MSO ‘will replace STB with connected devices’

In a filing with the FCC, Ron Wheeler, SVP of Content Protection for Fox Group stated that “in the course of renegotiating a contract with one of Fox’s multichannel video programming distribution (“MVPD”) partners, the MVPD has told Fox that it intends in the near future to make its subscription and on-demand video services available directly to widely-marketed consumer electronics devices, such as game consoles.”

Fox’s filing reflects other recent rights negotiation reports from content owners, but specifically reveals the plans of an American operator to begin substituting software on game consoles and other “widely-marketed consumer electronics devices” for set-top boxes.

According to IMS Research, “While there have been hints of this kind of thing for the last eighteen months, this revelation, especially in relation to game consoles, is a significant step up in the commitment level from the operator(s) in question. It is impossible to yet say who the MVPD in question is, our analysis points to a cable operator in the US (including Verizon FiOS in that category). AT&T already has such an effort underway with Mediaroom on the Xbox 360 and lacks the bandwidth to do much more than it is currently doing. The satellite operators retain the need for a standalone hardware platform that contains satellite tuners, demodulators, a standalone decryption capability, and local storage. One very interesting possibility is that the MVPD in question may become a content distribution network and begin serving video to customers using other broadband providers.”

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