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Deals, launches and products

TiVo now has Hulu Plus on the TiVo Premiere DVR and buyers of new Premiere’s will automatically get six months free instead of paying $7

By PETER WHITE

Published: 26 May, 2011

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TiVo now has Hulu Plus on the TiVo Premiere DVR and buyers of new Premiere’s will automatically get six months free instead of paying $7.99 a month. This deal was announced 8 months ago, but the service is only now going live. Hulu Plus now joins services from Blockbuster, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, and YouTube Lean Back.

A few weeks back we told you about KPN’s plans to test the net neutrality principle in the Netherlands when it said it would introduce separate data charges for named applications, specifically mentioning What’sApp, a broadband wireless chat program, which competes with texting. Euro Commissioner Neelie Kroes has warned that she will not put up with European operators picking out competitive services and charging more for them. According to Telecom TV the political response to KPN's plans has been rapid and an amendment has been tabled already to Dutch Telecoms law which will make it illegal for carriers to block sites in a commercially discriminatory way but push for generalized data caps that operate across all services.

Set top and DVD chip supplier Sigma Designs has entered the world of video encoder chips, with its new PL330 processor aimed at capturing HD video for video calling on set top boxes, connected media players, VoIP devices, video phones, video conferencing systems, TVs, and video surveillance devices. Sigma claims the PL330 can offer 1080p encoding using just 380mW, which it says is half the electrical power of other solutions. Sigma says it has already signed Taiwanese ODM Quanta Computer which has put it into four video conferencing and camera products.

Qualcomm says that it has now completed the acquisition of Atheros which will now trade as Qualcomm Atheros. The Qualcomm connectivity team will shift over to Qualcomm Atheros and combine resources and roadmaps. Qualcomm continues to say that Atheros takes it into a variety of adjacent businesses including home, enterprise and carrier networking. Qualcomm says that the deal will be dilutive to earnings by around $0.09 to $0.13 per share for the remainder of fiscal 2011 due to some inventory write downs and existing share-based compensation.

Cellular pioneer fring, which uses advertising to offer free calls, has taken a third round of funding and will use the funds to bring its video communication suite to new devices. fring says that its primary revenue engines, fringOut and advertising, are now contributing at a rate of $10 million annually. Last month fring added group video calling to its offerings. Current investors participated in the round including North Bridge Venture Capital, Pitango Venture Capital and Veritas Venture Partners, but terms and the amount raised were not disclosed.

US researcher ABI Research says that 11.3 million pay TV subscribers were added at the end of first quarter of 2011and that by the end of 2011 total pay TV subs will be over 759 million. Cable TV still has the largest market share but its share has fallen from 72% in 2009 to 69% in 2010. In Latin America cable TV continues to grow and it cites Brazil as an area of cable growth, something our own Latin America pay TV report confirms, but it also showed that cable growth won’t be anywhere near as fast as satellite, which will eventually dominate there. ABI also says that analog switch-off is accelerating pay TV uptake and this is happening fast in Western Europe as it heads for a 2012 switch off.

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