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Broadband Briefs for 7/09/08

Wed, 07/09/2008 - 8:00am

• DirecTV wraps up purchase of 180 Connect
Mike Robuck

DirecTV announced it has tied up the loose ends on its previously announced acquisition of 180 Connect, which gives the satellite provider complete ownership of the installation services company.

DirecTV completed its $1.80 a share purchase of 180 Connect with the stock portion of the deal valued at $46.7 million, which was based on 24.3 million common shares and 1.7 million exchangeable shares outstanding as of May 29.

Through the transaction, DirecTV said it gained control of one of its largest installation and home service providers and transitions approximately 3,200 employees in 46 U.S. market locations, throughout California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Arkansas, Virginia, Hawaii, Western Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Prior to the acquisition, DirecTV had outsourced all its installation service operations through 12 home service provider companies.

In a related transaction, UniTek USA, LLC acquired 180 Connect’s cable services operating unit and certain DirecTV installation services from DirecTV, in exchange for UniTek’s satellite installation services in New York, Burbank, California and Bloomington, California and cash.

• Listen up: Survey says more consumers tuning into music on their TVs
Mike Robuck

A new survey by Parks Associates found that advanced TV platforms are causing consumers to listen to more music on their TVs.

The survey found that roughly two-thirds of U.S. and Canadian broadband households reported regular use of a PC to play music while at home, and one-third said they use a television to listen to music. MP3 players ranked equal to TVs, with one-third of households using these platforms for music.

"IPods are sexy, but not everybody has one," said John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates. "TVs are ubiquitous and increasingly capable of delivering a range of content, especially with new features like digital music delivery and place-shifting services. This is just the tip of the iceberg for TV applications."

In the report, Parks Associates analysts recommended that developers and service providers account for these standard platforms when designing new digital entertainment services.

• WhereverTV intros a net-to-TV receiver
By Brian Santo

WhereverTV has launched its WhereverTV Receiver and service. The company specializes in delivering international television programming available on the Internet directly to TVs.

The company said international channels are already available on the company's website www.wherever.tv and on Amazon.com, for viewing on PC screens. The company says it has available hundreds of live international television channels in more than 40 languages from almost 100 countries around the world, much of it otherwise unavailable.

Moving that content to TV screens requires the WhereverTV Receiver, which retails for $199.99, and will begin shipments on July 15.

The WhereverTV Receiver replaces the PC, the company said. WhereverTV's program guide application, the Global IPG, manages an unlimited number of Internet video sources in a traditional television viewing experience.

The WhereverTV Receiver is based on Neuros Technology's Neuros OSD, which includes a high-performance digital signal processor from Texas Instruments and Trolltech's Qt cross-platform application framework.

More Broadband Direct:

• Disney gives smaller operators a break on retransmission agreements

• Vonage joins Comcast on net management

• Arris lowers second-quarter forecast

• Widevine throws 3rd patent claim at Verimatrix

• Study: Service still not a priority

• Broadband Briefs for 7/09/08

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