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Daily news and top headlines for broadband communications engineering and design professionals

Amazon, CBS agree on exclusivity for 'Extant'

January 9, 2014 12:05 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Amazon will have exclusive ad-free streaming rights in the U.S. to a CBS thriller this summer starring Halle Berry. Episodes will be available for free on CBS.com and CBS' app with ads the day after they air on CBS. Members of Amazon's $79-a-year Prime service will be able to watch "Extant" ad-free four days after broadcast. 

Samsung, Apple CEOs to discuss lawsuit settlement

January 9, 2014 12:02 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The chiefs of Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. will meet to discuss settling a bitter two year legal battle over designs and technologies of smartphones and tablets. A filing with the U.S. District court in San Jose showed Thursday that senior legal executives from Apple and Samsung agreed earlier this week that the CEOs will meet by or before Feb. 19.

Sony announces streaming TV and game services

January 8, 2014 1:19 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Among the many things Sony announced at CES, two could be momentous for established MVPDs: the company plans to introduce a competitive web-based video service, and it plans to switch delivery of Playstation games from selling physical disks to a streaming model.

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Rovi cues up SD, HD DTA guide for North America

January 8, 2014 1:08 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Rovi announced that it would be heading to market in the first half of this year with a new HD and SD DTA guide for North American cable operators. The Rovi DTA Guide, which was first announced at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in 2011, will provide more digital-like features in viewers’ living rooms.

Aereo scores $34 million in third round of funding

January 8, 2014 1:03 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Barry Diller-backed Aereo, which provides a service that delivers broadcast television stations over the Internet, announced it had secured $34 million in additional funding. Aereo said it would use the third-round of funding to support the nationwide expansion of its service as well as for increased investments in hiring and technology. 

Comcast adds video subs in Q4

January 8, 2014 12:59 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Comcast Corp. added video customers in its fourth quarter, its first gain in that business in six-and-a-half years. Comcast has been investing in new products and customer service to morph from a cable company to a technology company, Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts told investors Tuesday at the Citi Internet Media & Telecommunications Conference.

Your next TV: Will it be Ultra HD?

January 8, 2014 12:54 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

After attempts to hawk 3-D and OLED TVs fizzled in recent years, television manufacturers are taking small steps toward making a new technology, Ultra HD, more viable for mainstream consumers. It's the first TV format to be driven by the Internet video-streaming phenomenon, and at the International CES gadget show this week, major streaming players Netflix and Amazon said they'll offer movies and TV shows in the format.

Entropic bursts out with set-top, networking products

January 7, 2014 1:42 pm | News | Comments

The company flooded CES with a spate of new products, including a series of chips for satellite set-top boxes; an Android-based IP STB with partner TVStorm; and another IP “set-top” in the form of an HDMI stick, developed with Novabase. Entropic also announced a MoCA 2.0 USB bus-powered adapter reference design.

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Fandango to sell movie tickets on Samsung TVs

January 7, 2014 12:50 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Comcast-owned Fandango will launch a new service in the first quarter of this year that will allow viewers to watch movie trailers and then purchase tickets on Samsung TVs. Fandango’s service is built into Samsung’s Smart Hub, which is a video recommendation and discovery service offered on Samsung Smart TVs.

The horror: Fearnet signs on with Buckeye CableSystem

January 7, 2014 12:47 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Thriller and horror network Fearnet has inked a multi-year distribution agreement with Buckeye CableSystem. Starting yesterday, Fearnet became available to Buckeye’s subscribers on its digital basic package in both SD and HD. Buckeye also locked up TV Everywhere rights from Fearnet.

Samsung teams up with Comcast for ultra-HD movies

January 7, 2014 12:43 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Samsung Electronics Co. said Monday that it is tackling the problem of getting ultra-high-definition content to its new TV sets by teaming up with the Internet streaming services of Comcast, Netflix and Amazon. Under its partnership with Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable company, Samsung TVs would get UHD content through an app running on the Internet-connected TV, bypassing Comcast's set-top boxes.

CES: New Dish Hopper set-up can record 8 shows at once

January 7, 2014 12:38 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Dish Network Corp. has unveiled a new digital recorder system that can record eight TV shows at once and can be controlled by voice. In a stunt worthy of the annual gadget show, International CES, Dish executive Vivek Khemka also showed off how its Hopper digital video recorder can be set to record shows using Google's high-tech eyewear, Google Glass.

