Bloomberg, Comcast clash over NBC merger terms

Bloomberg TV (Ray Kurzweil)

News service Bloomberg has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Communication Commission alleging that cable giant Comcast is violating the terms of its controversial merger with NBC Universal by exiling its Bloomberg TV news channel to the remote hinterlands of cable channel selections—along with the likes of C-SPAN 2 and C-SPAN 3—rather than grouping it with other major news outlets like CNBC, MSNBC, and Fox. Bloomberg’s complaint alleges that Comcast’s behavior violates specific terms of the merger: if Comcast groups business and news channels into an adjacent “neighborhood,” then it’s obligated to carry all independent news and business channels in that same neighborhood.

For its part, Comcast contends that Bloomberg’s complaint is merely sour grapes and an attempt to mislead the FCC. And, furthermore, Comcast argues the “neighborhood” requirement for news and business channels does not apply: Comcast says Bloomberg is defining a “neighborhood” as a grouping of as few as four channels, and the channel placements that Bloomberg is complaining about actually pre-date the NBCU merger. Comcast claims the FCC’s stipulations on the NBC merger were not intended to require Comcast to re-order channels in existing markets; the company also noted it has continued to add Bloomberg TV to its channel lineups after the merger with NBCU was approved.

Nonetheless, in major markets many news programing channels will be grouped in channel numbers 30-40, where Bloomberg TV—if present in a Comcast lineup at all—will typically be over channel 100—a move that also often makes it in accessible to basic cable subscribers.

The “neighborhood” requirement in the Comcast/NBCU merger was intended to prevent Comcast from using its position in the television and content distribution markets to favor its own content (from NBC) over that from other providers. Bloomberg is particularly sensitive to the situation since Comcast now controls CNBC—Bloomberg TV’s larger and more-widely-viewed rival.

[Image: Raw Kurzweil on Bloomberg TV, February 2011]


Apple is still selling iPhones in China despite being ordered not to

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.

You can now get a Surface Laptop 2 for $800 at the Microsoft Store

Along with deals on other variants, starting configurations of Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 are now going for $800 online at its retail store, cutting $200 from its usual $1,000 starting price. 

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Home Theater

Fluance’s four beautiful new turntables arrive with easy-to-stomach prices

Acclaimed audio brand Fluance launched four new turntables as part of its new Reference series, aiming to offer elegant looks and pristine sound to those who are just getting into the world of high-end analog audio.
Home Theater

Google Assistant gets the Marshall treatment with two new smart speakers

Marshall's Voice-series were already some of the most stylish smart speakers on the market, but now they're available as Google Assistant-compatible editions. This makes Marshall one of the few companies to support both Alexa and Google.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (January 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in December 2018 and January 2019, from new original series to classic…
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Killing Eve'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (December 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.