With all the promotional buzz around Verizon’s viewdini mobile video portal last week, it was easy to miss Comcast’s new video app, Xfinity Instant. To be fair, Comcast’s mobile app isn’t a commercial product yet, but it was on display right beside viewdini in the Comcast booth at this year’s Cable Show in Boston.
Right now, Xfinity Instant is a project out of Comcast Labs with no set launch date. However, at least in concept, it bears a striking resemblance to viewdini. With a magazine-like layout for tablets, the Comcast app lets users filter video content by actor, genre, title or network. It also provides recommended titles based on your viewing habits, and highlights featured videos in editorial fashion. You can launch a video selection directly from the app and rate content when you’re done watching it.
What’s most interesting about the app, though, is that according to the demo guys at the booth, Xfinity Instant was developed with no knowledge that viewdini was in the works. In fact, one Comcast employee explained that the development team hadn’t even heard of viewdini until it was announced at the show. Apparently in the rush to cozy up to Verizon as a viewdini content partner, Comcast senior management didn’t get around to telling its own developers about the potentially competitive product.
(To recap, Comcast is one of the viewdini launch partners, which means Xfinity video will be available through the service to Comcast subscribers with Verizon wireless phones. Verizon FiOS video will also be made available, but not when the service launches.)
To say that former arch enemies Verizon and Comcast are now best friends is a massive oversimplification. However, management at both companies continues to hype the fact that the two companies are now working closely together, co-marketing services and buddying up where Verizon wireless access can be paired with Comcast’s cable TV offering. If a few internal eggs get broken in the process, well such is the price of making a cross-company omelette, right?
Which means while some form of Xfinity Instant will probably see the light of day in the future, it won’t happen before Comcast flexes its marketing muscle for Verizon’s competing app.