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Summary:

Cord cutters are threatening cable companies with irrelevancy, but cable isn’t going to go gently into that good night. Comcast today unveiled its new Xfinity TV app for the iPad, a clear attempt to get some love from the new mobile video-watching crowd.

xfinity-app

Cord cutters are threatening the bottom line at cable companies, but cable isn’t going to go gently into that good night. Comcast today unveiled its new Xfinity TV app for the iPad, a clear attempt to get some love from the new mobile video-watching crowd.

The new Xfinity app will allow Comcast subscribers to stream TV shows and movies to the iPad, as well as act as a TV guide, remote and DVR programmer for their at-home cable setup. The app launched today, though streaming content won’t arrive until early December, at which time users will have access to a select portion of Comcast’s offerings. That content will be premium cable stuff Comcast includes in its TV Everywhere (now called Fancast Infinity) offerings, including shows from HBO, Cinemax and Showtime.

Comcast also plans to release apps for the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as BlackBerry and Android devices, though the company hasn’t divulged any other details. Apps are a good move for the U.S. cable giant, allowing it to compete with companies like Netflix, which also provides direct streaming to mobile devices. But is it enough, and is it in time to truly make a difference?

Mobile users want all the content, all the time. Comcast’s Xfinity already falls quite short of that; some content coming soon is too little. Users don’t want to see a few shows and movies available, even if those shows come from premium networks, especially when they’re paying for the whole hog with a cable subscription.

As for timing, this is something cable companies should have offered as soon as the technology was available. Device makers recognized quickly enough that users wanted the ability to carry video with them in their pockets as soon as the technology allowed it. Why did the biggest content providers take such a long time to admit the same? Whatever the reason, making minor concessions like providing extremely limited content libraries to paying customers with what seem like reluctant gradual rollout timelines isn’t going to win people back now.

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  1. Comcast has a hard enough time delivering content using its own pipes. The Internet service is VERY slow and speeds constantly fluctuate, Sometimes, Comcast Internet slows to broadband modem speeds. Comcast HD service isn’t much better. Due to the company’s aging infrastructure and limited bandwidth, both SD and HD channels often are over-compressed (this varies too). The result is fuzzy, pixelated video that can be very unsatisfying to watch.

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  2. Most of the current fluctuations stem from Comcast establishing their new monitoring/regulating/broadband management systems – which truly suck big time. Add to that the tech “competency” of most of their regional management and understand what an ongoing disaster it has become. What used to be rock solid, predictable speeds can’t be counted on from hour to hour.

    Saying that, the premium services they flow into Xfinity fit a larger audience than you’d think because most broadband subscribers become basic cable subscribers once they figure out they save a few bucks on the total bill vs. broadband-alone charges.

    Like me, you may never use the TV access except to check on the pipes when broadband goes down. Which also happens with greater frequency, nowadays.

    The subtle reasoning behind allowing us this discount is that it also inflates Comcast subscriber numbers.

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  3. What a joke. Where’s the streaming. Why can’t I jump right to the station guide after I find a where I want to go. Setting up the Dvr’s doesn’t work(and requires you to Go to a standard site to set them up).

    Super inconvenient to use to reduce the time to move around. This is a buggy piece of junk. What were they thinking. Everything is disjointed. When you see the next generation of Apple tv, Google tv and new models like eqnetwork… How can Comcast be releasing alpa software that crashed 15 times in my first use and requires me to re-authenticate 6 times between 3 or 4 different websites. Huh? Scramble and find other people that can deliver real software solutions… Quick Comcast. If not, all the co’s that truly innovate will pass them by.

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  4. I work for DISH Network and they have the DISH Remote Access app that enables users to stream live TV anywhere there is internet access. You’ll find that the DISH app is streamlined and has a friendly user interface. It is also available for Blackberry and Android devices, not just devices that run off iOS. Not only does this app allow live streaming but it also lets users watch and manage recordings as well as thousands of movies and shows. Now, I think that’s innovative.

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