A virtual cable MSO will emerge in 2012, using the Internet to distribute national cable networks to pay TV subscribers, veteran cable analyst Richard Greenfield predicted Friday. Among the players Greenfield says could launch a virtual cable operation are Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), Greenfield said. Pay TV providers such as Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH), AT&T (NYSE: T) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) could also use over-the-top video to sell pay TV subscriptions nationwide, he added.  "We believe the stage is set for one or more virtual MSOs to be created in 2012," Greenfield, managing director and media analyst at BTIG, wrote in a blog post. While getting cable networks to agree to licensing deals remains one of the biggest challenges for virtual operators, Greenfield notes that telcos and DBS providers were able to overcome those obstacles.

Via Peter Rosenberg