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The Leash Is Off: Comcast Digital Subs Can Access Xfinity TV From Any ISP

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In a big step forward for the TV Everywhere concept, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) is taking the beta tag off Xfinity TV and opening more than 150,000 hours of online content to all of its digital video subs — no matter which ISP they use. The beta version initially launched with access limited to subscribers getting their TV and internet access through the cable operator because it was easier technologically.

The move has added resonance given Comcast’s pending merger with NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) and the scrutiny on content access through the internet as the FCC considers approval. It may be especially useful in the aftermath of News Corp.’s short-lived blackout of Fox programming on and Hulu for Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) ISP subs.

The process is also less cumbersome. Comcast digital subs log in with their Comcast ID and password, then start to watch. No download. It’s all browser based.

The service is layered on top of Comcast’s all-access video portal, the former now known as Xfinity TV. (The brand transition is confusing: is still the domain and the brand on the identifying browser info but the site is all Xfinity TV. )

Any user can access a large chunk of the programming, including the same content they would get on basic plus something not on Hulu — CBS (NYSE: CBS). But only Comcast digital video subs have access to the premium cable programming from Showtime, HBO, Cinemax, Starz and Encore, plus some programming from a variety of basic cable nets. Comcast says premium Xfinity TV offers 150,000 video “choices” from nearly 90 content partners, some in HD.

Comcast describes the online content as “free” — a bit of stretch since it’s available only to customers who already pay for video. It’s more like “no additional charge.” That doesn’t diminish the potential value for users, who should be able to get more use out of that video subscription in multiple locations and across devices.

My TV: Access also includes a batch of features — remote DVR management, watchlists, search across platforms, social media sharing. Matt Strauss, SVP & GM of Comcast Interactive, explains more on the Comcast corporate blog.

2 Responses to “The Leash Is Off: Comcast Digital Subs Can Access Xfinity TV From Any ISP”

  1. Yeah, it seems Comcast is only offering partially of what I think they could. As far as their “TV Everywhere” it seems to have no comparison over what DISH Network is offering. With Comcast you can watch on demand features on your ipad outside of your home, but when it comes to live TV, your stuck inside (with your TVs) watching on your ipad, and it only limits it to 3 devices. With DISH services and a sling adapter you can view live TV and DVR recordings on any iphone/ipad or android based phone anywhere outside or inside of your home. There is no geographical limitation! I must say since I work with DISH it might seem a little bias, but I can surely say, I’ve been a DISH subscriber way before I started working with them, and as a former Comcast customer I think they can do a little better! :)