CES 2011: Verizon + Everybody; Comcast X-Whiz; Glasses Free 3D
If there's anyone at the CES show who isn't teaming with Verizon on something we have yet to hear about it. Among the more interesting joint products is a deal with OnStar
highlighting a host of potential future in-vehicle apps including
impact detection, home monitoring and control, and (heaven help us)
video chat. --- Comcast
announced new iPad apps including support for live TV streaming plus a
new search and record feature available through XfinityTV.com. Brian Roberts got to do his gee whiz at the Citi conference in Phoenix on his way to CES.. --- Toshiba says it will start selling large-screen glasses-free 3D sets this year ... and not just in Japan. --- RCA has a new line of portable digital TV devices transmitting digital broadcast signals. --- Cisco unveiled its own interconnected set-top box, "Videoscape," for cable cos.•
Etc: Raycom Harangues DIRECTV; SEC Eyes Facebook Deal; Netflix & Starz
• Analyze This: No bubble here? Goldman Sachs cut off buyers into the "Facebook" fund.
Retrans, Rates & Renewals: Raycom is shaking a stick including 33 local TV markets at DIRECTV
with threats to take the channels dark if the DBS provider doesn't sign
on the dotted line. DIRECTV's deal with the broadcaster, however,
reportedly extends until the end of this year due to Raycom's failure to
provide notification of termination. "Viewers should ignore these
games," says DIRECTV. --- Rising programming fees will boost fees for Frontier Communications' FiOS customers in Oregon and Washington by 46%, according to The Oregonian. The MVPD's standard 220-channel package is expected to go from $65 to $95/month. That's good news for Comcast which also serves the region but withholds its SportsNet Northwest from another potent competitor: DIRECTV.
Gov't & Regs: The FCC's
tentative agenda for its 1/25 meeting lists an order and further notice
of proposed rule making on the public safety broadband network plus
some self-congratulation data initiatives. Nothing on Comcast/NBCU, leading to speculation that the deal might be done before the 25th. --- The SEC is looking into Goldman Sachs' investment in Facebook with an eye to re-examining the lines between public and private companies.
Programming: ESPN is boosting its 3D bet with plans to air 3D content 24/7 on its ESPN 3D network starting on Valentine's Day. --- 3net is the name for the Discovery/IMAX/Sony 3DTV channel venture. --- Discovery says Oprah's OWN will be profitable this year. --- MGM says its new Me-TV collaboration with Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting will feature nostalgic TV a la "Cheers," "The Bob Newhart Show" and "Laverne & Shirley."
OTT: Vudu says it will begin offering 3D rental movies starting next week. --- Roku
claims 1B video streams to its installed base, with players racking up
an average of 11-plus hours of playtime per week in Dec. 2010.
Partnerships & Deals: Don't plan on Netflix buying Starz, says Collins Stewart analyst Tom Eagan,
but the speculation "speaks to the important role that Starz holds in
the media industry." Most likely position for Starz in the medium
term: "An asset based stock." Eagan rates the Starz/Weinstein deal, with the Weinstein brothers gaining a 25% stake, "a nominal positive." --- Tribune Media will provide search and guide services for Virgin Media TV. --- Research group In-Stat is being acquired by NPD Group.
Tech: The powerline industry plans to be a big player on the home network scene, as evidenced by Broadcom joining the HomePlug Powerline Alliance as a sponsor member.
Markets & Money: The Hollywood Reporter notes that Charter's move toward a possible stock conversion could further reduce Paul Allen's voting stake.
SkyREPORT: Arianespace plans 12 launch missions this year, including six Ariane 5 missions, five Soyuz and one Vega. --- Hughes raked in more than $11M in new government orders for secure systems in 2010.•