IN BRIEF - Broadcasting & Cable

IN BRIEF

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OpenTV sues Liberate

Interactive television company OpenTV has slapped Liberate Technologies with a patent-infringement lawsuit seeking an injunction and monetary damages. The lawsuit concerns patents for "carouseling" of interactive-TV programming and how an ITV application is loaded, executed and then minimized or deleted.

"The bottom line is, we believe that Liberate is infringing on some of our key patents without our permission, and that's unacceptable," says OpenTV spokesman Matt Bell.

Comcast Crunched

Keeping its high-speed Internet customers on Excite@Home for a few extra months cost Comcast bigtime. The $140 million in expenses sliced fourth-quarter cable cash flow by 14%, to $448.4 million. Otherwise, the cable systems' cash flow would have risen 12%, to $588.4 million. Revenues rose 11%, to $1.4 billion.

Excite is going out of business and shutting off its national Internet backbone. Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts said his biggest mistake last year was not anticipating how quickly Excite@Home would deteriorate. He had expected to move off the company's network next June but was forced to start moving in October, and paying a huge fee to keep the company alive a few months more.

Comcast expects 2002 cable cash flow to rise 12%-14% and sales to increase 10%-12%. It expects to add 600,000 to 700,000 digital cable units and 400,000 to 500,000 high-speed Internet customers.

The company also expects a $30 million loss in its start-up video gaming network, G4.

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