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CES: Comcast to stream live TV to Apple's iPad

In an effort to follow its subscribers onto portable devices, Comcast Corp, the nation's largest cable-television and broadband provider, says it plans to stream live TV to Apple Inc.'s iPad and other tablet computers powered by Google Inc.'s Android software.

The service, available later this year, would convert the iPad into another viewing screen in the home. This would allow subscribers to watch news, television shows and movies on the device -- presumably while the big screen is displaying some other programming or in a room where -- God forbid -- they don't have a television. Of course, you already have to be paying for Comcast's cable service for access.

For now, Comcast's offering will be available only in the home. But the Philadelphia-based cable giant also announced plans to offer 3,000 hours of on-demand content -- including movies and HBO and Showtime shows -- on the iPad that could be viewed at any location, through Comcast's Xfinity TV application.

“Live streaming and the play now feature on our Xfinity TV app are two important pieces of our strategy to deliver any content to any device, any time,” Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts said in a statement. “Comcast has a series of upcoming online enhancements and app releases that are part of a much larger effort to reinvent how customers interact with their entertainment on TV, online and on mobile devices.”

The Xfinity TV app can already be used as a sophisticated remote control, allowing viewers to search TV listings, change channels and program the DVR to record a show. Future updates will incorporate social-networking components, so viewers can further annoy their friends by constantly telling them what they're watching.

Pay-TV providers are scrambling to hold on to subscribers, who are increasingly using portable devices like the iPad to watch video. Established cable operators are feeling the competitive heat from online subscription services such as Hulu Plus and Netflix, which already deliver programming on the go. 

In a related development, Cisco Systems Inc. is expected to unveil a new TV set-top box at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that would combine Web video with more traditional programming, the Wall Street Journal reports.

These set-top boxes won't be sold directly to consumers, as are products from Apple, Roku Inc. and Boxee Inc. Instead, the hybrid devices would be available through cable operators looking for a way to compete with Web-TV services such as Google Inc.'s Google TV. 

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

“Live streaming and the play now feature on our Xfinity TV app are two important pieces of our strategy to deliver any content to any device, any time,” said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman & CEO of Comcast Corporation. “Comcast has a series of upcoming online enhancements and app releases that are part of a much larger effort to reinvent how customers interact with their entertainment on TV, online and on mobile devices.”
 
Comments () | Archives (3)

I found this interesting comparison between Roku, Apple TV and Boxee Box that is based on analysis of hundreds of their customer reviews. You and your readers may be interested to see this analysis as well at http://tinyurl.com/amp4dmr . You can also check reputation of other products if you go to http://www.amplifiedanalytics.com/V2P-Product-Reviews/Demo, enter the product name or number (like "Samsung LN55C650"), select offered choice, and click on "Submit" button. The system will aggregate and analyze customer reviews to calculate the reputation metrics for you and will let you read the reviews if you want to.

This is certainly an interesting offer by Comcast, but as a DISH employee and customer I just have to say that even though Comcast, later this year, will allow you to watch TV on an ipad as long as you are at home within your own wi-fi network, DISH Network allows you to watch your TV everywhere, today, on a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone...anywhere you go, not just in your house, where your TV is.

I don't have first hand experience with Comcasts TV Everywhere, I can't say otherwise then what I have been able to read. I have read on several different sites now that with this you will be able to view live TV from WITHIN your home, as long as it is inside the same IP address. That the good thing that they have given you is the option to use your smartphone (Android devices) as a remote control (finally). I do have to say that being an employee of DISH this seems a little behind the curve. With DISH being the only pay TV provider that offers TRUE TV Everywhere, I would suggest this to everyone to check it out one way or another!


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