National preliminaries began in a cloudy, damp New Orleans as CTAM’s Char Beales stepped on the porch of cable’s Broadband Home and asked her opening panel what their favorite items inside were: Cox’s Pat Esser liked the Jacuzzi with the built-in HD set (and a remote that doesn’t short); Charter’s Maggie Bellville adored the TV monitor that became a Chagall; Samsung’s Frank Romeo enjoyed the mirror that also displayed news, weather and sports. But the wide-ranging discussion returned often to basics, with Esser and Bellville stressing simplicity and ease of use and reliable service above all. The concluding question illustrated the importance of the present, as panelists named cable’s top priorities. For ESPN’s Sean Bratches it’s HSD; Esser and Romeo named video, Bellville said voice, while Ucentric’s Michael Collette went more forward, saying it’s the home-based broadband platform and the multi-room app. — Sen Ted Stevens (R-AK), under the watchful eye of Robert Sachs, was testing out the treadmill in the Broadband Home Sun afternoon using a tele- aerobics instructor based in Utah (no, he wasn’t breaking a sweat). — Considering the booming growth in the country’s Hispanic population, cable could be doing a better job attracting Hispanics consumers, Market Segment Group CEO Gary Berman said at Multi’s ‘State of Hispanic TV’ lunch yesterday. Cox svp Joe Rooney admitted Cox’s digital churn among Hispanics is probably higher than the company’s overall avg "because we didn’t do it right the first time." Cox is totally revamping its Spanish-language digital tier, he says. It’s important to remember there’s diversity within the Hispanic demo. — Last-Minute Blurbs: Several nets greeted reporters with announcements Sun, including Discovery Nets US naming Turner’s Jen Reichenbach vp, new media distribution, aff sales & marketing. Anime said Insight agreed to launch it next month as a 24/7 net on the MSO’s digital tier. It’s the 1st 24/7 pact with a major MSO. — The early leaders in pre-convention buzz were CSTV and Trio. As early as Sat morning, Canal St merchants’ windows’ were displaying ‘CSTV ASAP’ posters and Trio was benefiting from a local Cox ad campaign, in addition to Trio’s own shuttle bus ads. (Shame Trio chief Lauren Zalaznick isn’t in New Orleans; she remained in NY, presumably to deal with NBC.)

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Verizon, NYC Reach Settlement

Verizon has an agreement with New York City that settles proceedings against it after the city claimed it had failed to meet buildout terms for its Fios network under its cable franchise agreement.

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