While not yet ready to perform at the level of Time Warner Cable‘s legacy systems, troubled markets L.A., Dallas and others acquired by the MSO last year are farther down the road to recovery than previously expected. "We are well along in bringing them up to our standards," said pres/CEO Glenn Britt at a Merrill Lynch conference. System upgrades will likely be completed by year’s end (after roughly 17 months of work), at a cost of $450-$550mln, he said. That’s a material improvement over initial estimates of $500-$650mln in spending and a 24-30-month timetable. More work is still required for L.A. and Dallas where "voice [service] is almost non-existent" and AT&T has come out swinging, said Britt. The telcos are "very intelligently going where we don’t have a triple-play," he said. Britt also touted a pair of technologies in the offing to complement the MSO’s "Start Over" service. "Look Back" will allow users to rewind programming through a longer window than "Start Over" offers, and "Catch Up" will allow fans of certain series to access past eps via a drop-down menu prior to watching a new edition. — Also at the conference, Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons said the company will evaluate AOL‘s new business model over the next few months and decide on its future by year’s end. Parsons also said that Time Warner Cable could become a completely separate business within 5 years.

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