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Comcast’s TV Everywhere Service, 9 Months In

Comcast launched its TV Everywhere service last December amid heated debates over how cable providers could compete with existing over-the-top TV applications. Now called Xfinity Online TV, the service is set to emerge from beta next month.

We’ve heard very little from Comcast directly about how its online TV offering has fared since its introduction nine months ago. Unofficial reports suggest the service has been reasonably popular, and rumors are circulating that Comcast has a lot more up its sleeve on the online front: more content for one, and mobile device support for another. Comcast has also hinted that it will streamline the authentication process when the Xfinity online service comes out of beta.

On the authentication front, Marty Roberts, VP for thePlatform, the Comcast subsidiary handling sign-on issues for a number of TV Everywhere initiatives, recently detailed what the company has learned about authentication from its early deployments. Roberts suggests that, even as it stands today, authentication is not overly burdensome. He cites the large number of subscribers who signed on to ESPN3 during the World Cup as evidence. He also states that authentication should be done by a service provider rather than a content programmer to avoid sharing personal user names and passwords. This can be handled in two ways – either by redirecting a user to the service provider’s site, or by embedding that provider’s login application on the programmer site.

The Xfinity Online TV service has been chugging along in a very understated way for the last nine months, but that may be about to change as the beta label comes off. There’s still a lot we don’t know too about what will happen if and when Comcast acquires NBC Universal. How will Hulu fit in to the Xfinity picture? Only time will tell.

2 Responses

  1. TV Everywhere would be more relevant to me if it worked on something other than a laptop. I’m over 25 so I don’t watch a lot of TV on my laptop. On my iPad or iPhone I do though, currently with either Hulu Plus or Sling. If TV “Everywhere” worked on iOS or Android devices it would be more relevant. Its nice and all that both Comcast and Time Warner showed off HTML 5-based demos of their portals on iPads but since they never made those available to anybody but their execs, I’m going to assume they’re just fake. Obviously they require IP support of control mechanisms or something that Comcast and Time Warner just aren’t prepared to deploy in the wild.

    With Netflix showing up on every device on the planet, Google TV launching and Hulu Plus playing catchup to Netflix, the battle is waging. Comcast has a great hand to play but they’re sitting on the sidelines like usual. I assume they’re “working on it” and it’ll be coming out “any minute now” but my guess is all this will have shaken out before Comcast plays its cards.

  2. Comcast is trying to make their TV everywhere experience amazing, but as of right now it’s kinda lacking. I work with DISH Network and with DISH services and a sling adapter box you get all TV everywhere you may go from your iphones/ipads and all andriod based phones. I love being out and about in the world, and having my favorite shows with me. I can even set up my recordings from my phone so I have that show I could have missed ready to go when I get home!

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