NCTA Cable Show: Battling Cord-Cutting with Technology

“TV Everywhere” and “cord-cutting” were major themes at this week’s NCTA Cable Show in Washington, D.C. where the industry presented technologies intended to sustain its relevancy. Examples included Roku and Xbox as cable set-tops, smartphones as remotes, iPads as TVs, a Slingbox product from Arris and more. Comcast unveiled its X2 cloud DVR and TiVo is expanding its TV Everywhere options with a new Web portal.

The Arris Group, on the heels of acquiring Google’s cable box division (included with its purchase of Motorola Mobility), is offering cable partners a Slingbox product that enables users to move four independent streams of live and recorded TV around the home (or beyond, depending on licensing agreements).

While the Arris-branded Slingbox is being marketed to cable companies, it is worth noting that satellite provider DISH Network is still being sued for implementing similar Sling placeshifting technology.

TiVo is also embracing the TV Everywhere philosophy.

“It appears to do a fairly comprehensive job of replicating the iconic television-based TiVo interface as a point-and-click UI,” writes The Verge of TiVo’s portal. “Video playback capabilities and available modules would presumably (and once again) vary by operator and licensing. But we anticipate TiVo will formally unveil TV Everywhere in the near future, with Atlantic Broadband and RCN on tap as the first U.S. providers to implement the solution for their cable subscribers.”

And as we reported yesterday, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts unveiled the X2 cloud-based entertainment platform that will enable Xfinity TV subscribers to access live and on-demand TV, online video, personalized recommendations and apps across multiple platforms. The company has also upgraded its current X1 platform with a new “Send to TV” feature that allows users to send Web content to their STB.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications are updating their STBs and personalized viewing guides to discourage customers from pursuing other streaming options.

“Combined with new home automation, security, and neighborhood Wi-Fi initiatives underway and on display, ‘cable’ appears quite committed to remaining relevant and providing value in the era of Netflix and BitTorrent,” concludes The Verge. “But is help from former startups TiVo and Sling enough to prevent cord cutting and stave off a “cord never” generation?”

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Cable Show: Disruptive Tech Actually Helping Cable TV, Execs SayVariety, 6/10/13
Here’s How Cable will Hit Gigabit Speeds and Create a Tricky Business Problem in the Process, GigaOM, 6/11/13