Comcast Purchase of NBC Universal May Actually Occur – It’s been in the news now for over a year, but it seems things are progressing to the point that cable giant Comcast may soon own the national TV network. Observers are wondering if that means NBC might change its’ name. They just sold $5.1 billion worth of bonds, part of the $9.1 billion financing NBC is raising as part of its combination with Comcast. Joint managers in the sale include JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Analysts also wonder if Comcast would oust NBC’s Jeff Zucker, who wrecked Seinfeld, Friends and Jay Leno’s Comedy Hour. Competition between NBC and Comcast for advertising would go away – it would be all Comcast, which would be competing with NBC’s owned-and-operated stations. NBC Universal will have to get used to an interested and involved corporate parent looking over its’ shoulder who thinks it knows the entertainment business.
HDMI Master Key Hacked – It may not matter that much since consumer electronics vendors are getting ready to dump HDMI cables in favor of HDBaseT cables, but it has been revealed that the “master key” specifically designed to prevent piracy when using HDMI cables has been hacked and is now distributed on Twitter. The key unlocks the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), which made its debut with DVI cables and was ported over to HDMI. This happened just as Hollywood studios have adopted HDCP to limit the playback of Video-On-Demand titles to DRM-protected interfaces such as HDMI cables. The Blu-ray format is protected by three additional copy protection schemes: AACS/CSS (long ago hacked in standard DVDs), BD+ (also hacked), and the BD-ROM Mark (which may or may not has now been hacked). Various Blu-ray copying apps are already circulating on the Net.
Reactions to Apple’s 99-cent Movie Rentals – The re-imagining of Apple TV has both pros and cons, but early adopters will appreciate its ability to play any video content on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch wirelessly over your home Wi-Fi network, as well as the 99-cent cost for rentals – which are all streamed since the new Apple TV has no hard drive in it. The 99-cent bit seems a natural for those who want to skip commercials, pause or play favorite TV shows at will, and have no need to watch a show more than once. Only ABC and Fox are offering TV shows so far, thru iTunes. Fox’s parent company is Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., and Murdoch agreed to the 99-cent pricing in hopes of partnering with Apple on a special iPad news venture – he sees the iPad as a opportunity for news organizations of all sorts to get into the digital era. And Disney (who own ABC) is also on board with Apple. Viacom is upset with Apple, saying “The 99-cent rental is not a good price point,” and NBC also strongly opposes it. In 2007 NBC pulled all its videos from iTunes after Apple refused to double wholesale prices.
Hollywood Today Newsmagazine Sees Bright 3D Home Entertainment Future – A two-day series of seminars on 3D technology in Universal City, CA reviewed the strides made over the past year in marketing both theatrical and home 3D content. The major topic was 3D for the home, with talk about 3D-ready TVs and glasses monopolizing the discussions. An independent research company conducted a 20-minute online survey of 1458 respondents, which revealed that though popularity for recent 3D theatrical features was waning, theatrical releases have introduced millions of people to excellent digital 3D that they had previously thought was just a gimmick. 35% of the consumers polled said they would definitely purchase a 3D TV in the next 12 months; that percentage is up 13% from the first quarter of this year. The need to wear the glasses and their pricing are seen as two obstacles, but evidently some people are not aware the glasses are not needed to watch 2D programming on a 3D set, and it is hoped the price of the active shutter glasses can get down to $30 or less in the next couple of years.