Cable TV executives are to establish a new research center in the heart of Silicon Valley to try to halt the emerging trend of "cord-cutting," according to Reuters. CableLabs, a non-profit research and development consortium set up by the cable industry's key companies, hopes to develop new tech in collaboration with startups, established firms, and leading universities. The joint development will be carried out in Valley-based "co-innovation labs," but the consortium will ramp up in-house hires as well. It already counts some 100 engineers — more than half of its entire payroll — but plans on adding to that figure.
Jerry Kent, who sits on CableLabs board of directors says "this isn't your grandmother's cable industry." He believes the new facility will "re-energize" cable TV in the face of competition from upstarts like Netflix and newly-relaunched Boxee. The board also recognizes the challenge posed by the rapid growth of the smartphone and tablet markets. "We want to provide our services in mobile format," says Comcast CEO and CableLabs chairman Neil Smit. Of course, it's easy to talk a good game — we'll have to wait and see if any of their efforts to modernize television make it out of the lab and into our living rooms.