans to develop a streaming television service, amid fears over potential net-neutrality conflicts. The company's vice president and general manager of global video, Michael Aragon, has finally confirmed rumors surrounding the service, however he told attendees at Variety's Entertainment & Technology Summit that the plans have been put on hold due to the conflict between Netflix and Comcast.
Verizon and Comcast offer double data plans
Verizon and Comcast are expanding their cross-promotional activities into six new markets. The cross-selling gives customers of both companies various incentives including prepaid Visa cards and an offer to double their data package sizes.
Hulu may shift wholesale to requiring TV service
Hulu may remove itself from contention as a pure Internet video service based on rumors overnight. The historically connected New York Post cited insiders who claimed the service would take the Fox authentication strategy, where customers must prove they have conventional TV access, and make it a broader policy. Fox's deal would see it soon talk to Comcast for a deal using the TV Everywhere imitative.
Carrier accuses rival of hypocrisy
Earlier this month, T-Mobile went to Washington to protest Verizon's planned purchase of Advanced Wireless Services airwaves from cable companies, writing a letter (PDF) to the FCC urging the regulatory body to block the spectrum sale. Now, Verizon is turning the tables on its competitor, accusing T-Mobile of hypocrisy in a letter of its own.
Netflix Q1 beats estimates but takes on Comcast
Netflix was aggressive both in performance and in political stance with its quarterly results on Monday. Despite anticipating significant losses, it lost just $5 million as part of its push to the UK and other countries where the consensus had been closer to a $16.9 million hit. Its revenue at $870 million, while down from the fall, was up 21 percent over a year earlier, reflecting the much larger number of subscribers.
Verizon uses 700MHz as bargaining chip
Verizon has said it would put up some of its 700MHz wireless spectrum up for sale if it's cleared to go ahead with its cable company spectrum deal. The move would give up sections of the A and B blocks of 700MHz space it runs in Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Its plan wouldn't directly affect the existing LTE network, which runs on the C block.
Netflix may spur FCC action on Comcast neutrality
A commentary by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings may have brought official FCC scrutiny on Comcast for its cap exemption of Xfinity TV on the Xbox 360. He argued that Comcast was violating net neutrality principles by giving its own service a 'free' pass while applying the cap to competing services, including not just his own Netflix but HBO Go and Hulu Plus as well. After being asked by the Wall Street Journal, the FCC said it "takes seriously" allegations of violations like these and was following what was going on.
Xbox 360 can now get HBO shows on Comcast
As promised, Comcast on Monday switched on its HBO Go support for the Xbox 360 on Monday. Viewers who have a Comcast cable subscription and the console can sign in and watch nearly all of HBO's catalog on-demand. Unlike the Xfinity TV app, though, viewing counts towards the 250GB data transfer cap.
HBO Go gets clearance for Comcast owners at last
Comcast sent word Friday of plans that confirmed rumors of imminent HBO Go on Xbox 360 support. Gamers would get access to the premium cable channel's on-demand shows in streaming form "early next week." The sign-in for HBO Go will be the same as for the already-active Xfinity TV.
Comcast, TWC near deal on HBO Go at last
HBO Go is close to overcoming its absence on Comcast and Time Warner Cable, sources hinted Wednesday. Multiple people linked to the talks explained to the New York Times that the cable providers were "close" to a deal. Comcast could be active as soon as this week, while Time Warner Cable's timing wasn't as certain.
Center for Copyright Information due soon
Major movie labels along with their music equivalents will soon reveal plans to open up a Center for Copyright Information (CCI) in their fight against piracy, CNET reported on Monday. The organization will be charged with supervising the graduated response method suggested by the RIAA for Internet providers. Outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (PDF), the center would also involve the major Internet service providers themselves, such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.
Al Franken speaks out about privacy breaches
Senator Al Franken on Thursday spoke (PDF) at the American Bar Association's Antitrust Section, pleading for more government supervision of large media and technology firms. This would ensure greater privacy to Americans, and the chair of the Senate subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law specifically named Google and Facebook as the major threats. Franken said consumers don't have any legal protection when it comes to their personal information.
