Ah, the ironies of the cable life. While ops opined about the health of their pipe during National’s opening session, just up the street marijuana-advocacy group NORML likely was saying something similar at its confab. In both cases the word is that the pipe’s just fine. In the cable example, those outside the industry are wary. "The good news is that you’ve finished Buildout 1.0," said Bing Gordon, evp, chief creative officer, Electronic Arts. "In 2010, you need Broadband 2.0. If cable doesn’t give it to us, it’s going to be wireless or phone." Cablevision’s Tom Rutledge responded quickly: "we’ve got 2.0 in the bag, and we’re asking for applications fat enough that competitors can’t do it." "Let’s talk," Gordon quipped. Vulcan’s Paul Allen was equally optimistic. Everyone’s looking at more capability and applications. Yahoo! co-founder/chief Yahoo Jerry Yang gave cable props, it’s done a "great job in the last 20 years in going from broadcast to digital. … I wouldn’t be here if we didn’t want to do business with cable." Yahoo already is working on creating ITV services, he said later. — Quotables: Gordon provided some memorable quotes and predictions. "For teens today, the Internet is 3 times as valuable as TV," he said, adding that consumers will pay $150/month for ‘Net experiences and apps. He sees VoIP having a big impact on video gaming. "It’s nice to reach out and touch someone, but you’ll pay money to reach out and kill someone." Gordon encouraged attendees to make sure there is at least 1 exec in the room turned 15 after 1987. "Recruit the Nintendo set and figure out how to listen to them about convergence." New Bedfellows: The opening session was yet another example of how cable is looking for outside partners. "The cable industry wants to cooperate and work with other industries in a way it hasn’t maybe 5 years ago," Comcast COO/National chmn Steve Burke said. Allen, who dropped numerous Digeo Moxi references, spoke about new partnerships with the CE industry and retailers. His prediction: more Internet features down the road will become part of the TV experience. — Losing Control: The reviews were generally positive for NCTA’s strategy of filling the session with outsiders. Gordon nearly stole the show; answering and asking questions and making CNBC moderator Ron Insana seem somewhat irrelevant.

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