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Comcast sets stage for live streaming to iPad, Android devices

Wed, 01/05/2011 - 7:45am
Mike Robuck

Looking to make a splash of its own while the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas gears up, Comcast announced today that it would be offering live, in-home streaming to the Apple iPad and Android-based devices.

Comcast has been building up to live streaming for some time, and the addition of live programming strengthens its hand against over-the-top competition such as Netflix, Apple TV and Amazon.

With the live content, customers can view their subscription content throughout a home on another device aside of their TVs. Comcast hasn't announced what programming will be available for live viewing, but its long-term relationships with content providers should give its subscribers a compelling choice of viewing options.

Comcast subscribers will be able to watch live news, TV shows and movies in their homes on the tablet devices "later this year," the company announced today. Comcast CEO and chairman Brian Roberts was slated to speak about the new Xfinity TV developments this afternoon at the Citi Conference for Media, Entertainment and Telecommunications.

Xfinity TV

Comcast also announced additional enhancements to its TV Everywhere service, which it branded Xfinity TV.

The first feature is "play now" for the Xfinity TV iPad app, which Comcast said would debut in the coming weeks. Play now will be provisioned with nearly 3,000 hours of on-demand content that can be watched anywhere, anytime, which includes outside of subscribers' homes. Comcast said a similar application for Android devices would be available later this year.

"Live streaming and the play now feature on our Xfinity TV app are two important pieces of our strategy to deliver any content to any device, any time," Roberts said. "Comcast has a series of upcoming online enhancements and app releases that are part of a much larger effort to reinvent how customers interact with their entertainment on TV, online and on mobile devices."

Comcast has also launched a new feature that enables customers to search for their favorite programs and to change channels on a TV set from a computer via its XfinityTV.com Web portal. The feature enables millions of customers with laptops or desktop computers to browse, search and find TV and on-demand content online, and then select and watch it on their TVs or program their DVRs to record programs for later viewing. This feature also transforms any computer into a remote control, which is the same functionality that first debuted on Comcast's iPad app.

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