By Justin King
Comcast and Time Warner cable subscribers are reportedly blocked from accessing HBO Go content via Xbox 360. Many cable subscribers who were already paying for HBO service through Comcast and Time Warner were surprised to find that their cable providers have yet to participate in the HBO Go program.
MLB joins cable on Xbox 360
Microsoft took its promised Comcast Xfinity TV and HBO Go support live on the Xbox 360 Tuesday with the extra addition of MLB.tv. Akin to the ESPN app, it gives users the option of watching live and on-demand events, albeit live only for out-of-market games. Kinect owners have the extra advantage of motion and voice commands that can sometimes speed up the action.
Comcast and HBO get long awaited Xbox 360 apps
The long-expected Xbox 360 apps for Comcast's Xfinity TV and HBO Go should go live on Tuesday. Tips sent to GigaOm were short on details, but it's believed the HBO app was going live to make sure it was ready for the Game of Thrones second season premiere on April 1, as hinted by studio co-president Eric Kessler. Comcast's timing wasn't explained, but might be following the same reasoning.
Xfinity TV on Xbox 360 near ready
Comcast has slipped out through a support page that it's currently beta testing its Xfinity TV app for the Xbox 360. The service as it stands will give Comcast subscribers who sign in access to a large but incomplete pick of Comcast's usual access. It should include the four core broadcasters and build in major premium providers like HBO, The Movie Channel, and Comcast's own Streampix, but it won't have many mid-tier TV networks.
Publishes voluntary code of ISP conduct
The FCC, in conjunction with several major network service providers, has published a code of conduct that will help mitigate and eliminate the spread of botnet attacks (PDF). It's asking ISPs to voluntarily abide by that code. Already, seven network providers, representing over one-half of all US-based Internet subscribers have agreed to comply.
Verizon argues no other place to buy spectrum
A currently ongoing trial US Congress' Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony from Verizon about its buy of AWS spectrum from cable companies that include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House. During the meeting, Verizon said it would continue to develop its FiOS fiber optic service into which it's already invested some $23 billion and that customers will see no decrease in choices or increased prices from the move due to marketing agreements between cable companies and Verizon, John Eggerton tweeted. The provider's representatives also said it's a good steward of spectrum and is more efficient than some others at using it.
Aereo expands countering lawsuits
Aereo on Tuesday grew its countersuits against TV networks to include several more networks. Fox, PBS, Univision, WPIX, and WNET were all targeted under a complaint that wanted the judge to rule that Aereo wasn't violating the networks' copyrights. It had already sued ABC, CBS, and NBCUniversal a week ago.
Intel Atom CE5300 brings faster video to TV
Intel's smart TV efforts got a lift early in the week with a newly updated Atom chip for digital media hubs. The CE5300, nicknamed Berryville, is its first 32-nanometer chip of its kind. Details are short, although it should carry two cores, "advanced" graphics with H.264 B-frame hardware encoding, and support both Hyperthreading (for up to four code threads at once) as well as virtual machines.
RIAA: some ISPs ready to enforce rules by July 12
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has revealed when some ISPs will begin policing illegal file sharers, CNET reported. Last July, Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and more providers agreed to the policies, which were meant to keep their subscribers from illegally downloading and sharing files. The deadline is July 12, and at least Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon are on track to start implementing the program.
Comcast won't bring Netflix to its portfolio
Despite recent reports that Netflix is in talks with cable providers on some form of partnership, Comcast has gone on record to say it has no interest in such a deal. It won't add the service to its Xfinity subscribers as an on-demand offering or part of its billing service on any device, claims a New York Times report. Netflix believes it could be offered by major cable providers as a premium offering.
Commission scrutinizes $3.9 billion deal
The Federal Communications Commission has reportedly demanded additional information from Verizon and several cable companies, as part of an ongoing investigation into an AWS spectrum licensing deal. The Commission just days ago was asked to scrutinize the proposal, in a letter authored by Verizon competitors T-Mobile and DirecTV, among others.
