Details of Comcast’s On Demand Online service surfaced at the NewTeeVee Live conference with the big news being that the service will launch next month.
Comcast Interactive Media President Amy Banse didn’t give a specific launch date for the service that will put popular TV content onto PCs, but she said it would launch before Hanukkah, which starts Dec. 11.
On Demand Online, which is Comcast’s version of Time Warner’s TV Everywhere, has been in beta testing with 5,000 users since July. Comcast currently has 24 programmers lined up to provide content to On Demand Online via Comcast.net and Fancast.com. The service is free to Comcast’s subscribers.
Banse said when Comcast subscribers log on to either of the sites for the first time to use the service, a Move Networks player and authentication device will be downloaded. The authentication device will allow subscribers to access the same content they currently pay for, such as HBO on Demand, on their PCs. Banse said customers can authenticate up to three devices.
“Breaking news: You’ll be able to use it both in the home and out of the home,” Banse said.
Comcast spokeswoman Kate Noel told CED this morning that when the service first launches next month, users will have to be both Comcast video and data subscribers, but at some point they will just need to be video subscribers to access On Demand Online.
Banse also said the service would count against Comcast’s monthly bandwidth cap of 250 GB. The content will mirror Comcast’s VOD offerings, but there was no word on when HD content would be offered.
When asked if On Demand Online was more of replacement service for online viewers or a means to “catch up” on shows that were missed, Banse said customers were using it as both, and so far Comcast hasn’t seen evidence of “cord cutting” by subscribers.
As for the beta trial, Banse said the reviews have been good to date.
“It works quite nicely,” she said. “We’ve asked people what they think, and they really like it. They really love it, actually. They like the video quality. They like the UI. They like the navigational experience and the content. I think they’re just happy to have access to the content they traditionally watched on television on their laptop in an easy-to-use format.”
Noel said that users in the trial were averaging 21 minutes per video session, as opposed to the national average of 3 to 4 minutes.