• Charter rings up free long-distance phone calls to subs
By Mike Robuck
Charter Communications said today that for the entire month of May, friends and family members can take advantage of free long-distance phone calls to Charter’s phone customers who subscribe to Charter’s Unlimited Long Distance package. Charter said that it based the promotion on helping its customers celebrate Mother’s Day.
“We are pleased to help Charter telephone customers keep in touch with family and friends during this special holiday,” said Ted Schremp, SVP of product management and strategy for Charter.
Family and friends can dial a toll-free number; they will then be prompted to enter the Charter telephone customer’s number that they wish to speak to, with the end result being a free phone call. Charter Telephone is now available to more than nine million homes, with additional launches of the service planned this year.
• Widevine hooks up with Motorola on global reseller agreement
By Mike Robuck
Motorola and Widevine Technologies announced today a global reseller agreement that allows Motorola to sell, service and support Widevine’s conditional access and digital rights management (DRM) products.
Motorola sells headend and consumer device products, while Widevine’s Cypher – a downloadable conditional access, DRM and digital copy protection technology – enables video operators to acquire and securely distribute premium multimedia from major Hollywood studios and broadcasters. Currently, Motorola and Widevine jointly support more than 50 video service providers worldwide.
"Our partnership simplifies an operator's business decision regarding two critical components required for a successful video operation," said Doug Light, Widevine's VP of business development.
• Massillon to offer PC data backup service
By Brian Santo
Massillon Cable TV (MCTV) has contracted with Carbonite to provide online PC backup service for its residential subscribers. Carbonite Online Backup is a downloadable software utility that runs in the background and continuously and automatically backs up all data files. Data is stored securely offsite and can be recovered at any time.
“Cable companies are excited about online backup because it has the potential to reduce churn,” said Carbonite CEO David Friend. “If you have all your data backed up with your cable company, it’s an incentive not to switch because you’d have to start your backup all over again with another vendor. And it’s a great opportunity for MCTV to increase their revenue per subscriber. Every one of their customers should be backing up their computers with this simple and secure service. We’re glad to be working with forward-thinking ISPs like Massillon who see the profit potential in offering online backup to their subscriber base.”
The deal was brokered by Carbonite representative Olbex Solutions.
• Zodiac sells off Zodigo
By Traci Patterson
Zodiac Interactive has sold off its subsidiary – Zodigo, a mobile content search engine – in a management buy-out. Zodigo allows consumers to discover and download mobile content to their mobile phones, either from their TV, PC, DVD or gaming console. The buyout was led by Matt Johnston, former Zodiac SVP of strategy and currently Zodigo’s CEO.
"Although our technologies can be complementary, Zodiac is focused on interactive television 2.0 applications and entertainment, and we need to continue to focus on interactive television as it moves from native to On Ramp to OCAP/ tru2way,” said Alex Libkind, Zodiac's founder and COO. “We will continue to support the demand from operators for the next level of interactivity and entertainment from TV subscribers.
“Whereas Zodigo is very mobile-centric and requires a team that can focus specially in this area, which is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. We launched Zodigo as a subsidiary just a few months ago, and we're pleased the company has already reached this point."
• Ixia tests network greenness
By Brian Santo
Ixia has developed a suite of tests that will help companies evaluate their networking products in terms of how energy-efficient they are. The company said it will demonstrate a turnkey benchmarking system, called IxGreen, for measuring power efficiency in relation to network and application load.
Ixia said the test suite offers accurate and repeatable validation of individual data center elements, with the emphasis on power consumption.
The company quotes a March 2008 “Green IT Survey” from IDC, which reports that the number one driver for the adoption of Green IT is the economic incentive gained by reducing operational costs.
• Macrovision closes Gemstar-TV Guide deal
By Traci Patterson
Macrovision Corp.’s stockholders have approved the share issuance to complete the proposed acquisition of Gemstar-TV Guide. Gemstar-TV Guide’s stockholders have also approved of the sale.
The transaction is expected to close on May 2 and remains subject to standard closing conditions.
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