Today in Connected Consumer

Apple is having a pretty good Cable Show this week, considering it isn’t there. Comcast unveiled its new X1 cable/DVR set-top box that adds smart TV-like functionality to non-connected TV sets, including integration of a variety of WiFi-powered apps. The new box also integrates with iOS devices via a new remote control app. The app lets users navigate the TV interface using swipe controls, putting iOS devices at the center of the TV experience. The most interesting iOS integration, however, was announced by TiVo, which unveiled a new external transcoder box that will stream DVR content to iOS devices. The new service, called TiVo Stream, will also support downloading of DVR-recorded content to iOS device for viewing offline, which raises the interesting question of whether Apple and TiVo will eventually add storage of DVR content in iCloud as well. In any case, the Comcast and TiVo integrations underscore Apple’s ability to extend the iCloud/App Store platform into the digital living room through partnerships, creating a kind of virtual Apple TV without ever introducing its own big-screen set.