NetGear targets service provider market with camera, video dongle

January 6, 2014 1:18 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

NetGear is launching a line of HD cameras designed for some of the peculiar requirements of service providers who have home automation offerings. Simultaneously, the company is introducing an Android-based HDMI dongle that service providers can use in lieu of a set-top box.

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Roku TV will stream video without set-top box

January 6, 2014 12:27 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Roku Inc. is launching a line of TVs that play video from services like Netflix without requiring a set-top box. While similar to smart TVs on the market, Roku's Internet streaming platform has some 1,200 apps and offers a more comprehensive selection of niche content. 

Google highlights HEVC rival with YouTube 4K demo

January 3, 2014 1:22 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Google’s VP9 codec is an alternative to H.265 (aka HEVC). Both promise to drop compression rates by about half. Google has tried to establish its own codecs as standard issue before, most recently with its VP8 codec. VP8 gained little traction outside of Google. Neither has VP9, until recently.

Suddenlink wraps up Northland deal

January 3, 2014 12:31 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Suddenlink Communications announced it has completed its purchase of four Texas-based systems from Northland Communications. With the completion of the deal, which was first announced in October, Suddenlink added 12,000 residential and nearly 300 commercial customers.

Polaroid to offer smart TV with built-in Roku Stick

January 2, 2014 1:12 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Polaroid will be at CES next week debuting the 50GSR7100 50-inch Roku Ready Smart TV. The Roku Streaming Stick will allow consumers to stream more than 1,000 entertainment channels. Polaroid is also preparing a 50-inch 4K Ultra HD (UHD) to anchor a new line of 4K TVs.

Charter’s all digital train rolls into Missouri, Southern Illinois

January 2, 2014 12:29 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

With the end game of having all of its systems all digital by the first half of this year, Charter announced this morning that all-digital upgrades will start in the middle of this month in Missouri and Southern Illinois. Charter said the upgrades, which are scheduled to be completed by mid-summer, would add more than 200 HD channels to its lineup in those areas, as well as “significantly” faster Internet speeds.

Netflix tests new price tiers for video service

January 2, 2014 12:24 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Netflix is testing new price plans for streaming video as it tries to lure more viewers. Among the plans being tested are a $6.99-a-month plan that allows only one video stream to be watched at once, and a $9.99-a-month plan that allows three streams at one time, whether on a TV, tablet or computer.

Tribune to buy Gracenote for $170M

December 23, 2013 1:01 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Gracenote is by far best known for its music metadata, used by a number of streaming music services. The Gracenote database gets 550 million look-ups each day and more than 16 billion every month, the company claimed. Beyond that, Gracenote also has an extensive video metadata database as well.

Review: Roku vs. AppleTV vs. Chromecast

December 20, 2013 12:56 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Streaming video devices such as Roku, Apple TV and Google's Chromecast project video from Netflix, YouTube and other services onto the big-screen TV. Suddenly, the computer seems inadequate. Internet television will never be the same. Internet-connected TVs, TiVo digital video recorders and various game consoles also come with apps for video services.

Report: Cable’s slice of pay-TV market continues to dwindle

December 20, 2013 12:34 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

The continued exodus of basic cable subscribers in North America was an anchor on the worldwide cable revenue market while IPTV and satellite providers grew their revenues. According to a recent study by Infonetics research, cable revenue market share fell another percent in first half of this year.

TWC’s enables cloud navigation on 2 million gateways

December 19, 2013 1:13 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Time Warner Cable announced this morning that its new guide with cloud-based features was now on 2 million hybrid gateways, with plans to hit 6 million by the end of next year. The new guide was paired with updated cloud-based navigation services, more program information, a new VOD portal and better search and recommendation capabilities.

Programmer Up picks Comcast Wholesale for content delivery

December 19, 2013 12:58 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Up, which specialize in family programming, has picked Comcast Wholesale business unit’s Comcast Media Center to provide multi-content delivery services. The Comcast Media Center (CMC) is handling channel origination and transmission services for UP from its playback platform. 

BeIN Sports kicks off with Cox

December 18, 2013 12:57 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Cox Communications is the latest cable operator to sign up to carry international sports programming from beIN Sports. Starting today, Cox subscribers in Northern Virginia can tune in to beIN Sport and beIN Sport en Espanol. Later this month, the TV Everywhere live event broadband service, beIN Sport Play, will be available to Cox’s authenticated subscribers.

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