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.
Acquisition to give Virgin Media stronger position against Sky
British cable service provider Virgin Media has been acquired by Liberty Global. The deal, worth $23.3 billion in cash and stock, gives Liberty a bigger stake in European businesses, as well as providing both companies the chance to save around $180 million per year after regulatory and shareholder approval and the acquisition closes.
Gear4 adds new case designs to iPhone 5 cover range
Gear4 has revealed its range of cases for the iPhone 5. The new range includes a number of cases that are fairly nontraditional in their appearance, such as the edge-protecting Band ($20) that leaves the front and rear accessible while protecting the handset from shock damage. Thin Ice ($20) provides protection with its tough plastic design with a liquid rubber back, while also being the thinnest case for the iPhone 5 that Gear4 has to offer.
Target: 17m low-income housholds not connected
Private industry is chipping in to help increase adoption of computer technology and broadband access in the US. FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, announced today that the private sector will be contributing up to $4 billion in hardware and services to as many as 17 million low-income families. As part of the program, Microsoft will be offering $250 computers and the cable companies will be providing broadband Internet access for $10 a month.
Tuneblocker iPod cable
Matais has come up with a simple solution to a minor annoyance that affects every iPod and iPhone user -- the unwanted sync. Tune Blocker allows users to charge their devices through USB, without having to sync through iTunes. The cable comes with a built-in switch, so users can choose whether or not to sync.
New SATA cable for Mac Pro
Newer Technology has announced its first eSATA Extender Cable, which is compatible with all Mac Pro models. The cable connects to the two unused internal Mac Pro SATA ports and replicates them in a PCI slot, allowing users to use two external eSATA connections. The cable is engineered as a "Perfect Fit Solution" enabling six total SATA drives to access the motherboard. NewerTech's eSATA Extender Cable costs $25 and is available now.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has made several additions to its Jam Jacket family of iPod cases, including new models for the iPod nano and iPod touch. Available today are the Jam Jacket with MultiClip for iPod touch, which features a unique, multi-function "MultiClip," and the Jam Jacket for iPod nano featuring a laser-etched design on the back of the case. Both cases are available immediately for $20. The Jam Jacket with MultiClip for the iPod touch features a unique 3-in-1 integrated clip built into the back of the case. The silicone-covered MultiClip acts as a clip/stand combo, as well as a cable management solution. Users can clip it on their belt, or pop out the MultiClip to use it as a desk stand (both vertically and horizontally)
Verizon on cableco options
Verizon is putting pressure on the Federal Communications Commission to make switching away from cable companies easier, Reuters reports. The company observes while phone companies will often handle the switchover from one carrier to another themselves, cable subscribers must typically get their own cable disconnected. This discourages people from switching, Verizon argues, "entrenching the cable incumbents' dominant market position."
Comcast sues FCC over cap
Comcast recently issued a lawsuit to the FCC over a pending decision, which would institute a 30-percent cap for cable's share of multichannel-video providers. Comcast, the largest cable provider in the US, currently sits at 27-percent, according to Broadcasting and Cable. David Cohen, executive vice president for Comcast, said in an interview, "the record at the FCC provided absolutely no support for a horizontal ownership cap of 30% -- a position that has been supported by the courts."
AirQueue USB 2.0 extender
Synchrotech today unveiled the AirQueue, a 7.75-inch USB 2.0 extension cable specifically designed to allow large or unusually designed USB devices to work with Apple's recently released MacBook Air. The AirQueue is certified to work with Synchrotech's own MicroU2E USB ExpressCard reader, which allows users to access a wide array of USB 2.0-based ExpressCards with a MacBook Air. The extender cable is priced at $6.
TiVo Tru2Way/OCAP set-top
DVR maker TiVo is preparing to support Tru2Way technology, according to a financial statement released by the company. Fomerly known as OCAP, the technology enables two-way interaction over cable set-tops, including services such as games, chat, web browsing and shopping. The technology will only be available in in the form of an upcoming standalone device, however, and not as an update for present set-tops like the TiVo HD or Series 3.
Motorola DOCSIS 3.0 modems
Though typically associated with cellphones, Motorola has announced its very first collection of modems based on the DOCSIS 3.0 standard, which has yet to deploy in any wide fashion in North America but can dramatically increase the possible bandwidth of cable Internet connections. Aimed at the average consumer is the SURFboard SB6120, which permits as much as 160Mbps in standard DOCSIS mode, or 195Mbps under Euro-DOCSIS; because of its internal design, this works without the need for hybrid support by cable operators.
Comcast changes terms
Comcast has changed the wording of its terms of service to allow controversial behavior on its part, reports say. The company was accused late last year of sabotaging BitTorrent traffic, in some cases making it unusable regardless of the intended purpose. In keeping with some of the company's excuses for traffic shaping, Section III of Comcast's new terms of service now explains that it "uses reasonable network management practices that are consistent with industry standards."
30, 50Mbps cable Internet
A company in the Canadian province of Quebec will soon match Verizon in deploying some of the fastest consumer Internet access in North America, according to reports. Cable supplier Videotron is preparing to debut two "Ultimate Speed Internet" plans, capable of downloads at 30 and 50Mbps, respectively. This is an upgrade on the company's current top tier of 20Mbps, and takes advantage of pre-DOCSIS 3.0 technology. The plans will cost $65 and $80 CAD per month.
One-touch video transfers
Pinnacle Systems today debuted Pinnacle Video Transfer (site not updated), a device that record analog video onto any USB 2.0 storage device without the need for a computer. With the touch of a button the company says users with little or no technical expertise can record from a TV, DVD player, iPod, or other device to a USB flash drive or USB hard drive. Users can select three different recording levels for each device, opting for varying video qualities and sizes. Pinnacle Video Transfer will ship January 15th for $130, and includes three RCA audio/video cables as well as a power supply and a quick start guide.
LTI-1 to showcase at NAMM
The RapcoHorizon Company is planning to unveil its new LTI-1 stereo interface at Winter NAMM 2008. The device, which is designed to connect laptops to audio equipment via a 3.5mm plug and a 3-foot attached cable, features bult-in ground lift switches as well as a -20db pad with left and right LXR outputs. The RapcoHorizon Company will showcase the new device -- which is already available for $135 -- at Winter NAMM in Booth no. 4558, Hall C. [corrected]
2TB Tivo Series 3
WeaKnees.com has recently unveiled upgraded Series 3 TiVo DVRs, featuring both an internal and external hard drive, each rated at one terabyte. The hard drives work in tandem to provide 292 hours of HD video storage – up from TiVo's current 20 to 30 hours – or 2800 hours of standard definition video. The units come with cables, a backlit, programmable remote, and a six month warranty for parts, labor and technical support. WeaKnees.com is selling the upgraded TiVos for $1800, and are offering a $200 mail-in rebate
FCC to limit cableco size?
The FCC may be nearing the imposition of a cap on the size of cable companies, reports say. A proposed plan currently has the vote of FCC chairman Kevin Martin, as well as the two Democrat members of the Commission, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein. This may virtually guarantee the passing of the resolution, although the two remaining commissioners have not declared their opinions. If it passes muster by the rumored December 18th deadline, the cap will limit corporations to controlling 30 percent of the cable market.