Service to arrive a year after announcement
Comcast is reportedly set to launch its Xfinity On Demand service for TiVo set-top boxes, nearly a year after plans of the offering first surfaced. Although the cable provider has yet to confirm a specific launch date, unnamed sources have told Zatz Not Funny the service will arrive sometime in April.
Netflix may make deals to weave into cable TV
Fresh leaks have hinted that Netflix is talking directly to cable TV providers to make itself an add-on service. Multiple Reuters informants had Netflix negotiating to become an on-demand, paid extra for TV service. One provider would be ready to provide Netflix before the end of 2012 if cleared quickly.
Letter urges FCC to reveal all data in AWS buy
The deal for AWS spectrum between Verizon and a number of cable companies is facing more troubles as several rivals not keen on the deal have written a letter to the FCC (PDF) asking for full disclosure. Authored by T-Mobile USA, DirecTV, and eight others, the petition asks for redacted evidence that will give them the ability to argue that the deal is anti-competitive. They argue against the parties involved in the deal with Verizon who say access to all the documents isn't in the public's interest.
Suit centers around four patents
Comcast has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Sprint in a Pennsylvania court, accusing the latter of violating several patents related to wireless network technology. The suit centers around four patents that were issued between 1999 and 2010, covering technology ranging from backhaul to USB modems and MMS/SMS messaging systems.
T-Mobile urges FCC to block Verizon spectrum buy
T-Mobile USA has urged the FCC to block the $3.9 billion sale of wireless spectrum by cable companies to Verizon Wireless on Tuesday. Possibly frustrated after its own deal with AT&T was denied, the provider argued the deal between Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, and Cox Communications would give Verizon an "excessive concentration" of wireless spectrum. Verizon is already the biggest cellphone company in the US, while T-Mobile is fourth largest.
Comcast tries Internet VOD to fend off rivals
Comcast on Tuesday tried its hand at mitigating the impact of Internet video on traditional TV by launching Streampix. The service will include a mix of movies and TV shows across its own NBCUniversal as well as Disney, Sony, and Warner Bros. Access won't be confined to Comcast's own network and should include mobile and computer access to some content that would normally go through Comcast's traditional video on demand.
Senate to hold hearing on Verizon spectrum buy
Verizon's $3.6 billion purchase of AWS spectrum is now also attracting the attention of the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee. A hearing will likely occur sometime in March, a staffer revealed, though who will be called to testify hasn't yet been shared. Rivals, such as Sprint, are calling for other elements of the contract to be scrutinized due to fears that the deal will result in an unfair advantage for Verizon.
World IPv6 Day to launch standard is June 6
The IPv6 Internet addressing standard will get a more formal launch by its backers on June 6, which is being devoted World IPv6 Day. Seven global ISPs will back the new standard then, including AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner. Also onboard are heavily trafficked websites, including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft's Bing, as well as hardware makers Cisco and D-Link.
Hulu starts up own online-only TV series
Hulu followed in Netflix's footsteps Sunday by launching its first fictional, original TV series. Battleground covers a fictional political campaign in Wisconsin and is produced by JD Walsh, 500 Days of Summer's Marc Webb, and Hagai Shaham. It should be followed up by more documentaries, including a second season of Morgan Spurlock's A Day in the Life and Richard Linklater's new Up to Speed.
Initial access limited to Denver, Nashville
Comcast has begun an initial rollout of its AnyPlay TV service for the iPad. The technology allows Comcast subscribers to watch live TV over their home Wi-Fi network, regardless of what someone may be watching on a TV in another room. On top of the Wi-Fi restriction, though, the option is currently available only to Xfinity HD Triple Play subscribers, and just those in Denver and Nashville.
Comcast preps Skype cam for cable hardware
Comcast is preparing its own webcam for Skype video calls that could bypass the usual computing link. Both an FCC filing noted by Wireless Goodness as well as a leak to Engadget have pointed to the camera, called Astro, attaching to a cable set-top box with an HDMI passthrough for other sources. It could work audio-only or with text and would support picture-in-picture to avoid completely interrupting an ongoing show.