Cable selling itself at retail; lawmakers selling FCC on smart grid white space access

> Cable operators are slowly but inexorably pushing their wares into the retail space led by Cox Communications' retail stores that, according Tracy Nolan, vice president of retail, are "set up to help our customers get the most out of our products." Also pushing out from behind their walled gardens and into the retail space are industry leaders Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI). Story.

> California Congresswomen Doris Matsui and Anna Eshoo (both Democrats, if that's relevant) think the FCC should let smart grid energy metering devices have access to the white space spectrum that sits between broadcast signals. The FCC is expected to make a decision on who can use that spectrum--and how, of course--later this week. Story.

> Representatives from cable--Jim Blackley, EVP-technology, Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC)--satellite, including Steven Roberts, EVP, DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV)--programming (Sean Hanrahan, senior VP-marketing solutions, ESPN) and, of course, vendors (Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, CTO, Panasonic North America) are confirmed speakers for a Paul Kagan/Panasonic-hosted conference on "business prospects for the widening exhibition of 3D content" to be held Oct. 27 in New York City. News release.

> Look for AT&T (NYSE: T) to offer up some pretty impressive third quarter results next month, CEO Randall Stephenson said, because, among other things, the company has "built a business that's somewhat resistant to the recession" (which economists said ended last June, incidentally). Story.

And finally... As if Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) doesn't have enough on its plate already with a looming retransmission deadline with Belo, its dispute with Texas local governments has headed to the FCC. Time Warner wants to end analog PEG channel transmissions; the cities think that's a horrible idea. And the two sides can't work it out. Story.