Comcast Fancast: an OldTeeVee Directory

13 Comments

Comcast is formally beta-launching at CES on Tuesday the video portal it’s been developing for over a year called Fancast. We’ve mentioned the site repeatedly over the past few months because it was a launch partner of Hulu. Fancast also includes streaming video from CBS, with more partners supposedly coming soon — but all-in-all no different from the content you’ll increasingly find everywhere. The point of Fancast, however, is not so much about scoring content deals but being the ultimate video directory, pointing to TV shows and movies wherever they are available — be it on TV, on demand online or on cable, on DVD, available for online rental, or playing in a movie theater.

screenshot35.jpegHowever, the site will not include content made for the web, said Sam Schwartz, executive vice president of Comcast Interactive Media, in an interview on Monday. “For the most part we’ve addressed Fancast at what we call long-form content,” he said. “Other people, we think, have covered the user-generated space pretty well.” He said Fancast would eventually include “user-generated components” such as reviews, lists, and mashups. Schwartz is more keen on a content discovery feature called “six degrees” that ties pieces of content together by shuffling common actors and themes (click on the thumbnail to see a screenshot).

The Fancast launch ties in with Comcast’s new “Project Infinity” initiative, which aims to bring every piece of content to the set-top box. Fancast is, for now, only available as a web site, but the idea is to bring the service’s recommendation engine onto other devices. Comcast already has a partner in TiVo and is actively negotiating with Time Warner and Cox, according to Schwartz.

A version of IMDB that links directly to where you can actually consume content? That’s a pretty good idea, but Comcast is totally missing the potential of amateur content and user participation. It’s kind of ridiculous that they don’t even encourage people to talk about their favorite TV shows — hello, page views! Schwartz did there is potential for natural tie-ins between Fancast and Ziddio, Comcast’s venture to bring user-generated content to the set-top box, but it doesn’t sound like anything to that effect is in the works just yet.

13 Comments

tshan

I’m dissapointed that comcast will only offer fancast to user of there internet service.. I use ther home entertainment. Should that be enough.

sherman carroll

I look at the list of 150tv shows and there were only one show with a African American actor in it I like some of the show this list is the veiws of what one think and sees one more thing the search box if you type in a show it won’t accepted it

Frank Sinton

Thanks for the review. I agree with you – users want comprehensive. It is all about choice – what you want, where you want, when you want.

Lawrence

I think the problem with allowing comments on some areas is a problem. Take some of the things said on youtube. The moderation for these things are expensive and never good enough.

Although I think it would be cool to add your two cents, I rarely read the comments on most videos, maybe the first 3 at the very most.

i would think it would be better to link off the content into a comment area where this added functionality would be useful. Quality content will reign over comments, unless it’s a very controversial scene/moment. And most comment buzz is over something crazy another blogger may have said, or the all too common “1st” post.

Lawrence

I have to say that i actually like the direction of this site. A few tweak, added features, and fix some of the bugs, i can see myself checking this out. Tie it into my Comcast at home, then they really have something.

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