The blog-o-sphere got all Twitter-pated last night over possibility of Comcast buying outright or a stake in NBC Universal. Initial descriptions of the imminence of the deal have since been downgraded to Comcast “kicking the tires” of NBC.
Comcast has an interest in getting deeper into the content business (the company made a bid for Disney five years ago), and already has cable networks like E!, Vs., and G4. As a TV viewer, I get nervous about the company responsible for giving the Kardashians multiple shows becoming the corporate parent of 30 Rock. And as a Comcast subscriber, there are other areas the company should invest in before bulking up its content library:
USER INTERFACE: Comcast’s on-screen guide is antiquated. The grid format is slow and ill-equipped to handle the onslaught of video choices from the Internet and elsewhere headed for your screen. It needs to adapt to include better search and better input controls.
MOBILE: The iPhone app selection from Comcast is pretty lacking. You can check out schedules and bookmark shows, but where’s the placeshifting, the remote DVR control, or better yet, using your phone as your remote?
NETWORK DVRS: Even better, get that hulking silver box out of your house and move the DVR to your home office. We realize Cablevision’s legal victory doesn’t mean the technology is totally out of the woods yet, but be bold — push the issue (it could save you more money with which to buy more networks, if that’s what you really want).
TV EVERYWHERE: A ton of resources are already being spent to launch Comcast’s On Demand Online (see our conversation with Karin Gilford, senior vice president of Fancast and online entertainment for Comcast Interactive Media, earlier this year). But this is a pretty monumental shift for the online video viewing public. No expense should be spared to make sure that the authentication system works, is unobtrusive and truly opens up video that subscribers pay for is available across multiple screens.
We’ll be getting more insight into Comcast’s On Demand Online at our upcoming NewTeeVee Live conference when we host a one-on-one chat with Amy L. Banse, President, Interactive Media and SVP at Comcast. She’ll be part of a day packed with other new media must-sees like Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix; Anthony Wood, CEO of Roku and many more. Get your tickets now.