Cable360AM — News briefing for Tuesday, Dec. 18 »

Staffers in the Cable360 newsroom have decided that Frank Sinatra was drinking real martinis in the Jilly’s scene in Come Blow Your Horn, which ran on Turner Classic Movies last night. Good morning.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to formally pass two controversial rules today: one to ease restrictions on owning newspapers and television stations in the same market, and another to cap at 30% the amount of national subscribers a cable operator can serve.
    Arguments based in logic are senseless in the face of the mysteries of party agendas, so we won’t attempt them here. Nevertheless, tomorrow you can participate in a Webinar that will explain the inner workings of chairman Kevin Martin’s FCC. Join CableFAX executive editor Michael Grebb and editor-in-chief Amy Maclean, along with panelists NCTA SVP, law and regulatory policy, Dan Brenner, Fleischman & Harding’s Seth Davidson and uber cable guru Steve Effros on Wed., Dec. 19, for the Webinar: “Regulation Redux: How to Navigate the FCC in 2008.” Click here to register.

Some cable engineers are concerned that once bandwidth-saving switched digital video technology is deployed widely, network architectures “could collapse if subscriber demand to switch channels proves too great,” according to Heavy Reading’s recently published report, “Switched Digital Video & Cable’s Looming Bandwidth Crisis.” [Heavy Reading]

DirecTV said last January that it would offer its subscribers 100 high-definition channels by the end of this year. It’s Dec. 18, and DirecTV does not offer subscribers 100 high-definition channels, says Phillip Swann. []

Time Warner Cable chief Glenn Britt told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the cable operator is “putting in technology where we will essentially be able to have unlimited high definition…In the next several months, we’re going to be adding them rapidly." [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

AT&T has added new channels to its U-verse TV high-definition lineup, the San Antonio Business Journal reports. The additional HD channels are: Animal Planet HD, CNN HD, Discovery HD, Science Channel HD, Starz Kids & Family HD, Superstation WGN in HD, TLC HD, Versus and Golf Channel HD. [San Antonio Business Journal]

The state of Ohio is funding a nonprofit group that will determine which parts of the state do not get high-speed Internet service, the Toledo Blade reports. Intense competition between cable operators and telcos, and the resulting secrecy, have made it difficult to learn just how many Ohio residents are stuck with dial-up access. [Toledo Blade]

NBC’s Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien are bringing their late-night talk shows back to the airwaves on Jan. 2 without the benefit of their writing staffs. David Letterman, whose production company owns his talk show, is working on an interim deal with the Writers Guild of America that would allow his show to return with his writers. [New York Times]

Rainbow Media president Josh Sapan is holding an online auction of his found art through Dec. 22 to raise money for Cable Positive. [Daily News | Cable Positive]
Yesterday’s 360AM.

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No Schedule for MTE Order

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel didn’t offer a timeframe for a vote on her proposed order that would tighten rules around how broadband providers offer service to those living in apartments and other

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