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Com Hem Boxes Up Netflix

Swedish MSO Starts To Offer Netflix On Leased TiVo-Powered Set-Tops 1/21/2014 12:55 PM Eastern

Com Hem, Sweden’s largest cable operator, has begun to offer Netflix in leased Samsung set-tops that run the TiVo platform, an addition that is being launched about a month later than originally anticipated.

According to a translated version of the Com Hem web site, the MSO is offering three months of Netflix when customers opt for the TiVo Max package, which includes 79 TV channels (including 17 in HD) and a Samsung box outfitted with 1-terabyte of storage.

Com Hem, which began to offer the Samsung/TiVo combo on a broad basis last October, is running the Netflix promo through March 11, 2014. After the 90-day period, customers can subscribe to Netflix for 79 Swedish Krona ($US 12.16) per month.

Com Hem, an MSO that competes in the market with telcos such as Telenor ASA and TeliaSonera AB, is among the first of a small but growing batch of pay-TV operators that are offering Netflix in MSO-leased boxes alongside their own VOD offerings.

Following an early trial involving about 40,000 subscribers, Virgin Media, the largest MSO in the U.K. that is now part of Liberty Global, followed up in November by offering Netflix to all 1.8 million customers who take the operator’s TiVo-powered service option.

Last October, Danish triple-play service operator Waoo! announced it had completed an integration that will allow it to offer access to the Netflix app on leased set-top boxes from AirTies that run middleware from Nordija.

In the U.S., Google Fiber has integrated a Netflix player with the TV Box that supports the pay-TV service Google is deploying in markets such as Kansas City.

Netflix is also in discussions with other U.S. operators, including Comcast and Suddenlink Communications, about offering its streaming service on leased devices.

According to sources, a major sticking point in the negotiations with operators such as Comcast is Netflix’s insistence that operators join Open Connect, a private content delivery network that relies on Netflix-supplied edge caches.

Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit tossed some cold water on those talks during the company’s third quarter earnings last October. “It’s not really a high priority for us,” Smit said of the talks with Netflix at the time.

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