SureWest reduces workforce; Hillcrest Labs updates Web browser for TV

> Competitive cable television provider SureWest Communications is instituting a 7 percent workforce reduction (about 60 positions) including management and supervisor roles to "enhance the company's focus on its core broadband segment and reduce costs." News release.

> Hillcrest Labs has introduced the latest version of its free Web browser for TV that it says includes a range of new features such as the ability to launch it from a plug-in created for Windows Media Center. It's not a "walled garden" but is a "true Web browser that lets users go where they want across the Internet," the company said. Story.

> Canadian MSO Rogers Communications, sparing no hype, has officially unveiled "The Next Big Thing in Television," Rogers On Demand Online, which features new content and enhanced social tools, new primetime and multicultural programming, improved functionality, higher resolution and live streaming capabilities. News release.

> It's hard to see Microsoft as an underdog, but when it comes to Google TV and Apple TV the Redmond behemoth has to be considered the slow follower. That's why a suggestion that Microsoft should just go ahead and buy Boxee to compete with the other two has to be taken with some seriousness. Story.

And finally... Somehow it's not really all that surprising that Canoe, cable's advanced advertising joint venture, is "testing ways to dynamically insert ads into video-on-demand programming." Story.