Blog Post

Comcast Opens Up TV Everywhere Service

Comcast Xfinity
Fancast Xfinity TV

After weeks of speculation over when Comcast (s CMSCA) would officially launch its TV Everywhere implementation, the cable provider finally took the wraps off the service. Starting today, Fancast Xfinity TV will be available to Comcast customers who subscribe to its pay TV and broadband Internet services.

The Fancast Xfinity TV service will have full-length programming from nearly 30 content providers, including major cable channels like HBO (s TWX), Starz (s LSTZA) and Cinemax. Altogether, the new service launched with 12,000 video assets, compared with about 17,000 that are available through Comcast’s VOD service.

To access the service, users will have to subscribe to both Comcast’s cable television and broadband Internet service, somewhat limiting the number of subscribers who can access Xfinity. The cable company wouldn’t say how many of its consumers use both services, but the number is less than the company’s official count of 15.7 million broadband subscribers. In time, Comcast plans to extend the service to all 24 million of its cable TV customers.

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Users will need to download and install a client that enables them to authenticate with Comcast from their PCs. The service uses Move Networks’ adaptive bit-rate technology to adapt to changing network conditions and deliver the best quality stream based on available bandwidth.

Not all content will be available to all users. For instance, subscribers who don’t pay for HBO as part of their cable package won’t be able to watch The Sopranos on the service. Instead, users will be met with a prompt asking if they’d like to subscribe to watch a particular piece of content.

Matt Strauss, Comcast’s senior vice president of New Media, said that the particular show that would be available to users would depend on the windowing plans of individual content providers. While some cable networks are making their content available the day after a show airs, others are only submitting older library content to the service for now. Programmers are also divided on how they approach advertising on the site. While some are experimenting with inserting a full ad load into the content, others are being more cautious with the amount of ads being served.

While increasing the amount of content that viewers can access online, the service is also designed to provide a 360-degree connection to a Comcast subscriber’s TV viewing, providing the available TV and video-on-demand listings in the customer’s browser. Later versions of the service will enable viewers to control their DVR, and create TV and VOD watch lists.

22 Responses to “Comcast Opens Up TV Everywhere Service”

  1. O'Malley

    On my lunch break and thought I would see what is online about Comcast/Xfinity’s version of TV Everywhere. As a DISH Network employee/customer I would like to point out some of the advantages of out service over the competition. With DISH, you purchase a Sling Adapter ($99 free app download) and with your laptop, IPAD, IPOD, Android or blackberry you can watch live TV or DVR Anywhere! With Comcast you can watch “on demand” recordings only and only inside your home wifi network or….in your home. Don’t know about you but I have televisions in the rooms I want to watch TV in at home.

  2. Typical Comcast experience…service doesn’t work as promised and I’ve been on hold, talking to 4 different departments, for over 45 minutes. I subscribe to HBO but can’t view HBO online. No one seems to know why or how to fix the issue. Still waiting….

  3. Worked easily enough for me. I fit their requirements and have a pretty hot connection – running at the moment 19mbps download.

    HD trailer for Avatar looked 1080i-ish. Jumped into a recent episode of Numbers and it looked 480p-ish or a tad better. Since I don’t subscribe to Comcast’ HD cable. I probably don’t qualify for their HD programming.

    In fact, I only have the cable hookup to qualify for a discount on my broadband.

    Running it through an early 2009 24″ iMac.

  4. What the What?

    My TV Everywhere seems to be Fancast Plus. But it’s a Flash player and not Move. I know. I went to ABC full episode and that still asks me to install the Move plug in which I won’t do. Good video doesn’t require browser plugins. Although the quality does up resolution like Move. But it seems to be a hybrid using Flash somehow still, too.

    Now I can watch Tyler Perry on my computer in my house. How genius.

    • Real video does not need browser plugins? All web video uses browser plugins! Windows media (comes with the OS but needs upgrades), flash (which is a download!), silverlight, quicktime (download). Have a squiz at any video page – full of embeds (=plugins).

      • Actually, the HTML5 video tag means that plugins are not required in order to view video content… still, it’ll be a while before we actually get to the point where all browsers support it.

  5. Chris Albrecht

    Tried the service out this morning.

    -Navigation is cumbersome
    -Library is LACKING
    -Video quality sucks. The picture is slightly pixelated, and not like its suffering from a lack of bandwidth. More like the player they are using or something.

    Amy Banse has let me down.