Cable has its fair share of competitors these days, from DBS to telcos to mobile devices that fragment the audience. But CES ’06 so far is remarkable-as far as cable is concerned-for the growing opportunities rather than competitive threats. "We believe that any innovation will be complimentary to cable and satellite TV operators, rather than threaten them," Oppenheimer’s Tom Eagan said. That includes Akimbo and Thomson, which are rolling out a legal movie download movie service and have signed Movielink to provide the content. The companies’ an Internet VOD player will be sold at retail this spring for $199, they say. The announcement comes a day after Starz announced its Vongo ‘Net-based movie subscription service (Cfax 01/03). Bill Gates sounded a similar theme last night when he unveiled the Vista operating system and media center that features a cable card-enabled PC. And then there’s Intel’s Viv tech that purports to bring digital video to the PC. — CES Notes: Comcast signed a deal to deploy Panasonic’s enhanced OCAP HD-DVR set-tops. – – ESPN addressed on of the biggest complaints of HD owners Wed when it said ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD will start accepting commercials using the 16X9 HD aspect ratio. The nets will start accepting the commercials April 1. HD users have long complained that ESPN’s commercials were standard def and didn’t look as good as the net’s HD pictures. — Ultra HD will premier 30-min series "Behind the Label" with Donna Karan Jan 26. VOOM gm Greg Moyer is working out of the Dish Network booth in Vegas this week, since Dish is the only distributor for all Voom HD channels. — Vidiom is in Vegas with products that it says will help vendors integrate their products OCAP ones. Case in point: it integrated its OCAP middleware with Broadcom’s silicon platform. — TX Instruments says it has DVB-compliant chips that will allow better TV pictures on cell phones. — Crown Castle Mobile Media changed its name to Modeo. It’s still talking about launching a platform with TV, mobile video and audio content in 30 US cities by next year. — MobiTV is making its service available to Palm handhelds. Its making its MobiTV2 available to Sprint and Cingular users.

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