So what is behind all this talk of cable TV consolidation?

Internet is abuzz with news stories of pending media mergers and rumors of cable company consolidations are doing the rounds on Wall Street. Most importantly cable cowboy John Malone is back in action. Let me tell you about the “why” behind this excitement.

Vid-Biz: Charter on Nasdaq, Trivial Pursuit on YouTube, Rogers Rentals

Today on the Net: Charter Communications expects to list shares on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “CHTR,” Hasbro has put a version of Trivial Pursuit online pitting users against YouTube celebs and Rogers plans an online video rental service as part of its TV Everywhere initiative.

Vid Biz: TV Everywhere Fail, iPhone Jailbreak, Will Ferrel Wired

Today on the Net: Will Ferrell stars in an exclusive Wired iPad app video, Howcast is clocking 25 million video views per month, network execs want more ad dollars for TV Everywhere content and 3G iPhone users can now install Facetime by voiding their warranty.

Vid-Biz: Hulu Premium, KickApps, Project Canvas

Disney: “No Decisions Have Been Made” on Hulu Premium; Disney EVP Kevin Mayer says “no decisions have been made” about what kind of pay models and services Hulu is going to use, or when those will roll out. (MediaMemo)

KickApps Lands NBC for Social Video Sites; the companies struck a licensing deal that enables all of NBCU’s entertainment properties to use KickApps’ social software solution, expanding a prior relationship that focused primarily on NBC’s local media properties. (VideoNuze)

TV Makers, Retailers Voice Project Canvas Concerns; The Digital TV Group, which represents more than 100 companies including Samsung, Sony, Pace and Dixons, has expressed concern that Project Canvas is failing in its core promise to create an open, industry-wide technology standard for the service. (paidContent:UK)

Comcast To Launch Xfinity Rebranding Campaign; starting next week, Comcast will begin rolling out the new Xfinity brand — Xfinity TV, Xfinity Internet and Xfinity Voice — to customers in 11 markets. (Multichannel News)

FreeWheel Signs Up MLB As Its Newest Customer; the video ad firm now serves almost 2 billion video ads per month, doubling its volume since November 2009, and has added Major League Baseball Advanced Media to its customer roster. (VideoNuze)

YouTube Could Get Hit With Italian Broadcaster Rules; under a new decree, video sites like Google’s YouTube could be required to get government permission to host copyrighted video content, and they would also be required to get broadcasting licenses. (paidContent:UK)

EPIX Lands Cable Deal With Charter Communications; the movie and entertainment streaming network that works across your TV and computer landed its fourth cable deal, following up on other deals struck with Cox Communications and Mediacom Communications. (TechCrunch)

Battle of the Digital Media Players; Davis Freeburg takes a look at a few of the most popular software media players (and video destinations) to determine which one may be best for consumers. (Zatz Not Funny!)

Vid-Biz: AT&T, Mobile Stats, Kutcher

When is an iPhone Not an iPhone? When AT&T calls it a PC to explain why SlingPlayer for the iPhone won’t include 3G support. (GigaOM) See our review of the SlingPlayer iPhone app.

Nielsen: 11 Million People Watched Mobile Video in Q4 2008; mobile video viewing surged 9 percent from the third quarter. (VideoBusiness) See why AT&T is such a nervous nellie about its 3G network?

Kutcher’s Blah Girls Heading to TV; animated series will appear as one minute interstitials on the entertainment news program Insider. (Variety)

TED Launches Open Translation Project; popular lectures now offered on a translation platform, with some already available in 25 different languages. (TED blog) See our previous coverage about dotSub powering the platform.

Jason Priestly to Direct Web Series The Lake; former 90210-er to helm the new teen drama for Warner Bros. and Generate. (Tubefilter)

CBS HD Gallery Goes 1080p; viewers can now watch a sampling of shows like CSI and Survivor in really high definition. (CBS.com)

Online Piracy Law Passes in France; second time’s the charm for this controversial legislation that will require French ISPs to cut Internet connections to customers who chronically pirate material; France’s Senate expected to approve the law today. (Variety)

Charter Communications Suing DirecTV; dispute is over ads that suggest users switch to satellite because of the Charter’s bankrupty filing. (TV Newsday)