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May 22, 2012

Cable Show 2012: MSOs Join Forces to Offer WiFi

MSOs Join Forces and Offer WiFi. The Cable Show kicked off Mon with the news that Bright House, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable were joining forces to interconnect their WiFi networks. TWC, Cablevision and Comcast already had an agreement to allow their HSD subs to roam across the companies’ respective WiFi in NYC, Long Island, Philly, CT and NJ at no additional charge. The new deal expands the footprint across the country, significant given TWC’s extensive WiFi push in L.A. All told, the MSOs will enable each other’s customers to access what currently amounts to more than 50K hotspots. The hotspots are listed under the network “CableWiFi,” with ops planning to grow the number of hotspots and expand into several additional cities.
 
“We’re starting to build out WiFi in places where people congregate,” TWC CEO Glenn Britt said during Mon’s general session. “Most data usage is WiFi, not cellular frequencies.” It sounds like the deal could at some point expand to include smaller ops, with TWC svp, mobile services Mike Roudi answering with a simple “yes” when asked during a panel later in the day. John Pascarelli, evp, operations at Mediacom, at the same panel said “we have no doubt that when the time is right and when we have the access points,” that the coalition will invite in small- and mid-size ops into the fold.
 
Discovery’s David Zaslav disses the DISH Hopper. “It’s the fad of the moment,” Discovery’s David Zaslav said of DISH’s controversial ad skipping tech on whole home DVR, the Hopper. “I don’t think it’s sustainable because in order to get our content, we have to work together.” Speaking at the Cable Show’s opening session Mon, Zaslav said it created a lot tension and attention, which is “probably a good thing.” But in the end, it all comes down to content. “Apple… It does look sexy and feels dynamic,” he said. “But it’s still just a device. In order to be compelling, you need content.” If a distributor takes away ad revenues, then they’ll end up with a lot higher sub fees, warned the Zas.
 
Show News. As the major cable operator in Boston, Comcast made sure to take advantage of having the Cable Show in its backyard with some significant announcements. The MSO announced next-generation TV experience, Xfinity TV on the X1 IP Platform, and a new X1 remote control app. The 2 will launch in Boston, with several major markets planned to follow this year.
 
The services will be available to new Xfinity Triple Play with HD/DVR service customers at no additional cost. X1 features a unified search that allows customers to find content from TV listings, DVR recording and VOD in seconds. It also allows for a new hybrid DVR set-top with tru2way and IP capabilities that deliver an advanced personalized TV viewing experience. The new X1 remote control app lets customers use motion gestures to control their TV experience through the touch-screen of their handheld iPhone or iPod touch. Shaking the device will pause VOD content, or they can swipe it to search through pages of interactive TV guides.

CableFAX Best of the Web Event. Matt Strauss, Comcast svp, digital and emerging platforms, reiterated Mon that the MSO expects to start trialing C3 ratings on the iPad this summer. “Hopefully, other distributors will get to” do their own trials, he said. With Turner and Comcast named as CableFAX’s TV Everywhere Leadership Award recipients, Strauss and Turner vp, biz dev Jeremy Legg participated in an on-stage Q&A. Authentication still has a way to with advertisers because the measurement just isn’t there yet, Legg said. It’s a tricky situation. “If you think about the iPad… Apple is not going to let Nielsen just inject anything in to its operating system. Nielsen has to change its business model.”
 
Bright House pres Nomi Bergman, who was named to our Digital Hot List, gave everyone a bit to ponder (and laugh about) by listing 5 technologies that could have negatives as well as positives. Included on that list: cars without drivers (NV just issued Google the 1st US license to test such vehicles, putting texting while driving in a whole new light, Bergman said) and turning the body into a touchscreen (Disney Research Lab and Carnegie Mellon released findings that could turn body parts into interactive mediums similar to tablet screens). Check out our Best of the Web winners, Digital Hot List and 15 to Watch.

Read our entire special show issue here.







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