Interactive TV News Round-Up (III): Cisco, Clearleap, Comcast

--Cisco Denies Report that it Is Seeking to Sell its Set-Top Box Business
--Clearleap in IP Streaming Deals with Four Independent Cable Operators
--Comcast Launches Xfinity Streampix Multiscreen Streaming-Video Service for Xfinity Customers
--Comcast Says its VOD Service Saw Record Views in 2011

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on The TV of Tomorrow Show 2012, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.

  • Cisco has repudiated a report in the New York Post that it is looking to sell its set-top box business (see the article published on, February 20th). "Every few months there seems to be a rumor or speculative comment about our commitment to our set-top box business," the company's director of social media, John Earnhardt, wrote on its blog. "Let me be as clear as I can: we love set-top boxes. But, you don't have to believe me. Let me point you to Cisco's Q2 FY12 earnings transcript where Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers stated, in part: 'In terms of set-top boxes, we are very much committed to this marketplace. Our SP customers asked us to partner with them as they move from traditional set-top boxes to IP set-top boxes to the cloud, our Videoscape solution. Receptivity so far has been very, very good in terms of our strategy'...I hope that this clarifies any erroneous, un-sourced comments that might be out there in the marketplace." Nevertheless, despite the company's protestations, Light Reading Cable's Jeff Baumgartner reports that "an industry source familiar with Cisco's plans told Light Reading Cable that it's his understanding that the vendor is 'shopping [its set-top division] selectively,' but did not say if that interest was for the whole STB division or limited to only its legacy, pre-Videoscape set-top products."
  • Clearleap, which offers Web-based content-management and streaming solutions for delivering video to pay-TV VOD platforms, as well as to connected-TV devices, said Tuesday that four members of the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) have selected its ClearPlay streaming services to provide on-demand content via IP for their subscribers. The operators are enTouch Systems, Greenlight Cable (owned by the municipality of Wilson, NC), ImOn Communications and Jackson Energy Authority. "ClearPlay streaming services enable video service providers to take Clearleap's cloud-based content management and delivery functionality one step further and stream content to the home," the company states in its press materials. "Content and service providers of all sizes can migrate to all-IP delivery of TV services to any connected device--at the lowest possible cost, in a modular, pay-as-you-go manner. Clearleap's industry-leading software-as-a-service technology is currently deployed in more than 50 cable and content provider systems, including half of the top 10 US operators. enTouch Systems, Inc. and its cable group, ETS Cablevision, serve a growing number of communities throughout the Greater Houston Area with fiber-to-the-home services. The company has offered on-demand services to its subscribers for some time and recently decided to offer TiVo boxes to its subscribers. The ClearPlay streaming option complements the TiVo set-top deployment with easily scalable, economical on-demand content. Greenlight is Wilson, North Carolina's community network. Like enTouch Systems, the organization was interested in offering its subscribers TiVo boxes for their cable and on-demand services. ClearPlay answered the need for a turnkey IP-based streaming service that can scale as more subscribers sign on. ImOn Communications, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, plans to offer new on-demand services using ClearPlay streaming services to its subscribers on Roku boxes. Jackson Energy Authority, based in Jackson, Tenn. is launching new on-demand services with the ClearPlay streaming service to its subscribers...ClearPlay modules, which can be deployed individually or as a comprehensive solution, include all the business tools to expand content over high-speed data networks to connected-TV devices, laptops, and tablets. Components include ClearPlay On Demand, Linear TV, Cross-Platform App Deployment, Universal Subscriber Authentication, and Back Office Management. ClearPlay also integrates seamlessly with popular billing systems.
  • Comcast on Tuesday announced Xfinity Streampix, which it bills as a "subscription video service that enables Xfinity video customers to instantly view favorite movies and TV shows in and out of the home, including numerous past seasons of current hit shows and full series, to multiple screens and devices including TV's (as a subscription On Demand folder), online platforms and mobile devices. This new service complements the 75,000 TV shows and movies currently available on Xfinity On Demand, and through the Xfinity TV app," the company's press materials continue. "To launch Streampix, Comcast has entered into licensing agreements with leading movie studios and programming providers including Disney-ABC Television Group, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Cookie Jar Entertainment, and built a line-up of top-rated content, which is available starting this week...This week, Streampix is launching with top-notch programming and will significantly increase the breadth of entertainment choices for Xfinity customers in the coming months to include complete seasons of TV series, popular children's franchises and hit movies available to instantly stream across multiple platforms [note: more information on the new service's programming offerings is available here]...In the coming year, the Streampix service will be available on additional devices such as Xbox 360 and Android-powered devices. Streampix will be included as part of many Xfinity triple-play packages, Blast!+ and Blast! Extra video/high-speed Internet packages, as well as separately for $4.99 a month with other video packages, and enables the company to have greater flexibility with packaging and bundling options. With Streampix, the Xfinity TV service is a comprehensive video solution that lets users watch TV episodes of current seasons and complete past seasons of broadcast and cable hits. Xfinity TV also offers a suite of tools to personalize and manage viewing across screens for no additional charge through and the Xfinity TV app. Xfinity TV will continue to make more entertainment choices and personalization tools available across screens and through additional devices in the future."
  • In other Comcast news: The company says that its Xfinity On Demand service saw a 10% year-over-year increase in views in 2011, as well as an increase in average views per month from 350 million to 400 million, making it the year with the most views in the service's history. The company has also released a list of the VOD service's most-viewed titles overall (1. "Bridesmaids." 2. "Tosh.0." 3. "SpongeBob SquarePants"); its most-viewed new-release movies (1. "Bridesmaids." 2. "Hall Pass." 3. "Red"); its most-viewed TV series (1. "Tosh.0." 2. "NCIS." 3. "South Park"); its most-viewed children's series (1. "Spongebob SquarePants." 2. "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse." 3. "Dora the Explorer"); and its most-viewed musical artists (1. Beyonce. 2. Justin Bieber. 3. Chris Brown).
North America