2012 Year In Review: Cable begins migration to IP video

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Steve Donohue, FierceCableFrom next-generation video services such as Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) Xfinity X1 to apps running on Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Xbox 360 and connected TVs from Samsung, cable operators began transitioning to IP video delivery this year. We're taking a look at some of the biggest trends of 2012 in this special issue of FierceCable.

Cox Communications, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) joined Comcast in developing cloud-based interactive program guides. And cable operators, satellite TV providers and programmers stepped up efforts to let subscribers use tablet and smartphone apps to channel surf and view companion programming and advertising that is synchronized to video playing on a TV.

Cable operators posted steady growth in high-speed data subscriptions and began to introduce usage-based broadband packages as viewing of TV shows and movies from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and other over-the-top players picked up.

As Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) CEO Charlie Ergen won FCC approval to build a broadband wireless network that he could use to challenge major broadband providers, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications opted to sell Advanced Wireless Spectrum to Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ). The MSOs also teamed up with Verizon to promote digital cable and wireless phone and data services and began developing new services through a joint innovation venture.

While pay TV providers began introducing next-generation productions, much of the publicity generated by the industry centered on battles between distributors, TV stations and sports networks over the rising cost of programming. That's a problem that has dogged the industry for years and will continue in 2013 as more contracts between pay TV providers, broadcasters and cable networks come up for renewal.

There are other key trends that we will continue to track next year, including introduction of CCAP (Converged Cable Access Platform) products and the development of the DOCSIS 3.1 spec, which could see operators one day deliver broadband speeds of 10 gigabits per second.

It's also been a big year for FierceCable, as we doubled our traffic and saw our stories get picked up by media outlets around the world. We plan to take our coverage of the industry to a new level in 2013. But first, we'll take a break over the holidays. FierceCable won't publish its daily e-letter next week. Your next issue will arrive on Wednesday, Jan. 2. Have a great holiday.--Steve