Comcast wants to offer TV anywhere you are—with the iPad or other tablet PC. Realizing how popular YouTube is with the “mobile crowd,” Comcast engineered Xfinity TV app (version 2.0) to stream live video content to iPads, iPhones and Androids.
Chief executive for Comcast Brian Roberts announced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, that the Xfinity TV app will come to market in the first quarter 2011 and will permit subscribers to view 3,000 hours of VOD programming on the tablets. This is a step up from watching episodes of such shows as Californication in ten-minute segments on YouTube. Roberts contends the authorization software protocol protects the content rights holder from privacy issues. The software requires the user to indicate whether the viewing is from home or out of home. True to Roberts’ word, a visit to Comcast’s web site reveals the promotion of Xfinity.
HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax signed over rights to their content offerings in what is considered by some cable broadcasters a means to extend the brand experience. HBO offers “600 HBO programs” through HBOGo for $10 per month or $3 per day to its subscribers and Cinemax MAXGo offers “unlimited access to hundreds of Hollywood hits” for free to subscribers. Showtime and Starz don’t have similar product as of February 18, 2011. Turner Broadcasting and CNN are also in the pipeline.
Extending the brand experience will add up and will reveal the digital divide. A consumer must have a PC tablet or smart phone. The Apple iPad retails at $829; Motorola Xoom retails at $799; Lenovo IdeaPad 06517HU Tablet Notebook at $515; and Samsung Galaxy Tab at $599.99. Verizon FiOs Technician Abena Nkromah (on disability) says she “knows about Xfinity and sees the convenience but doesn’t have the time to watch TV.”
Having a cable subscription is another necessary item. Consumers have several– including Time-Warner, Verizon FiOs V Cast Demand, Cablevision, Comcast–to consider. Then such premium TV networks as Cinemax, Showtime, HBO and Starz are the ultimate providers of live streaming to those mobile devices.
During this economic downturn, many US households are opting to reduce cable services to basic or even closing cable and pay-TV accounts altogether. Harry Fox Agency employee Tanya Roberts doesn’t have cable service and has no knowledge of Xfinity. White Plains resident Salome Taylor has DirecTV and has seen ads “about how you can connect the iPhone to DirecTV.” “I’m not a phone person and wouldn’t buy an iPad…if I need to watch TV while on the street, I may as well tie a TV to myself,” says Taylor.